TARPON FISHING in Little Cayman

TARPON FISHING in Little Cayman
By H. G. Nowak (Barefoot Man)
Several local (Grand Cayman) seaside restaurants have an added attraction by feeding the many tarpon that assemble along our shores. To the delight of their dinner guests the huge silver fish go into a turmoiled frenzy when leftovers are tossed into the sea. I’ve always wondered about tarpon, will they bite a hook with a scrumptious piece of conch bait? Are they good fighters? I had much to learn.

Captain Jeremy Loercher is the fishing guide at The Little Cayman Beach Resort. From the Tampa Bay area he brings many years of fishing experience to Little Cayman. Now it’s not that I feel I need a guide, because I consider myself a well-seasoned fisherman, however casting for tarpon does not fall in my conventional “hand-line” style of fishing. Jeremy has for some time now been persuading me to fish for tarpon. The large mouth, dorsal finned fish has flesh that’s undesirable and bony, so it all seems too futile and dull. I eat what I catch, in other words “catch and fillet” – not “catch and release”.

We drive to Tarpon Pond, a land-locked lake with a creaky, rickety old dock and undesirable -looking, brackish water. Here we board Jeremy’s small plastic boat and paddle towards the spooky looking, dead vegetation that borders this nature reserve. After a few gawky casts I’m about ready to complain of boredom when the line goes as taught as the E-string on my guitar. A huge fish leaps from the murky waters, I reel, he runs, I jerk, he resists and this goes on for a good ten minutes before the line snaps. “Wow, that was great!” I roar with excitement. Captain Jeremy repairs my line, smirks and says “I told you so”. I cast again.

Captain Jeremy figures there’s at least 200 fish in this lake, some reaching 20 lbs and aggressive fighters they are. Jeremy gives me a few pointers on proper casting; he makes it look so graceful. Awkwardly I cast again and before the fly hits the water another huge brute clears the lake, gulps the bait and the battle continues. The fish leaps in the air and whistling ducks run for cover and again I sever the line. Spectacular jumps, long runs and stubborn bulldogging are all part of the tarpon fishing game. I fling the line again, by now my casting technique seems to be getting better. Before long another tarpon consumes the lure, “ Got ya”, I shriek.

“Easy, easy" instructs Jeremy, you’re not fishing for wahoo. I attempt to follow my coach’s directive, however, “SNAP” and the fish has won again. Several attempts later I accept defeat. This sport is far from boring – and it really hurts to be outsmarted by a fish.

In spite of my tarpon fishing experience, the scaly fighter does not always get away and Captain Jeremy has a huge collection of photos and videos to prove it. If you are interested - Call Captain Jeremy at the Little Cayman Beach Resort.

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