The two I use most for channel tarpon or rolling tarpon in low light/glare are grisley hackle streamers in yellow or orange with a darker shade palmered neck especially when overcast or late in the afternoon in clear water.
Smokey water or low sun into dark, I like black bunny tails with black schlapen necks. I use two 1/4" wide zonker strlips when available, but 3/16ths is the best I can do down here. I glue them together with super glue to about 5/8th inch beyond the bend of the hook and leave the two ends to swim (just like a split tail mullet). This keeps them from fouling the hook when casting. I use either gold bead chain or brass dumbell eyes, depending on the depth I want to fish.
I like gold/green/blue flash and gold eyes as opposed to silver in these conditions, and black hooks. I use very little flash and use a couple regular long strands past the tail and then a couple shorter ones along the body. The short ones, I pull through my thumb nail and index finger to make them twist and form dots of light.
I have better success with the above black bunny than the vaunted black and purple toads, which take much longer for me to tie.
But, frankly, I think most any streamer that rides well will work drifted in current.
Very interesting about Costa Rica!
We have found the hook up percentage is vastly increased if the angler is not holding the rod on the take.
My buddy who retired from guiding had his tarpon fishermen clients fish live crabs, pinfish and pilchards with 7-0 circle hooks and the lever drag reels set to his preferred strike setting. He preferred that they not hold the rods at all, but if they really wanted to, he'd tell them to not set the hook at all ever, period Then he'd increase the drag setting for them after the first run started.
What I do (fly fishing) depends on what the fish is doing. It it's a "hit and sit" (delayed reaction type eat) I usually will leave the line tight for a second or two then hit him with a heavy strip strike, because those particular fish often do figure 8's and then jump when they realize soemthing's wrong (especially in shallow water), and they are the most apt to twist out a lightly stuck hook when they pull that stunt.
Other times they will hit and run very quickly and aggressively. Then, I will usually wait until they are into the backing and then hit them with the rod two or three times in the opposite direction they are running towards with the rod horizontal.
I don't like to hit them when the backing connection may wind up being in the rod guides, and I like the rod pointed toward the fish when that connection goes through.
Whether my methods are right or wrong, I frankly have no idea. But it makes sense to me that a fish with a mouth big enough to swallow a football isn't swimming at 30 mph away from me with his mouth wide open. So if the hook is just barely pricking his bony jaw and comes loose, it's apt to re-hook into the corner of his mouth. Anyhow, that's what I do, and my solid hookup ratio is pretty decent.
Counterpoint is that I missed a hookup day before yesterday on a tarpon that bit then immediately jumped toward me, but I still think that percentages are with a delayed hook set.
Originally Posted by Homer
Let me rephrase the glueing step: we super-glue each layer before wrapping in the next.
Excellent point. For those unused to salt water fishing, let me point out that non-stainless hooks will begin rusting while actually fishing in the tropical heat. When you glue the underlying layers from thread-wrap up, you are helping to prevent the hook from rusting where you can't even see it. Unsaturated (with lacquer or glue) tying thread, hackle etc takes a long time to dry. Your hooks will last much longer if protected from even fresh water, much less salt water.