Last Wednesday I was invited to fish with Captain Justin Rea. We left Sugarloaf Lodge at 8 AM, and by 8:30 we were looking for tarpon. The water had not warmed up in the morning–however, due to Justin’s ninja skills we were able to feed a small fish out of a traveling string in the back country.
We looked for a few more hours, the tide came in, and as it began going out he found a large group of tarpon, some of which were very large. I hooked a small one, and then poled Justin around for a while to some difficult fish, and then Justin generously ceded the bow to me in pursuit of the six. After an hour of some less than perfect casts (and, to be fair, some far less than perfect tarpon behavior) Justin spotted a low traveling fish, I made the cast, the fish cracked open at the mouth and we were off to the races in pursuit of a fish we estimated at 100 pounds.
One interesting thing about this fish: it never jumped. Not in the first few minutes as it raced around, not in the middle of the battle as we tried to keep up with it, and not towards the end when it began to tire and we were putting as close to 6 pounds as we could without breaking it off.
After an hour, our fish broke the 6 pound and we left for the dock. Justin Rea did a phenomenal job of finding early season fish, not to mention dealing with a complicated battle on light line; I would like to thank him again for a great day and can’t wait to fish with him more.