Chasing Tarpon from a Kayak

Coming from New England I learned about the whaling ships and the tales of sailors in long boats being pulled across the sea by a harpooned whale. A “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” is the term the whalers used. A typical whale boat held a crew of six, one steering, one on the harpoon and Nantucket Sleighridefour men rowing.

Fast forward a couple hundred years and change whale boat for kayak and tarpon for whale.  So here I am, chasing the silver king, although not as obsessed as Ahab, in a small boat powered by me.  I still paddle to the spot, still look for the rolling fish, still get as close as I can, make the cast and then the fish throws the hook.

I’ve thought about what happens if by some stroke of luck I sink the hook.  I’ve paddled out here, made the cast, hooked the fish, and now what.  I haven’t gotten to this last part but I can only figure that a decent sized tarpon would be able to tow me around the back country, a Big Pine Key Sleigh Ride. Yet I still go out and actually hope that it happens.  I just hope I can land it before I hit Naples or perhaps Havana.



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