Tarpon

Shaun-Begg-fishing-for-dorado-off-Port-Shepstone

Deep-Sea fishing: the most important rod on the boat

Deep-Sea fishing: the most important rod on the boat

Deep-sea fishing: The most important rod on the boat, is not what you might think…

Having been through a lot of tackle through my fishing life, I learnt one BIG lesson through all of it…don’t get too attached to your fishing tackle.

Things happen! Rods and reels overboard. Stolen. Borrowed. Or simply, destroyed by my charters. And so…I started buying middle-of-the-line equipment, as opposed to the expensive kit. It seems that products in the middle of the range pricing wise, benefit the most from technology, quality and price.

Deep-sea fishing: live-bait is just the most thrilling way to catch marlin - but it all starts with catching a live-bait! And a flick stick, or spinning outfit, is by far the most effective way to catch the right bait.
Deep-sea fishing: live-bait is just the most thrilling way to catch marlin – but it all starts with catching a live-bait! And a flick stick, or spinning outfit, is by far the most effective way to catch the right bait.

And the rod I use the most on the boat. By far. Is da spinning stick aka flick stick. Since it is primarily meant to catch the super high-quality game-changing live bait needed to break records, win the event, or just make your day out!

Like a little bonnie when chasing ‘couta. Or a big shad. Or a baby yellowfin? Or a wolf-herring? Or a rainbow runner? Or the very best…a shiny brand new stripey skipjack tuna?

And these rods really get to work. All day long. In an ideal scenario, we have two rigs upfront casting out each side as we drag lures or baits. And it’s the splashing and flashing of these lures coming in towards the boat that attracts the eye of outlying gamefish that would not have seen a thing otherwise. They then come into the wake and see the spread. Bang!

Sometimes, when sight-chasing baitfish on the surface like we do, you may as well not even put lures out the back, as the finicky tuna or bonito or skipjack will only be fooled by the reactionary bite – as the flash of metal mimics the flash of a baitfish, on some days. In the chaos and turmoil of a baitball, this is how you will get your livebait, every time. As opposed to lures out the back.

So, these spinning sticks need to be lightweight and easy for anyone on the boat to pick up and have a throw. They are really just over-sized bass rigs. Or estuary rigs. And when spooled with 20lb or 30lb 8x casting braid, you can put a lure over the horizon. Anyone can. They need to have a bit of drag, but not too much since we are just catching bait and are using small hooks. Metal alloy gears. A bunch of ball bearings. Forward sloping eyes on the rod. Rods about 8 or 9ft fit on most boats just fine.

And this is where the Okuma Metaloid rod range comes in. The blanks used in their construction have been really good to us. The right amount of grunt, but lively and responsive in the tip. Making for enough power to turn a stubborn GT or screaming yellowfin, and yet enough sensitivity to make your lure behave exactly as you want it to. And they cast beautifully, without any effort. Just a flick and you are in the game.

They look real cool too. The ones we have been using on our charters are decked out in shiny red and black. Which looks amazing with our little Okuma Ceymar coffee grinders – which we also favour big time.

The range of these medium priced rods is wide too. From ultra-light tinies sporting 12lb and less, to heavy 9 footers and up – built for 50lb braid and more, and HUGE casts. Heavy lures. Heaving fish.  They are still manageable and easy to wield, however. Anyone can pick one up and have a go. Even these heavy models.

The finish is really slick… and design is top-notch. Forward angled guides reduce air knots and improve casts. The winch and grips flow together beautifully.

And so, all you need is a decent coffee grinder, also in that selection of the overall price range. Some braid (8x wound is really worth the extra few bucks for an extra few metres and less chance of the dreaded wind knot). A spool of leader line and off you go. This type of thinking puts you on the water and in with a chance, for R1500 upwards. At R3000 you have that yellowfin in your sights!

To harp the importance of these spinning rigs, even more! They can also be used to catch fish from the shore or rocks. In estuaries. And even inland to tackle outsized barbel and other freshwater monsters. And anyone can use ’em!

The Fishing Pro Shop has a bunch of Okuma Metaloid rods available on their website and in-store.

