2023 Florida Tarpon Tour Recap

Our Florida Tarpon Tour this past week started with a visit to the Nautilus Fly Reels HQ in Miami! Our good friend Kristen Mustad gave us a tour of the new HQ and factory. We were able to finalize our Artist Edition Nautilus Monster Key Lime reel for our trip down to the keys.

Later that afternoon, I attended the Captains For Clean Water, 1st ever East Coast version of the Restore Gala in Jupiter. What a great night of celebrating CFCW’s progress in defending clean water for Florida. To learn more about this impactful nonprofit organization, click here.

After this epic party, we headed down to the Florida Keys to spend the next 3 days chasing tarpon and staying at the On The Fly Outfitters Poon Shack in Big Torch Key. On our way there we stopped by our SLP Retailer, Florida Keys Outfitters to drop off some Forged Collection hardware that will be the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies for the Ladies Tarpon Fly Tournament, June 13-15. These special cuffs feature a gold-plated silver badge for the Grand Champion, a silver badge for 1st runner-up, and a bronze badge for 2nd runner-up. We are very honored to have our work presented to the winners of this prestigious tournament!

On our first day, Capt. Benny Blanco took Jared DiVincent and me to his office, Oceanside of an unnamed Key to experience Tarpon fishing at its finest. Sight Line PROvisioner Benny Blanco prepared us for this day by giving us a masterclass in Tarpon tactics when we got to our spot. As he went over key points and tactics, we were interrupted by a huge tarpon that rolled 20 feet from the boat. Our eyes bulged, but Benny calmly let us know that we would see many more tarpon during our stay at this spot, and returned to his lesson. On that day we were treated to so many shots (at least 30 each) at big tarpon as Benny poled back and forth the flat giving Jared and me plenty of golden opportunities at these giant tarpon. Although neither of us were able to connect with a tarpon, Jared did have a boat side eat that bent out the hook of the fly. I can honestly say that the combination of knowledge, hustle, big fish, and teaching made this one of the best fishing days of my life. It is very obvious why Benny works so hard to protect these waters. Check out Guide and Flow to see Benny fishing on the water and learn about issues that face Florida's clean water.

After being Tarpon Schooled, the next day I went out with Jared DiVincent and Michael Garcia of On The Fly Outfitters to do some DIY Tarpon fishing. We went searching for juvenile tarpon but didn't have any luck. After lunch, we decided to go see if any spots had opened up on the ocean side so that we could take shots at big north and southbound fish. We spent the short afternoon taking shots at cruising fish without much luck, but the experience was exciting.

After a couple of hours, we needed to leave so that I could get ready for the SLP Trunk Show at Seven Mile Fly Shop. On our last night, we concluded our Florida Tarpon Tour with a Forged Collection Trunk Show and dinner with the shop staff. Part of the proceeds of this event benefited Captains For Clean Water.

Even though I did not experience the electric feeling of a silver king at the end of my line, being out on the water chasing these amazing fish and being amongst friends was still epic. I wanted to also thank our friends and partners (CFCW, Orvis, Costa Sunglasses, Nautilus, Frigate Reserve Rum, Seven Mile Fly Shop, On The Fly Outfitters) for being part of the SLP Florida Tarpon Tour. 

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