Tarpon Fishing Guides

Tarpon Guarantee

 

 

Tarpon Fishing Guides
&
The 'Tarpon Guarantee'

                Tarpon Fishing Guides
          &
             Tarpon Guarantee

“....but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes." –Ben Franklin.

In today’s virtual era, the Internet has become flooded with advertising by those who have recently discovered our world class tarpon fishery as tarpon fishing guides. Techniques and ‘spots’ are no longer the closely-held secrets of long time tarpon fishing guides who once served as apprentices to the generational and founding professional tarpon fishermen.

Instead, today’s tarpon guide fleet consists of many aficionados who come from far away places such as Lake Okeechobee, and are educated with a career backgrounds in something other than being a professional full time fishing guide, such as school teachers or professional landscapers, to name a few examples.

In as little as a decade, through savvy advertising/marketing, the very same techniques and ‘spots’ of long time pros are being ‘found’ and used to lure unsuspecting clients like yourself into “guaranteed tarpon” charters. As Ben Franklin said over 200 years ago, we are guaranteed in life to die and to be taxed and that is all.

From the late 1980s through the late 1990s, I was the only guide along the Gulf Coast of Florida to guarantee a tarpon on a fishing trip. I offered the “tarpon guarantee” during ‘off peak’ tarpon season in order to generate charters when there was little to no business in that era of my career. I successfully did this by fishing at night around lit bridges during early spring and late summer.

Tarpon are here to feed in the late summer and early spring. The tarpon’s large eye allows them to see better in low light making them good nocturnal hunters. Bridge lights at night attract baitfishes which in turn attract tarpon, similar to a porch light attracting bugs on a hot summer night. The basic method of tarpon-night- bridge-fishing that was taught to me by the Tampa Bay tarpon pioneer, Jimmy Bradley, who developed the technique in the 1960s. I was successful at it; it generated a lot of work for me and a lot of publicity too. Over the years, new bridges were being added to the bay area as were new lighting schemes that changed the reliability of the tarpon being so predictable. I had begun to learn, without me being able to control the variables in nature; I could no longer get the fish every time. For the first time in a decade, I began to give occasional free trips and subsequently stopped offering ‘guaranteed trips’. There are definitely no guarantees in tarpon fishing or tarpon fishing guides! I could not afford to be business and fish for ‘free’.

Instead, today’s tarpon guide fleet consists of many aficionados who come from far away places such as Lake Okeechobee, and are educated with a career backgrounds in something other than being a professional full time fishing guide, such as school teachers or professional landscapers, to name a few examples.

In as little as a decade, through savvy advertising/marketing, the very same techniques and ‘spots’ of long time pros are being ‘found’ and used to lure unsuspecting clients like yourself into “guaranteed tarpon” charters. As Ben Franklin said over 200 years ago, we are guaranteed in life to die and to be taxed and that is all.


This article was published on the front sports section of The
Tampa Tribune
by renown outdoor writer/editor, Frank
Sargeant, in 1994. Rare is a tarpon guaranteed, but even more so rare is to have your name appear in any major newspaper 
story headline-especially as guaranteeing a GiantTarpon with 
the media in just 3 hours of fishing.

From the late 1980s through the late 1990s, I was the only guide along the Gulf Coast of Florida to guarantee a tarpon on a fishing trip. I offered the “tarpon guarantee” during ‘off peak’ tarpon season in order to generate charters when there was little to no business in that era of my career. I successfully did this by fishing at night around lit bridges during early spring and late summer.

 

Tarpon are here to feed in the late summer and early spring. The tarpon’s large eye allows them to see better in low light making them good nocturnal hunters. Bridge lights at night attract baitfishes which in turn attract tarpon, similar to a porch light attracting bugs on a hot summer night. The basic method of tarpon-night- bridge-fishing that was taught to me by the Tampa Bay tarpon pioneer, Jimmy Bradley, who developed the technique in the 1960s. I was successful at it; it generated a lot of work for me and a lot of publicity too. Over the years, new bridges were being added to the bay area as were new lighting schemes that changed the reliability of the tarpon being so predictable. I had begun to learn, without me being able to control the variables in nature; I could no longer get the fish every time. For the first time in a decade, I began to give occasional free trips and subsequently stopped offering ‘guaranteed trips’. There are definitely no guarantees in tarpon fishing or tarpon fishing guides! I could not afford to be business and fish for ‘free’.

So how can they make such a tarpon guarantee?

