Tarpon Essentials

Before cashing in on your tarpon days, make sure you’re bringing along the essentials.

No matter how many times you have chased a specific species or how familiar you are with the gear required to pursue it, when it comes to a big trip, the question of what to pack always rises. It’s May, which for many of you means the excitement and anticipation that’s been building since you booked your tarpon days last season are transforming into reality. Before you pull your suitcase out and begin sorting through your salt water gear, check out our tarpon collection – there might be a few items here that come in handy when it counts.

Sun Protection
First and foremost, when it comes to tarpon fishing, you need to protect yourself from the sun. If you’ve planned your trip during prime tarpon time, you’ll be fishing in extreme heat, in some of the world’s most humid locations such as Florida, Mexico, Cuba, etc. For as harmful and draining as the sun can be, for the most part, it’s what you want for spotting and feeding fish. Here’s the skinny on some gear specifically designed to keep you in the game when the sun is at its worst.

From left to right, the Men’s SolarFlex™ Crew, Women’s SolarFlex™ Hoody, SolarFlex™ Sungloves and Sungaiter™ all offer UPF50 protection, dry quickly and have the ability to wick moisture and odor.

SolarFlex™ shirts and hoodies offer a flat-seam construction making them extremely comfortable to wear while standing stationary waiting for the string, or in the midst of bombing a long cast to an approaching high slider. We’ve left the palm of the Sunglove open to retain dexterity and reinforced the index finger with a synthetic overlay to prevent line cuts while fighting fish or strip-setting on the eat. Our Sungaiter is ergonomically cut to fit facial contours, has an extended cape for better coverage on the neckline and also features laser-cut breathing holes to prevent fogging up sunglasses while you’re on the hunt.

Rain Gear
Now that you are protected from the sun, it’s time to talk about rain gear. In the tropics, weather has the tendency to go from great to good to horrible before you can reel up and head for cover – despite weather man’s best guess. Simms offers a wide variety of premium rain gear but when it comes to tarpon spots, there’s no better option than the Vapor Elite Jacket and Vapor Elite Pant.

When you first pick up the jacket and pant, you’ll immediately notice how lightweight they are. In fact, they are so light; you might even question how well they perform. Run through open water with a heavy chop or fish through a torrential downpour just once and you will be just as amazed as our field testers were. Trust us, this combo can hold it’s own in the worst of weather and this is without question, the most unique aspect of the kit – to be completely protected with such a lightweight and unbelievably breathable jacket and pant. The pant features 3-layer GORE-TEX® Shell fabric while the jacket utilizes 3-layer GORE-TEX® C-Knit fabric. C-Knit offers a couple key advantages. First, it’s 10 percent lighter and 15 percent more breathable than comparable shell laminates. Second is it offers a noticeable glide against base layers such as a SolarFlex™ Crew which eliminates that annoying sticky characteristic of other lightweight jackets.

Packing
Finally, it’s time to pack. We’ve already talked about the lightweight nature of all our tarpon gear but another advantage is how packable it is. Because it’s not bulky and it packs down to nothing, for most tarpon trips, you could easily get away with packing in two pieces of luggage. Our Bounty Hunter Carry On Roller (fits in overhead of most airlines), and the Bounty Hunter Vault. Built with heavy-duty fabric and super rugged hardware, the Bounty Hunter Carry On Roller offers plenty of space in the main compartment and easy organization in a top pocket that also includes a laptop sleeve.

Though most tarpon anglers stick with rod-and-reel setups in the 10- to 12-weight range, it’s never a bad idea to throw in backup as well as an 8 and 9 weight setup up in case opportunities for bonefish and permit arise. With the Bounty Hunter Vault, anglers can easily load for bear. In total, the Bounty Hunter Vault can carry up to eight 4-piece rods plus 8-10 reels and still have room and organization space for extra fly lines and leaders.

Hopefully your spring and summer has a few tarpon days in store. These are only a handful of recommended products to make your time on the water more enjoyable and productive. If you need more suggestions and/or options, make sure to check out our complete tarpon collection.