Fly fishing for tarpon in the Florida Keys

As many of you already know I am sick, sick with a disease that can only be cured with a 12 wt. rod and a couple dozen 60lb shock leadered toad flies. This affliction takes me to some of the most striking warm weather locales. Rife with blazingly hot sun, mosquitoes, and 100 plus pound tarpon, the Florida keys serve as the ultimate backdrop for my demise (economic, mental).

This was my 12th year going to the northern keys of Florida to fish for megalops atlanticus. These are the ultimate test of angling prowess, no other animal is capable of intense runs and jumps like the tarpon. Not to sound like a walking Chasing Silver commercial but it is the best bite in the business, period.

Long casts, 80-100ft, are mandatory, as is precise accuracy. Then the world erupts with molten silver and you lose control of everything for at least a few minutes. The ocean has huge wholes blown in it and your knees finally stop knocking from your adrenaline super enriched blood, time to pull, time to pull like you have never pulled before on anything with fins.

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If you are lucky the giant fish has been up all night chasing shrimp or bait and gives up after only twenty minutes. Then there is the worst case scenario, a true giant that is hell bent on keeping up with the rest of the school that you just plucked it from.

These fish usually make you work a lot harder, minutes feel like hours and the sweat burns your eyes. Finally, the fish is boat side and the Kodak moment becomes a reality. A quick thank you and a safe healthy release. Another day in paradise! If you are interested in a trip to fish for these prehistoric gladiators please don’t hesitate to come into the Caddisfly for a full rundown on tackle, casting and guides. It is one of my life’s great passions and with a little preparation it could be one of yours, too.Great light and tides-BC

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