26 April 2010
Belize, Day Seven
This time, I brought my A+ game. My casting was perfection, but my flies were too small. Finally, Cody and Luis tied on a Black Death and second cast, a 30-40 lb. tarpon aggressively swam out from under the Mangroves and took my fly. Tarpon have a bony mouth, so setting the hook is important. I had forgotten to slip-set the hook until Luis reminded me; that done, the game was afoot. I jumped him once, and then Cody said reel in line not to just strip in line. I jumped the tarpon a second time, and Luis moved the boat back to keep the tarpon out of the Mangrove roots, and Cody videotaped. I jumped him a third time--King Tarpon did a one-and-a-half back flip--and I being an overly excited subject had my fingers pinching the line against the handle and I did not bow. When you don't bow to the King, you get punished. I did not land that tarpon, and Cody has it all on video. Being overly excited and wanting a second chance at that beast, I began casting for him and fell off the casting platform in to the boat. Somehow, my rod did not break, and even though it landed outside of the boat, the drag precariously balanced it on the outside of the gunwale. I beat my arm, knees, and chest up, but Cody managed to save my 8 wt. rod, the first one I built at Norm's, sporting my beautiful, purple Nautilus reel.
I wish Mulligans existed in fly fishing. This King Tarpon was my first hook-up and will haunt my mares for many years to come.
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