Confessions of a Steelhead Guide - Saltwater Part Two

Travis De Boer - 02/14/17

Releasing a Tarpon.

I think the thing even pulled a knife out at one point!

Grande Ronde steelhead guide Travis De Boer just got back from a recent trip to Mexico. Admittedly a cold weather angler having spent plenty of years in the jungle as an Army Ranger, Travis shares with us some insight he learned on the two week expedition to Central America. In the second installment of this three part series Travis notes his ideas of the Silver King, and what really happens...

Part Two - Tarpon

  1. Preconceived notions
    This is one area where I feel like my intel was spot on. I have, like many, watched countless videos and movies about these fish. They have a reputation for being the baddest fish that will eat a fly on the entire planet. They are called the Silver King after all! This is the one species that I had interacted with and I had actually hooked two in the past. Both encounters where brief, unexpected, and I had little chance of actually fighting them for any length on time let alone landing them. Both encounters where over as fast as they had begun with an airborne fish spitting my hook after what I now know is cardinal sin number one, the dreaded trout set.
  2. Truth
    The Silver Kings rep is well earned from what I can tell. Mostly fishing for “babies” I was lucky enough to hook and land one fish that went (roughly) from my chin/chest to my toes. It was more than big enough to make my 11wt rod work (bent to the cork) for what felt like ever. It jumped, ran, exploded the surrounding water as if a C4 charge had been detonated, and displayed the typical “angry” fight they are well documented to display. I think the thing even pulled a knife out at one point! I was positive through all of it that it would soon be gone as it was very obvious he had his opponent severely outmatched. Despite it’s best efforts however I was lucky enough to handle this beast briefly. Repeatedly telling myself in my head to “strip set genius (hard)” paid off.
  3. Note
    Study acceptable hook setting methods for this species if you want to land, or even fight one for a bit. The rumors are true regarding this as well. I have suffered the heartache that comes with doing it wrong.

- Travis De Boer

Previous Confessions...
Part One - Bonefish

Upcoming Confessions...
Part Three - Permit / Conclusion