tarpon blank

Submitted by mark on 6/27/02. ( mnmstuffit@aol.com )

had a good customer come in and is looking for a 77in. tarpon however he claims it had a girth of over 44in. any blanks i have found are not even close to that girth. the guide estimated the weight at around 175lbs. is the girth possible or is he mistaken.
thanks for any imput.

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This response submitted by cur on 6/28/02. ( wildart@prodigy.net )

The rule of thumb for tarpon is that a six foot (72 inch) fish weighs one hundred pounds, a seven footer (84") weighs 200 and the legendary eight footer (96") weighs on average 300+.

I have guided and fished for tarpon for more than forty years and while there is some variance in the fish's anatomy, a fish of that length would probably have a maximum girth of 36" and not the 44" your client claims. All things are possible, however and when one considers the anatomy of tarpon, the additional eight inches would not translate to a great amount of body mass. I would estimate the weight at 150 pounds or less at that length and the average girth at between 30 and 33 inches, but I wasn't there and have no idea how that measurement was derived.

Personally, I have never made girth measurements of landed tarpon, since the goal was always to release them quickly. Length was measured by using a trailing device like that used to measure billfishes. Killed fish that were measured or molded were measured and none in that length approached 44".

If your client sticks to the story, you have two choices: 1.) Purchase and modify a large blank (New Wave has an 84 inch, 43" girth fish available).....NOT recommended. Or, 2.) Purchase a blank of the proper length and add 2" to the belly sag by sculpting a foam attachment and epoxing it to the form and then covering it with scales made from Magic Sculpt - NOT Apoxie Clay, All-Game or any other, but Magic Sculpt since it is friendlier to handle and you can make a press mold with Plaster and form the scales from small balls of the mixed material. Just attach the scale shapes in file series, smooth with water, and detail with a wire loop and knife point sculpting tool.

Make sure you sand the blank in the attachment area with coarse sandpaper to insure a good bond to the gel-coat.

Good luck....

Let me add....

This response submitted by cur on 6/28/02. ( wildart@prodigy.net )

The, "NOT recommended", phrase above deals with the process and not Mike Kirkhart's fine replicas. I endorse them wholeheartedly. I just don't think that using the much larger fish would look good if shortened simply to achieve the girth. The head, fins and all other parts would not fit the shortened length well.

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