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Articles: Reverencia al Rey de Plata (tarpon)

by: Staff de Pesca con Mosca.Com

The following article was written by the staff of an interesting e-magazine published by some Mexican friends. We invite you to read it to understand a bit more about fishing the fantastic tarpon, known as "Silver King".

By: Staff de pesca con mosca.com

The Megalops Atlanticus, better known as sabalo, tarpon or Silver King, is a rival that likes leaping through the air whenever it feels the cold steel of the hook in its mouth. Its ability to throw itself through the air untiringly and its rough, hard mouth make the angler task of hooking it and keeping the hook in the fish´s mouth almost impossible.

Tarpon come in and out of the water constantly; they shake out of the surface desperately trying to get rid of the hook and they usually make it. One of the reasons why they are often successful is because they break the line or let the hook go in their attempt to escape. However, there is remedy for both situations. Maybe not completely; we shouldn´t leave bad luck aside. But there is much one can do, especially in the first case.

An angler bows down before the Silver King

The "antidote" to the awesome acrobatics performed by the tarpon is: the Bow to the Silver King. This is nothing else but pointing the flyrod to it when it emerges from the water. Always aim to the direction in which the tarpon has jumped. Sometimes pointing the rod tip to it or touching the water slightly with it will do. In this way, we are trying to reduce the line tension for the moment. This technique can also be applied to other species, such as peak fish, the dorado and other ones who are also keen on the big leaps. It has proved to be essential when using light class typpets. Reducing the line tension only takes a couple of seconds. Once the tarpon gets back to the water, we can keep applying pressure on it. However, the Bow to the Silver King should be repeated as many times as the tarpon leaps out of the water, especially when it emerges jumping wildly in the air.
To understand how this technique works, we have to keep in mind that it is very difficult for the fish to cut or break the line when it is in the water. The water density prevents it from moving as fast as to be able to do it. But when it jumps out of the water, the speed of its movements increases remarkably, and so does the possibility of breaking the line. If the fish rushes to one side and we pull back to the other, the line will lose and the tarpon will inevitably be the winner of the game. It´s very simple, and you can do an exercise to actually view the idea. Tie your hands with a twelve-pound monofilament line, leaving one foot between them. Try to break the line with a constant movement; you won´t do it easily. But, see what happens if we join and separate the hands with a fast movement. Bang! The line breaks. You don´t need much strength to do it; the speed applied to opposite forces is what makes the line break.

When we "bow" or bend the rod, we reduce the tension momentarily; that is to say, we don´t react using the same force the tarpon is applying. By releasing one of the forces, the line doesn´t break. We can apply pressure again once the tarpon is back in the water. Remember that tarpon move much faster on the surface than under the water, causing the line to break.

Another reason why the tarpon usually gets rid of the fly while it thrashes around on the surface is because we usually pull the hook applying the wrong pressure. The tarpon starts moving more violently so we pull the hook out of its mouth. As a result the hook is pulled out of the fish´s jaws. If we just loosen the line briefly with a "Bow to the Silver King", we will avoid this unwanted effect. The tarpon will keep on with its aerial displays, but we won´t be pulling the hook in the contrary direction. If the hook is well set, it will surely remain in the fish´s mouth´til the end of the fight, when, hopefully, we will have won.

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