Click the following link for the rod of our choice right now. It is on promotion!

Okuma Metaloid on promotion right now. Click HERE. To check it out the imagery and to learn more.

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Post by The Sardine News.

The Fishing Pro Shop in Nicaragua

The Fishing Pro Shop News channel is firing up! Last week we had Divan Coetzee, FPS Pro, relating his experiences with bass fishing and social media. Check that story out right here. This week we have ongoing commentary all the way from Nicaragua, where another Fishing Pro Shop Pro, our own Johan Wessels, is chasing…tarpon! Really big tarpon.

So stay tuned as we keep you up-to-date on the seasons, the fish, and the antics of the Pro crew – working at the Fishing Pro Shop, right here on this channel. For now, it’s back to Ecuador…

They are having a great time all the way over there in those fish rich waters. But fishing for those punishing brutes takes it’s toll, physically, mentally, and on your gear and tackle. They are extremely dogged in a fight, cunning and strong, as they change direction in milliseconds. Coming flying up and out of the water in cascading spray and drama. Or diving down deep and sitting vas, breaking the angler’s already broken back. You have to fit and strong to tackle these beasts. Physically, and mentally.

The mighty tarpon in Nicaragua . Nicaragua is a place in the world where huge tarpon still thrives, not just survives!

Johan left a few days ago, flying all over the planet, to get to his final destination. His first few sessions were interesting indeed, many big fish lost, but some small ones (?!), as in the pic below, did make it boatside.

Many hooks were straightened or bent. Traces broken. Egos bruised by these legendary fighting fish.

But, many lessons learnt too.

A tarpon. A small tarpon?! Read on…

Some commentary from Johan…after his first day out there, very early morning…

[02:12, 13/10/2019] Johan: Right… so we got here and fished for tarpon for two hours…
[02:12, 13/10/2019] Johan: Before the light caught us…
[02:13, 13/10/2019] Johan: And i can say that i have been humbled by the silver king…
Jumped 2 fish. The guides say one was 80lb and the other a 100lb…
[02:14, 13/10/2019] Johan: My friend ben landed one of 130lb. Awaiting pics…
[02:15, 13/10/2019] Johan: Both fish screwed up my best laid plans with gamakatsu and mustad hooks….
[02:15, 13/10/2019] Johan: I think the saying is true…
[02:15, 13/10/2019] Johan: You get tarpon and then everything else..
[02:16, 13/10/2019] Johan: Now. These are the smaller fish of this area….

However things improved very fast for the FPS representative Johan, as he changed tactics and this next script arrived in my inbox!

[13:11, 15/10/2019] Johan: And so starts another fishing morning on search of tarpon…
Yesterday was a tuff game chasing the tarpon, but we did manage two. One of 80 and another of 120lb…
[13:13, 15/10/2019] Johan: Live bait and deadbait has been the way, but did hook up again on the bucktail yesterday…
The bighest challenge has not been getting them to bite, but to get the hooks to stay in their bucket mouths….

Tarpon waters waiting for you in Ecuador
Tarpon waters waiting for you in Ecuador

As of this point in the adventure, Johan and crew have been battling the available bandwidth over there, in the sticks, to get the videos and imagery to us. Stand by though, it’s definitely going to be hotting up!

Then it came, the news we had been waiting for.

Finally, proof of tarpon! This action packed gallery just filtered through the airwaves, and was worth the wait for sure.

And so, barely a few days into the Nicaraguan tarpon mission, the highly prized benchmark 150lb dream fish made it boatside. Tamed by Johan Wessels after many attempts and many near misses. This was one of quite a few fish Johan was able to get to the boat. Many of the hooked fish never came near the boat at all!

They guys are fishing live bait and dead bait. And lures. The bucktail jig that Johan had some good success with, features in this next gallery, of action packed imagery.

This will mark the end of Part 1 of our coverage of Johan’s adventure chasing and taming tarpon in the wild waters of Nicaragua . I am pretty sure the team is hard at rest now that they have had their fill. Or have they?

So stay close for the next instalment or two, all the way from south America.

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Post prepped by The Sardine News.
Written by Sean Lange and Johan Wessels.

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