All You Need to Know About Tarpon Fishing in Florida
May 14, 2019 | 8 minute read Comments
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Reading Time: 8 minutes

In this short guide, I’ll teach you the basics of Tarpon fishing in Florida. First, I’ll show you where to look for them, and at what time of year.  Next, we’ll look at which bait to use, as well as how to hook and land them properly.

The Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) is among the most popular game fish in Florida. It’s well known for its acrobatics on the end of a line and capable of jumping up to ten feet out of the water while rattling its gills like an angry diamondback snake. They grow to massive size, with the current IGFA world record at 286 lbs 9 oz. Tarpon are also called Silver King, Silver Sides or Sabalo (Spanish). While they are edible, people rarely eat Tarpon because their flesh is filled with small, hard to clean bones. Tarpon’s preferred water temperature is in the 74-88 degrees Fahrenheit range.

Tarpon fishing in Florida: The Silver King swimming in deep water

Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus)

When is Tarpon Season in Florida

Tarpon are catch and release only in the state of Florida. Retaining the fish is only permitted if you are pursuing an IGFA world record and have purchased a Tarpon tag, which costs around $50 and is limited to one per year per person. Also, Tarpon fishing gear is limited to hook and line only. However, as long as you play by the rules, you’re in for a world of fun. Let’s take a look at when and where you can hook these monsters.

Seasonality and Locations

Upper and Middle Keys

There is a large population of Tarpon around the Channel Bridges, Tom’s Harbor, Seven Mile Bridge and Long Key. Also, look for them on the flats. Jack Bank (near Marathon) and Buchanan Bank (near Islamorada Key) are good places, as well. While present near the Keys year-round, peak season runs from mid-March and until mid-July. During springtime, Tarpon are mostly on the Florida Bay side, but as the year progresses, they start moving to the Atlantic side.

Lower Keys

The best locations are Key West Harbor, Bahia Honda Bridge and Marquesas Keys. May through late July are the best months here, with the exception of Key West Harbor which is full of feeding Tarpon January through March. The Marquesas Keys, since they’re uninhabited and not connected to Key West by road, have Tarpon in great numbers if you can get to them. The Bahia Honda Bridge is a disused bridge that used to connect Bahia Honda Key with Spanish Harbor. The waters surrounding it are full of Tarpon.

Everglades National Park and the Ten Thousand Islands

The Sandy Key and Rabbit Key Basins along with the canals at Lake Ingraham and river mouths of Lostman’s and Harney rivers. The Turner River at Chokoloskee is also a good location famous for big Tarpon. Fish are caught all year, with peak season from March to July, during the receding tide.

Florida’s West Coast from the Everglades to the Panhandle

Boca Grande is the most famous Tarpon fishing location in the world. The best months for fishing are May and June, when people from all over the world come to catch Tarpon. The flats surrounding Homosassa Bay and the Crystal River are also full of big Tarpon May through June. Apalachicola Bay is a good spot, from June and throughout the entire summer.

Atlantic Coast, South of Biscayne Bay

Although found throughout Florida’s Atlantic coast, ports and inlets south of Biscayne Bay offer the best Tarpon fishing. In particular, Government Cut (between Miami Beach and Fisher Island) and Port Everglades, from January to June.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Location Heatmap

Tarpon fishing heatmap for Florida

Tackle

Technique Rod Reel Line
Spinning / plug casting (in open water) 7′ Spin or conventional 250 yds of 12-15 lb mono or braided
Spinning / plug casting (around mangroves, bridges and piers) 7′-8′ Spin or conventional 150 yds of 30 lb mono or braided
Inlet and Surf 8′-9′ Spin or 4/0 conventional 300 yds of 30-50 lb mono or braided
Fly fishing 9′-9.5′ 11-13 weight High end reel with good drag 300 yds 30 lb Dacron backing plus 100 yds 25 lb mono shock absorber

Rigs and Techniques

Natural and Live Bait

a pinfish, one of the most popular tarpon fishing baits

Pinfish are among the most popular baitfish used to catch Tarpon

With natural bait, you’ll get the best results during the ebb tide. Position yourself up-current and let your bait drift towards the fish. Double the end of your line at about 6′ with a Bimini Twist and attach about 8′ of 100 lb mono with a swivel. Use sharp hooks, as Tarpon have a hard, bony mouth that can be difficult to penetrate. Most fishermen land only about 1 in 5 takes.

