The Imperial Tarpon
The “herring from hell” as it has affectionally been called or Tarpon as they are commonly known, has over the past 30 years established its self a very special reputation amongst fly fishermen all over the world. Coming myself from the cold north and the home of world class fishing for Atlantic salmon in Norway, fly tyers all over the world have celebrated the Atlantic salmon with hundreds of fully dressed classic salmon fly patterns to pursue the king of fish. As a tribute to the more recent exotic warm water species of game fish I decided to design and develop a series of patterns that I have called “Salt water classics” These are made for fishing but have a more traditional look to them and incorporate classic materials and style of tying.
The Imperial Tarpon has worked extremely well for me in Cuba on both baby and large Tarpon. Like fishing for Atlantic salmon with a self tied fully dressed salmon fly, fishing these salt water classics adds another dimension in the pursuit of the herring from hell.
Hook: Mustad C68 # 5/0 Tarpon
Tying thread: Dyneema
Tail: White, Purple and blue UV2bMarabou
Sides: Two blue edged Vulturine Guinea fowl hackles
Topping: One large Vulturine Guinea fowl hackle
Horns: Two blue dyed Amherst tail fibres
Cheeks: Jungle cock
Hackle: Large natural UV2 Guinea fowl hackle
Secure your Tarpon hook in the vice with the hook shank horizontal.
Attach your tying thread mid shank and cover the back half of the hook shank with a foundation of thread.
I have had great success with UV 2 and fluorescent materials in my salt water patterns. Although there are many who disagree with the effectiveness of UV materials they cost the same and add another edge to the pattern and its only the fish that can see the difference.
Load a Petitjean magic tool with a large fibered marabou hackle.
Transfer the hackle to a Magic clip and cut off the hackle stem with long bladed scissors.
Make a dubbing loop or split your thread if you are using Dyneema and spin the marabou into a dubbing brush.
Wind now the dubbing brush of marabou to form the under tail. Spinning your marabou in a dubbing loop will give the tail much more volume and improve the swimming action.
Now take some UV2 Purple marabou.
Do the same as the white in a dubbing loop and wind this on over the white.
Tie down the base of the marabou tail.
Now repeat once more with UV2 blue marabou over the purple.
Now you will need some nice blue edged vulturine Guinea fowl hackles. If you are not lucky enough to have a skin you can purchase the hackles in packs of ten in different sizes.
Choose two blue edged hackles of the same size for the sides of the fly. Strip off any down from the lower part of the stem.
Now tie inn one hackle each side of the tail as shown.
These should be balanced on each side of the fly.
Now select a longer slimmer hackle for the topping.
This should be approximately one third longer than the side hackles and tied in centre top.
Once again make sure that it is balanced centre and top.
Once again a UV2 dyed hackle.
Select and prepare a large regular guinea fowl hackle.
Tie in and wind on as a regular wet fly collar.
Select two long Amherst pheasant tail fibre’s for the horns, these are tip dyed blue.
Tie these in one each side in-between the sides and topping.
Select some nice large Jungle cock hackles.
Choose and prepare two large hackles of the same size for the cheeks.
Secure these horizontal in line with the hook shank one each side over the Vulturine hackles.
Once all is secure you can whip finish and remove your tying thread.
Finish off by giving the head a couple of coats of black varnish and your salt water classic is done.