Best rod for big tarpon

If you are not experienced at fighting big tarpon, I'd suggest that you buy a rod with a fighting grip...

Q: "I'm going to the Florida Keys next spring to target big tarpon, and I want to buy a 12-weight rod that is right for the job. Several friends of mine feel that the rod should have a fighting grip of cork in front of the handle. However, I have two other friends who feel that I should choose a rod without a fighting grip. What do you recommend?

Wayne Hopkins
Charlotte, North Carolina

A: There has always been a disagreement about this. My personal opinion is if you are experienced at fighting big tarpon with a 12-weight rod, then there's no need to use a rod with a fighting grip.

If you are not experienced at fighting big tarpon, I'd suggest that you buy a rod with a fighting grip. Rods with a fighting grip don't allow you to put quite as much pressure on the fish, but they do provide a comfortable place to hang onto when you tire during a fight.