Tapam Lodge, Nicaragua
The largest tarpon in the world
We seriously doubt that there is any place in the world today like Tapam where you have a greater chance of catching a really big tarpon on a fly rod. We have always been honest about the fact that fly fishing for big tarpon isn’t easy and that our fishery might not be for everyone. Big tarpon are old – and old fish get old for a reason. They aren’t stupid. If you can cast an 11 or 12 weight rod for hours on end, if you can put real pressure on very big fish – and if you understand that just because there is a lot of big tarpon around it is not a given fact that these big fish will suck in each and every fly you throw at them – then look no further.
Hard graft for big fish
The lodge fishes two anglers per boat for up to seven days. That’s five long days with approximately seven hours in the morning and another three to four hours in the afternoon. At each end of the trip you can fish two shorter seven hour days, too. That’s a lot of fishing time – and hopefully a lot of tarpon action. We knew that tarpon of gigantic proportions lived here, but nothing quite prepared us for some of the fish that we saw landed. Although not the kind of location to catch big numbers of fish here the essence is quality not quantity with most anglers landing a tarpon of a lifetime. There are not many places where one can be attached to a 7 ft long fish on a fly in shallow water.
Hooking fish in excess of 100 lbs is almost commonplace here and fish estimated 150 – 200 lbs have been landed each season. For anglers looking for a jungle tarpon experience on the fly there is nowhere else that compares. During our first season at Tapam we mostly cast pretty big baitfish imitations. They worked great when we hit the crazy feeding frenzies that Tapam is now famous for. When the tarpon are feeding on mullet being pushed up river on the incoming tide you probably can’t throw too big a fly. We still fish these bigger patterns a lot.
This year we started incorporated Wiggle Tails on some of our baitfish flies which worked great, especially in clear water and on fish hunting actively but less aggressively. Anyone who has experienced a true Tapam feeding frenzy can be excused for thinking that these big tarpon eat anything – anytime. They pretty much do when they are smashing mullet like there is no tomorrow.
The lodge was set up on the site of the famous film by Daniel Goz where they target the giant tarpon from float tubes. The small lodge offers home to just four anglers a week and the fishing is done from boats in the extensive lagoon system. Accommodation consists of a simple lodge being carved out of the jungle on a double occupancy basis. Meals are enjoyed in communal saloon area, which includes two dining tables.