Proper handling- tarpon

Another Article from our Friend Chris Vecsey

Here are a few helpful tips from our friend Christopher Vecsey concerning tarpon fishing and proper handing of these wonderful sportfish! Be sure to go see him at Sam’s Stop & Shop, 27122 Canal Rd, OBA, and let him help you pick out the right equipment and tackle for catching these beautiful Silver Kings!

To some of my fellow fishing people, I’d like to pass some stuff along. Just thoughts, tips, concerns that have stirred up over the last couple weeks. Especially with the number of “floating” Tarpon that have been found recently. The Tarpon are running the beaches of the northern Gulf now as many know. Whereas it used to be a small presence of Tarpon anglers here, social media has obviously spread more and more info and Insight on the where’s and how’s. With that surplus of knowledge, there’s a much larger presence of anglers wishing to cross the silver king off their list and rightfully so. Tarpon are unbelievable fish to target and catch. They have been my favorite species since I caught my first one 20yrs ago. To say “I love Tarpon” would be an understatement lol. Because of that passion for these fish, I want to share a few things to hopeful fishermen and I encourage friends of mine to share this if they feel it’s beneficial. - Use APPROPRIATE tackle. Tarpon are no joke. These are very large, extremely powerful fish. With their stamina, they are one of few species that can and will fight to their deaths. Use heavy gear, keep the fight short and release LIVE Tarpon. I recommend setups with minimum 30lb mono or 50lb braid and rods/reels that can dish out appropriate pressure. I am seeing and hearing about guys trying to go stupid light on these fish and even laughing about getting spooled. There’s nothing funny about a fish dragging 200+ yds of line. Don’t bring knives to gunfights. - Photo op. It shouldn’t take you more than a few seconds to take your pics. If you have to repeatedly yank that fish out of the water for pics, you’re greatly increasing the chances for a crab-bait Tarpon. Have your cameras ready, grab your shots quick and let them go. - Removing bigger fish from the water. Don’t. I don’t really think I need to explain this as it’s pretty self explanatory. There’s a reason it’s a law in Florida. Im not a tree-hugger. If you look through my pictures you’ll see I have no issue with putting fish to sleep. But you either catch-to-kill or catch and release in as healthy a state as possible. - Etiquette. Be respectful to other Tarpon anglers and don’t “cut in” on someone. This is the biggest issue every year with more anglers. Tarpon run consistent “lines” as they migrate the beaches. We all try to intercept those lines. If you see a guy anchored, holding up with a motor or a kayaker working a small section of beach don’t go set up right to the east of him and on the line he’s working. Coming in for a look or working outside of someone is one thing and could be considered “ok” but to cut someone off directly “ain’t cool”. Give plenty of space. I go at a minimum of 500yds - There isn’t a contest that I know of. What I’m getting at is, if you can’t get a bite from a rolling Tarpon, snagging it is not a very kosher alternative. Im not trying to be a know it all, I just believe that well informed outdoorsmen make better decisions and respect the resource more.