Tarpon are the king of all fish, also known as Megalops Alanticus….they get over 300 lbs. with the Florida record being 243 lbs. caught in Key West FL. On 2-17-75. Tarpon move North through to our Naples waters starting in March and head toward Boca Grande by May then June to spawn. Some of the Tarpon will stay in our area until we get the first cold front coming around October to December.
These big, strong fish have been swimming in our area since prehistoric times and are known to reach up to 8 ft. long. Florida is the home of many Tarpon game fish tournaments, strictly a catch and release since they have no food value. Many proclaim Tarpon as the best sport fish since they have incredible endurance and jumping ability spending hours fighting a fisherman.
Most of the time we use a stout 9ft spinning rod loaded with a 65-pound test on a large spinning reel that’s able to handle 400 yards of braided line. We don’t use anything less than a 50 pound test line since they will put up a strong fight.
Tarpon like dead bait, catfish tails and cut mullet so we will chum in the passes where fish are rolling. Crabs are one of best ways to free line tarpon and I’ve caught a 220 pounder on my boat with this method. There are some tricks and rules that local fisherman like to keep so we don’t get in each others way. I’ll answer as many questions as you ask me while we’re out catching these big guys!
During the months of April, May and June, no more than three fishing lines may be deployed from a vessel at any one time in the Boca Grande Pass.
Did you know….. Fish have a specialized sense organ called their lateral line, which works much like radar and helps them navigate in dark or murky water