How to Catch a Tarpon Fishing (The Complete Guide) (2022)

How to Catch a Tarpon Fishing (The Complete Guide) (1)

How to catch a tarpon fishing Florida (The Complete Guide)

The best way to catch tarpon is with dead bait on the bottom unless you want to fish the first hour of light in the morning. If you are fishing the first hour of light a 5 to 8 inch paddle tail or live bait like shrimp, pin fish, mullet, white baits or crabs are your best choices.

Tarpon are one of the hardest fighting inshore fish that there are. If catching one is not on your bucket list; it should be. This page will teach you how to catch a tarpon the next time you are fishing in Florida.

Tarpon are migratory for the most part coming up from theCaribbean and other southern climesto Florida in early Spring.

​They turn around and head South again around November. Places in south Florida like Miami and the Florida Keys have tarpon all year long for the most part.

I am an INSHORE FISHING GUIDEon the Treasure Coast of Florida. I have been fishing the grass flats and mangroves all over Florida for more than 40 years.

The article below will teach you everything that I know about how to catch a tarpon fishing in Florida.

Let's get started with some simple tips and techniques to catch more tarpon.

Watch the video below and catch more tarpon around mangrove islands.

Where can you fish and catch more tarpon?

Tarpon are just about everywhere in Florida during the Summer months. They are one of the most high water temperature tolerant fish that there are. They can be found on the beaches; around the inlets; around deeper creek mouths and turning basins; in freshwater rivers and canals; spillways; and on the grass flats.

How to Catch a Tarpon Fishing Florida--BEACHES

Tarpon can be found running the beaches in search of prey items. They are sometimes within a few feet of the shore when the tide is high. They are very fun to target early and late in the day using a large 8 inch paddle tail or large pencil popping hard baits and a large casting rod.

Just cast out as far as you can and reel like crazy. This will often provoke and attack from a monster silver king or a black tip shark when they are around.

Make sure to have lots of braided line on the spool because they can strip off a 100 yards like it is nothing. During the various bait runs that Florida has (Spring and Fall mullet runs) they can be found crashing bait schools right off of the beach all day long.

The Perfect Tackle Combo (Big Tarpon Off of the Beach)

In my opinion, the perfect rod and reel combo for

large tarpon off of the beach(60 pounds or larger) is a 6500 series reel and a 7 foot medium/heavy or heavy strength, fast action rod.

Fill the spool with 50 pound braid and have a 60 to 100 pound leader depending upon the size of the tarpon in the area. That is the perfect tackle for large tarpon off of the beach.

I have had many different rods and reels over the last 40 years of inshore fishing around Florida. The include brands like Diawa, Shimano, and Penn.

My favorite line of reels to date is the Penn Spinfisher series of reels. They are extremely smooth, made of tough corrosion resistant metals, haves great drag systems and best of all they have a sealed body so sand and water won't get inside the reel.

They are perfect for surf fishing, wade fishing and kayak fishing. (Any fishing technique that makes it likely for water or sand to get in them)

You can expect to pay $150 plus for these reels. BUT they are worth it.

My second favorite non-sealed reels are the Diawa BG reels.

They are the reels that I use on my flats boat because I know that they are unlikely to get dunked in the water or to get beach sand in them.

You can expect to pay $100 plus for these reels. They are a great bargain in my opinion.

Try to look as far as you can up and down the beach for natural indicators of bait schools migrating down the beach. The best natural indicators are pelicans and terns hovering and diving near shore.

(Video) Beginners Guide | Rigging, Techniques and Pro Tips for Catching Florida Tarpon

You can even tell the size of the bait by what birds are actually diving on the bait schools. The least tern is a very small white bird about the size of a small blue jay. If you see them diving then you know that it is glass minnows or small pilchards that are being preyed upon. This tells you to downsize your lures to match the hatch.

Learn more about the best fishing lures for tarpon here.

If you see larger terns like royal terns or sandwich terns and pelicans, it is a good bet that the bait school consists of larger baits like finger mullet. Again you will want to match the hatch if you want to catch a tarpon that is also feeding on the schools of bait fish.

