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Welcome to Fly Fishing The Salt! If you are just discovering the joys of fly fishing the salt (or salt chuck as some call it) here you will find information to steer you in the right direction. Tips on what equipment to use, why, where and how to fish. And we will try to include a little inspiration to get you going. For the experienced salt water angler, there will be personal stories about real fishermen and their experiences, tips on what flies for which fish and techniques that work. Your stories and articles are also most welcome. Share the knowledge and adventure. Pass it on! This is for you.

It's Show Time: Part 4
Baby Tarpon Show

By Capt. Doug Sinclair

Publisher's Note: If you missed Part 1, 2, and 3 of Show Time, start HERE.

At half-passed noon, we motored over to the launch site and tied off at the docks. Trailers were backed down the ramp and the boats were loaded for the trip to our Tarpon shoot.

"JB, where are we headed?" asked Henry. "Just a spot along some old mangroves and backwater estuary. We won't even need the boats, but we should take them anyway," came his reply.

So off we went, eating our sandwiches in the car and sipping soft drinks now and then. We motored back over the Inter-coastal Waterway. Back up Jensen Beach. Past the sign that said, "Ft Pierce, 5 miles." I kept thinking, "where are we going?"

Just past the big nuclear plant we made a hard left turn into a chain-link fenced area and gate. JB got out of the truck and went over to unlock the gate. Henry and I were puzzled. I kept thinking, "I'm towing my boat in there." The 'road' was a path in the grass with tire tracks on either side. This was a narrow track and built up causeway over a large marsh area. The sides dropped down to the waters edge and there was just enough room to tow the boat in through it. A couple of times we had to get out and physically move boulders or branches so that there would be enough room for the trailer tires to get through. I wish I had taken my chain-saw.

I envisioned the trailer slipping and having to call for a chopper to airlift us out. This was not the place to be trailering a boat. Having said that, this turned out to be as beautiful an area with large oaks and mangroves and flats like I'd never seen.

And, did I forget to tell you about the tarpon? They were there. This was a nursery for Tarpon babies. Baby tarpon in the 10 to 15 pound range were everywhere. We stopped at every clearing and most outflow areas. Ponds were linked by culverts to the Indian River and I'm sure that's how the big tarpon got in there to foster their young.

This was an angler's dream come true. The first pond we came to, Henry jumped out and grabbed a 6-weight rod from the boat and ran over to the culvert. He looked like a kid who had never been to a candy store. Tails were everywhere, even their dorsals cut the surface. But there were also low overhanging trees and branches sticking up from the bottom. The slew had a culvert pump that was moving a lot of water and bait and the baby tarpon were munching anything that moved.

The first fly out caught a baby in the 8-pound range. He was so wiry it was tough trying to take his picture. He did not want anything to do with us. Not big enough for the show, so he went back. Now Henry was working the water line around the slew gate.

Bead-eye Clousers (#6 with weed guards) were our choice of fly along with Borski Sliders (#6). The tarpon would come over and roll on the fly, just like a dog rolling in the grass. We saw more rolling tarpon than I would like to mention. We had long pants on for the show, and except for Henry we were protected from the mosquitos.

We traveled 4 miles on this back road, and fished countless breaks along the causeway. I bet we saw at least a couple of thousand tarpon. Yes, more than a thousand tarpon. We fished with Clousers, Borskis, San Juan Worms, Snake Flies, Redfish Divers. I bet we tried every fly that was in my boat. But the best was the old Hot Lips fly.

We scored time and again, with each cast a baby tarpon. Quite honestly baby tarpon are more fun than wrestling with a giant tarpon for two hours. By 5 pm we had caught and released our arm's limit of baby tarpon and what a show this will make.

What a relief after days of catching and releasing Jack Cravelle. Now planning is in the works for our next shows, which are being filmed this coming week. We planned it around Easter week thinking that the timing might bring us luck.

Please don't teach your trash to swim. ~ Doug

About Doug:

Capt. Doug Sinclair has relocated from New Smyrna Beach, Florida to Grantsboro, NC. He specializes in fly-fishing and light tackle charters. Doug charters the Coastal Carolina area of New Bern or Oriental. Catch him on the web at www.flyfishacademy.net or call him at (252) 745-3500. Doug is also a Sponsor here on FAOL.

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