The tarpon have moved in thick over the past month. Most bays are chock full of small fry and, therefore, the predators of small fry.
Noticing that you can tease the tarpon into a frenzy by dragging tiny bonefish flies around for them to chase, but barely get a second glance from a 2\0 chartreuse toad, I went to the bench last night in anticipation of this morning.
I came up with some very thin minnow flies with a trailing mink tail. They're about 2" long with the body made of floating foam underneath pearlescent body tubing. A few white rubber legs and the mink tail make up the rest of the fly. Plastic toad eyes finish it off. The goal was to create something with some action in the water that didn't sink like a stone due to the huge hook.
This morning, the fly produced 6 eats and jumps, with numerous other follows and boils. For some reason, I could not find purchase for the hooks. I was getting frustrated.
On what I was thinking was one of the last casts before breakfast, a nice fish took and I finally got a solid hookset. As the tarpon went ballistic, a local dude from across the bay saw the commotion and got into his boat to come investigate.
He asked me if I was going to keep the fish. I said no. He asked me if he could have the fish. I said no.
I landed the fish as my girlfriend snapped a few photos. Soon, I released the fish, as promised.
Walking back to the car with my girlfriend, she asked me if I ever felt bad after refusing to give a fish to someone who asked. This dude had been trawling the bay for the morning and came away with what looked like two or three tiny barjacks for his effort. That 40 lb. fish would have been huge for him, and presumably his family.
Once, I gave a tarpon to a person who asked, and I regretted it for quite some time. They're more valuable as a game fish, but there is absolutely no game fishing industry here to speak of. Tarpon are the most plentiful fish in this area, but there are very few fish over 70-80 lbs. Presumably, the fish here are migratory juveniles.