Here is a simple bullet list on how it is done and things to watch out for:

  • The first objective is to ‘wow’ the client. After all, that is what brought you to this “tarpon guarantee” section of our website to begin with, right? The guides imply that their customers will catch a tarpon.  It’s guaranteed, so book a trip. The fine print states you will jump a fish, but only on the extended days (which are actually two trips). But wait, no one likes being ‘baited’ for something that isn’t.
  • Second, know that they really mean ‘jump’ a tarpon. The modern “guaranteed tarpon” trip being found on the Internet today is not a guarantee that you will catch a tarpon and get your keepsake photo. It is only guaranteed that you will ‘jump’ a tarpon – hook one and have it leap out of the water. The tarpon must ‘jump’ to count. Keep in mind that all tarpon do not jump, and this may be the one thing that acts in your favor if that is all you are looking to achieve.
  • The websites’ “tarpon guarantee” is not offered on a traditional 6-hour tide/tarpon charter, but on a 10-hour, ‘split’ or ‘all-day’ charter. The idea is that if you elect not to spend the significant increase in charter fee to get the extended day, a form a ‘reverse psychology’ will lead you to believe that you will be fishing with someone so good at what they do, they can guarantee it…therefore they are a safe bet for the 6-hour trip which has no tarpon guarantee. That is a mistake as it only benefits the ‘tarpon fishing guide’. Any long time guide tarpon guide worth his salt should be able to ‘jump’ a tarpon on a traditional 6-hour trip during the months that the ‘guaranteed tarpon” trips are being offered.
  • The modern day “tarpon guarantee” is not offered on a traditional 6-hour tide/tarpon charter, but on a 10-hour or ‘all-day’ charter. This too is a mind trick on the customer.  If one knows what to do, tarpon fishing at this time of year can be pretty reliable. The tarpon are here to eat as part of the reproduction cycle and most times you don’t need a guarantee to get a fish to jump. But the “tarpon guarantee guide” has led you to believe that spending the extra money to take a longer charter with someone so good that they can guarantee the fish is worth it.  That is a mistake to your wallet. But if you take the bait, the “guaranteed tarpon” guide has now increased the size of his wallet on your behalf when it wasn’t necessary.  
  • Mother Nature can be fickle and if any of several natural variables should occur, the “guaranteed tarpon” charter will be cancelled and you will not go fishing. It is far cheaper for the guide to cancel the trip than to honor it and take you fishing for that many hours and chance not getting paid because the weather conditions were less than favorable. Meanwhile, under the same set of conditions, long time tarpon guides know where to go and what techniques to use to make your trip successful.  Is it guaranteed? No…there is no such thing. It is however, highly probable that long time professionals can and will do what it takes to get the job done any day in any weather conditions that are safe for boaters! Imagine flying here, securing lodging accommodations, renting a car, going out to eat etc. only to have the guide cancel your trip because ‘it is a little too windy’.

In 1992 renown outdoor writer/editor, Nick Stubbs published the 1st story of my 'tarpon guarantee" on the front page of The Suncoast News. The trip was just 4 hours in duration and was done in the daylight. Again the end result was not a 'jumped" tarpon, but a tarpon landed. After over a decade of offering guaranteed tarpon trips, both natural and manmade variables in the fishery caused me to cease running 'guaranteed tarpon' trips. Today, my originality is being offered by others, but with a fine print twist designed to bait unsuspecting customers thru Internet advertising. 
  • Beware of the light leader scam:

One of the favorite techniques used by tarpon fishing guides in the somewhat deceptive “tarpon guarantee” is dropping the leader size /strength. There is a minimum requirement for the leader size to prevent a tarpon from chaffing through the leader. Some ‘guarantee’ tarpon fishing guides may use a leader size/strength that is so light it becomes nearly impossible for the fish to detect it, and in turn they strike the bait. With the light leader scam, the chances of a tarpon biting have greatly increased; however, the chances of the leader ‘holding’ the fish are near zero (we call this ‘cheese fishing’ as you will smile in that you had a chance, but really didn’t). Tarpon have jaws lined with millions of ‘micro teeth” like sand paper and can easily cut through a light leader.  The end result may be that the guide hopes the tarpon will strike and jump as a result of being hooked, so the ‘tarpon guarantee’ guide can get paid even though the unsuspecting client has no idea that their chances at catching the fish are virtually zero as well. And that ‘bites”!

We have advertised our honesty and integrity and have run our charter service for the past 34 years based on these keystone principals. They are part of our business plan. For decades, thousands of clients, businesses and scientists have called upon us based on these values. We pride ourselves with character and reputation. In part as such, we feel it is our responsibility to our industry and as a steward of the fishery to best inform unsuspecting and good people under the philosophies of ‘buyers beware” and truth in advertising tarpon fishing guides & the tarpon guarantee.

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     Tarpon Fishing Guides & Tarpon Guarantee
New January 2, 2020

          
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