The tarpon swim along the Florida coasts, the Greater Antilles, and a few other Caribbean Islands. By learning more about this particular type of fish, you can become more skillful at tarpon fishing.
Tarpon Fishing for the Novice
Appearance of a Tarpon
Look for a green or blue fish with a thick body that is up to of 8 feet long. The tarpon can grow upwards of over 300 pounds but is typically found at around 150 pounds in weight. The record in Florida is 243 pounds.
Characteristics of the Game
Tarpon usually jump a lot, even in shallow water. They resist a lot too – heads up! For smaller sizes, there is a range of spinning, fly, and bait-casting tackle you can use for the catch. For bigger fish, you just need to make the tackle bigger in size and weight.
Bait, Tackle, and the Catch
Any tarpon, regardless of how big it is, will take the dead bait, such as a half Mullet. Simply drop it on the bottom and wait, if you can.
If you are a castor, you likely will find success with jerk plugs and surface plugs, as well as swimming plugs. Bucktail streamers and scissor-action feather streamers are useful for fly fishermen.
Where to Find Tarpon
You can find them in their natural habitat in warm months in Florida while the winter months find big tarpon primarily in South Florida. If you are looking to get a large catch by live baiting, often fishermen go to big inlets, channels, passes and river mouths throughout Florida. Meanwhile, the shallow flats of the Keys are great for fly fishing or casting.
Tarpon migration begins in April, during the last part of the month, and runs through July. The migrating tarpon shows up in the Keys, hungry from their lengthy journey. Usually, fishing charters fill up quickly within this time to fish the migrant fish, so book your charter as early as possible for Key West.