Shrimp as live bait

Hook a large shrimp under its horn on the head or thread it and freeline it. Avoid using floats because they make it difficult for the shrimp to swim naturally. Chumming with small, cut up pieces helps. Hook size: 2/0-4/0.

Raise your rod as you cast to make the shrimp skip on the surface. Its movements will arouse a Tarpon’s curiosity. Keep casting until you get a bite. Crabs can be used instead of shrimp. Remove their claws and hook them bottom up. Cast towards a spotted fish and let the bait slowly sink in front of the fish.

Fish as live bait

Pilchards, mullet, and pinfish are the best. Hook the baitfish in behind the anal fin or in front of the dorsal fin to ensure they stay alive for as long as possible. If you are anchored, hook the baitfish on the top lip and behind the head. Use a 6/0-10/0 hook depending on fish size with a large float 6′-8′ above the bait.

Live or dead fish can be used as bait on the flats, as well as large cut up pieces of mullet, adjusting the float to keep baitfish out of the grass. Cast often and in front of sighted single tarpon. If you spot a pod, don’t scare them away by casting into the pod. Instead, cast nearby where they can notice it but not get startled.

In the fall and winter, rivers feeding bays are home to large schools of Tarpon. Methods and techniques explained so far will work but bottom fishing with live catfish or ladyfish can produce good results also. Large plugs trolled far behind the boat are effective. Biscayne Bay’s Turkey Point cooling canals are winter gathering places for Tarpon.

Artificial Lures

Follow the same location, time and tide guidelines as above. Work or troll your lure very slowly.

These lures have been proven to be effective:

Artificial lures are best used on the flats. Use lighter line and cast close enough to sighted fish for them to see your lure. Spinning lures and plugs should be retrieved slowly, letting the lure sink, then intermittently pulling the rod tip and reeling in the slack.

When fishing canals and rivers connected to salt water, use small Rapalas, Rebels, and round-headed crappie jigs about 1/8 oz.

Make sure that if you are fishing with jigs or other artificial lures, the lure is not weighted so it hangs below the hook when the line or leader is held vertically. Using weighted lures when fishing for Tarpon is prohibited and carries a hefty fine.

Fly Fishing

When fly fishing, the color of your fly depends on the color of the bottom. Flies 3”-5” long, with 2-2/0 hooks for juveniles and up to 5/0 for large fish. Choose a streamer that has good contrast with the bottom. Orange, yellow, and red patterns are effective over sandy bottoms, while light gray, blue, and light green is better over dark grass. When Tarpon are sighted feeding on mullet, 7”-9” white flies with dark stripes are good.

Retrieve your fly slowly in 6”-12” segments. Speed up and twitch more if a fish starts following to entice a hit.

When fly fishing canals and rivers, use a 5-7 weight rod, a 10 lb tippet with 20 lb 12” shock a 1lb 1”-2” streamer in white or yellow, the Dahlberg Diver, Marabou streamer, muddler flies, and all-black streamers in dirty water. Cast the fly right over a rising fish.

Avoid fly fishing for Tarpon around bridges. You will likely lose all fish on the surrounding obstacles.

How to Hook a Tarpon

Anglers frequently measure how good a fishing day it has been by stating how many Tarpon they “jumped”, instead of landed. This is because their very bony mouth makes it very difficult to set a hook well. Do not rely on hooks being sharp enough out of the box – supplemental sharpening is needed.

Tarpon jumping near a boat as the angler looks on

These fish can surprise even an experienced captain with their jumps!

Another problem with hooking Tarpon is in the strike: inexperienced anglers try to set the hook too soon.

Let’s cover natural bait first. When you feel the bite, take in the slack line, then wait until you feel the weight, and strike hard two times. It might also be a good idea to wait an additional second or two before setting the hook. Waiting will make sure the bait is solidly in the Tarpon’s mouth.

When using hard lures, strike as soon as you feel a heavy weight at the end of your line.

When fly fishing, most fishermen strike as soon as they see the fish eating the fly which is way too soon. Set the hook only when you feel the fish’s weight. If a Tarpon takes a fly while following it, stop stripping for a few moments to let the fly go deep into the fish’s mouth, then strike. If the fish takes while swimming towards you, set the hook several times in quick succession.

