Florida Fishing Report: Florida Fishing Charters
“What on earth was that, Tat?” was the reaction of A. W. Dimock in February of 1882, near Shell Island at the mouth of the Homosassa River to his boatman “Tat”. Tat replied, “Mus be a tarpum” as the two gaped at the fury jumping on the end of Dimock’s line. However, after an epic battle, Dimock got the fish to the boat where it was lost on a straightened gaff designed to hold nothing larger than a salmon. There was no tackle available in those days to defeat the silver king by rod and reel, let alone land one.
In 1885, Frank S. Pinckney wrote an article that was published in The Fort Myers Press and Forest and Stream detailing the rod and reel of capture of a 93-pound tarpon on March 12, 1885 by W. H. Wood from the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. The two New Yorkers are credited with being the first to expose Florida tarpon fishing. The claim to Wood’s first rod and reel tarpon was later surrounded in classic tarpon controversy when Forest and Stream reported that the first sizable tarpon was caught in 1878 by S.H. Jones of Philadelphia at Indian River Inlet. Unfortunately for Dimock, his 1882 event told in the “Book of Tarpon” was not published until 1911. Soon after Pinckney’s article in 1885 and prior to his subsequent 1888 book “The Tarpon or Silver King”, tarpon were given a gamefish status to protect them from harpoons (methods known as “striking” or “graining”) and nets that were considered the only productive methods for taking tarpon.
In 1886, The London Observer exposed Florida’s giant tarpon fishery to the international community and the English sportsmen. In 1889, Robert Grant’s “Tarpon Fishing in Florida” can be fairly accredited as the first “how to and where to” national publication on tarpon fishing in Florida.
And so it was in the beginning, just as it is today.
In an 1889 tarpon-fishing article, O.A. Mygatt wrote, “Verily, the lover’s jealousy may be a green-eyed monster, but compared with the jealousy of a tarpon fisherman towards his brother sportsman it counteth as nothing.” Tarpon have a long history of establishing social classes, but they are reserved for no Waltonian, nor Tom Sawyer. Tarpon are a public resource to all (under the rules and regulations of the state of Florida). Tarpon are the most non-discriminate big game catches in the world due to their habitat of close proximity to our shoreline.
The tarpon’s exposure to man has been a progressive metamorphose of modern technology. Today, the Net, fiber optics, and satellites are just a few of sources responsible for filling the magical minds of the sporting world over. I too have played a long history in of participation, though I strive for responsibility, accountability and stewardship for the fish. I carry these messages incorporated throughout my daily life. I am confident that within the passion of both the salty dog and the green horn tarpon fisher, that my 23 year career dedicated to these special fish is clear to anyone inquiring. To me, the choice is clear.
At this time, water temperatures are hovering around 64 degrees and dropping below 60 with the passing fronts. When we hit the benchmark of 68 to 70, the first of the giant tarpon will sneak into the deeper water of the larger bays and rivers. The vernal equinox (even hours of daylight to darkness) occurs on March 20th, which will be immediately followed by a dark moon on March 26th. With a little temperate weather, some consistent giant tarpon will likely be found starting at that time and in those places.
For me, the intrigue of tarpon is found within the theater of serenity, euphoric desertion and sovereignty that I can share with many who have the same common ambitions as myself. The ferocious rattle of the gill rakers, the majestic tail walk dance of the silver king, and the stamina of the wild beast against man are all just bonuses. We merely play our role as pawns in a game held in the king’s court. A challenge we refer to as our annual calling. Tarpon are American built.
Screaming Drags and Tired Arms!
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Last Update 2FEB09
Florida Fishing Report:
Florida fishing charters