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May 29, 2009

Key in on Tarpon

For the hottest summer tarpon action, head to the passes of the middle Florida Keys.

Tackle Tips

Rigging for tarpon is relatively simple. I start with a 3-foot Bimini twist tied to 5 feet of 80-pound leader with a Bristol knot, and with a short piece of 90-pound fluorocarbon between the mono and the circle hook. Of course, you can use all mono or all fluorocarbon, but I think you get more bites with fluorocarbon. Slide your float of choice (brightly-colored foam floats are easier to see than cork versions) onto the leader before you tie on the hook and secure it at the top of the heavy leader. That's it.

RODS: Spinning or conventional rods with lots of lifting power.

REELS: Spinning or conventional reels capable of holding at least 200 yards of 20- or 30-pound-test with strong, smooth drags.

LINES: Mono or braid, 20- to 30 pound.

BAIT: Live silver mullet, dollar-sized crabs, large pilchards or, in a pinch, pinfish.