How to set the hook properly: keeping your rod tip close to the water, with the rod butt tightly secured against your belly, quickly rotate your body, making the rod move sideways while the line strips in hard.

In spite of all your efforts at hook setting, be prepared for the majority of fish to shake free.

How to Land a Tarpon

Once you’ve solidly hooked a Tarpon, expect lots of high jumps, somersaults, and gill-rattling. As your fish is about to leap, “bow” (lower) your rod tip and push it towards the fish to give the line slack. There is no holding a large Tarpon and no “horsing” it in, either. The drag on your reel will need help – hold your fingers so that you press the line against your rod and create additional resistance to the pulling fish.

When a Tarpon becomes exhausted, it will usually roll on its side. Using a short lip gaff, pass it through the fish’s lower lip and the fish will be held while someone removes the hook or clips the leader as close to it as possible.

Caution: Lifting a large fish by a lip gaff can injure it severely, so do not attempt to lift them out of the water. Remove the hook without lifting the Tarpon.

a an angler handling a tarpon he just hooked

Because nearly all Tarpon are released, some fishermen remove or flatten the hook barb. Doing so will ease removal, but you will lose more fish.

After a fight, the fish will often need reviving. Hold it upright in the water, moving it back and forth to enhance water circulation through its gills.

Have you fished for Tarpon in Florida before? How big was it? What bait/lure did you use? Got some other tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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Comments (90)
  • clay

    Dec 27, 2015

    coming to sarasota “2 0f us” to golf and fish 2016
    i am experienced and my fishing partner is a beginner but very athletic and fit
    i want to fish for big Tarpon
    i am a fly fisherman but enjoy casting lures and live bait to
    what month is prime ?
    we will travel from sarasota to a hot spot if need be
    looking to go 2 or 3 times

    would be great if you can help

    thank you

    Clay

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      Xavier

      Dec 29, 2015

      Hi Clay, thanks for your comment! I can tell you that Boca Grande would be a prime choice for you two. This is the longest standing Tarpon hotspot and people from all over the world come here to catch the big ones. The best months would be May and June. Captain LeRoy with Tapout charters is an excellent guide to book.

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      john appleby

      Jan 27, 2018

      I am wondering how these fish fare following a long battle on a fly rod. For many species, lactic acid build up kills them hours following release. My understanding is that the quicker you land a big fish, the better the survival rate. Just curious if Tarpon have been studied from this perspective. ‘Don’t see anything on line.

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      Jerry

      Mar 28, 2018

      Hi, John, yes the same holds true for Tarpon, as well the faster you can land it the less chance you have of it dying later! Please check me out on FishingBooker…Scannin Shallow Guide Service.

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  • Bjørn

    Dec 30, 2015

    Hi,

    I will be staying in Cape Coral and somewhere in Florida keys (not decided where) in late february. I would like to go fly fishing for tarpon one day, however it seems a bit early in the season from what can find of info on the web. As this is my first time going for tarpon, catching fish is more important than the size of the fish. Do you have any advice on which area to fish? I will be going with a guide.

    Best regards
    Bjørn

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      Xavier

      Jan 4, 2016

      Hi Bjorn, thank you for your comment. Tarpon are good in Florida year round, the seasonality referring to the presence of bigger fish. Younger tarpon will be present in shallower waters. The Keys are a good region and the season there is skewed towards earlier months, but, since you say you’ll be around Cape Coral, I’d recommend visiting Boca Grande – the tarpon fishing capital of the world.
      Reach out to our customer service team if you need help finding a guide!

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  • Brendan Clancy

    Jan 10, 2016

    Hi, I am coming the keys Islamadora the end of May for two weeks. I have fished for Tarpon in Cuba and Boca Paula Mexico with success but am looking to catch bigger Tarpon on the fly. Any advise as to where and how would be very helpful!!

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      Catherine Tyack

      Jan 13, 2016

      Hi Brendan,
      Thanks for your comment. If you’re looking to fish for Tarpon on the fly I’d recommend taking a look at Eric Scoble’s charter listing. He’s an experienced guide with lots of happy clients and has caught plenty of big Tarpons around Islamorada!
      I hope you have a great fishing trip!
      Cat

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  • Jiff

    Jan 15, 2016

    Hey guys,
    I’m coming to Miami in mid-February and want to catch some fish (tarpon would be great)! What’s better the Biscayne Bay or the Everglades? Any preference.. Many thanks!