Learn more about tarpon fishing off the beach with artificial lures in the video below.

​How to Catch a Tarpon Fishing Florida--THE INLETSTarpon love to hunt in the inlets at night. Night time is the right time to catch a trophy tarpon of a lifetime.They can also be caught at the mouth of the various inlets early and late in the day but night is usually the best.

Inlets hold the BIG tarpon. I like to fish for the 4 feet or less fun sized tarpon because I am not interested in fighting one for an hour. A 10 minute fight is just fine with me. Inlet tarpon are often 100 plus pounds and will fight to the death once they figure out that they are hooked.

The Perfect Tackle Combo (Big Tarpon Off in the Inlets)

In my opinion, the perfect rod and reel combo for

large tarpon in the inlets(100 pounds or larger) is a 8500 series reel and a 7 1/2 foot medium/heavy strength, fast action rod.

Fill the spool with 80 pound braid and have a100 pound leader depending upon the size of the tarpon in the area. That is the perfect tackle for large tarpon in the inlets.

​PRO TIP--The outgoing tide usually is best as the fish wait for crabs, shrimp and other prey items to be washed off of the flats and sand bars into their waiting mouths. Large predatory fish like tarpon are less wary at night which will also help you catch them a little more effectively than the day time hours.

The best lures for inlet tarpon is a MirroLure Suspending Mullet. This is a great tarpon bait anywhere they are lurking. A large silver spoon will also catch plenty of inlet tarpon.

The best live baits are a ladyfish, mullet or crabs. Tarpon are often focused on these species as they get washed into and out of the various inlets around Florida.


How to Catch a Tarpon Fishing Florida--CREEK MOUTHS

My favorite place to catch tarpon is around creek mouths and turning basins. Tarpon are not afraid of shallow water but prefer to have a deep channel very close by. The great thing about tarpon is that they have rudimentary lungs and gulp air when water oxygen levels are low.

​This gives them an advantage over other predators that must leave the hot water to find oxygen to breathe better. (Hot water has less dissolved oxygen than cold water.) This also lets us tarpon fanatics like me know exactly where they are at.

The Perfect Tackle Combo (Tarpon in Creek Mouths)

In my opinion, the perfect rod and reel combo for

creek mouth tarpon(50 pounds or less) is a 4500 series reel and a 7 to 7 1/2 foot medium/heavy strength, fast action rod.

Fill the spool with 30 pound braid and have a 30 to 50 pound leader depending upon the size of the tarpon in the area. That is the perfect tackle for tarpon around creek mouths.

Did you ever notice that tarpon gulp more air in the mornings? The reason that they have to gulp more in the mornings is because there is no photosynthesis at night.

This means that the marine plants and diatoms can't produce oxygen without sunlight. So all night long the dissolved oxygen levels are being used up. This is why tarpon need to gulp all morning until the plants and animals can produce enough oxygen.

I am a kayak fishing guide offering charters from Stuart to Vero Beach. One of the most popular charters that I offer is the morning kayak tarpon fishing charter from May to November. If you haven't caught tarpon from a kayak you should put it on your bucket list.

The stealth of a kayak lets you get extremely close to the fish without spooking them. Once you are hooked up hang on for a wild ride.

Read this article to learn more about the best tackle for tarpon fishing.

​A normal tarpon fight consists of 3 or 4 jumps taking the fish completely out of the water as it shakes its head viciously to dislodge the hook in its mouth. When the sun is shining on it, the tarpon looks like a silver flash as it flies through the air.

The video above covers how to catch a tarpon fishing Florida.

Tarpon are fresh water tolerant and some live exclusively in fresh water canals and rivers that have been dammed up. One of my favorite fresh water rivers (The Loxahatchee River) is full of tarpon. They live right along with the other trapped saltwater species like snook and sheepshead.

Many of the smaller juvenile tarpon will seek refuge up freshwater rivers to get away from predators like bottle nose dolphins and sharks until they get large enough to take better care of themselves. These small tarpon do not usually migrate and can be caught all year long in Florida.

