So, here’s the story. My roommate from college plays for the Bucs and he invited me out to hang out with him while he’s in mini-camp. The plan was to play golf everyday, which we did, but I had to take one day to get out and fish. I did not know much about the Tampa Bay fishery, so I just booked a trip with a guide that I found online. We launched at dawn and our first fishing hole was literally two minutes from the boat launch. Within minutes tarpon started rolling around so tight to the beach that I swear we could have had shots at them casting from the beach. We had to wait for them to move outside of the swim zone before we could get our shot. It was too early to see them cruising, but they would roll quite frequently which gave me a great idea as to where to cast. After about an hour of casting to various pods of fish I was stripping my line in and it came tight. It was not a monstrous strike, but I knew it was a good fish by the weight of the subtle head movements. I’d liken it to how king salmon typically take a fly—subtle, but strong. I struck the fish twice with my strip hand, he jumped right at the boat, ran fifty feet, and jumped again before spitting the hook! I was disappointed for sure, but I was happy to have ‘jumped’ my first tarpon. The guide estimated that he was in the 70lb range. After the sun came up those fished stopped rolling, so we headed to our next destination across the bay. It was a huge white sand beach that was a hot spot for sun bathers, swimmers, jet skiers, dolphins, and apparently tarpon. Certainly not serene like the everglades, but if that is where the fish are then that’s where I want to be. The first pod of fish that we saw was huge—200 tarpon! Seriously mind blowing! We made casts to that school for about a half an hour but they were much more interested in spawning than looking at my fly. We let that school go and for the next two hours we chased smaller schools of fish (2-20) around with no luck. After several refusals on the black bug that I was throwing we threw on a chartreuse fly and the game was on. I immediately started getting follows with the new fly and I blew an ‘eat’ by trying to set the hook with my rod hand after I was a fish turn on my fly. :beathead: Not long after that I made a cast to the lead fish in a school of about eight. She followed the fly but did not eat. I picked the line up made another cast to one of the fish in the middle of the pack and she pounced on it after one strip! She jumped immediately, ran flat out nearly 200 yards before jumping again. We chased her down, I got her back on the line, and pulled hard to get her away from a second school of fish that she joined (see pics). The next ten minutes was a slug fest ending we me successfully landing a 100lb tarpon! The guide does not believe in gaffing or boating tarpon, so we released her boat side. Every fly fisherman should make it their goal to catch at least one tarpon on fly. It is an experience that you will never forget.