What hook to catch Tarpon?
Tackle and Techniques
Big fish require big tackle and those going after the 150 pounders and up need to use a seven to eight foot stout rod and a reel capable of holding 200 yards of 15-30 pound test line. A good bass flipping stick will work in lieu of buying a special tarpon rod.. Fly rodders need 11 or 12 weight line and corresponding rod and reel. Seven to nine weight combinations work for tarpon up to 30 pounds. Use 30 pound test backing and have at least 200 yards on the spool in addition to the fly line.
Whether using conventional tackle or a fly rod, a 20 to 40 pound leader, depending on the size line you're using, is necessary. Attach a one foot piece of 100 pound test line to the end of the leader and tie the hook to that. The heavy line is necessary helps prevent the fish from fraying or chewing through the line. Many anglers tie a Bimini Twist on the end of their spinning or plug rods and then tie the leader to that. This knot doubles the end of the line and makes a stronger connection with the leader. Hooks ranging from 5/0 to 8/0 are used with size varying according to the size of bait being used and angler preference.
Live mullet or crabs are the top choice for live baiters. Tarpon will also take other live baits such as large shrimp, ladyfish, catfish, and pinfish. Contrary to what some anglers say, tarpon will bite a piece of cut bait. When tarpon are feeding on a school of bait fish, they stun some fish as they attack the school. A piece of cut bait apparently resembles a stunned fish close enough for a tarpon to go after it.
Spinning and casting anglers can use lures that resemble mullet and other baitfish. Some of the more popular lures used by tarpon anglers are the Zara Spook, Creek Chub Darter, Chartreuse Bomber Long A, 52m MirrOlure, Bagley Finger Mullet, Ratlin' Flash, and Ratl' Trap. Experienced anglers usually replace the hooks that come on the lures with 3X strength hooks because of the tremendous biting force of the fish.
Streamers are considered one of the best tarpon flies. Orange and red are popular colors. The cockroach is another widely used fly.
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