(Video) Tarpon 101 // The Basics on How to Fly Fish for Tarpon

The tarpon has not evolved very much in the last few million years. In fact, if you had a time machine you could go back 18 million years and catch the same tarpon that we are catching today. They are a very successful species.

Their swim bladders are lined with a lung like material that lets them take in atmospheric oxygen directly into their blood stream with each gulp of air. This gives them a huge advantage over other species of fish and helps protect them against their biggest enemy, the shark.

Sharks need lots of oxygen to survive. That is why most species can never stop swimming or they will die. They need a constant flow of dissolved oxygen running over their gills or they will suffocate.

This is another reason that tarpon like those stagnant back water bays and creeks. They can breathe just fine and their predators cannot.

How to Catch a Tarpon Fishing Florida--SPILLWAYSAnother great place to catch a tarpon fishing Florida is the many spillways around the state. The rainy season in Florida lasts from May to September. As Lake Okeechobee and other lakes across the state begin to fill with water, the water management workers will open the locks on the dams.

This sudden release of water attracts tarpon from their saltwater estuaries to the locks to feed on freshwater fish that are sucked into the outflow. A palm sized bluegill under a bobber can be a deadly combination that tarpon cannot resist.

​Just pitch it up into the current and let is drift back and you will usually have a tarpon fight on your hands. Snook also love to use the spillway outflows as a hunting ground.

There are a variety of great lures to fish the spillways with but I like the white DOA CAL shads with a 1/8 ounce red jig head. This is my go to lure for just about every fish inshore. This lure will catch snook, tarpon, redfish, flounder, speckled trout and the list goes on and on.

Tarpon will also hit a well presented silver spoon in the wash of a spillway. Just cast it up current and let it sink to where the tarpon are in the water column for best results. Usually the first few days of the spillways being opened are the best ones for catching tarpon.

I have created a whole online tarpon fishing course that will teach you how to catch a tarpon fishing in Florida and anywhere else where they live. You can see that FREE Fishing Course by clicking right here.

The great thing about fishing for tarpon around the spillways is that the snook love to hunt their too. Nobody eats tarpon but a snook (when filleted correctly) is delicious.

​The key to getting a good snook fillet is to get every speck of skin off of the meat. Some countries call them soap fish because their skin makes the meat taste soapy if you don't remove it all.

How to Catch a Tarpon Fishing Florida--GRASS FLATSThe grass flats of Florida are a nursery for many fish around the state. Everything from bull sharks to monster goliath groupers start life as a little fish trying to grow big enough not to get eaten. The grass flats are full of shrimp, crabs and other small creatures that support the vast ocean ecosystems.

These fertile grass flats are also a hunting ground for tarpon. They can be found cruising the grass flats sometimes in water barely deep enough to cover their dorsal fins as they look for food.

​They can be found cruising the grass flats in search of prey as the tide gets just high enough to support their large size. In this environment a pin fish under a bobber can work wonders for jumping a few tarpon. I like to free line a finger mullet behind my kayak and troll very slowly in about 4 feet of water.

​A circle hook is key to this technique because the tarpon will hook itself and you won't have to set the hook.Visit thePro Fishing Tipspage to learn more about getting the right tackle to maximize your fishing fun.

Watch the video below and learn the correct tackle to use for tarpon fishing.

What are the best baits and lures for tarpon fishing?

Many tarpon fishermen will disagree with me on this topic because we all have our favorite go to lures that we like the best. I have caught tarpon on lures imitating a mullet most often when top water fishing for them.

​A walk the dog type of lure like a Zara Super Spook or a Mirro Lure are the two that I use the most. My favorite colors are white and natural. HOWEVER, I believe that color is less important than how you work the lure. The walk the dog technique takes a lot of practice to perfect but itconsistentlycatches fish once mastered.

Tarpon also like spoons. Gold and silver spoons will catch you a ton of tarpon (especially when they are feeding on shiny white baits). White baits are anchovy, sardines, pilchards, pogeys, greenies........ The great thing about fishing with spoons is their ease of use. Just cast as far as you can and reel it back at various speeds.

