Gear Up For Early Summer Tarpon

Angling enthusiasts in the Southeast begin planning their vacation days as the cool weather and winds of spring transition to stable summertime conditions. Captain Ed Zyak, a light tackle and fly fishing specialist and a veteran inshore tournament angler, has logged two decades of guiding experience along Florida’s east coast chasing trophy-caliber snook, speckled trout, permit, redfish, and more. Zyak loves this time of year because, for him and his guests, it’s tarpon time.

“When it’s windy In the spring, we spend a lot of time hunting snook,” notes Zyak. “We also get into some enormous jacks – I mean absolutely huge fish in that 40 to 50-inch class – as well as some bonus kingfish. I do a lot of live bait fishing at this time of year, but I also enjoy throwing Current Sniper Splash Walk topwaters. It’s very exciting to watch fish chase those lures down and blow up on them! When the wind backs off, fishing will start to get really good, and we’ll transition to chasing tarpon.”

summer tarpon gear current sniper splash walk
Photo Provided by Shimano North America Fishing

“Unless they’re fly fishing, every client on my boat will be chasing tarpon with a Shimano Teramar XX SE rod. I’ve had a chance to handle a lot of nice rods over my career, but when I was first handed a Teramar XX SE, I thought to myself, ‘this is a REALLY nice rod!’ It’s light, casts beautifully, and has instant power on the hookset. So I did some homework to see what these rods were all about — what technologies made them feel and fish so well?

Shimano’s exclusive Spiral X and Hi-Power X technologies make Teramar XX SE tougher and lighter while enhancing their overall performance. Spiral X construction consists of three layers: a blank made of vertical fibers and two layers of carbon tape that tightly wind the blank diagonally in opposite directions. By using carbon tape rather than a conventional horizontal fiber sheet, Spiral X technology enhances torsional rigidity without increasing weight. In Hi-Power X construction, Shimano rod engineers wrap the blank’s outermost layer with carbon tape to form an array of “X” shapes, with the tape’s width and winding angle customized according to the target fish species. This construction flexibility allows Shimano to adjust the carbon wraps for precise actions, enhanced overall strength and added twist resistance. In short, Spiral X and Hi-Power X construction deliver sharp and crisp rod control and enhance every angler’s catching power.

summer tarpon gear Teramar XX SE2
Photo Provided by Shimano North America Fishing

“Spiral X and Hi-Power X make Teramar XX SE rods my hands-down favorites for tarpon, snook, and jacks,” asserts Zyak. “Carbon wraps give the blank unmatched strength for a lightweight rod. Anglers get instant power when setting the hook. When I first fished a Teramar XX SE, I hooked into – and landed – a 40-inch snook. That caliber of fish would outgun nearly any other inshore rod, but not Teramar XX SE. Spiral X and Hi-Power X also dramatically reduce rod twist. Anglers experience the negative impacts of rod twist when they cast: twisting motion in the blank generates wobble in the rod tip. Even a little bit of extra tip movement becomes amplified down the line and leads to poor casting accuracy. We do so much sight fishing – where casting accuracy is critical – and I need rods that help me place baits exactly where they need to land. Teramar XX SE casts beautifully. They are truly exceptional rods for chasing magnum inshore fish.”

Zyak offers highly refined tackle recommendations for anglers targeting early summer tarpon. “I have two combos that give me confidence when we’re hunting tarpon along the beaches. I like the 8-foot, Extra-Heavy power Teramar XX SE (TXES80XH) rigged with an 8000-series Shimano Saragosa SW A reel spooled with 65 pound-test PowerPro. Another terrific choice is the 8-foot, Extra-Extra-Heavy power Teramar XX SE (TXES80XXH) equipped with a 10000-series Saragosa SW A, also spooled with 65 pound-test PowerPro. Those two rod and reel combos will stand up to the punishment delivered by trophy-sized tarpon.”

summer tarpon gear saragosa
Photo Provided by Shimano North America Fishing

“I make a living on the water, and I try to put my clients in the best position to succeed on every trip. A big part of that is putting a Teramar XX SE and Saragosa combo in their hands every day. We hook 100-pound-plus tarpon, put the heat to those fish, and stop them in their tracks. A unique angling experience like that instantly hooks newcomers – you can see it in their faces. They’ve never experienced tackle so light, smooth and powerful. The best rods and reels lead to the best experience. At this point in my career, I demand quality. That’s Shimano. It’s the best – period.”

About Shimano

Leading the fishing industry in innovation and quality for 100 years, Shimano’s manufacturing capabilities allow anglers worldwide to enjoy their time on the water to the fullest. We designed the entire lineup of Shimano products to elevate angler experiences with features that continuously evolve to push the boundaries of modern fishing tackle while raising the bar for the whole fishing industry.

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