The lexicon of tarpon

No one has ever cared about how many trout I got to eat in a day.  You don’t count the number of trout you get to jump.

The reason that no one talks about those things is because they are pretty trivial. If you get a trout to eat, it is likely going to get hooked and if you get it hooked… well… odds are good that it is going to be landed.

Tarpon fishing is different. It is an accomplishment if you can get one of those massive, per-historic piscatorial wonders to eat. If you get it mostly right and you get a little lucky, you’ll get one to leap out of water in a cartwheeling, frenetic explosion.

Only when it all comes together, when you do what you need to do and you have luck on your side do you get to see the whole thing through to completion and hold that fish in your hands and look into it’s bottomless eye and feel the coarseness of its mouth and then see it swim away, maybe coming up to gulp some air before it continues on its migration.

That’s why people care about the fish you fed, the fish you jumped and the fish you landed.  It is all hard and unlikely and intoxicating and so, so, so much fun.

That’s a very real smile.


Photo by Jim Klug

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  1. Kelly J. Bandlow

    From your posts over the last month, it seams to me that you’ve become a little bit smitten with the megalops atlanticus.

  2. Change to “Tarpon on the Brain?” Someday it will be “Permit on the Brain!” Will it ever end (or should it)?

  3. Just got back from Key West, captured(landed) 1, jumped 1 and had 2 “leans” …….

  4. Capt Mike Bartlett

    A very accurate testament to tarpon fishing. We accumulate every minor victory possible; looks, leans, eats, jumps and caught. And getting the leader in the guides or touching the leader is considered a caught fish. Too many things go bad when these monsters are along side the boat.

  5. I bow to the King.
    Billfish also provide a heart thumping experience BUT in most cases it not the same as sight casting to a poon.

  6. Couldn’t agree more, it has become my pursuit of choice …..

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