​Changing the speed of the retrieve is important to figure out what speed is most attractive to the fish. Just make sure that you have a barrel swivel either at the top of your leader or attached to the spoon itself. If you forget this step your line will become twisted and cause you all kinds of problems.

My go to lure for just about every fish that swims is a plastic shad type of lure (scented ones work better). A DOA CAL shad with a paddle tail and a jig head will catch just about every fish that you are seeking. I use sizes from 3 to 5 inches normally but big tarpon love those 8 inch paddle tails.

My favorite color combination is a white body and a red jig head. I believe that the paddle tail is crucial because of the low frequency vibrations that it causes as you reel it through the water.

This lure is very versatile too. You can make it weed less to fish docks, grass, oysters, mangroves.... You can also use a heavier jig head and use avertical jigging technique if the tarpon are down deep. I like to use this set up to find fish. Make a ton of very long casts in a circle from where you are and keep moving until you find fish.

​A common and major mistake that many fishermen do is fishing in a dead zone. If you do not catch fish or see life where you are fishing then you should move until you find life. DO NOT FISH DEAD ZONES!

In my estimation, about 80 percent of the fish will be in approximately the same place. Sure you might catch a fish or two here and there but the lion's share will all be in roughly the same location.

This location usually has bait for them to eat; a comfortable water temperature and some moving current. Your job is to keep fishing until you figure out where all of the feeding fish are. Then you will have a great day of fish catching.

PRO TIP: Never fish dead zones. Keep moving until you find feeding fish.

(Video) Beginners Guide to Catching A Florida Keys Tarpon #1 - The Migration

The video below talks about the best live bait for tarpon fishing.

What are the best natural baits for tarpon fishing?

This is another contentious debate fishermen have but I will tell you what works best for me. When I see a lot of tarpon activity I will usually try to find a mullet, pilchard or pin fish to put under a popping cork. That presentation slows down the bait which leads to fewer misses by the tarpon.

​I like to use a leader that is roughly the size of the tarpon that I am targeting. (A 5 foot tarpon gets a 5 foot leader.) This presentation works whether you are casting to a mangrove shore, creek mouth, deeper channel, on a grass flat or wherever. The water must be deep enough to keep your bait off of the bottom. Always use a circle hook for this type of fishing.

If the tarpon are finicky and not interested in live baits they will often eat a dead one on the bottom. Most predators will eat a freshly dead chunk of fish on the bottom. I like a lady fish head or a mullet head for this type of fishing.

The rest of the fish works well too but the head is the best. If you can get away with no weight that is the best presentation and will get you the most hook ups. If the current is too much find the smallest weight that will keep your bait stationary.

A circle hook works best for this technique. Once the fish picks up the bait it will turn and hook itself as it swims away. You do not have to set the hook so you have time to put your beer down before you start reeling.

PRO TIP: Use dead bait when all other baits are not working for catching tarpon. ALL of my largest tarpon have been caught with dead bait.

Tarpon are a lot like us humans. Some days they don't want to try to hard to get something to eat. When we don't want to cook we order a pizza. When a tarpon doesn't want to chase down a meal, they will eat a dead fish on the bottom. On those lazy days try dead bait when everything else fails.

My favorite dead baits for catching tarpon are mullets and ladyfish. The best part of the mullet is the head for snook and tarpon. The body is better for redfish and speckled trout if you decide to try for them with dead bait some time.

The best part of the ladyfish is the body for tarpon. I usually discard the head unlet the ladyfish is already a good size. Then I cut the tail off and cast the whole thing out.

The key is to use a bait large enough so that a catfish cannot swallow it. Those damn catfish always seem to find the dead baits on the bottom first so you need a big bait or you will just be catfishing all day long.

Watch the video below to see how to catch a tarpon with dead bait.

​What is the best tarpon fishing gear?

If you are going to be fishing for tarpon all day you will definitely need to protect your eyes and skin from the sun's harmful rays.Polarized sunglasses are a must for tarpon fishing.A high end pair of sunglasses like Costa or Smith Optical will run about $250 and a lower end pair will run you about $25 with glass lenses. You can find them with plastic lenses for about $5 at Walmart. This is especially true when you are sight fishing for tarpon or anything else.

