Peter Budryk

125.0 lb. Tarpon caught by Peter Budryk fishing in Saint David on 02/20/06

Posted by Peter Budryk over 11 years ago

No picture was available for this catch. This is a stock image.
Image credit: NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center
75.0" / 125.0 lb. Tarpon caught by Peter Budryk fishing on Monday February 20, 2006 at 20:45 in Saint David, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines North America using a size 14 gold hook w/3" live bait under bobber


Google Grenada & the Grenadines.
Small island just north is all bouganvilla & hummingbirds.

Virtually no tourists.

Friendly, hard working inhabitants.

We've been there three times.

Prior to last trip. I tried to find out what types of game fish lived in surrounding waters.
On previous two trips I had seen very fishy looking spots, especially mangrove bays & lagoons.

I phoned a native who owned a boat livery and who had taken us out on a tour of the island. Asked him what kind of fish lived in the lagoons.

Told me fish lived there but nobody fished for them because they were not good eating."Long, silver fish, 3-6' with big scales.Don't know their name man."

Ultimately I was told by owner of cottage at which we stayed, himself a US college educated guy and a former commercial fisherman on the island, that there were really no sportfish around the island.

So I packed a light weight Orvis travel outfit to catch small reef fish to cook.

Elinor and I drove our rented 4WD to Paradise Beach,a specatcularly beautiful mile long crescent strand, where we were the only folks, w/occassional locals coming down to take a splash.

I left Elinor on a towel and w/a good book and walked about 1/2 mile to the northern end of the beach which looked interesting.
When I reached it I saw black clouds of small bait fish swirling along the shore and out 10-15 '.

I threw out a cast net and then hooked up a peanut bunker sized bait fish under the lips on a size 14 hook suspended 18" below a clear float, on 6 lb test line on an ultra light spinning set up, targeting palometa, a small good eating fish that resembles a permit in all but size.

Quickly I landed two palometa and cast out for a third.
Just after I cast out the bait a huge fish rolled c 15' to the right of my float, scattering the clouds of bait fish.

"Good god, that was a tarpon!" I thought to myself, as its roll took it very near to my bait.

"It couldn't be intersted in that scrawny bait!"
Then my float disappeared and I set the hook.

Lordy, lordy! No more than 15' from where I stood ankle deep in the water, like a sub-launched nuclear missile, the tarpon burst through the surface,gills flaring blood red,reaching the pinnacle of its leap, and danced on its tail.

I estimated the monster at between 5-6' long and well over 125 lbs.
This happened within 5 seconds of my cast.

Almost messing my pants, I held on (what choice did I have?)as the fish took off into deeper water like a torpedo.

Talk about idiocy. The insane thought actually passed through my dim wit, "Is there any chance at all I could actually land this fish? On this tiny rig?

Three different times the tarpon jumped and repeated the spectacle, with me, so I thought, the only observer. I looked down the beach from where I had come to see if Elinor by chance might be watching this comedy unfold. I couldn't even make her out at that distance.

Then, on my right, near a stand of palmeto,I heard a scream with a distinctive British accent, "My god, man. You've got one!"

From the corner of my eye ( I wasn't about to take my eyes off the show in front of me)a fisherman in chest high waders, carrying a fly rod, was crashing towards me, wildly splashing through the shallows.

As he neared me, he continued screaming, which got me screaming and I had the sensation that the top of my head was about to explode with excitement.

Then I looked at my spool, which had about six wraps left of its 200 yard capacity.I reared back, the fish jumped again, way out there,both of us screamed again, and the rod went limp. The line broke off at the hook.
All of this took place less than 20 seconds of my cast.

No sport fish on this island I was told. Therefore no need to bring serious gear. No need to dedicate fishing time to more than catching some small, tasty reef fish.

The guy with the fly rod turned out to be a Hardy fly fishing instructor who had used Google Earth and came upon this isolated little island as possibly having some untapped sport fishing.He had been talking to his wife who was reading a book under the palmetos when I hooked up.

The day before, he related to me, he induced a tarpon to take a fly on his 11 weight outfit. It was out about 200 yards when a conch fisherman in a small boat was headed right for it. The Brit tried to wave him off. The conch fisherman gave a friendly wave back, drove his rickety boat over the line and broke off the fish.

We chatted some before he waded out and started scouting for position to get his fly in front of one of the many tarpon that were rolling in front of us.Among the tarpon, chasing bait, were snook that were 20-40 lbs. It was unnervingly unbelievable.

All these wonderful sport fish, all around me, reachable from the shore, and me with an ultra light rig with seriously stretched 6 lb mono and looking at a 6AM ferry out the next morning.

I was wracked with frustration.

The Brit kept casting his flies.

I boogied back to Elinor.

How important is it to know your quarry when in a strange land?

A delicious meal of crispy palometa and the most exciting 20 seconds of fishing in my life notwithstanding, I was pissed.


10 members like this

Leonard Smith
Sandra Wright
Brandon Mabrey
John A Wright
Tim Fancher
Sam Pych
Chris DeMartine
Joe Pych
Peter Budryk
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Brandon Mabrey

great story

Posted by Brandon Mabrey Elite Member over 10 years ago

Chris DeMartine

I haven't had a chance to go Tarpon fishing yet, but this sounds like a dream!

Posted by Chris DeMartine Expert Member over 11 years ago

Joe Pych

Great story, Peter. You should write a book ;-).

Posted by Joe Pych Elite Member over 11 years ago

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