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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dcided to take a short trip up to the Long Key Bridge looking for a little pullage.

Bailed about a dozen pinfish in the canal across the street and got there just before the first of the incoming.

Wasn't looking for any big meat types just some fun so I had a 17/20 spinner and my two Tarpon rigs, 6 1/2 foot star Rods with Calcutta 700's and 25 # line

Put One line out on the Bottom and a second out under a balloon

As the tide starts running real well the bottom line takes off screaming, set the hook and I'm into a Tarpon about 80# while he's making like a circus highwire act all over the place and the tourists are all gawking, a good size King skies all over the bait under the balloon and he starts screaming out into the Gulf. Now I'm fighting a Tarpon and I have my foot on the butt of the rod with the King going hard North finally the Tarpon throws the hook and I'm free to deal with Mr King....about 400 yds out the King is going nuts all over the place and all I can do is hold on and take line when I can...then about 300 yds out the water Explodes and the line is slack....cut as clean as a razor knife...don't know if the King did it or something did it to the King

Jumped two more 'Poons before the tide slacked and I called it quits for the day

all in all not a bad 4 hrs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
no wire had 100# shock leader on the bottom rod and 50# on the balloon,,,I only use wire when I think I'll be dealing with the sharks, which is probably what nailed the King, the shrimp are running, the tarpon and snook are eating shrimp and the sharks...welll...they're just eatin'
 

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Bob - I don't read this board much, but you've really got me jonesin to strap the kayak on the roof and drive down there. :fishing2: I've even got family in Marathon, which would make lodging/board extra affordable.

It's been years since I've been down...

Half joking question - do you ever land these tarpon you keep hooking? :rockon:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Landing isn't a true word for these fish as you are supposed to keep them in the water unless you have a tag, on a bridge I usually walk them to the end where I can get down next to the water, lip gaff them and take the hook out and when they have revived enough I slip them loose....same for across the street, grab them by the lip ( I have to get down on my stomach to reach them) and remove the hook
Only 1 out of maybe three or four stay hooked to reach the point of being released by me, the others self release along the way but they are fun...
 

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Capt. Bob,
I had some morning too! Woke up at 6am. Went out into the 35 degree weather, fought the traffic, then went to work! You're KILLING me!
Congrats, what a way to start the day! 2 months before I return to paradise! (May 19th)
Good Fishing.
 

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Boca Tarpon Tackle

Why kind of conventional reel would you suggest for tarpon? I'd like to buy two reels and know that they'll last a long time. I'm not sensitive to price, more concerned about quality and ability to land a tarpon. This is my first post to the site so forgive me if I've violated any site edicate.

Thanks. Ron :cool2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
well sorry to be killin' ya there CT, but then someone has to...LOL...fyi that origoinal post is almost 30 days old...but the fish are still here.....


Texas welcome, you've violated no posting etiquette, the only hard and fast rules are no swearing, no nudity (unless it's a fish) and no personal attacks, open disagreement is fine thats how we gain knowledge, as for the reels any good quality reel with a smooth drag works great, I use Calcutta 700's spooled with 25lb mono, all my other rods have power pro but for the Tarpon with their wild acrobatics I like the stretch in the mono and if I get spooled it's a relatively inexpensive refill.

I like the calcuttas for the level wind system, that way I keep my eyes on the Tarpon and whatever may be trying to eat him and not on spooling line on my reel. I fish them on a Star 17/22 Handcrafted 7 ft rod which has proven to be a good overall rod for me here

Any good reel holding about 300+ yds of 20-30 lb works real well and you could use a smaller reel if you spool with braid and top off with mono.

A spinning reel should be in the 5000 size range again for line capacity because you never know what's going to grab your bait down here, just be sure it has a smooth drag...point in case I went looking for a shark one evening at one of the bridges and ended up hooked to a 300+ Lb Goliath Grouper which whipped my.....big time, I've caught big Bluefin Tuna on standup and comparably this guy was like being hooked to a submarine for almost 2 hrs....and he swam away with out so much as a swish of his tail and I had all I could do just to walk back up to the bridge...and I had his tail on a 100 lb standup with 100 power pro spooled on a TLD 50II LRS...

so the reel question is what do you like and what are YOU comfortable with...


April should prove to be an excellent time for Tarpon, Check the sites listed on the homepage sticky for current reports on theIslamorada area...I'll give ya all the help I can...
 

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Tarpon Tackle

Wow....that was quick. I'll probably get a TLD 20 then because I'm told you can still cast a bait if you need to. I'll probably load it with 30 lb mono and use a 100# leader. As for spinning I plan to use a Penn 8500 and spool with 50# power pro so I don't get spooled.

I'll probably post some more before I go to see how things are going out there. Thanks for the tips and let's hope we don't have another bad hurricane season. It would be nice to be able to have more recovery time.