I have a $250 pair of sunglasses and the performance and quality is much better than the cheaper polarized sunglasses that I have used in the past. Expensive glasses have extremely sturdy frames and scratch resistant glass lenses.

Whatever price range you decide to go with you must wear polarized sunglasses or you can not sight fish for tarpon on the flats or in the mangrove creek mouths. The polarized lenses eliminate the glare on the surface of the water so that you can see under the surface.

The best color lenses for inshore and dirtier water scenarios are amber, rose and copper.If you are fishing super clean and clear water or you are fishing offshore a blue or a gray lens is best.

You will also want to stock up on UV performance fishing shirts to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. These shirts have built in sunscreen and are moisture wicking which means they evaporate your perspiration more efficiently keeping you cool on those hot days on the water.

​Want the perfect fishing gear? VISIT OUR STORE

How to Catch a Tarpon Fishing (The Complete Guide) (2)

Best water temperatures for tarpon fishing:

What are the best water temperatures for tarpon fishing? You need to know the answer to this to find out where the tarpon will be during the days and nights. If you can't find the water temperatures that the tarpon like you probably won't catch too many.

When the water is cold you can wait until the water warms up some to catch more tarpon. The inverse is true in the hot months. You have to fish early in the day or at night once the water temperature cools to catch more tarpon.

Tarpon are cold blooded just like a gator or a snake. This means that they can't regulate their own body temperatures like a mammal can. They have to find the optimal water temperatures to keep their bodies from getting too hot or too cold.

(Video) How to Catch Tarpon of all Sizes on Artificial!

The problems with thermometers on boats and kayaks is that they only tell you the water temperature on the surface. What is the temperature 10 feet down?

The video below will teach you all about the optimal water temperatures for tarpon fishing.

Use smell to fish for and catch more tarpon.

I think that a tarpon's sense of smell is often overlooked by tarpon fishermen. Think about the environment that a tarpon often hunts for prey in. It is often some dark and murky river or tidal creek where the water is almost opaque it is so dark.

Imagine that there is a delicious pin fish hiding in the grass at the bottom. The tarpon cannot feel/hear it with its lateral line because the pin fish is motionless. The tarpon cannot see the pin fish because it is hidden in the grass. BUT sure enough that tarpon comes down and slurps that pin fish up in its huge bucket mouth. BURP!

How did the tarpon find that fish? It used its sense of smell.

Most of the big tarpon that I catch are in dark and murky river and creek mouths using dead bait on the bottom. These same waters are full of bull sharks but the tarpon almost always find the bait first.

That tells you that smell is a very important sense for a tarpon. Use that reliance on smell to your advantage when fishing for tarpon.

Let's say that your go to lure is a suspending mullet imitation. You cast it out into the murky blackness of some creek and you are basically only using the vibrations to attract the tarpon. They can't really see the lure very well so that isn't a huge factor.

Why not add some stink to your lure? There is a product called Pro Cure that is real sticky and you can add the tarpon's olfactory system to help attract them. Pro Cure comes in many smells like shrimp and mullet that will work well for tarpon.

Pro Cure does not sponsor me. I just know that adding stink catches more fish. Why do you think I recommend GULP so often with so many different fish species?

Watch the video below to learn how to catch more tarpon.

Watch the video below and catch even more tarpon.


Tarpon are one of those bucket list species of fish that brings fishermen from all over the world to Florida's amazing inshore fishery. If you are lucky enough to hook one, then the hard part of keeping them on the line begins. I hope that you were helped by this article about how to catch a tarpon fishing in Florida.

They are very hard to catch because their bony mouths are hard to get a hook in. They are also very good at spitting the hook with their vicious head shakes. They are the best fish to catch, in my opinion. Seeing the silver king sky out of the water 4 or 5 times as you battle them is an amazing thing to behold.

When I have free time to fish for fun, I usually target tarpon when they are in my area. Once you find them you can follow them as they move around searching for food. They have to gulp air so they will let you know where they are if you lose them.

Come on down to the Treasure Coast and book a kayak fishing tarpon charter for a shot at hooking up with the silver king in a kayak. You won't forget this fishing trip if you catch a tarpon. Believe me.

