SARASOTA, Fla. - You don’t have to be an avid fisherman to appreciate what Captain Clark Wright, his mate and angler reeled into their boat off of Anna Maria Island earlier this month.
"Guy gets tight--big tarpon jumps, we see right away that it has orange features on its head and we're like dang, this is something big--it's a big deal."
Well, it was a big deal. They caught what’s called a Piebald Tarpon and it’s extremely rare. Most anglers have never seen one close up.
"First thing we did was get the DNA scrub, it would be important to the scientist. Because we knew this was kind of a special fish, we didn't want to take any longer with the fish than we had to because you have to let him go and get him released. I put it at 130 -140 pounds so it would be slightly above average than your regular tarpon."
Captain Jefrfri Durrance knows a thing or two about catching Tarpon. He’s been doing it since 1980. Durrance says these fish are so uncommon at first glance at the picture. He initially thought it was something else.
"We have some tarpon that we see from time to time; and catch from time to time, that we call river canal tarpon that are resident fish that stay year round. When they come out of the creeks and rivers, they're golden."
Wright and his deck hand Matt Smithman, plan on catching plenty of Tarpon in the future but they may not put too much emphasis on catching another treasure.
"What are the odds of you catching another piebald tarpon? Probably slim to none. It would be a pipe dream if it ever happened again."
Captain Durrance has a theory on possibly being able to catch this unique fish again, based on his own experience with catching regular tarpons.
"We caught a mile south of longboat pass in 2010--he was caught 354 days later a mile north of longboat pass--so with that information, I'd probably fish where Clark caught that one.