I went out to the Gulf on a hot evening to fish one tide. It was very quiet with a few swimmers on the beach in the distance and towering pink thunderheads with dark bellies over the mainland. I scared some tarpon as I maneuvered into my stakeout and was not waiting long before the first fish came along from the south, singles, pairs, strings, moving quickly. I misunderstood the speed of the first fish and they overtook me before I could present my fly and flushed from the boat in whirlpools of turbulence. The next bunch came at a bad angle to my left but I cast anyway and to my surprise the biggest fish turned out and tracked my fly for a long way, then lifted up in the deep shoveling take that no one gets accustomed to, and I hooked it. This, like most first jumps, seemed enraged, an attempt to knock me out with the first blow, then several more as violent followed by a burning run. The fight took us straight offshore in fading light, and trying to force the issue, I leaned into the 11-weight, faithful friend of over a decade, and broke it. The shattered tip traveled down the line and then the sharp edge of the broken butt cut the backing, and my fly line went over the horizon. If there is any weakness in your tackle, tarpon find out about it.