I took off Friday to have a long fishing weekend and Glen and I headed down to try for some surf truchas and maybe go offshore. Glen had just done some motor work on his '74 whaler named Kowabunga, and wanted to run it, so it was decided his boat was the go to for the trip.
We got up a little late Friday morning but was on the water by 7AM and headed south with sub standard croakers, hoping for the best the surf had to offer. At our first stop I caught one, but that was it, so we stopped a few places a couple of miles down, only picking up one at a time. We had originally discussed going north as it has proven good this time of year in the past, so decided to head that direction. When we reached our destination, we noticed a couple of fly fishermen out past the breakers in a pretty small boat, and one of them had hooked a big tarpon. He lost it on the 3rd jump, but it was enough for us to guess he was a least a 5-footer, so we idled down to watch a bit.
He motioned us to shut down the motor, even though we were a couple hundred yards away from him, then began to head our way, We thought he might be upset at us but when he got there he told us the tarpon we in big pods and said we should get a shot at one if we take care not too run up to them and spook 'em..
He told us he used to be a guide in Florida and said the tarpon there have gotten wise to the sound of the motors, but it didnt seem to bother these, as long as you didnt gun around looking for them, we should have a good chance at hooking one.
We decided to drift, and to put out a croaker under a ballon, then also use soft plastics to chunk to them if we got close enough to a pod. It wasn't too long at all before we saw our first tarpon rolling. Glen hooked a huge one but the fish threw the bait on the first jump. We floated for a few minutes and sure enough another pod came into view. He hooked another smaller one, but it also threw the hook after jumping. The third pod we came across had probably 40-50 in it, and one of them hit my croaker, but threw the hook on the 3rd jump. The fourth pod we encountered drew the magic, and Glen hooked up solid. The tarpon jumped once, and we guessed he was between 4&1/2 and 5 feet long. He then went deep and the fight was on.
Glen fought him for 1 hour and 50 minutes, and the huge fish pulled the boat between 3 and 4 miles, heading deep, then up into the shallows where I jumped out of the boat to get him, only to not be able to hold his tail before found himself back to deeper water. After 20 or so more minutes and him coming up 3 times for gulps of air, he was finally beside the boat. I grabbed him and held him while Glen put down his rod to pull him up for a picture. I had got about 25 minutes of video, and when I turned it off to get the camera, Glen took the hook out and pulled him up for a second time for the official picture, but dropped him, so I had to make a still out of the video. Not what we had hoped for but at least we have documentation and Glen's bucket list was a little bit shorter now.
We guessed him at 5 foot and weighing about 90 pounds.
We tried for more that day but could not locate any more pods rolling or porpoising.
We tried again Saturday, taking Glen's daughter Kasey who arrived late Friday night along with my brother Larry toting his fly rod hoping for some more chances at them, but the wind had picked up and the water was mostly whitecaps with high current. We went back to the doc and picked up Debbie and finished the morning catching trout wading and chasing the birds working out in the bay.
When we had enough keepers for a meal, Debbie offered to fry them up for a late lunch. We headed in for the freshest fried fish available, fries, fried sweet potatoes, sliced tomatoes and homemade tartar sauce along with watermelon and chocolate chip cookies for desert. Props to Debbie for the great food, especially after a hard day on the water.
We decided to go back out late Saturday evening to look for the tarpon again, but had no luck as the wind and waves had picked up considerably. As the sun went down we tried a spot on the backside of the island with no luck, so took off to the last stop. As night began we still had nothing but goose eggs as far a keepers, so we called it a day and headed back to drop Larry and Debbie at their house heading back.
By Sunday morning the wind had muddied the water so we ended up fishing the south shore of the bay just as we did on Saturday. We caught a dozen or so trout on plastics wading and drifting, but none were keepers.
After our last stop, we headed in via the intercoastal, only to run out of gas about 300 yards from the doc. We got a tow in that took only about 3 minutes from a fellow fisherman who assured me after thanking him that he had been on our end of the ordeal before.
After winching up the boat on the trailer, we heading back for the cleanup. We left out around 3:30 reliving all the stories on the way home, along with the normal BS two fishermen are famous for.
It was truly a great trip and we are already planning for the next one.