I am going to spend some time in Puerto Rico this fall and would like advise on catching and landing Tarpon. The closest I've come is snagging carp in the Mid-West. The place I'll be at is not regulated (no license required)and fish seem are very accessable. The last time I was there I saw the local fish market guys dumping fish parts feeding them right off the dock a couple times a day. They attracted more than a dozen running within 30 ft of shore and looked 3-5 ft long. I thought this looks like an easy place for catching a couple for making fiberglass molds, but the thrill of hooking a big fighting, tail walking fish would be great too. I have access to make molds in fine sand right after landing one (you could not get any fresher, I could freeze but might not fit in my suitcase). What is a recommended equipment set up? (reel, line, leader, and lures) Thanks
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Im no tarpon expert but if I were fishing them from the bank I would go with a long rod( at least 7ft. 10ft or more if your surf fishing) and fairly heavy line.( at least 30lb mono) stronger if using a braided line with a small diameter. My logic for that being, if your on a boat you have more control over the fish. your able to follow him, or even idealy be above him thus having leverage. From shore you will need line and rod strength, especialy if you are on a jetty or a system of docks with pillings.
As far as hooks, go strong, you will need a very wide gap hook, or a circle hook, at least 7/o. This hook should be filed until the point is sharp enought to catch on your fingernail. A tarpon has an unbelievably hard mouth to penetrate with a hook, they usaully require multiple hook sets. ( BE CAREFULL IF YOU USE CIRCLE HOOKS you need to have a slower hook set or the hook will pull free ) a fish will almost hook itself on a circle, just be sure to wait until there is heavy tension before setting.
Leader and lure, you could add a few ft. of heavier leader, never hurts. I would bring large spoons to cast, also large bucktails, otherwise just go with the local flavor.( use whatever they are throwing off the dock. or take a cast net, catch your own bait) I hope this helped, good luck, thats what I would do!
Thanks for writing suggestions. Maybe fishing from the dock would be better, being higher than bank. I was just thinking a hooked tarpon would simply swim towards me, wrap around the pilings and snap the line. Thats also what I read that using a larger circle hook is better than something with treble hooks. I'll do my homework before going.