Tarpons are a genus of large marine fish that includes two species: the Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific. For Russian fishermen, the appearance of tarpons may resemble large bleak or large-eyed herring species. A general similarity probably exists, but according to the morphological features of tarpons, scientists still do not associate them with other species. Fish belong to a separate monotypic family. Tarpons can reach very large sizes. The weight of some specimens “fills up” for 150 kg with a length of about 2.5 m. A very important feature of the fish is the ability to swallow air from the surface under adverse conditions of lack of oxygen in the water. This is facilitated by the unusual structure of the swim bladder (open-bubble fish), which is involved in the process of oxygen exchange in the body. In general, the appearance of tarpons is very recognizable: a large, powerful head, the body is covered with large scales, the upper body is darker, the overall color is silvery, bright, may vary depending on the color of the water. Tarpon is considered to be a rather ancient species, the imprints of skeletons dating back more than 125 million years are known, while the general features have remained unchanged. Most often, fish keep the coastal strip of the seas, they are very sensitive to water temperature. They can make long migrations in search of food. In the open sea, they keep depths up to 15 m. They are very fond of various shoals and small areas along the islands and the coast of the mainland. Tarpon easily tolerates changes in water salinity, enters the brackish waters of the pre-estuary zone of rivers and the rivers themselves. The largest tarpon on amateur tackle was caught in Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. The presence of tarpons is easily determined by the exits to the surface of the water, where he hunts and captures or releases air. It feeds on various types of fish, mollusks and crustaceans.
Tarpon is an unsurpassed opponent for sports fishing enthusiasts. Fishing on it is very unpredictable and emotional. Caught on a hook, jumps out of the water, makes numerous somersaults, resists for a long time and “to the last”. Some fans have the name “silver king”. In tourist regions, tarpons are rarely used for food; they are the object of fishing on a “catch and release” basis. Traditional, amateur ways of fishing are fly fishing, spinning and trolling.
Catching fish on a spinning rod
When choosing gear for fishing with classic spinning, when fishing for tarpons, it is advisable to proceed from the principle of “bait size + trophy size”. Tarpons stay in the upper layers of the water, and therefore they catch “cast”. For fishing with spinning rods, classic baits are used: spinners, wobblers, and more. Reels should be with a good supply of fishing line or cord. In addition to a trouble-free braking system, the coil must be protected from salt water. In many types of sea fishing equipment, very fast wiring is required, which means a high gear ratio of the winding mechanism. According to the principle of operation, coils can be both multiplier and inertial-free. Accordingly, the rods are selected depending on the reel system. The choice of rods is very diverse, at the moment, manufacturers offer a large number of specialized “blanks” for various fishing conditions and types of bait. When fishing with spinning marine fish, fishing technique is very important. To select the correct wiring, it is necessary to consult experienced anglers or guides. It is very important to make the right cut.
To catch them, you will need the most serious fishing tackle. Sea trolling is a method of fishing with the help of a moving motor vehicle, such as a boat or boat. For fishing in the ocean and sea open spaces, specialized vessels equipped with numerous devices are used. The main ones are rod holders, in addition, boats are equipped with chairs for playing fish, a table for making baits, powerful echo sounders and more. Rods are also used specialized, made of fiberglass and other polymers with special fittings. Coils are used multiplier, maximum capacity. The device of trolling reels is subject to the main idea of such gear – strength. A mono-line, up to 4 mm thick or more, is measured, with such fishing, in kilometers. There are quite a lot of auxiliary devices that are used depending on the fishing conditions: for deepening the equipment, for placing baits in the fishing area, for attaching bait, and so on, including numerous items of equipment. Trolling, especially when hunting for sea giants, is a group type of fishing. As a rule, several rods are used. In the case of a bite, the coherence of the team is important for a successful capture. Before the trip, it is advisable to find out the rules of fishing in the region. In most cases, fishing is carried out by professional guides who are fully responsible for the event. It is worth noting that the search for a trophy at sea or in the ocean may be associated with many hours of waiting for a bite, sometimes unsuccessful.
Fly fishing for tarpon is a special kind of fishing. For this, even special gear and equipment are produced with specialization for this type of fish. In various fishing publications, you can find colorful images of fly fishing for tarpon. In most cases, before the trip it is worth clarifying the size of possible trophies. As a rule, if you can catch large fish, you should choose the most powerful fly fishing gear. Fighting tarpon requires special skill and endurance. Rather large baits are used, therefore, high-class cords are used, up to 11-12th, corresponding one-handed sea rods and volumetric reels, on which at least 200 m of strong backing is placed. Do not forget that the tackle will be exposed to salt water. This is especially true for coils and cords. When choosing a coil, you should pay special attention to the design of the brake system. The friction clutch must be not only as reliable as possible, but also protected from salt water. As already noted, the fish is very cautious and even shy. During fishing, a large number of gatherings are possible, so great skill is required when hooking and playing.
Wobblers are considered the most effective baits for spinning. Not bad tarpon reacts to various, bright silicone baits and spinners. For all marine fish, very strong, non-oxidizing hooks and metal accessories should be used. With regard to tarpons, due to the special temperament and structure of the jaws, it is necessary to use especially sharp and strong hooks, whether single or triple. The same applies to fly fishing lures. When fishing in shallow places, various imitations of crabs, crustaceans and other inhabitants of the bottom water layers are used. When imitating fish, various fluorescent, translucent materials are used. For catching tarpons, surface baits, such as poppers, are actively used.
Places of fishing and habitat
The main area of distribution of tarpons is the waters of the Atlantic and, in part, the Indian oceans. In the Pacific Ocean, tarpons are somewhat less common. Indo – Pacific tarpon is smaller than its Atlantic counterpart. In Pacific waters, tarpons are found from the coast of China to Australia, including off the coast of the South American continent. The most significant populations of these fish are known in the western part of the Atlantic. Although they are also found off the coast of Africa. There are known cases of capture of taprons in the waters of Portugal and the Azores. The northern border reaches Nova Scotia, and the southern border reaches Argentina. Basically, flocks of tarpons stick to the coastal part of the sea, some predators are caught in the estuarine zones of the rivers, sometimes tarpons are understood, in large rivers, quite far upstream.
Tarpons are characterized by very high fecundity. Ripe by 6-7 years. The spawning period varies by region. Considering that the distribution of fish captures both hemispheres, it is determined by the peculiarities of the seasons. In the Caribbean region, these are the summer and spring months characteristic of the northern hemisphere, in the regions of the southern hemisphere, the months corresponding to spring and summer in this region. Some ichthyologists claim that tarpons spawn throughout the year, several times, and reproduction is associated with lunar cycles. Spawning and development of eggs takes place in the upper layers of water in the coastal zone of the seas. The further development cycle of the larvae, leptocephali, is quite complex and goes through several stages.