    Jiff

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      Catherine Tyack

      Jan 20, 2016

      Hey Jiff,
      Lucky you! Both the Everglades and Biscayne Bay are great for Tarpon, so it really comes down to your personal preference. The Everglades are perfect if you want to get out into nature and explore an extremely diverse ecosystem, while the advantage of Biscayne Bay is that it’s located right next to the bustling center of Miami, meaning you can combine world class fishing with a city break. Either way, you’re sure to get some great fishing whichever destination you choose!
      Have a great trip!
      Catherine

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  • Rod

    Feb 15, 2016

    Hi, I will be in Miami in October.
    I’d love to do some Tarpon fishing . What are my
    options for chasing them at that time of year?

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      Catherine Tyack

      Feb 16, 2016

      Hi Rod,
      Although you won’t be in Miami for the Tarpon high season, they are still in the waters all year round. It’s always great to target the species at night or in the late afternoon, and the best place to fish for them at that time of year is around the Government Cut. Hope this helps!

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  • Cat

    Feb 21, 2016

    Hubby and I are planning our first tarpon fishing trip May 8-15 to Homosassa Springs / Crystal River. We want 80+ size but don’t want to deal with all the people like in Boca. We have both been avid saltwater fishermen forever but never fished for tarpon. Any suggestions for guides would be greatly appreciated!

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      Xavier

      Feb 22, 2016

      Hi Cat, thanks for your comment! May’s a great time to target Tarpon and we feel you on wanting to avoid the Boca rush. Seein Spots would be our recommendation for a day trip out of Crystal River. Contact our customer service team for anything you’d like to know! And good luck with landing a big one, Tarpon fishing really is something else.

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  • Isaac

    Apr 6, 2016

    Any tips for the Caloosahatchee or Fort Myers/Sanibel?

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      Xavier

      Apr 7, 2016

      Hi Isaac,

      the Caloosahatchee River mouth is the birthplace of Tarpon angling – this is where the first one was caught on rod and reel in 1885! This is the the most consistent Tarpon fishery in Lee County – the Florida Power & Light plant makes these waters warmer than the surrounding ones, so huge numbers of Tarpon hole up here for the winter. You basically can’t go wrong with fishing for them any time of the year, but, of course, summer will be the most productive. Captain Brian David is our most trusted guide in the area and we proudly recommend him. You can book from the listing. Let our customer service team know if you need help!

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      Isaac

      Apr 24, 2016

      Ok, thanks! And can you catch any tarpon off Fort Myers beach (primarily) or other beaches around the area? If so which would you choose?

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      Isaac

      May 25, 2016

      Are there any beaches near Fort Myers where tarpon (any size) can be caught?

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      Cat

      May 25, 2016

      Hi Isaac,

      Sorry not to get back to you before. It’s sometimes possible to spot Tarpon from the shore, although it is very rare to land them from the beach. Your best bet is to go out with an experienced guide on a boat – the results are well worth it!

      Good luck!

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  • Jamie

    May 4, 2016

    I am going to Little Torch Key May 9-12 looking for tarpon. Do you know any back country flats/channels that are good areas to look for them? Will be fishing soft plastics and will have live bait as well……Thanks very much!

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  • Mike

    May 17, 2016

    You should consider updating this article. The regulations that you have listed are out of date (current regulations are now more restrictive), the lure that you have pictured is an illegal rig as of 2015 (using this rig is a criminal violation of state fishing regulations and will result in a minimum fine of $250 and a mandatory court date), and the world record tarpon is over 300 pounds.

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      Cat

      May 19, 2016

      Thanks for your comment Mike. This article was written back in 2013 and it is certainly due for an update! Thanks for letting us know. Tight lines, Catherine.

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  • Brian Duggan

    Aug 24, 2016

    Hi,

    I have been going to the keys for a few years and usually fish around flamingo/Lake Ingraham area. I go in either late December or June/July but always have to same result. See lots of tarpon but can’t get them to eat. We have been fishing before where we are surrounded by tarpon eating bait (Usually mullet) and even though we are using the same live bait we still can’t get them to hit. We have tried all sort of tactic with jigs ,bare hooks , on floats or drifting it back. Very frustrating!! Any tips on how to get them to hit? Thanks very much.

