I spent some much needed break time last week in South Florida. The conditions SUCKED and I mean record setting sucktitude. There were only barracudas on the flats for the few days I was able to fish, and while that’s ok it wasn’t the permit feeding, tarpon jumping, bonefish screaming grand slam of a trip I had in my mind. All in all, still a memorable and pleasant way to spend a week, while the rest of my cohort was trudging around in 10″ of snow.
Record setting lows and winds blowing 30 out of the N/NW kept me off the skiff with my guide (Jared Cyr booked through Will at World Angling). However, I was able to find some leeward areas and a bit of sun on the flats to get some pictures for the SmithFly catalog and to wet a line.
I found a deeper channel skirting a flat with some baitfish working, the only sign of life on the flats that day and decided to bomb the turquoise water in hopes that I would bump a something with gills lying in the fringe on the falling afternoon tide. No such luck, not that I held any real hope, but you know, without hope, what’s left?
On to the line review…
The Tarpon F/I Short line has a fat taper in the front and plenty of slick running line to shoot a country mile. I had it loaded onto a Cheeky Thrasher 475 and a Thomas and Thomas TNT 10 wt. The TNT rods are fast, smooth, punchy and accurate. But the Tarpon F/I Short line slowed the rod a hair, and seriously loaded it deep to really feel it’s power. The TNT launched the line like a rocket sled. That line is truly a one shot kind of line. You can pick up your line and deliver it right back to a moving target, if you have one, with no false casting whatsoever. Perfect for targeting moving fish. The sink rate was right on. The clear, supple, front section is perfect for targeting spooky fish and it manages to land soft and not slap the water like a fire hose. The line was punchy enough to cut through the wind and didn’t lack the backbone needed to slice when called upon.
My other rod was an Thomas and Thomas TNT 8WT I had it loaded with a Mainstream RIO 8WT floater that I’ve been using for a long while now. It’s the milk toast of 8 WT lines. This set-up behaved as you would expect. It’s a good match for the rod and cast like a dream. The 8WT felt much snappier and as fast as one might expect the TNT to normally feel, and that’s pretty fast, but buttery smooth.
Now, Rio just announced their Pike/Musky line today – but I’m looking forward to trying this Tarpon short on early spring musky here in the good-old midwest. The new Pike/Musky line has a longer more even taper and sounds like it will chuck a big fly, but I know for a fact that this Tarpon line will turn over a 3/0 Salt Water hook with ease, while shooting the entire running line, into a stiff wind. My friend has been using a tarpon line for Musky fishing for a while and has had plenty of success, so I’ll give it a shot.
I might also give it a whirl on the carp flats of Beaver Island this summer, with the conditions being very similar to what I experienced in the keys last week, the Tarpon short might be just the way to go. Look out BI Carp!
Thanks to RIO for the Hook Up. Here’s to record setting lows and sucky conditions, that’s fishing.
If you want to hear what a successful Tarpon fisherman sounds like, go listen to Andy Mill interviewed by the Permit master himself, Marshall Cutchin on Skiff Republic.