Russell Kleppinger - 814 Tarpon In One Year




“It’s superman. There’s no other fish in the world like it. Period, like not even close. Superman is way faster, sees better than us, that’s a tarpon.” 

Podcast Synopsis

Russel Kleppinger is a professional fishing guide who works in the Miami Area as well as the Bahia Honda area and Florida Keys.  He moves with the tarpon and may catch more tarpon in a single year than any other person on the planet.  Last year Russel landed 814 tarpon.  He posted a picture of 3 tarpon at once which got him to the 814 number last year and it really made me curious.  I wanted to sit with Russ and find out how he was doing it.  From a background in Blue Marlin fishing, Russell Kleppinger brings many tricks to the game of tarpon fishing and anyone who likes tarpon and wants to catch a few more will likely learn a lot from this podcast.

Russel shares this story in the podcast that I thought was particularly interesting regarding tarpon:

“Scientist tell me that approximately, they see 5000 times better than our eyesight on average. When a tarpon is born it has rods, when its a little tiny fry. Those rods are like night vision, like black and white. As it starts to develop, its starts developing cones. We have 3, three cones allow us to see the colors that we know. When he develops he has 5. So he has night vision, plus color vision that - in the light sample studies they’ve proven some things that blow my mind - they can tell us apart. They can facially recognize humans and tell them apart, and they can see ultraviolet light penetrating the water.

Like a dog whistle we can’t hear, we can’t see their rainbow of colors. It’s so much more diverse than anything our eyes could see. It tell people it’s like the predator mask. He could be in night vision, he could be in thermal imaging, he could be in color imaging. And in the time it takes him to blink, they can switch. And in the color samples they did they had tarpon in tanks in controlled rooms and they’d pull them out and cut their eyes out. They controlled the light in the room, in the dark the rods were in the lens and the cones were in the back, they were in night vision mode. And then in different ambient lighting they could be both at the front of the lens overlapping (so they can use night vision with color, whichever is better) and then in the day the rods will recede to the back of the eye and the cones are at the front… so they have the most advanced eyesight in the world… According to the scientist there is not one thing that swims underwater that has better eyes than tarpon.”

You can follow Russ @Fishruss on Instagram and call 786 290 3474 for charter booking information

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See you on the water,

-Tom Rowland