View Full Version : Chasing Silver

01-21-2008, 01:47 PM
I was sitting at home Saturday morning watching some TV fishing shows (since I can't get out myself right now) and caught a show called "Chasing Silver" on Versus. Great photography and of course plenty of nice fish.
I was surprised though that the anglers (Andy Mills and guide) were able to get so close to pods of cruising tarpon. It seemed they made very short cast comparable to trout fishing. I had always envisioned 100 ft cast into the wind were the norm for those bruisers. One of these years I would like to take a tarpon trip myself. Anyone on here care to share some experiences and tips? Drew, clue us in on what we need to expect.

01-21-2008, 06:50 PM
I saw the show as well...excellent footage. Can't get out here either, and caught myself false casting with the remote.

A few years ago & unfortunately pre fly-fishing for me, south of Naples FL, I witnessed a guide and angler poling outside a mangrove area drift right on top of a pod of Tarpon. The angler barely had more than the leader out of the rod tip for his cast They caught two out of the same school.
Apparently, Tarpon get so engrossed in what they're after that nothing phases them. just my observation...

I'm interested in hearing other input as well...course it always looks easy on TV:biggrin: ...but if there is hope of catching some of those bad boys with less than a perfect, double-hauled, missle launch of a three pound fly, in a twenty MPH cross wind count me in...even I can use my 8wt like a cane and bobber pole! 9' of rod 6' of leader...get me within 15' and we're on it :eek:

Byron Begley
01-21-2008, 07:39 PM
We have hooked tarpon right at the boat. Jack Gregory had one follow his fly up to within two feet of the boat, Jack had his leader in the rod and this 60-70 pound fish took the fly and stuck his head out of the water just inches from the boat. I was leaning over with my camera in hand trying not to scare the fish. We have hooked plenty of them within 10 to 15 feet from the boat. There is absolutely nothing like seeing a 100 pound tarpon jump out of the water 10 feet from you and 10 feet out of the water. We have jumped a lot of tarpon 30 feet away and shorter. I have several 12 weight rods. My favorite is a St. Croix Avid. Why? Because it loads short and I have more tarpon eat close to me. One reason that happens though, until I got contacts and the best sunglasses made, I couldn't see them until they were close. One of the guides I have fished with also guided Andy. Andy is probably the best tarpon angler in the United States right now. Long casts are OK but, you don't know what direction that the tarpon will take. So with a long cast you are at a disadvantage because if he changes directions it takes a long time to strip in that much line and make a second cast. It's more fun to have them eat when they are close. You see them open up their huge mouth and suck in your fly. I better stop. I'm starting to shake.


01-21-2008, 10:03 PM
I've been working on a new presentation for this winters fly fishing shows. Anyway, I got to sit and watch it while I was working Saturday.

Great episode and a whole lot of action. It was hard to get a lot done during that show.

Yea Byron, Your words excited me! :) Sounds like a hoot! Win, lose or draw.

Paula Begley
01-21-2008, 11:58 PM
I love trout fishing, but there is hardly anything more exciting than seeing a tarpon take your fly!

I hooked one on the second trip I ever took for tarpon, but it was on our third trip that I landed one.

Truth told, I was "hooked" on that first trip! When I saw those beasts coming for my fly... I was so unprepared for it, I became determined to conquer tarpon. I came home and I watched Billy Pate's tarpon videos and memorized them...I quote them to this day.

He says something like this:

"In the quest for giant tarpon, you need physical strength, but you must be mentally tough as well...your WILL TO WIN must be greater than the TARPON! And the TARPON....THINKS ...HE'S... GONNA ...DIE!" :biggrin:

Oh man...can't wait for tarpon season!


01-22-2008, 11:12 AM
Byron is right. You hear people comment on needing to be able to cast 100 ft to have success down here and nothing could be farther from the truth. The majority of shots that you get whether at bonefish, tarpon or permit will be in the 30-60 foot range. While these casts are not far, that certainly doesn't mean that casting isn't paramount to success.

To have success in saltwater you must be able to double haul. The fish are rarely stationary so you need to get the fly into the zone as quickly as you can with a minimum amount of false casting. The double haul is also essential for casting in the wind. The line speed that you generate is key whether the wind is in your face or coming over your shoulder.

Like Byron said, when you take an excessively long shot, if the casts misses the mark or the fish changes direction, so much valuable time is wasted trying to get reset for another better cast. Additionally, even if the cast is perfect and the fish grabs the fly, your chances of a successful hook set are small. There is so much stretch in fly line that it is hard to get adequate pressure at a great distance to set even the sharpest of hooks in a tarpon's hard mouth. Plus it is much more fun to see the eat close to the boat.

There are few things in fly fishing that can rival the site of a tarpon tracking and eating the fly. The eat can be as subtle as a spring creek trout sipping emergers or as violent as a Volkswagon landing in the water. It is what is so great about tarpon fishing.

Andy Mill and other good anglers make tarpon fishing look easy. While it is not difficult, there is certainly a learning curve that he has tackled through hundreds of days on the bow of a skiff.

All of this talk definitely has me ready for tarpon season. It is not far away and there have already been some fish moving around on the warmer days this year. Luckily the best time of the year is almost here.

Drew Delashmit