Also known as
Silver King, Silver Sides, Sabalo
The tarpon is a large thick-bodied fish generally silver in color other than its back, which can range from a dark green to gray. It has a large scoop shaped mouth and the last ray of its dorsal fin is greatly elongated. Its scales are large and thick like a coat of armor.
The Tarpon is a large, hard fighting fish and is judged by many to be the worlds most exciting gamefish. Once it feels the hook being set it begins the spectacular display of frequent, twisting, acrobatic leaps into the air to free itself from the hook.
Most Tarpon landed are between 25 to 80 pounds on average but can range from a few inches in length to about 300 pounds. The world all tackle record is 283 pounds 4ounces.
Tarpon are found in the western Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, the west coast of Central America and the coast of northwest Africa. They prefer water temperatures in the 74 – 88° F range.
Tarpon can be found through out the coastal areas of Florida. On the Atlantic coast they are most prevalent in the southeast areas. They can be found from in large inlets such as Port Everglades, Government Cut and south to Biscayne Bay from January to June and along coastal beaches and inlets during late summer. They are caught all the way up to Amelia Island but the fishing in south Florida is the best.
On the West Coast of Florida Tarpon can be caught from the Everglades up to the Panhandle. The most renowned area for Tarpon is Boca Grande where during May and June hundreds, if not thousands of fish are caught. Also in this area is Homasassa Bay has great shallow water flats fishing for Tarpon during May and June. Apalachicola Bay and St George Sound also offer good fishing during the summer.
The Everglades National Park and Ten Thousand Islands area has Tarpon fishing year round with the largest fish being caught from mid-spring to mid-summer.
The Keys also offer year round Tarpon fishing. The best times to fish are mid-March starting on the Florida Bay side through mid-July on both the Bay side and Atlantic side.
Tarpon come in all sizes and can be caught with all kinds of fishing equipment and using various methods. These fish can be caught with artificials and natural bait by casting, drifting, trolling and still fishing. Those big fish anglers will need some sturdy medium to heavy rods with 30 to 50 pound saltwater reels and lines.
For average and smaller tarpon just about all medium baitcasting, spinning and fly fishing tackle can be used effectively. Baitcasting and spinning gear should be equipped with 15 pound line and heavier leader material based in the size of Tarpon you are pursueing. Fly fishing tackle should consist of a 10 –13 weight rod a high quality reel with a capacity to handle 300 yards of 30# backing.
Natural baits used in the pursuit of Tarpon can include live shrimp, live crabs and live baitfish such as Pinfish, Mullet, Pilchards and Squirrelfish.
There are many locations around the state that a particular method of fishing for Tarpon works best. Check at the local Bait and tackle Shops for advice or hire a Professional Guide to teach you the techniques for a particular area to catch this spectacular gamefish!
Don't Forget To Bow To The King