It’s that time of year, tarpon season is finally here! Guides and anglers alike are getting ready for their upcoming trips. I have spent going on 15 years in pursuit of, in my opinion, the greatest game fish on the fly in the world. So to help you catch these magnificent beasts here are a few simple (but more specific in topic) tips that maybe other articles or videos have not yet touched on...
1. Proper Leader Design: Why is proper leader design important you may ask? Without proper leader design, the leader will not efficiently turn over for a proper presentation of the fly. To be more specific on the leader design, let’s talk about the butt section of the leader. Specifically the diameter of the butt section. The butt section should be at least 80-90% the diameter size of the fly line. This will ensure a proper and more efficient energy transfer from fly line to leader. When tying a leader it’s best to use at least a medium hard mono until you get to the bite tippet.
2. Proper Practice Habits: When I'm guiding I'm constantly teaching my clients whether it’s casting, tying knots, building leaders you name it, I teach it. One of the most common mistakes I see when guys get on the boat is when casting to fish they tend to mimic how they practice. For the most part, this is a good thing because it shows me they ARE practicing except, for a couple things. I see guys watching the loop in their back cast. The problem with watching your back cast is you are not watching the fish. A moving fish at that, which results in them losing sight of said fish and missing the shot. So when you are practicing, practice like you are fishing, find a target, aim, and fire without watching your back cast. Learn to feel the rod load.
3. Check Your Backing: With all the improvements in backing material, the past several years I.E. different braided material and gel spun backing you still need to check the condition it is in and especially if you still use Dacron backing. When you hook a tarpon and it blazes off into the distance dragging fly, leader, line and backing alike, when your backing hits the saltwater it soaks it up, and this will weaken the strength of your backing. I always advise changing out backing every year before your first big saltwater trip.
4. Get The Slack Out: Not even the best casters in the world are perfect every cast. When presenting the fly a lot of times you will “pile” your leader up. At this point every second counts! Get the slack out as quickly as possible. Get the fly moving! You don’t want the fly to start sinking straight down. Generally fish don’t like this because it looks unnatural and they will spook, shot blown.
5. Know The Situation: When pulling into a spot, familiarize yourself with what is going on. Ask your guide questions such as water current direction and speed (this determines how far you want to lead the fish), where do the fish generally come from, are they laid up, are they cruising etc... What is the wind direction? That way you can run through all the casting situations while you search for fish and hopefully have all the situations worked out and minimize problems that May arise...
For more tips and information on Capt Joel Dickey visit his website here.