Red fish, finning Tarpon with Captain Benny Blanco

Sept 3rd 2009

Yesterday I got up at 1pm to make the drive down south to fish Flamingo (Everglades National Park) with Captain Benny Blanco. We got there right around sun up to launch the boat and of corse the famous Flamingo mosquito were there waiting to drain our blood. We were, for a change.. Blessed with gorgeous nice calm day finally!

We hurried the process as much as possible they still got us. It wasn’t too bad but still it’s never is a pleasant experience. Benny ran the boat to our 1st tarpon spot. We expectted to find baby tarpon but this morning there we tons of big tarpon blowing up bait every where.

Benny and I hurried and rigged up as they were rolling all around us and eating everything in sight. Benny tied on a Rapala plug and I used my Sebile Stick Shad. If we made a good cast the plugs were inhaled by tarpon 40 to 80 lbs. This was great! However… us not expecting to run into this kind of action only had 10-15lb braid. We got our ass kicked pretty much on every hook up. I think the number was 10 big tarpon jumped, all on plugs and zero landed.(yes we lost a few plugs… it was painful$ but ┬áit was worth it jumping big fish on plugs..)

The bite subsided after the sun was up and bright the tarpon stopped rolling and moved on. Benny ran to much shallower area and we immediately started to see tailing red fish. They were tailing all around us.. most singles and doubles and they were feeding in like 1′ of water. Benny and I used the Flapping shad and Berkley Gulp rigged weedless and landed 5 nice redfish before that bite ended.

We moved over to find big snook. While I was tying up Benny hooks up to huge snook on the Flapping shad in a foot of water but his 10lb braid for whatever reason snapped.! After that we spooked a few more fish but got no eat.

Since I’ve been up since 1am.. I took a 15minute nap on the bow while Benny sight fish from the poling platform as I rested. I hear thrashing and awoke to see Benny with another large redfish. This woke me up with more energy immediately. We spotted a large finning fish in the near distance. It was a large 70lb tarpon in less than 2′ of water.
I took a couple of photos and grabbed the spinning rod(I knew it was no match if I hooked it) and made a few cast but he was in no mode to eat my flapping shad.

We ended the day about 3pm as the bite slows the afternoon rain was approaching. I will never for get the Tarpon bite was had that morning. It had to be the best artificial big Tarpon bite I’ve ever been on. Thanks Benny.. you’re one hard working guide!

Big 70lb class Tarpon in less than 2′ of water. I don’t see much of this in Tampa..very cool!