Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
A couple of years back I went to the Caribbean island of Antigua on holiday. I fished in the sea while I was there and didn't do very well. However, I'd seen a large lagoon near the place I was staying and at the end of my holiday (too late for me to fish) had sussed that it contained tarpon and other species and that it was available for fishing - what a downer! Anyway, a while back Tony Cook sent me an email to say he was going to Antigua and we exchanged information. Recently, Tony was kind enough to send me the following series of emails (slightly edited) about his trip to the same place. Tony fished the lagoon in question with excellent results as you'll see -
Pictures of two fish caught in the saltwater lagoon near Hawks Bill. The one on the grass took a fly and was approx 20lb.
I replied as follows -
Thanks for that. Nice fish! Could I use the pictures on the blog sometime please? If so, perhaps you would tell me a bit more about how you caught them? That looks like a fine snook in your second picture!
Sorry about the delay in my reply - I'm just back from Tobago.
The larger fish was the Tarpon and the smaller one I am holding is the Snook. It was dark when I took the picture. The snook took a 2” 'mullet' plastic minnow and the tarpon was on the fly- muddler pattern with mobile eyes. All good sport on a telescopic 10-35 gram travel rod !
Tony followed up with a bit more info -
I got a larger Snook of about 25lb on the last day (13th Feb, I had packed my camera so no picture), in addition I caught 4 smaller Tarpon around 2-3lb on little plugs and plastic minnows. They grow quickly in the lagoons feeding on the fry which breed at a prodigious rate. The 25lb fish put up a tremendous fight, I had to wade into the lagoon as I needed an angle to apply side strain and avoid bushes. The fish turned and shot straight between my legs, the trailing hook on the rigid plug went into my leg (see picture) the fish shook itself, the hook straightened and I had to step over the line and off went the fish on another long run. I have fished the lagoon on two previous holidays and caught several fish to 18lb - a mixture of Snook and Tarpon. I would be quite happy for you to use the detail on your blog, I thought your book Hooked on Bass an excellent reference work.
I finally asked whether he'd fished from the walkway crossing the lagoon or from the shore and something about the lures (I'm nothing if not a bloody nuisance) -
I fished from the walkway but the best fish were caught when I squeezed through the bushes and waded. I wear reef boots and so far I have not encountered any leeches!! The 2” plastic minnow has taken most fish, in shallow weedy water (with the hook on top) it works well, casts very well on a light rod and replicates the small fry. However after a blank spell a change sometimes produces results, the Yo-Zuri 2 ¼” (top middle) flat crank floating appears to attract the larger fish in poor viz. Some days the tarpon feed on newly hatched crabs and I might try a small crab type fly next time.
So there you are - straight from the horses mouth - a good effort on a very light telescopic rod. Twenty five pounds - what a snook! If I go to Antigua again I know where I'll be fishing. Also a salutory lesson about the dangers of powerful fish, treble hooks and wading. Me and my pals have always been conscious of the risks involved in playing big fish when you're in the water with them so - take care - it might not be your leg that gets caught.