I’ve had a break the last week or so from the offshore boat as it’s undergoing some maintenance. That gave the family the opportunity to get out on the bay boat for our first try at tarpon this year. The morning started great with everybody up and out of the house before 7 am. We launched the boat out of Punta Rassa and followed the boats to the Sanibel Causeway Span that everyone was catching bait at. After just a few throws of the cast net we had enough tarpon sized threadfin herring for a morning of fishing. I was not optimistic as we worked our way out to the fishing grounds. The wind was blowing harder than expected and stirring up the nearshore waters with a nasty 2-3’ chop. The ride was bumpy, to say the least, and as we approached the area, there were no boats to be seen. If the fish are there, there are usually lots of boats to contend with. I decided to stop and fish in a likely area anyhow since we were already there. My son was just a little anxious as he had 2 new fishing rods from a recent birthday he was dying to use, and he had never landed a silver king. We got him rigged up with the larger of his newer rods, along with our usual spread, and started to fish. Definitely started slow, but then a little action started with some lost baits and a few dreaded gaftopsail catfish brought in. Then my better half let out a gasp as something big broke the water near the boat. She didn’t get a good look, but suspected a turtle. Then Kolton got a bite on his new rod.

As soon as the line came tight and the rod bent over double, a guestimated 150# tarpon made its first jump not 30’ from the boat. That began an epic battle between 11 year old, with a little help from his mother, and a 7’ long silver king.

The new rod was spooled with 30# braided line, but the fish took drag whenever it wanted. It gave us several awesome jumps as it battled, and we chased it down after every run over about an hours’ time. I was able to get a touch on the 80# leader at one point for a legal catch, but I broke the line at boat side as I tried to bring it close for some pictures. Even though Dawn and Kolton couldn’t hold their arms up after the fight, they still wanted to fish. So we repositioned a couple times and Kolton saw a big fish free jump as we were moving. I got us into position to drift through where he saw it and hooked up fairly quickly on a fish of my own. Once again we got a great show as this smaller fish, probably around 100#, jumped and tail walked several times for us. It finally threw the hook after about 20 minutes when I failed to bow to the king, but that was alright with me. We fished a little more without much going on and then called it a very successful day going 1-2, and getting my boy his first ever tarpon to the boat, and a trophy one at that!