I hope that this article helps you catch more tarpon or at the very least have more fun trying. Let's get some lines wet Florida!!

About the author: The author of this article insists upon being referred to as The Terrible Tarpon Terror of the World. But everyone refuses to call him that so he is just Mike, the co-owner of FYAO Saltwater Media Group, Inc.

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What is the best way to catch tarpon? ›

Some of tarpon fishing bait are shrimp, pinfish, mullet and crabs. Stake out above areas that hold tarpon and drift your live bait down to the fish. Hook crabs in the corner of the shell and baitfish through the mouth. The best bait for tarpon doesn't spin in current, so pinch off the heads of shrimp.

What is the best time of day to catch tarpon? ›

Early morning is a great time to fish for tarpon. Because tarpon are mostly nocturnal feeders, lowlight conditions are the best times to target these fish. Most of the fishing charters will get out on the water before first light to make sure you are on the spot just as it is getting light out.

What are the best lures for tarpon? ›

Best 10 Tarpon Fishing Lures To Use In Tarpon Season
  • 1 Bomber Badonk-A-Donk High Pitch Lure.
  • 2 DOA Bait Buster.
  • 3 Hogy Original 10 inches.
  • 4 Sebile Magic Swimmer Soft.
  • 5 Rapala X-Rap Twitchin' Mullet.
  • 6 D.O.A Shrimp.
  • 7 Yo-Zuri High-Speed Vibe.
  • 8 FishLab Mad Eel Tarpon Lures.
Jul 20, 2022

How long is a 100 pound tarpon? ›

Tarpon are slow-growing fish and do not obtain sexual maturity until reaching an age of 6-7 years and a length of about 4 feet (1.2 m). Tarpon weighing about 100 pounds (45.4 kg) typically fall between 13-16 years of age. Male tarpon attain lifespans of over 30 years, while females may live longer than 50 years.

What tide is best for tarpon? ›

The best tide for tarpon fishing is the first two hours of the outgoing high tide. The outgoing tide washes shrimp, crabs and small fish out of the estuaries, mangroves and grass flats through the passes, inlets and channels straight to the hungry tarpon.

What size hooks for tarpon? ›

A 5/0 hook is the best size hook for catching tarpon. That hook size is perfect for hooking all of the tarpon's favorites like finger mullet or large threadfin herring, ladyfish, pin fish, crabs or silver and striped mullet without affecting their swimming abilities too much.

Where is the best place to catch tarpon? ›

The Florida Keys remain the most popular tarpon-fishing destination on the planet, and Islamorada is the fishery's epicenter. Anglers target giant tarpon around the bridges with live bait and conventional tackle. Fly fishermen stalk the flats and shallow “lakes” sight-fishing for giant fish.

Is a full moon good for tarpon fishing? ›

Fort Myers tarpon fishing is at its best a few days before, during, and after the new and full moons.

Is tarpon good eating? ›

Tarpon is edible but people rarely eat them because their meat contains a lot of small bones and it's reported that they don't taste very good.

Are tarpon hard to catch? ›

I hope that you were helped by this article about how to catch a tarpon fishing in Florida. They are very hard to catch because their bony mouths are hard to get a hook in. They are also very good at spitting the hook with their vicious head shakes. They are the best fish to catch, in my opinion.

How do you get a tarpon at night? ›

Tarpon Fishing At Night (With Peter Miller & Capt. Russ Kleppinger)

Can tarpon bite you? ›

It's relatively safe to feed tarpon by hand because unlike many large fish, Tarpon don't have sharp teeth. Rather, their mouths are the consistency of sandpaper. Their bite hurts a bit – I got a good scrape from one massive “hit” which bled a little – but it didn't stop me going back for more. How big are these Tarpon?

What is the biggest tarpon ever caught? ›

The all-tackle world record (additionally certified as the 80-pound class record) for a giant tarpon is 286-pounds, 9-ounces caught by Max Domecq in Rubane, Guinea-Bissau, Africa on March 20, 2003.

