It’s never too early to start filling up your fly box for tarpon season. I usually plant myself at the vise right after the Playoffs and since the patterns I depend on are not that sophisticated, I can have everything I need for the year tied up before the Super Bowl.
I love the Tarpon Bunny and my go-to colors are red and black or solid purple. This fly has been around for decades and a quick Google search will provide you with dozens of step by step tying instructions, which are nothing more than wrapping rabbit fur around a hook. The Tarpon Bunny is one of those rare patterns that is almost impossible to mess up, even for a beginner.
But no matter what tarpon flies you prefer to tie, your hooks should always be non-stainless with cutting points. My personal favorites are the Owner SSW in size 2/0 for juveniles and 3/0 for adult fish. These are chemically sharpened with a slight offset that can penetrate the dense bone of a tarpon’s jaw like nothing else on the market. They have very small barbs that don’t need to be flattened or cause unnecessary trauma when you remove them with pliers.
Best of all, these hooks rust quickly when they’re broken off in a tarpon’s mouth. I dropped one in a jar of saltwater as an experiment and after four days I could crumble it in my fingers. They’ll basically dissolve in a fish’s jaw and that’s why you should never use stainless steel hooks for your tarpon flies. Keep this in mind when you’re putting your box together for the upcoming season.