Tarpon fishing is very popular on the East Coast of North America. Growing to lengths of more than eight feet and weighing more than 280 pounds, it is easy to see why the tarpon is one of the most sought after saltwater gamefish in the world. It’s habitat is close to the shoreline so fishermen of all types and skill levels can catch them.
Let’s dive right in.
The Thrill of Tarpon Fishing
If you have ever had the privilege of Tarpon fishing and hooking up on a big one then you know the exhilaration and thrill of testing yourself in battle. Against one of the most sought after gamefish in the world.
This distinction is easy to see at first glance as the tarpon starts a series of spectacular acrobatic leaps in the air that will have your heart pounding, your rod bending and your drag screaming. You better hold on when you go Tarpon fishing!
Close to Shore
Since the tarpon’s habitat is so close to the shoreline, fishermen of all types and skill levels can can go Tarpon fishing. They can be caught from jetties, passes, docks, bridges, beaches, piers and rivers.
Tarpon fishing involves catching them using many types of tackle, rods, baits, lures and rigs. Either while fishing from a boat, canoe, kayak or walking and wading from the shoreline. As the tarpon run up and down the beaches.
When it comes to live bait, the fishermen’s bait of choice for Tarpon fishing is the ‘dollar crab’. A small live blue crab about two inches across its carapace, hooked through one end of it’s shell or underneath through a swimmer leg.
Effective Live Baits for Tarpon Fishing
Some other extremely effective live baits for Tarpon fishing include pinfish, threadfin herrings and pilchards. On days when the tarpon are being finicky in their tablefare selection, try these for the best results. And oh, by the way, don’t forget about a live mullet.
If you can get them, use them for Tarpon fishing. Fly fishermen are not left out either. The stealth of casting the right fly can sometimes be just the right trick to hooking one up.
But Just What is a Tarpon?
A Prehistoric Animal
This exceptionally fine creature is a prehistoric animal and the only fish with an air bladder. This allows it to absorb oxygen and live in waters with very low oxygen content. You can see them gulp air at the waters surface.
Tarpon are also called poons, tarpum, sabalo real, cuffum, silverfish or silver king’s and belong to the bony fish family Elopidae. The Latin designation is Megalops atlanticus.
While only microscopic at birth, tarpon have been documented at lengths of more than eight feet and weighing 280 pounds. Tarpon fishing catches weighing more than 200 pounds, while uncommon, do occur. Many fish caught are well over 100 pounds.
Slow Growth Rate
Their growth rate is slow, taking 8 to 10 years to reach maturity, and generally those over 100 pounds are female. Tarpon can live 55 to 60 years. They are greenish or bluish on top, and silver on the sides.
Their large mouth is turned upwards and the lower jaw contains an elongated bony plate. The last ray of the dorsal fin is much longer than the others, reaching nearly to the tail.
They are found primarily in shallow coastal waters and estuaries, but they are also found in open marine waters, around coral reefs, and in some freshwater lakes and rivers.
Tarpon Fishing and their Migratory Range
Their normal migratory pattern ranges from Virginia to central Brazil in the western Atlantic, along the coast of Africa in the eastern Atlantic, and all through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
Florida is widely regarded as having many of the best tarpon fishing locations in the world. Especially the world-renowned Boca Grande Pass in Southwest Florida.
Tarpon fishing can at times be an excercise of patience and discipline. You may be surrounded by large schools of rolling tarpon containing hundreds of fish and they will not hit anything you throw at them.
A Feeding Frenzy
Other times, it is a feeding frenzy. So, go Tarpon fishing every chance you get, that next world record catch may be waiting just for you.
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