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Tarpon Fishing


Published: 01/18/2014


Master anglers and sportsfishing enthusiasts from all over the world travel to Islamorada to test their mettle against our massive silver king, the tarpon.  With their massive size—capable of reaching over 8 feet long and nearly 300 pounds—and bullish temperament, these ancient fish provide a heart-racing challenge for even the most experienced sportsman.  However, our experienced guides are more than willing to put their expert knowledge and top of the line equipment to work to help even novice anglers go head to head with these aquatic beasts.

Tarpon are unlike any other species of fish in the world.  They are one of only two surviving species—the other being Atlantic tarpon—of the family Megalopidae, which date back more than 40,000 years.  Adults are carnivorous, dining fish and crabs, and swallowing their prey whole.

Tarpon are not caught to be eaten; they have no edible value.  Instead, anglers prize tarpon for their size and the way they jump out of the water when hooked, putting up quite a fight.  The State of Florida requires us not to drag the larger tarpon out of the water for photos, but we can take photos after the fish has been hooked, and sometimes it is possible for you to jump into the water to get a picture of you holding your catch.  After cutting your prize free, we can send its approximate size and weight to a local taxidermy shop, which will mount a lifelike version for display in your home.

Islamorada’s breathtaking scenery and warm, clear waters provide the perfect backdrop for a day spent fishing for tarpon.  They travel great distances to spawn in our waters during the months of March through July, and they are hungry.  Our area is filled with these massive fish during this time of year, which is why we call it “tarpon season.”  Tarpon season can last until October or even November if the weather is warm enough, but the best time to catch these silvery giants is during June and July.  Be forewarned:  Islamorada fishing charter companies get booked up for these months well in advance, so make sure to plan your vacation early if you do not want to miss out.

Fortunately, even if you do miss out on tarpon season, you still stand a good chance of hooking one of these massive fish in our waters anyway.  After the migratory tarpon leave, a good number of adult tarpon stay behind to enjoy our temperate climate, and a great guide can find them “rolling” on the surface at any time of year.  January is the worst month for tarpon fishing, but anglers still have a shot any time of year when it is above about 75 degrees.

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