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  • Jim Coley

    Sep 5, 2016

    My wife and I are planning a trip for May 2017 (the date we are zeroing in) for week. Thinking of splitting time between Boca Grande and Marathon or thereabouts. Any thoughts on guides for both locations for Tarpon and perhaps some other species? I have been salt water fishing for 50+ years mostly west coast so no Tarpon. My wife and I are new to fly fishing on freshwater but never salt water. Thinking of trying both spin casting, live bait and fly fishing on trip. Any advice greatly appreciated.

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      Cat

      Sep 7, 2016

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for the comment. I think I may have found you the perfect charter: Skinny Water Charters, who fish out of Boca Grande. They have the gear and know-how for all the techniques you’re interested in and run a dedicated 6 hour Tarpon trip. Take a look at their listing – I hope you have an amazing experience landing your first Silver King!

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  • Isaac

    Jan 4, 2017

    Hello, I will be in Fort Myers on spring break in March, and I was wondering if tarpon would be holed up in Estero Bay or in any marinas around the area. I would be fly fishing and spin fishing so size doesn’t really matter. Thanks

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      Cat

      Jan 6, 2017

      Hi Isaac,

      You’ll be right at the beginning of the Tarpon migration then, so it’s hard to guarantee that there will be larger Tarpons around. But resident juvenile Tarpons can be found in the back bays around Estero Bay all year round, giving you a good chance of a hook up!

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  • Jeff

    Feb 24, 2017

    Hello, I will be in Key West beginning the 13th pf March and will be bringing my 24′ Bay Boat. Where would be the best place to find Tarpon this time of year? I will be fishing with my wife and daughter so something without a lot of site casting would be preferred. Thanks.

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  • Greg

    Mar 19, 2017

    In Cape Coral this week March 19-25 renting home on a lake. Any suggestions for. Other fly rod flies and spin rod lures for tarpon?

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  • Todd Gehrke

    Apr 9, 2017

    Staying on Anna Maria Island June 25-30 2017 Looking to fish tarpon one full day alone Sunday 6/25 and another with dad and two brothers (all 40+yrs old) sometime Tues – Thurs. Willing to drive 90 minutes or so if the fishing is better, we do have a pontoon for the week also and can get out early mornings or nights for some DIY, We have caught many species, no tarpon yet for any of us. What would you do if you were me?

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  • Jack Banda

    Apr 21, 2017

    My son and i would like tarpon fishing,in May 2 days thinking of Boca Grande but maybe to crowded. Where would you suggest. Would i need a charter ? I’m 75 this is the year! Thanks Jack

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      Cat

      Apr 21, 2017

      Hi Jack,

      You’re in for a treat! Yes, Boca Grande can be crowded – but with good reason. As you know, there’s not much that comes close to the Charlotte Harbor area when it comes to Tarpon fishing in Florida. The best bet is to go with an experienced guide who can take you away from the crowds and where the best fishing spots. We’d recommend Big Bully Outdoors. And yes, getting a charter is advisable when Tarpon fishing, especially if you want your time on the water to really count. Let us know if you would like any help setting up your trip!

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  • Benjamin Jenkins

    May 10, 2017

    Thanks for the article, my friends and I were looking at taking a trip to either Islamorada or Marathon Key in the first or second week of August before we head back to school. Are there still a large number of big tarpon here this time of year? And if not, where in Florida would be a better place to go. Thanks for your help!

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      Cat

      May 11, 2017

      Hey Benjamin,

      The big wave of Tarpon has usually moved on from Islamorada by August, although you can still catch some smaller ones in the flats. The larger schools will be further north – we’d recommend having a look at St Ausutine on the east coast or Boca Grande on the Gulf side.

      Have an amazing trip!

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  • Andrew

    Jun 2, 2017

    Hi,
    I am traveling to the Keys in early August for flats fishing. We would really like to catch some tarpon and are flexible to stay in the area that would be best for tarpon fishing at that time of year. Any suggestions what area in the Keys would be best for that time? Thank you!

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  • David

    Oct 7, 2017

    I live near Crystal River and I’m new to Tarpon fishing. The article is very informative, thanks. Do you have any additional knowledge specific to Tarpon fishing around Crystal River that may prove beneficial, such as best tides or lures to fish? I have my own boat and will be going after Tarpon this year on my own.

