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Saltwater Swimbait Tactics

Tap-tap-tug. The tell-tale take of a tarpon was unmistakable, but not unexpected. After all, fishing partner Danny Torres and I had been pinning swimbaits in the maws of 3- to 4-foot tarpon for over an hour at this point. However, seconds after setting the hook on this particular `poon, I realized this was no 4-footer.

As 12-pound test poured from the spool, Danny jumped behind the console of my skiff, cranked the engine and gave chase. Since we had been fishing for juvenile tarpon and snook, I was woefully undergunned on this 6-foot-plus fish. The lengthy - and exciting - fight culminated with the inevitable parting of the line and the fish swam free.

Unfortunately, the last swimbait I had on my person was still stuck in its jaw.

This scenario is typical of what I've come to expect while throwing swimbaits in salt water. We had already tempted a mixed bag of jack crevalle, kingfish, small tarpon and snook with our 3 1/2-inch swimbaits before my massive tarpon struck, proving once again any species that counts small finfish among its dietary needs will strike swimbaits.

At times catching fish on swimbaits involves little more than casting and reeling. Other times, a more deft touch is needed. However, even at times like these anglers can still score big on swimbaits, provided they have a few tricks up the sleeves of their casting shirts.

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