Today, Capt. Steve Kilipatrick of Chiefland Florida guided a Father-Son Team to a possible world record on 20 pound class tippet using a flyrod.
The Tarpon taped out at an immpressive 84 inches with a 47 inch girth said Capt. Ted Johnston, a close friend of Steve’s. The offical weight 202 pounds. This is dream come true for many an angler and this makes Steve, King of Kings in the world of poons.
The son caught the fish and only a half way jump occured during the two hour battle. The Team fished all week with only one fish caught before the world record encounter.
The trio had to fight off a bull shark and after two hours Steve lipped gaff the fish and did not know what size he had until he tried to lift it and and could not pull the big mama up for a quick photo. The Father helped Steve lift it up and Steve said quick let’s get this fish in the boat.
During the celebration, 2 time world record holder, Capt. Dan Malzone kissed Capt. Kilpatrick on the lips and we are not sure he slipped him the tongue.
Capt. Al Dopirak, super-guide of Tome Evans is Kilpatrick’s room mate during tarpon season and has provided guidance to Steve during the last 3 seasons. They represent a true bond among men at Tarpon Camp. They are the best of friends.
All of the big names in the world of tarpon have already heard this through the coconut telegraph.
More than 50 people showed up to look at the 7 foot tarpon.
In what has been a really tough two weeks of poon fishing, this will raise the brows of everyone who knows how tough this sport really is and how hard it is to catch a big fish like Steve’s client did.
Steve tied a leader the night before and used a deer hair slider which I am sure will have a name before all of this is over. The leader and fly line has to be tested by the International Game Fish Association. It should pass the breakage test and then posted in next year’s record book.
The area where the fish was caught was near Hammer’s Rock named by Freddy Archibald in 1989. Later, Kilpatrick or Johnston renamed the ledge to the “Hump”. The big fish pulled them all the way to Capt. Billy Hampton’s Green Holes which is about 6 miles of tacking or 3 miles as the crow flies.
Most of the head hunter tarpon fraternity probably will change to 16 pound tippet since this 202 pounder surpasses the old record of Brian O’Keefe’s by more than 20 pounds.
Billy Pate’s 16 pound class tippet still holds at 188 pounds set back in 1982.