Florida Tarpon Fishing Guide

Tarpon are one of the most sought-after fish in Florida. This fish is well-known throughout Florida. It can leap up to 10 feet and rattle its gills. They can grow to be quite large. They are also known as Silver Sides or Sabalo or Silver Kings. They are edible but not very common because of the small bones and hard to clean. They are usually found in water between 74 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

This guide will give you information on how to catch Tarpon in Florida. It will also atell you where they can be found and when to go fishing. You will learn how to catch tarpon, what bait you should use and how to land them correctly.

Seasons and Locations

Middle Keys

Tarpon are abundant around Tom’s Harbor and Long Key. They also frequent Seven Mile Bridge and Channel Bridge. They can also be found on Jack Bank, Buchanan Bank, and in the flats. They are usually around this area throughout the year. However, it is best to visit them between the middle March and the middle July. They will be found around Florida Bay in the spring. However, they will soon move towards the Atlantic during the rest of the year.

Lower Keys

Bahia Honda Bridge and Marquesas Keys are the best options for fishing while you’re there. You can fish here from May to July, except that the harbor is full of Tarpon during the Tarpon season (January to March). The Marquesas Keys, which are uninhabited, are not connected to the road. Key West is home to Tarpon and is an excellent place to fish, if you have the ability to get there. Although the bridge isn’t in use right now, it is surrounded with waters full of Tarpon.

Ten Thousand Islands, Everglades

Tarpon fishing is great at Lostman’s river mouths, Rabbit Key, Sandy Key Basins and Lake Ingraham canals. They can be caught all year, but they are best to be caught between March and July.

West Coast (Everglade-to-Panhandle)

Boca Grande is the best spot for Tarpon Fishing. Fishing is best between May and June. This is when many people come from all over the globe to catch Tarpon. Crystal River and Homosassa bay are home to huge Tarpon. Apalachicola bay is another great place to fish in June and July.

Atlantic Coast, Below Biscayne Bay

They can be found all along the Atlantic coast of Florida but they prefer to fish inlets or ports below Biscayne Bay. From January to June, Port Everglades or Government Cut are excellent.


Natural bait will give you the best results if you fish during ebb tide. You can let the bait drift to your fish by putting yourself in the up-current. To double the length of your line, use a Bimini Twist. Next attach 8 feet of 100-pound mono with a swivel. Sharp hooks are necessary as a Tarpon’s jaw is very hard and bony. Many fisherman only catch a Tarpon one out of five times.


If you’re using shrimp as live bait, make sure to hook one of the large shrimp under the horn. You can also thread the shrimp and then line it. Avoid using floats as they make it difficult for shrimp to swim naturally. You can chumming with small, cut pieces. The size of your hook should be between 2 and 4/0. Casting should be done with the rod raised so the shrimp does not touch the surface. This will arouse Tarpon’s curiosity. Keep casting until you get a bite. Also, you can use crabs instead of shrimp. Place the claws on the hook, with their bottom facing upward. Cast your bait towards the fish that you have spotted, and let it sink slowly in front.


Mullet, pilchards, and pinfish are all excellent. Hook your fish both on its top lip and behind its head if you are anchored. A hook should be 6/0 to10/0 depending on the size of your fish. You also need a large floating that is 6-8 feet above your bait.

Fishing on flats can be done with either dead or live fish, as well as large pieces of mullet. To ensure the bait fish don’t get in the grass, adjust your float. Casting should be done often and close to any sighted tarpon. Casting into pods is not a good idea if you are spotting them. Cast close enough to it that they can see it, but not startled.

Artificial Lures

These are the guidelines to follow when using artificial lures. Use lures slowly and slow. These are some of the most effective lures.

  • Texas rigged – Black, green and red plastic worms

  • 3 Oz of Gator Spoons

  • Trolling with natural colors Rapala Magnum

Artificial lures are best used on flats. Cast a lighter line, and make sure to get close enough to the fish to be able to see your lure. You should slowly retrieve spinning lures and plugs. Allow your lure to sink, then pull your rod tit intermittently and reel in the slack.

Use Rebels, a round-headed crappie that weighs about 1/8 ounces when fishing in rivers or canals connected to salt water.

If you are fishing with artificial lures, make sure it is not too heavy so that it hangs below your hook. You could be fined a lot if you use weighted lures while Tarpon fishing.

Fly fishing

Fly fishing is based on the type and color of your bottom. For juveniles, flies should be 3 to 5 inches in length with 2 to 2/0 hooks. Larger fish can use flies up to 5/0. Your streamer should contrast well with the sea bottom. Over sandy bottoms, yellow, red and orange are good choices. Blue, light green and light grey work well over dark grass. If you see Tarpon eating mullet, dark-skinned 7-9 inch flies are the best.

Slowly retrieve the fly, separating it into 6-12″ segments. If a fish starts following you, speed it up and twitch harder.

Fly fishing in rivers or canals requires a rod that weighs 5 to 7, a tippet of 10 pounds with 20 pound shock, a rod that weighs 1 to 2 pounds, and a streamer that weighs 1 to 2 inches. All-black streamers are best for fishing in dirty water. Cast your fly above a rising fish.

How to Hook Tarpon

Many anglers measure success by how many Tarpon they land rather than how many they jump. Because the Tarpon’s bony mouth makes it difficult to set hooks properly, Do not assume that the hook you buy will be sharp enough. They will need to be sharpened by you.

The strike is another problem you’ll face when you hook Tarpon. Inexperienced anglers may set their hook too soon. If you are using natural bait, after they get a bite, it is important to first bring your slack line in. After you feel the weight, you should strike twice as hard. You can also wait until the weight is felt before setting your hook. This will ensure that the bait gets into the fish’s mouth. If you are using a hard lure, make sure to strike the bait right when it is heavy.

Many fly fisherman make the mistake of letting their fish eat the fly. Only set your hook when the fish is weighing you down. You should not remove the fly from the Tarpon’s mouth while it is following you. This will ensure that the Tarpon has the fly in its mouth. You can then strike. You can strike if the fly is caught while the fish is swimming towards you.

The rod’s tip should be pointed towards the water. Keep the rod’s butt against your stomach. Your body should be rotated quickly so your line can strip in fast. If you lose your fish, don’t be discouraged.

Landing a Tarpon

Tarpon jumps surprise even experienced anglers. After hooking your Tarpon securely, expect to see lots of jumps, gill rattling and somersaults. When the Tarpon is ready to jump, lower your rod’s tip and push it towards the fish. This will allow the line to have some slack. The drag on your reel will need to be aided. To help create more resistance, place your fingers against the rod so that your line is pressing down against it.

When your Tarpon is exhausted and ready to land, it will roll over on its side. Use your short lip gaff to push the Tarpon’s lower lip. The fish must be held as another person removes the hook from the Tarpon’s mouth or clips its leader as closely as possible.

Tarpons can be severely injured if they are lifted by their lip gaffs. Most Tarpon will be released so fisherman can flatten the barb or remove it from the hook. While this will make it easier to remove the Tarpon, you will still need more fish. After a fight, the fish will need to be revived many times. To improve the flow of water through the gills, hold the Tarpon upright in the water.

This guide will help you when you go out to catch tarpon.