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      Cat

      Oct 9, 2017

      Hi David,

      I’m glad you found the article helpful. Regarding Crystal River – obviously here, you’re looking at fishing clear, open, shallow waters, making the style of fishing pretty different to places such as Boca Grande, where you’d be fishing passes. You’ll be able to see the fish from far off, but will need to rely on your push pole/trolling motor to get anywhere near the fish without spooking them. Tides affect the fishing somewhat, but the thing you need to pay most attention to is the water temperature – as soon as it’s at least 75 degrees you’ll find the fish start to become more active and get higher up in the water. In general, the fish follow the tides here – the tides will bring the fish in and take them out again. And finally, in terms of lures, you can get good results with crab or pinfish, while a lot of locals swear by larger soft plastics such as DOA Bait Busters.

      Have a great time!

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  • Jodie

    Nov 19, 2017

    My 40th birthday is in April of 2018. I don’t have to do it on my birthday but catching at tarpon is on my bucket list! My husband and I want to come to the Keys next year to fish and have an amazing adventure. We’ve been told June would be the best time. Could you advise a time and location for our best our come?

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      Cat

      Nov 22, 2017

      Hi Jodie, thanks for your comment.

      Honestly, you really can’t go wrong with Tarpon fishing in the Keys. There’s a year-round population of them here, but if you want to catch a big one, you’d be best off coming in May or early June. By July, the largest Tarpon have usually left the Keys to travel northwards on their annual migration.

      Where to go? In terms of the best all-round experience, people generally enjoy fishing Key West Harbor or Islamorada – there’s a huge population of fish here, a lot of experienced guides, and the towns are tourist-friendly. If you want to escape the crowds, some charters in Key West can take you to the Marquesas Keys, which have an even richer ecosystem (and fish population) than the rest of the Keys. Hope this helps – and happy birthday!

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  • Robert Steeg

    Nov 20, 2017

    can you give me a recommendation for tarpon fishing in florida around Christmas time?

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      Cat

      Nov 22, 2017

      Hi Robert,
      Even though high season for Tarpon in Florida is during the summer, winter fishing isn’t a complete write-off. You can find juvenile Tarpon year-round in the backcountry in the south of the state, with the Everglades being a particularly good place to look. The 100+ lb monsters won’t be there, but you can still have a very rewarding experience on light tackle. Finding them will be less reliable than during the summer (you really won’t be able to guarantee a Tarpon at this time of year, wherever you fish or whoever you fish with), but this actually makes catching one all the more rewarding. Captain John of Reel Easy Charters specializes in Tarpon fishing, and Capt. Mike Wilbur is an experienced guide who could help put you on the Silver King. Good luck!

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  • Taylor Bishop

    Dec 18, 2017

    Thanks for helping me learn more about Tarpon fishing. I actually didn’t know that you should wait a few seconds when hooking a Tarpon so that you can make sure that the bait is in it’s mouth. My brother has been thinking of going on a Tarpon fishing trip and it definitely sounds like, if he does decide to go, it would be good for him to know exactly how to catch a lot of them.

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  • Trevor

    Jan 23, 2018

    Hi.
    I’m trying to plan a tarpon trip for early April for 8. We would like to fish at least two or three times and also get a round of golf in. Could you possibly recommend the best spot for tarpon that time of year. I’ve fished for them near Sanibel Island that time of year and had some success. It would also be fun to do some back country top water for some baby Tarpon’s let me know what you think and if there’s a guy that you could recommend.
    Thanks Trevor

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      Cat

      Jan 26, 2018

      Hi Trevor,

      At that time of year your best bet is fishing south Florida, preferably no further north than Miami if you want your best chance of catching a Tarpon. Early April is usually right at the beginning of their migration, so go much north of this and it will all depend on the water temperature. Fishing the Keys or the Everglades would be my top recommendation, although you can’t fault the proximity of fish to downtown areas (and golf courses) in Miami.

      Most captains only take 2-4 guests on Tarpon trips, so you will probably need to hire a couple of captains. Here are some recommendations:
      Miami Bonefishing Charters – catches a lot more than just Bonefish!
      Fly & Fish With Fraser Also based in Miami, Fraser specialises in Tarpon fishing.
      Miami Inshore Fishing Charters can depart out of various locations, giving you the chance to sample backcountry fishing in the Everglades if you wish.

