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 TARPON
(Megalops atlanticus)


 Distribution & Size

Tarpon are found primarily inshore although adult fish spawn offshore.  Most catches by anglers are in the region of 40 to 50lbs.  The fish is found throughout Florida in the warm months.  Major fishing effort for large Tarpons are found by live baiting in the passes, inlets, channels and river mouths.
The Florida record is a massive 243lbs which is also the World record.

Wish I had caught that one ! Now how about this one.



(Photograph courtesy of Don's Dock)

The week of the 7th June 2002 the WORLD JUNIOR TARPON RECORD was broken with a fish of 223.7lbs by a 13 year old Joey Rufin fishing just north of Clearwater Beach. This fish was captured in 20 feet of water and 90% of the 1.5hr fight occurred in just 6 feet of water. This fish is estimated to be 85 years old.

General Information

Tarpon are famous for the spectacle of their aerobatic jumps which they do with regularity.  The smaller fish are more active than their larger brethren especially in shallow water where they dance with even more fury.

 Tackle & Bait

The Tarpon is caught by casting, drifting, still fishing and trolling.  For large fish tackle of the 30lb variety is necessary.  Heavy monofilament leaders are required.  The bait for drift fishing is small fish and crabs.  All Tarpon will take dead baits.  They may also be caught using jigs, plugs and perks.  Fly fisherman use feather streamers and the similar bucktail streamer.

 Eating Qualities

Absolutely none. So please remove just a scale from your quarry and return for someone else's pleasure. Actually saying that, scientists now recommend that you do not remove a scale as it leads to infection and possible death of the fish.

Our picture left shows Larry Mastry of Tampa with his 194lb Tarpon which won the 66th Suncoast Tarpon tournament being held here in Tampa during 2001. Great fish !

 

 

 State Limits and Regulations

Size Limit  Closed Season  Daily Rec. Bag Limit  Remarks
None None 1 per harvester per year Illegal to buy or sell.
Requires $50 tarpon tag to posses or kill. Vessel limit 1 fish. Harvest tag can only be used when a fish is retained for potential IGFA Record.
Tarpon over 40" must remain in the water during release.

 
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