Photos of Huge Tarpon: More proof that Florida is an angler's paradise

tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Photos 1-6
My friend Nick is commercial fisherman who works 3,500 traps for stone crabs in the Gulf and 500 more in the backwater for blue crabs. Wherever he goes, he carries fishing rods and spends as much time with an outfit in his hands as he does pulling traps. He and I were working a 12-mile stretch of coastline this day until we came across good numbers of tarpon. From noon until early evening, we hooked six and landed five. I took over 80 photos while Nick was busy fishing, and selected those I felt turned out the best. The key to getting the jumping shots was to keep my eye against the view finder for almost the entire time. Even so, I missed most of the jumps. They happened to fast that I was usually left with only a big splash. I got a splitting headache for my efforts, but the pictures that turned out were well worth it. The camera I use is a Nikon D50 digital with an 18 to 55 mm lens.
Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Photos 7-10 Here's a few shots of Nick and his nephew, Robert. It's Rob's first tarpon. He's 17 years old. By the time the second fish came to the boat, he could hardly lift it.Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Photos 11-13
These shots were taken on Nick's boat. We each caught one that night, but Nick's line broke at the boat and mine shook the gaff before a picture could be taken. The first shot shows the fish nearly jumping out of the frame. You can see the crab we were using for bait after it flew off the hook.
Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

This tarpon was caught by Nick's wife, Sandy. Some folks feel it's harmful to lift tarpon out of the water, but if the fish is fairly green and the photos taken quickly, tarpon can be returned to the water with no ill effects. The idea is to never allow fish to flop around on deck where they could be hurt. I'm not a big fan of bringing tarpon into the boat, but with the right crew members to help, it can make for great pictures.Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Nick was having quite a time subduing the tarpon so that we could revive her properly. Sometimes a fish will seem ready for release immediately after landing. This is often merely a final surge, and if the tarpon is let go too quickly, she'll sink to her death. This fish narrowly missed Nick's face twice with her tail, and he was left soaked with seawater. Through experience, we've learned that using a gaff is the best way to revive fish while causing the least damage. I'll poke a hole through a tarpon's mouth any day, which will heal in short order, if it means her chances of survival are greatly increased.Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Photos 16-20
Some photos of the tarpon my wife Becky and I caught the last week in May. These pictures might give the impression that we do well with tarpon on any given day. Actually, we're successful only a small percentage of the time spend on the water. We're plagued with all manner of problems, including bad-weather and wind-whipped seas, mechanical and boat failures, too low or too high light conditions, water temperature and salinity content, too much bait in the area or not enough, tarpon that won't eat even if you provide an IV, and on and on. The way we cure these ills is to spend as much time as possible fishing and pray that eventually, the tarpon will come.
Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors
tarpon fishing pictures

tarpon fishing pictures

Field & Stream Online Editors