Florida Angler Lands Bucket List Tarpon With Broken Rod (Video)

“He broke my rod, but I guess that’s well worth it.”

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It takes persistence to pursue a bucket list fish, but the challenges and missteps along the way make success that much sweeter. We join the host of OA Fishing, “just a dude that loves fishing,” as he tries to land his very first tarpon in the Florida Panhandle. The epic fight almost ends early when the silver king snaps his rod, but the angler eventually comes out on top. Now, what about that warranty?

Florida Tarpon Fishing in Choctawhatchee Bay

The video begins as our host pedals his kayak out to the Mid-Bay Toll Bridge near Destin, Florida. “Gonna head on over to the bridge and do a little bit of jigging and see if we can find a big bite,” he narrates. Water conditions have improved there since his last tarpon attempt. The setup? “A three-inch Z-Man paddle tail on a 3/8-ounce jig head on 25-pound fluorocarbon to 20-pound braid.”

tarpon jumps at kayak and breaks fishing rod
“I think he’s almost done.” Think again! | Image: OA Fishing/YouTube

After marking a bunch of bait swimming around the bridge piers the angler drops his jig to see if something picks it up. Seconds later a tarpon hits and announces itself with an acrobatic leap. “Oh yeah, that’s a tarpon! Heck yeah!”

The battle begins as the angler tries to tow his catch away from the bridge. The excitement is plain as he breathes deep and implores the fish, “Stay on! Stay on buddy!”

“Come on, I gotta land this guy!”

The tarpon appears to be flagging, but suddenly it runs under the boat and leaps up within arm’s reach, headbutting the fish finder and breaking the rod in the process. But the fish stays on, and after a few more close calls he finally lands the feisty silver king.

“Man, I am super pumped up about that fish right now. Number one fish on my bucket list has been checked off!” he crows. As commenter John Bracewell correctly notes, “Everybody you meet in Walmart for the next month is gonna hear about that tarpon.”


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