There is a lot to love.
- You inspire awe. When you see a tarpon there is a jolt of excitement. They are so large, so wonderfully big, it almost seems impossible to catch one on a fly. But it is possible and seeing the fish is the first, most important step.
- You make the little things matter. When you fish for tarpon you better be damn sure of your knots. All the little things you can get away with when fishing for trout or even bonefish, those little things turn into big things when you are fishing for tarpon pressing up against, or even surpassing, the 100 lb. mark.
- The jump. Seeing a 100 pound fish separate itself from the ocean by 6 feet, jumping up into the air, twisting and thrashing and then smashing back into the sea… it is simply one of the defining moments of any angler’s life.
- Eats, jumps and landed fish. You count tarpon differently from any other fish, because they are different from any other fish. They are damn hard to land, so you get partial credit for fish you feed and fish you jump. No one cares if you feed a trout and don’t land it. People understand that feeding a tarpon, or hooking one and getting it to jump, are difficult things, worthy of some sort of accounting.
- That dorsal fin. That long, trailing elongated heavy filament of the dorsal fin is so elegant and beautiful.
- You inspire passion in others. Just look at the folks behind Save the Tarpon who are fighting to restore some sanity to Boca Grande. I love that sort of drive and passion.
- It all happens NOW. You spot the fish and it is go time. It has to happen now. Quit your damn false casting and send it. There is not time for screwing around or screwing up. That’s tarpon fishing (mostly, from my experience). Long moments of silence and stillness interrupted by moments of complete chaos and unbridled energy.
- Robbies in the Keys and The Sunset Grill in San Pedro. If you don’t feel the unreserved joy of a little kid at one of these places I’d check your pulse, You are probably not alive.
- Travel and tradition. Tarpon are migratory. It happens every year and every year there are traditions and rituals that spring up all along the route. It is a happening.
- Here’s looking at you. Those big, huge eyes. There is some intensity, some depth in those eyes. You are so easy to love.