Each year, South Florida and Miami Beach hosts one of the fishing world’s most well-kept secrets – epic tarpon fishing action!
Each year from January through June, the warm, bait-filled waters of Biscayne Bay and the surrounding waters play host to the mighty tarpon, allowing them to feast on their bounty.
In-the-know anglers take advantage of this world-class tarpon action. Whether you’re a Miami local or vacationing on our famous shores, there’s nothing like the thrill of going toe-to-toe with the mighty “silver king.”
South Florida – World-Class Tarpon Destination
South Florida and the Miami Beach area is considered the world’s top location for tarpon angling. Between the beaches, adventure parks, museums, and party places, there’s a ton to do in Miami. However, no trip to Miami is complete without getting out on the water and in on the tarpon action.
Sure, you could fish from the beach, a bridge, or the pier and catch plenty of fish, but to fish for tarpon and other world-class game fish, you need to be out on the water in the tarpon’s environment. Plus, it’s a boatload of fun!
Tarpon is a prehistoric fish with large scales and equally large sensitive eyes. They are also one of only a few fish species able to breathe air. With modified swim bladders, they can survive in low oxygen environments by rolling in the water and inhaling fresh air. They also do this to re-energize themselves during extended fights with fishermen.
Tarpon are also heralded amongst anglers for their size, power, and out-of-water leaps. Plus, when tarpon attack their prey, they do so full throttle. All of this makes them a truly incredible game fish and a thrill to pursue.
In Miami and Key Biscayne, it’s not unusual to catch tarpon weighing 50 pounds or more. In fact, during the area’s tarpon fishing season, many fishermen reel in tarpon weighing 200 pounds or more!
Even the smaller tarpon are an exciting catch. Regardless of their size, they spin, twist, and leap out of the water head over tail. The athletic ability of tarpon also makes them adept at throwing hooks. While frustrating at times, this ability is part of the fun and excitement of fishing for tarpon in Miami waters.
What’s the Best Bait and Tackle for Catching Tarpon?
The bait used for catching tarpon varies greatly. As far as live bait goes, tarpon love to munch on shrimp, mullet, dollar crab, pinfish, and threadfin herring. However, other species of fish love these types of bait as well. In fact, if fishing for tarpon with live bait, don’t be surprised to catch snook, grouper, snapper, permit, and even sharks. Due to this, most tarpon anglers find the greatest success using lures and spinners.
The size and raw power of tarpon means you can’t catch one with a skimpy rod and reel. To catch big tarpon, you’ll need a heavy rod, robust reel, and at least 50-pound lines. In other words, it pays to be prepared when fishing for the elusive silver king.
When is the Best Time to Fish for Tarpon?
Tarpon can be found in the waters of Miami throughout the year, but the odds of making a catch are much better from January through June. During these months, the tarpon population grows as more and more tarpon head south towards the warm Miami waters.
In addition to these months, the best time to catch tarpon is in the early morning or late evening hours. While they’ll bite any time of day, they simply prefer hunting at night.
However, night fishing for tarpon is no easy task. It requires a skilled fishing guide. Most night charters begin around sunset. Some charters are scheduled for four hours or so, but extended charters well into the nighttime hours are not uncommon.
That being said, we know where the tarpon like to bite, and long runs are generally not required. Rather than swimming around miles offshore, tarpon like to hang out close to shore. With the lights of the Miami skyline glimmering in the background, night time tarpon fishing is an experience like none other.
Just remember, regardless of what you’re fishing for, they call it “fishing” for a reason. Sometimes, it can be tough to get a bite, while other times can seem like a feeding frenzy. Nonetheless, an experienced charter guide can make every tarpon trip one to remember!