Did Three Anglers Release the Largest Tarpon Ever Caught on Rod-and-Reel?
By Doug Olander, Editor, Sportfishing Magazine
This is the current International Game Fish Association all-tackle world-record tarpon, taken off West Africa in 2003.The guide, at left, by the way, was Patrick Sebile.The fish measured about a foot less than the giant tarpon released off Nicaragua.
One of the largest tarpon ever caught on rod-and-reel, and possibly the largest, was released off Nicaragua’s Rio Indio last month.
Sport Fishing has learned that “a party of three old men” – as one of the anglers, Bill Brannan, tells SF – “hooked a very large tarpon.”
How large became evident only after a fight lasting more than two hours when the group (Brannan, Jere Bruning and Fred Roguske, along with Rio Indio Lodge guide Rito Espinosa) was able to maneuver the fish alongside the boat.
“Luckily, Fred had a 10-foot tape,” Brannan says. “The tarpon was 9 feet, 2 inches long, with a girth of 48 inches. I told Fred that nobody’s going to believe this!
“Fred admitted that he’s not a good judge of weight, but as owner of Lake Country Replicas (which makes fish replica mounts), he darn well knows how to measure a fish.”
So how heavy is a 110-inch (total length) tarpon? There is no precise answer but it’s certainly substantially heavier than the all-tackle world record, a massive 286 pounds, 9 ounces caught in 2003 off Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. That fish measured just over 90 inches to the fork. A 110-inch total length probably suggests a 102-inch fork length, Roguske surmises. The current record did have a 50-inch girth, so it was a bit fatter fish. But still, it measured a foot less, and thoughts of a tarpon well over 300 pounds seem possible.
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