Do sharks eat tarpon? ›

Fish-eating birds feed on young tarpon. Porpoises and alligators sometimes eat larger ones. But by far, the most dangerous predators are sharks. A big bull shark or great hammerhead can easily cut an adult tarpon in half with just one bite.

How much does a 7ft tarpon weigh? ›

That fish measured 8 feet 2 inches long. Typically, a six-foot tarpon weighs about 100 pounds. A seven-footer goes about 200 pounds and a 300-pounder measures eight feet or more.

What rig do you use for tarpon? ›

Whether you're rigging up live blue crabs, live baitfish, or soft plastics on a jighead, the free-line rig is by far the best rig for tarpon.

What is the best time of year to catch tarpon in Florida? ›

The best time to fish for large migratory tarpon in the Florida Keys is when the water temperatures reach and stay above seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit. That can be as early as mid-March, but usually equates to late March to as late as early April. May is all safe as well as most of June.

Are Tarpons hard to catch? ›

New techniques to tackle the silver king throughout its range. Tarpon are one of the most challenging game fish to land, and learning how to catch tarpon is often an angler's lifelong journey.

Where is the best place to catch tarpon? ›

The Florida Keys remain the most popular tarpon-fishing destination on the planet, and Islamorada is the fishery's epicenter. Anglers target giant tarpon around the bridges with live bait and conventional tackle. Fly fishermen stalk the flats and shallow “lakes” sight-fishing for giant fish.

Do tarpon bites hurt? ›

What is this? It's relatively safe to feed tarpon by hand because unlike many large fish, Tarpon don't have sharp teeth. Rather, their mouths are the consistency of sandpaper. Their bite hurts a bit – I got a good scrape from one massive “hit” which bled a little – but it didn't stop me going back for more.

Is tarpon good eating? ›

Tarpon is edible but people rarely eat them because their meat contains a lot of small bones and it's reported that they don't taste very good.

Can you catch tarpon during the day? ›

Tarpon will bite at night but live bait or fresh dead bait is preferred over lures. You can catch tarpon during the day and the tide phase does play a big role in determining tarpon action.

What is a good size tarpon? ›

Medium sized tarpon are 4 feet long. ​Tarpon are one of those bucket list fish and you better have the right tackle for before you even try. You will need to get yourself a spinning reel that can handle the size tarpon that you are targeting matched with a medium/heavy rod and a strong braided line for best results.

How do you spot a tarpon? ›

11 Tips for Spotting Tarpon
  1. Know what to expect. Tarpon shots come in a variety of favors. ...
  2. Scan the water. It's easy to get tunnel vision when you're on the bow of a flats boat. ...
  3. Motion. The easiest fish to see are the ones on the move. ...
  4. Color. ...
  5. Pushes. ...
  6. Rolling. ...
  7. Bubbles. ...
  8. Tails and mouthes.
Mar 25, 2014

Why do you bow to a tarpon? ›

Tarpon are masters of breaking lines and shaking the hooks free from their mouths. It is their mouths that cause so many problems for tarpon fishermen. It is their bony mouths that necessitate tarpon anglers to bow to them in order to actually catch them with any sort of regularity.

What is the tarpon Capital of the world? ›

Boca Grande, Florida, namely Boca Grande Pass is considered the Tarpon Capital of the World. This body of water sits between Gasparilla and Cayo Costa Islands with a depth of 40-80ft.

Does tarpon jump out of water? ›

If you hooked a fish that size with a fly in 50 feet of water, you might fight it for hours. But because the tarpon are in the shallows, they jump instead of dive, and the jumping tires them out.


1. HOW TO CATCH TARPON ON THE BEACH - Hooking the "SILVER KING" (FF Episode 15, Season 1)
(Watch Your Lip)
2. Tips On Catching Tarpon Near Passes & Inlets - Flats Class University
3. Guidelines - River Tarpon
4. How to catch tarpon from Shore 8 Hooked 3 Released
(Captain Cody)
5. fishing planet florida how to catch tarpon & Unique Snook
(bubbles way)
6. Beginners Guide to Catching A Florida Keys Tarpon #3 - All About The Bait
(Key West Kayak Fishing)

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