      These are just a few suggestions – you can find plenty more on our search pages. Tight lines!

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  • Dean

    Feb 25, 2018

    My wife and i are in the area — get off a cruise on the 10th of April . Would love to take in some tarpon fishing before we leave to come back home in Victoria BC. Any recommendations out there for a day of fun — i see that April is an excellent month for tarpon fishing.

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      Lisa

      Feb 26, 2018

      Hi Dean,

      Where exactly will you guys be staying? Just give me some ideas on where to look and I will find you a nice Tarpon charter in your area.

      Take a look at Capt. Mike Wilbur’s trips or our Boca Grande captains. There are a lot of guides to choose from!

      Looking forward to your reply,

      Lisa

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  • Bob

    Mar 3, 2018

    I am looking to travel to Florida the 3rd week of March and want to do some Tarpon fishing with my son. We are flexible on where we travel so looking for someplace where Tarpon fishing is in full force. Where would you suggest we go? Can you also suggest possible guides to consider.

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      Stefan

      Mar 9, 2018

      Hi Bob,

      You’ll be visiting Florida at a time when Tarpon fishing starts getting serious. It can be a hit and miss on some days, but with the right conditions, you’ll likely get a nice fish.

      You and your son will have the biggest chances of landing a fish if you explore the waters that stretch between the Everglades and the Keys, as well as the fisheries around Miami.

      Here are some guides who can help you out:

      Captain Mike Wilbur, who specializes in fly fishing for Tarpon and has decades of fishing experience. He runs trips out of Key West.

      Pirate for Hire Charters – if you would like to try night fishing for Tarpon, Captain Ron is your go to guy. If you want to visit Islamorada, let him take you out on the water.

      Captain John of Easy Does It, another Key West guide who knows the local waters well.

      Also check out trips with Captain Ron Howell, he might be able to help with accommodation too.

      If you want to explore the Ten Thousand Islands, you can go on a trip with Capt. Ray, who specializes in inshore flats fishing.

      Tarpon have recently been seen around the Government Cut near Miami, so if you decide to head there, you can go fishing with Capt. Mo of Miami Bonefishing Charters.

      Hope this helps.
      Let us know how your trip went. Looking forward to seeing some pics!
      Stefan

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  • Dave Warner

    Mar 7, 2018

    Hi Vukan,
    I am presently staying at Duck Key and feverishly looking for a tarpon. I have come to Florida over the last 20 years trying to catch one to no avail. This will probably be the last chance I get as I am handicapped and will no longer be able to fish from a boat. We are staying on a canal and I have a 22 foot center console for the next couple days can you give me any advice. I am a long-time freshwater fisherman and have caught everything from muskellunge to carp so I’m not new to the game. I have been saltwater fishing for the past 25 years or so as I have a place Melbourne Beach. I have caught most every species they are accept Tarpon and Cobia. If you have any recommendation for me before I have to turn in the boat I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for your time Dave

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      Stefan

      Mar 9, 2018

      Hi Dave,

      March is the start of the prime Tarpon season in the Keys, so you can still get one 🙂
      I went over the most recent fishing reports in the area to see what does the trick, so here are some ideas you might find useful.

      Live bait is currently working well.
      Check the areas around the bridges, anglers have seen scores of Tarpon leaping out as early as mid-February and the frenzy is still on. Tom’s Harbor Bridge, Bahia Honda Bridge, Vaca Cut Bridge, the Seven Mile Bridge are the places to be.
      Hit the water either early in the morning or later in the evening.
      Go out on a falling tide.

      Hope this helps. Let us know how your trip went and good luck with landing a Silver King!
      Stefan

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  • Michel

    Mar 15, 2018

    I am planning to take my son tarpon fishing around the end of June. It’s a celebration trip for his graduation from high school. We are looking to catch tarpon and enjoy distinctive Florida environment. It would be nice to explore on off days when not fishing. Any suggestions for location and guides? I am a Muskie hunter in Minnesota and my son is a tournament bass fisherman.
    Thanks for your consideration
    Michel

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      Stefan

      Mar 16, 2018

      Hi, Michel,

      My top bet for great Tarpon fishing at the time of your trip would be Boca Grande, the Tarpon Capital of the World :). June is considered by many anglers as the peak Tarpon season here. There are many local guides in the area who can help you out – you can go fishing with Capt. James Marko of Goliath Fishing, or Capt. Bobby of Shallow Water Experience. If you need some more suggestions, you can see other guides and their trips here.

