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The Catch of a Lifetime

james houck with 160+ tarpon

It’s not everyday that we get some pictures and a story that stops the crew at Stillwater Fly Shop to check out the fish.

This one comes from our good friend Jim Houck of Michigan, soon to be from Oregon. Jim just got back from what could be considered the trip of a lifetime at Isla Holbox, Mexico.

Jim was fishing with long time guide Alejandro Vega Cruz (AKA Mr. Sandflea) through Holbox Tarpon Club. Alejandro spotted a tarpon cruising. Jim hooked up on the first cast, not knowing that he would be in for a 3-hour fight.

His guide estimated the tarpon to be about 160+ lbs, and they successfully revived it to give the next angler the hookup of their lifetime.

This is what Jim had to say about this epic battle:

“The strain on that rod, line and leader was unbelievable and a miracle that it did not break at some point. The fish made several runs of over 200 yards with a dozen or more full scale leaps. Unreal.”

“Now that I have done it, I don’t have to do it again!”

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Well done Jim and Alejandro! What a gorgeous fish; the picture really speaks volumes.

Wondering what is would take to catch a fish that size? Here is the list of gear Jim used:

Rod: Sage RPLxi 12wt.
Reel: Orvis Mirage #6
Line: Rio Leviathan 450gr. Sink Tip
Tippet: 80# bite
Fly: You will have to book the trip with Mr. Sandflea to find that out!

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