World-class tarpon caught off Texas coast

On August 28, 2003, a world-class tarpon was caught off theTexas coast on a fly rod, possibly the second or third largest inthe world on fly gear. Port O'Connor fly fishing guide CaptainScott Graham was fishing solo when he hooked into the behemothfish. He had been hunting large tarpon on fly rod for the previouseight days, had jumped several two days prior and four well overone hundred pounds on the morning of this catch.

The fish was sight cast to while rolling on the surface. As itturned and ate Graham's fly, Graham realized this was a hugetarpon. He radioed Ted Baker, a guide from Houston, who was nearbyon his own boat. Baker anchored and boarded Graham's vessel to helpas needed. After a battle that lasted one hour and twenty minutes,Graham landed the fish, and measured, photographed it. He alsoremoved scale, for research purposes, which was larger in diameterthan a soda can.

The tarpon was 87 inches long, 43 inches around and estimated at201 pounds based on a reliable formula. The fish was revived andreleased unharmed. Unfortunately for Graham, the fish will notqualify for a state record, because it was not killed.

"I honestly think this fish was bigger than we taped," saysGraham. "We measured her in the water and she had an 8 to 10 inchsag in the midsection that would have given her another couple ofinches if she were flat and straight, but you know, it doesn'tmatter."

Capt. Scott Graham can be reached at: 866-FLYCAST, or on the webat www.flyfishingtexas.com.