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The Tarpon

The Tarpon, Megalops atlanticus

Green or steel blue above, silver on sides and belly. Deep, thick body; forked tail. Long trailer at end of dorsal fin.


Silver King, Sabalo 


Green or steel blue above, silver on sides and belly. Deep, thick body; forked tail. Long trailer at end of dorsal fin.


From 12 inches or less to about 75 pounds, on average, although big fish of 100 to 150 pounds are numerous in many areas. World record 286 pounds, 9 ounces; Florida record 243 pounds.




Famous for the spectacle and frequency of its jumps. Giant Tarpon don’t quite match the acrobatics of the smaller ones, but they leap frequently enough in shallow water, and with even more fury.


Anglers seeking big fish in passes, channels, deep bays and surf areas like stout tackle with lines testing at least 30 pounds. All sizes of spinning, baitcasting and fly tackle get lots of play for smaller fish. The same types of gear, although of heavier proportions, are also used for big fish on shallow flats. Use at least 15-pound line on spinning and casting gear, and at least a 10-weight fly outfit with minimum 16-pound tippet. Heavy monofilament leaders or tippets are required because of the Tarpon’s very rough mouth. Drift-fishermen in the passes and inlets prefer live baits—mainly small crabs and small fish. All Tarpon will take dead baits, such as a Mullet head or half Mullet, fished patiently on bottom. For trolling or surfcasting with heavier gear, large jigs, spoons and lipped plugs get the call. Generally, casters enjoy the most success with swimming plugs, jerk plugs and surface plugs. Fly fishermen rely heavily on scissor-action feather streamers and bulky bucktail streamers.


Casting; Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.


All Florida coasts plus the Greater Antilles and some other Caribbean islands, including the Virgin and Cayman Islands. Scattered in the Bahamas, where it is most plentiful around Andros but also present elsewhere, including Bimini, the Berry Islands, and the Exumas.


Fishable throughout Florida in warm months, including the Panhandle, but adults are largely confined to South Florida in the winter. Major fishing efforts for big Tarpon are directed at live-baiting in large passes, inlets, channels and river mouths throughout the state, and at sight-fishing with fly and casting tackle on shallow flats in the Keys and on the lower Gulf Coast from Homosassa southward. Large and medium Tarpon also are found off the beaches and in the surf of both coasts at times, and many are hooked from bridges and piers, especially at night. Medium-size fish are common in a variety of settings in South and Central Florida, including freshwater rivers and landlocked canals. Tiny juveniles inhabit landlocked canals and ditches.


FS forum member SYXX with a big ole' tarpon in the southeast region.

Night Time Tarpon

Forum member frankthetank shows off a nice tarpon caught on live mullet from his kayak.

Sebastian Slam

Dane Yelencsics displays a snook, redfish and nice tarpon caught in Sebastian inlet at night.

Wintertime Tarpon

Forum member redfish27 with a nice winter tarpon caught on a DOA Cal.

IRL Tarpon

Forum member tron1.8 and wife enjoyed a great day on the Indian River, catching tarpon sheepshead, snapper and more.

Night Time Tarpon

Jay Shields leaders a nighttime silver king.

Tampa Bay Tarpon

Forum member Capt. Jared has been putting his clients on some silver kings, like this one!

Tarpon on Fly

Croft catches this little tarpon on fly while fishing off of his gheenoe

Tarpon Jumping in the Everglades

Forum member syxx has been having great inshore success lately, including getting tight with some biiiig tarpon.

Flamingo Tarpon

Florida Sportsman Forum Member Bonesmuggler caught this nice tarpon on a fly rod in Flamingo Island.

Secret Lagoon Tarpon

Florida Sportsman Forum Member Nickipod98 caught this baby Tarpon while fishing one of his secret lagoons in Miami.

Tarpon on a kayak

Florida Sportsman Forum Member badonskybuccaneers shows his buddy here who fishes the panhandle all the time free lining with live bait for Tarpon and comes back with great results on his kayak including this one here.

Keys Tarpon

Florida Sportsman Forum Member Piner_wahoo showing a little Tarpon action down in the Keys.

Which ones taller?

Florida Sportsman Forum Member Piner_wahoo compares a Tarpon to this little girl.

Keys Tarpon #2

A little more Tarpon action in the Keys from our Florida Sportsman Forum Member Piner_wahoo.

Big Tarpon!

Florida Sportsman Forum Member cmcfishinggal with her nephew holding a big tarpon.

Massive Tarpon!

Inshore tarpon that was too big to bring in the boat for a full body picture!

Tarpon on the surface

Pictured here is a tarpoon swimming up the lagoon searching for its next meal.

Holiday season Tarpon

Capt. John Landry of Sanibal/Ft. Myers holds this massive tarpon up with Niko Knuttel while fishing the Caloosahatchee River.

Good day at the office

Florida Sportsman rep Rhett Nelson and art director Drew Wickstrom hold a photo shoot for this monster Tarpon while fishing off of Fort Pierce. Nothing like combing work with play, great job guys!


Tarpon jumping on inshore waters.

Feeding Time at Robbies

The Blackwell family feeding the resident tarpon of Robbies in Islamorada.

Ryan's 140 pound Tarpon

Ryan Anderson caught this 140 pound in Palm Harbor Florida.

Three Rooker Bar Tarpon

Ryan Anderson caught this full grown tarpon off the Three Rooker Bar in Palm Harbor, Fl.

Pond Tarpon

A nice pond tarpon caught in Englewood, FL by Abby Lonsdale.

Chris's Tarpon

Chris Hopkins caught this monster Tarpon in the Ten Thousand Islands

Boca Pass Tarpon

David Kelly caught this tarpon in the southeast region.

Keys Tarpon

This keys tarpon gets to meet the whole crew for the release. Impressive catch!

Oops! Hungry Tarpon

The tarpon at Robbie's Place in Islamorada can get a little greedy!

Fort Pierce Tarpon

Ian Spencer caught this tarpon at the Fort Pierce jetty on 20lb Power pro with a 8\" mullet.


Lil' Tarpon

Backwater tarpon juveniles are a top target for fly anglers.

Southwest Tarpon

Sanibel Tarpon


Tarpon Rockin' the Boat




Catch of the Week

Jumping Tarpon

Jumpin Tarpon

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