Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tarpon On Topwaters

My favorite topwater is the Super Spook Jr., a smaller saltwater version of Heddon's famous Zara Spook bass lure.   If you know how to work one properly, everything that swims around here will hit it.  It has been a hard sell for our juvenile tarpon so far this season but they do seem to be reacting to it a little better over the last few days.

There's nothing more entertaining than watching big fish smash a topwater and tarpon do it better than just about anything.  Unfortunately they tend to hit them a little too violently and often send the lure flying into the air before the hooks can find their mark.  I watched this happen a couple of times this morning with Spooks and my angler lost a nice fish yesterday after a few jumps because the hooks just didn't dig in enough. 

There are a few things you can do to up the odds of keeping a tarpon stuck if you're throwing a Spook or any other topwater.  For starters, work it slow, about half the speed that you'd normally use for snook or reds.  Tarpon don't like to work hard for their food in the daytime so a slow retrieve is more inviting to them.  Keeping your rod tip pointed low and right at the lure will also help give better control of the action and a stronger hook set after the strike.   And make sure your drag is tighter than normal.  You can always back it off quickly if the tarpon you hook is more of a runner than a jumper. 

One last thing about the hooks on the Spook Jr.  They really suck.  They're fine for trout or smaller reds but it you hook a big fish those two treble hooks are glorified paper clips.  I've posted something about this before and still have the same complaint.  If you're using Spooks for tarpon, swap out the factory hooks with a pair of 3/0 Owner ST-36s.  That's what's on the lure in the photo above and don't worry about the corrosion you see on them.  You want hooks that will rust out of the fish's mouth if your leader breaks, and that happens all the time with tarpon.  The only time I use stainless steel is for bonefish flies.  Hope this helps.