Tarpon, Aka The Silver King is a hugely prized sport fish. They are almost always returned to the water after catching one.
In terms of difficulty to catch they are right up there in the rankings. There are several reasons for this. The window of time in which they feed is very small, just thirty minutes each side of high tide, outside of this your chances reduce dramatically. Also as the season moves so do the feeding grounds, tarpon can travel huge distances and where you were catching one day the next day the water can be empty.
The spectacular thing with tarpon fishing is that you see them before you catch one, these giants come to the surface and roll before feeding, often making huge noises as they slap there sides against the water. If you don’t get lucky and hook one just to see them is an awesome sight. These fish can easily be twice the weight of the angler.
How to catch one
As previously said only close to and on high tide is your time. (tarpon trips are usually combined with other types of fishing to fill your session).
We use live baits on a circle hook which are stronger than traditional hooks. One line would be on a float keeping the bait close to the surface and others fitted with different sized weights keeping the baitfish at different depths.
All rods are 50LB class, large multiplier reels are required with 100LB braid fitted. If you use any lesser than this it will probably end in disaster.
Once hooked you will know about it. The tarpon will make long surging runs making your reel sing. It will regularly leap from the water in an attempt to free itself from the line.
You can expect anything between one hour and the rest of the day battling one of these giants.
The anchor has to be pulled up immediately before the reel runs out of line, then the fish tows the boat for the rest of the fight.
Tarpon is not an eating fish and considering that a large one can be up to eighty years old most put them back. With the size being so big a tape measure is used to calculate the fishes size.
Although the official world record was caught in Guinea Bissau in 2003 by Max Domecq at a huge 286lb it is claimed by many that bigger fish have been caught in Gambian waters. Both off the northern Gambian coast ( Barra ) and in the river near dog island.
Try your luck against the Silver King. It could just be your best day out ever!