Re: IGFA records

[Bulletin Board]

Posted by Bill Bishop on 2013-03-24 17:30:36 in reply to Re: IGFA records posted by Joel N Rosenthal on 2013-03-24 08:31:41

I don't expect either of us will agree on this subject but due to the fact I am enjoying the exchange I'm going to make another run at it.

When I started tarpon fishing almost thirty years ago I didn't care about catching a big tarpon.....I just wanted to catch any tarpon.

The following isnt an effort to justify anything but more a last ditch attempt to explain it so you might understand why.

I am not what many anglers would call a well rounded angler. I have spent almost every opportunity on the water chasing tarpon on fly since that first one. Every other fish such as bones, snook, reds, permit and even marlin on fly was compared to tarpon and lost by comparison. As a result, I elected to focus on one fish.

Instead of counting numbers over time I began targeting giant tarpon. I consider giant tarpon to be anything over 150 lbs. Targeting these brutes is done in part by fishing areas such as homossasa however I have fought big fish in numerous fisheries. When seeking world record fish only the game changes considerably. For example placing a fly ahead of the lead fish in a string and scanning back inspecting shoulders that meet the standards. Daisy chains involve finding a player at nine and placing the fly at three to allow time for the fly to settle. These trips aren't designed to catch tarpon but more about catching one tarpon.

This is what this sport is to me. Finding and catching a 200 plus tarpon on fly. You might wonder why. Please understand when I hook up a 100 pound poon my heart rate doesn't change a beat. Perhaps this is due to fishing thirty years for just tarpon. On the other hand, I will assure you a 185 pound tarpon on 16lb will take an angler to the wall and give more excitement than you signed up for.

At this intersection tarpon fishing becomes a team sport between guide and angler. I fish alone 90 percent until fishing record fish. My guide for thirty years, Tommy Locke is locked in this endeavor with me.

Three years ago Tommy and I were hooked up chasing a poon that showed up in the middle of a string and inhaled the fly. To that date we had taped and released four tarpon over 180. Tom Evans held the record at 192 on sixteen. After an hour we taped this fish at 83x42.5. We squared the girth and multiplied the length and divided that by 800 = 187.39.

A quick decision was made to release her. We knew the formula was not accurate as it was designed for tuna and not much credit was given to length but neither of us wante to head to the scales hopeful. A week later Dr. Aaron Adams of bonefish tarpon trust called with the new results of the new formula accurate within 5 percent confirming the fish was according to the formula 211 pounds. Was she? As far as I know she was 187.39.

There was no coulda woulda shoulda. We made a good decision and that was it.

Sorry for going on but here's the part I don't expect you to understand. If that poon had eaten a five pound breakfast we would have stuck a kill gaff in her belly and hauled ass to the scales. We would have done that because our thirty years of effort and discipline would have made us comfortable doing so on that day. Who knows about any other day until we get there but my best guess is the same would be true.

Like I said Joel, having my name wedged between the pages of the record book is secondary to finishing something we started thirty years ago and unfortunately that requires stroking the tarpon. I can live with this with no problem and obviously the tarpon won't. If others can't I understand and I'll move on from there. Thanks for your thoughts!

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