A Wild Tale of Risking Life and Limb Battling A Huge Tarpon From The Beach


Dana Anderson

Hey Capt. Butch:

I thought I'd tell you about my recent fishing experience. I was out on sanibel the other day at my favorite whiting spot. I have been getting a lot of whiting there for the last few months but I have not gotten any the last two times I went. Maybe they moved on or something.

Anyways, I had my small rod with only about 10 pound test on it and light rigging for whiting. I was not having much luck with the whiting and was a little frustrated with all the catfish. Usually I will wade out into the surf to cast and try and get it into the right trough. Typically after I cast I will leave the bail open as I wade back to shallow water.

This day there was a storm coming and the tide was moving in large powerfull currents. There was a tension in the air and I had an unsettling sense that there were big fish around me even though I couldn't see them, I was worried they may be sharks. So I waded out and didn't make a very good cast, only about 10 feet from where I was standing, but not having any luck so far I just left it and started wading back.

When I went to close the reel I noticed the line was pulling a little and I thought maybe I had another darn catfish. As soon as I closed the reel the line immediately went tight, so I set the hook. Suddenly my rod bent completely over and line started screaming off the reel. At first I stood in shock but after a moment I began the fight. The fish ran for some time and I was helpless to regain any of the line I had lost, but finally he began to slow. I frantically tried to get more line on the reel and wondered in an excited frenzy what could be on the other = end.

All at once the fish jumped! It was a glorious event and a turning point in my life. He sailed gracefully from the water and twisted slightly to one side before crashing back down with a terrific splash. He was maginficent! His body was sleek, powerful, and the sun glinted off his shiny scales. It was a Tarpon, a big Tarpon!

I knew I had very little hope of ever getting him on such a small rod, but would soon realize that the fight itself would be enough. He continued to pull line off my reel and I continued to try and save as much of it as possible. He jumped several more times and people began to gather on the beach. With every jump I felt humble to be locked in battle with such a great and beautiful creature. The fight raged on and after a time I had lost all but a few precious feet of line to the great fish, and I knew I was being beaten. If I could not regain the line I lost the fight would be over.

I decided I would give some ground and allowed the fish to pull me out into the open water. A last ditch effort and a sure sign of who was in control. The fish pulled me out and up the beach until I was far from my original spot and up to my neck in the deep blue sea. The waves were fierse and I was struggling to keep my head above water. Suddenly I realized I had run out of ground and could no longer reach the bottom, but still the fight raged on and I managed to keep my tip pointed to the threatening sky. At last I was out of line and my only hope was the knot at the end.

I thought about the day I tied that knot, thinking it doesn't really need to be a good knot, I'll only use it for little fish. Now the knot I had so carelessly tied so many days before was my only hope. At this point I began swimming to keep the line from breaking. The great fish lept again and then he rested. I tried furiously to take advantage and regain some line, but fighting to stay above water, I failed. The great fish made one final run, my line gave way, and he was gone. Back into the great blue sea from which he came, victorious.

I will surely never see him again, but I will always remember that day. The day of the great Tarpon. I have just one proof of my great adventure and that is my wife who stood on the beach and saw the whole thing.

So that's my fish story.

Dana Anderson

P.S. I also wanted to extend my prayers to Mike and all who need it. When faced with situations that I don't understand, I try to remember that "all things work for good for them that love the lord". God made that promise to us and I believe that somehow, someway, God must have a plan.

If you have any questions or comments, would like to book a trip, or would like to submit a story, please email me at capt@barhoppr.com.

Drop A Line Or, call 1-239-633-5851.

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