Today I fished with Captain Doug Kilpatrick for the 3 kg (6lb) tippet tarpon record, which at the moment stands at 82 pounds 4 ounces. The fishing was difficult and we had only around 6 or 8 shots in the course of the day, producing a total of 2 bites.
The first fish ate the fly so deeply that the IGFA alloted 12 inches of shock tippet was past her mouth, so the fish immediately chewed through the 6 lb class. After a few more hours of fishing without seeing many (any) fish, we finally found a new area and hooked our second fish. The fish ate the fly and was coming at the boat, and my light-tippet hook set of lifting the rod simply pulled the fly out of her mouth. As the fish continued to swim at the boat, I put the fly in front of her once again and both Doug and I were rewarded with large “commmode-flush” eat within 40 feet of the boat. Off went the fish, down jumped Doug, and away we went to follow.
Within 10 minutes we were riding her quarter and the leader had passed though the top guide of the rod. Our weight estimates varied: on the first jump, we were unsure she would break the record; later, we thought she might be close enought to take. The gaff (on loan, with many thanks, form Fitz Coker) was readied and we continued. Another 20 minutes of give and take ensued; us never getting a good look and she never jumping.
As the fish took a second jump, we decided that she had the girth but not the length, and decided not to take the fish. We were able to use the balance of time to get a feel for fighting a fish using 6 pound, and eventually pulled hard enough to break the fish off.
What a phenomenal experience–thanks Doug and Fitz!
Consider this my letter of intent to fish for this record until I get lucky enough to break it.