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Ben, Tony and me Fly-Fishing for Tarpon

Capt. Mike Locklear
May 28, 2017
Homosassa - Saltwater Fishing Report

Yesterday, my good friend Capt. Tony Matthews and I guided Ben Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C. for a tarpon hunting adventure. I have guided Ben for 24 years and for someone to stick with me that long is beyond me. But we always have fun and he has a burning passion for a tarpon on the fly as do I.

To cut to the chase, we saw many tarpon but, the tarpon, we had stalked came to us and Ben put him in the air. The bite was fantastic, as it ate less than 25 feet out from the skiff. I watched the 5-foot torpedo track the tiny fly and rose to the occasion and chomped it like a Cheeto.

When mamu turned away the fly line shot out of the stripping barrel into the air like an accordion when Ben accidentally torqued the line when attempting a hookset. His finger got burned by the line racing out. That has happened numerous times to me. Anyway, the big fish reacted to the petty resistance by rocketing like a missile. The fly washed out of it's mouth as it landed.

One reason why an angler will try tarpon fishing with a fly rod is because it is a challenge. But Ben, knows and does this already. It's really the adrenaline. He could have casted the entire fly line and all 300 yards of backing after that fish. He was pumped for at least 30 minutes.

The jump was one of a kind as all are. I'm guessing it was a 70-pounder. That's all we wanted to do, was hook one and we did, mission accomplished. It was the 2 prettiest weather days I have experienced in a long time for tarpon hunting. Calm, clear and fish. The humidity was low and the air felt perfect on my skin. No sweating until later the second day. Blue skies and no clouds!

The night before Capt. Tony, (sidekick)Dominic and I rigged Ben's outfit up with a new Orvis Hydros Ignitor fly line and 300 yards of 30 lb. backing. It's not that we need that much backing, but for filler as the arbor is deep on Ben's reel since it is an old Abel #4. That's a great reel though.

Tony has been my friend for over 30 years and he is just a super great guy. We make a good team. His boat is big and comfortable. And very stable. Nice chairs to rest an old man's back like mine. I ask Been to pick us up before sun up. The sunrise was gorgeous.

And if you are a fly fisherman or want to learn, get in touch with me for a lesson and/or gear. The tarpon flys we use are secretly guarded. But if you visit us in Dade City or Ocala you can see and hopefully buy some We have just a few more dozen left as they are going fast. But I'll order more as we need them. Or you can special order some as well.

If you want to go fishing one day, just let me know and I will set you up. Whatever's biting, we catch them. mlocklear@flintcreekoutfitters.com or message me on www.facebook.com/mike.locklear" target="_blank">https://www.facebook.com/mike.locklear

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