Ron
 

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Cabt Bob,
Didn't even notice the original posting date. That's OK, it was even colder then..
Reading the posts bring me right back to my own experiences there. I even pulled out the video we shot while down there just to remind me why I DO get up for work every morning!
FISN ON!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I know what you mean by cold, been there done that, in fact I dug out some long sleeve shirts as I'll be in VA later this week, going to attend the ceremony for one of my men from Viet Nam, he's being laid to rest in Arlington, then attend the CCA event in Richmond...will be very content to get back to the Keys...


Think I'll go jump a Tarpon before I fly out...
 

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Dcided to take a short trip up to the Long Key Bridge looking for a little pullage.

Bailed about a dozen pinfish in the canal across the street and got there just before the first of the incoming.

Wasn't looking for any big meat types just some fun so I had a 17/20 spinner and my two Tarpon rigs, 6 1/2 foot star Rods with Calcutta 700's and 25 # line

Put One line out on the Bottom and a second out under a balloon

As the tide starts running real well the bottom line takes off screaming, set the hook and I'm into a Tarpon about 80# while he's making like a circus highwire act all over the place and the tourists are all gawking, a good size King skies all over the bait under the balloon and he starts screaming out into the Gulf. Now I'm fighting a Tarpon and I have my foot on the butt of the rod with the King going hard North finally the Tarpon throws the hook and I'm free to deal with Mr King....about 400 yds out the King is going nuts all over the place and all I can do is hold on and take line when I can...then about 300 yds out the water Explodes and the line is slack....cut as clean as a razor knife...don't know if the King did it or something did it to the King

Jumped two more 'Poons before the tide slacked and I called it quits for the day

all in all not a bad 4 hrs.
Bob,
If you were on the Long Key Bridge with an incoming tide either your line would be under the road bridge and you'd get cut off by the other bridge as soon as you had more than 50 yards of line out OR you'd be fishing from the traffic side of the bridge which isn't allowed. You mean outgoing tide, right :yes: ?

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
would have answered sooner but I got back from my RTO's service in Arlington last night at 3 am and sleep was high on my lust of priorities

Long Key Bridge runs SW to NE

the fishing "bridge is on the Ocean (e) side and so are all the towers for the power lines, if I were to fish from the bridge I would do so at Long Key on the outgoing and on the incoming at channel #2

If you note I said I went TO the bridge not ON the bridge, there are many days when these bridges are just loaded up with the Yo-Yo fishermen. That being said...

At the southern end gulf side there is a small area where I fish ( I walk across the road and I usually have this spot to myself ) the cut which leadsaround to the edge of the grass beds on the SW side of the bridge, about 70-80 yds out is a very shallow area which at low tide is darn near high and dry, and sometimes is, this creates a deep water slough with the grass on the southern side, it channels the larger fish and the bait into this slot and they feed on the baits coming back in going to the grassy flats that a lot of the guides fish on the higher tides. When the tide is full high the fish move over into the grass and I usually stop fishing at this time.

I do not like cutting or breaking lines leaving large amounts of line trailing from the fish
also I am participating in the Tarpon DNA tracking program ( kind of like a DNA Tagging Program) and in order to do this I need to get my hands on the fish and cannot do that from on top of a bridge:thumbup:
 

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That explains it, the way you originally described it, it didn't add up. I've tried fishing from the North/East side Oceanside without much luck, I have netted baby Pilchards over there though:thumbup:.

Long Key Bridge is my favorite bridge for fishing, if anyone is following this I have a tip worth trying for Tarpon and Snook. Park at the public parking area on the North/East corner of the bridge (oceanside), plan to get there at least an hour or so before dark on a night with an incoming tide, the beginning of the tide is the best, full moon is even better. If you park facing the water you'll see a sea wall down the hill straight ahead of you, you want to stand on that seawall facing the ocean, not into the channel itself. Bring a 15 - 20# spinning rod, bring a few 1 - 2 oz Hawks Red Tail bucktail lures tipped with a 5 inch straight white or purple rubber worm. Rig that on a couple feet of 50# mono leader with a small swivel. On the incoming tide the fish stack up where the water drains off the long key flat and into the channel so cast diagonal to the current letting that jig bounce along the bottom as it's swept off the flat. Work your way all along that seawall, sometimes the fish are shallow, sometimes deep near the corner. You'll loose a few rigs to snags, watch out because people push shopping carriages in the water there so if you get there during daylight you can see where they are. They bight all night if the conditions are right. Bring bug spray, the noseeums are brutal if the wind is light. Another setup that's effective there is a 1/2 oz Hank Brown Hookup Lure, any color is good but I like yellow. Fish that the same way with a live shrimp pin hooked through the nose or clip the tail and hook it through the meat of the tail, bounce it slowly along the bottom keeping contact with your lure, the hit can be subtle.
 
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