Thursday, September 16, 2021

Foot Soldier Versus The Silver King
By Dylan Schmitz

The unfortunate reality is that, for most of us, the tarpon of south Florida is not what comes to mind when considering “home waters.” Luckily, Captain Jamie Connell of Flying Fish Charters in Key West, found these fish just hanging out in his backyard while the rest of us spent the month of May sheltering-in-place.

With a wave of postponed trips and more free time than they knew what to do with, Jamie and photographer Dylan Schmitz targeted these fish on foot.

For most traveling anglers, “walking in” to a tarpon spot, as if it were a trout stream, is a rare opportunity. Leave the 5X and the dry/dropper rig in the truck—you won’t need it here.

The tarpon is known for its explosive eats and acrobatics. This backyard fish was no exception to those rules.

For the majority of tarpon hookups, the action is short-lived. These fish may spit hooks and leave fishermen simultaneously disappointed and trembling. Remember, bow to the king and stay focused ‘cause you’re in for quite a ride.

Jamie’s fish leaves a sizable hole in the slick-surfaced creek. With the tide nice and low, the tarpon had far fewer mangroves and obstacles to break off on—advantage angler.

The moment of truth. This is where a lot of tarpon are lost so it pays to play the fish carefully here and don’t get too eager to land it. Be prepared for one final run, and maybe another jump, before bringing Megalops to hand.


Photography by

Dylan Schmitz