Tackle and Technique
The tarpon here can be very large ( up to 200 lbs ) and we recommend using 12 weight single hand rods. Full floating lines or floating with an intermediate tip work well in most scenarios as we hunt the tarpon across the flooded delta, but interchangeable sink tips or fast sinking lines can also be very useful if tarpon are in some of the river’s deeper pools or as the day heats up. Having one of each rigged onboard is preferred so that each fishing scenario can be efficiently handled. On some windless hot days, tarpon sun themselves on the surface of the glassy lagoons. In these conditions we often stalk them using push poles to move the boat around. In these conditions a 10 or 11 weight rod rigged with a floating line may be more efficient as we try to present the flies a bit more delicate than when fishing the river. Leaders are pretty standard tapered with an overall length of around 9 ft and a bite tippet of 80-100 lbs. We do require that all leaders have a short section of 40 lbs or less integrated ( so called break tippet ). Tarpon here often make for the trees, and being able to break them off, need be, is critical to their safety.
The tarpon feed mostly on various types of minnows and other small-medium baitfish, so large 3-6 inch deceivers and variants of deceivers are highly recommended. The river is stained a reddish orange from tannins in the water, so colors that produce bites, either match this coloration (orange, red, yellow) or stand out against it (black, white), preferably in combination (orange/black/white, red/black/white, yellow/chartreuse, etc). Weighted flies are recommended to break the water surface quickly, and spun deer hair heads helps flies push the maximum amount of water.