Florida Giants: What’s Behind a One Ton Slam?

Can you reach the 2,000-pound mark? Of course that’s an estimate—as you aren’t going to weigh these monsters, especially not the federally protected goliath grouper. But what if, on the same day, you landed a giant hammerhead, a big tarpon and a jumbo goliath? Besides needing a chiropractor, you could congratulate yourself on attaining the One-Ton Slam. It could be done in several parts of Florida (Key West, Miami, Naples come to mind), but clearly Boca Grande, with its tremendous spring tarpon run and vast network of rich estuaries, offers the best chances.

Quiver of high-speed jigging reels with 50-pound-test monofilament. Box contains leadheads and plastic tails.

 

April through June, the pass drift brings to mind the term “combat fishing,” but as long as boats stay in line and don’t motor against the grain, things stay orderly enough.

 

Heavy tackle is favored for its ability to keep you “on top of the fish” while you motor outside the pack to finish the fight.

 

Tarpon are kept in the water for dehooking and reviving. In some tournaments anglers with tarpon tags quickly weigh catches in a sling at the beach.

 

Sharks are always present during the tarpon run, and today many fishermen enjoy fighting the toothy critters. Here a half of a stingray is rigged on a big hook with 1,200-pound cable.

 

Cable is twisted and double-crimped.

 

That’s a decent-size hammerhead, but no monster. The world record was caught here in 2006, 1,280 pounds, and we wouldn’t be surprised to hear of a bigger one. The vast majority of sharks are released.

 

Fishing for goliath grouper in tight quarters. When the fish takes the bait, the angler locks up the reel and the captain begins moving away quickly.

 

As with tarpon, goliaths are handled at boatside, never hauled into the boat.

 

Obviously, this angler wanted a closer look. What’s next, noodling for goliaths?