      As for other things to do while here, Boca Grande is close to Sanibel and Fort Myers – both have stunning beaches and a variety of outdoor activities. A visit to the Everglades National Park can also be well worth the trip. And, finally, there is Lake Okeechobee and its Bass fisheries:)

      Hope this helps.

      Tight lines and good luck with that Tarpon,
      Stefan

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  • Ed Cleary

    Mar 20, 2018

    I’m 72 & have been around fishing a lot. This site of yours is the best I have read. period.

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      Stefan

      Mar 20, 2018

      Hi, Ed. Thanks for such lovely words. What’s the thing you find the most useful?

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  • Karl Scheper

    Apr 1, 2018

    Two friends and I are planning a tarpon trip to Boca Grande May 3 to 6, are the larger tarpon typically there by that time?

    Karl

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      Stefan

      Apr 2, 2018

      Hi, Karl,

      Yes, by May large Tarpon are typically already near Boca Grande.
      Their migration is in full swing at that time, so you could be landing a real lunker.
      Plus, if you like fly fishing, this time of year is particularly good.
      This destination guide may help when preparing for the trip.

      Hope you land some big fish,
      Stefan

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  • Steve

    Apr 11, 2018

    I am headed to Cape San Blas in July and would really like an opportunity to catch my first tarpon. I tried with a guide last year in the Keys and probably cast to 1000 tarpon but none of them were hungry. Do you have any recommendations for fly fishing guides in the Apalachicola area?

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      Stefan

      Apr 12, 2018

      Hi, Steve,

      Sorry to hear that. Tarpon can be really fussy at times.
      Hope this time it goes much better!

      I can recommend Captain Caleb of Bout Time Charters, he accommodates fly fishermen as well.

      If you have some more questions, I’d be more than glad to help.

      Tight lines,
      Stefan

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  • Michel Bornemann

    Apr 30, 2018

    Stefan

    I like your previous suggestions on Boca Grande. Any thoughts on tarpon fishing out of Islamorada late June to early July? Any suggestions for tarpon guides out of that location?
    Boca Grande vs. Islamorada? or is it a wash?
    Thanks again
    Yes, you do have a great service here!
    Michel

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      Stefan

      May 11, 2018

      Hi, Michel,

      I’m glad you liked the suggestion.

      Islamorada has great Tarpon fishing in June and July.
      It’s one of those places that rarely let down.
      Most captains there do evening trips that let you escape the heat and get some good fishing.

      As for a guide, you can check out Captain Eric Scobble Black Water Charters. In case he is booked, have a look at other Islamorada captains, they are mostly seasoned fishers with local knowledge.

      While both places are good in their own right, I’d personally say Islamorada – pretty scenery, nice fish, and less crowded.

      Hope this helps,
      Stefan

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  • Andy

    May 31, 2018

    Where would you fish for tarpon in early August near Tampa or would you go elsewhere in Florida . Need to catch a reasonably large tarpon bigger than 60 lb

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      Stefan

      Jun 7, 2018

      Hi, Andy,

      Although the Tarpon migration will most likely be over by early August, there will be excellent resident Tarpon in Tampa at the time of your trip. I suggest you go fishing the Tampa Bay (either out of Tampa or Bradenton) and work the waters north of the island of Anna Maria, right off Bean Point. That should get you an impressive catch.

      You can also head to Marathon down in the Keys. August is pretty fantastic.

      If you need help with any other questions, I’d be glad to help.

      Tight lines,
      Stefan

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  • David

    Jun 13, 2018

    I live near the cross Florida barge canal where it joins the gulf. I’ve seen Tarpon rollind in the barge canal in May and June some of them I estimate over a hundred pounds. The water is off color and you can’t see them unless they surface. What would you suggest as the best technique to fish here?

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  • Jill

    Jun 24, 2018

    Any suggestions for where to go tarpon fishing 3rd week of July (22-26th)?

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      Stefan

      Jun 25, 2018

      Hi, Jill,

      Thanks for reading the blog!

      Here are a couple of recommendations:

      Tampa Bay – this is one of the best spots to fish for Tarpon in July. You can head out or Tampa, Bradenton, or St. Petersburg and explore the waters north of Anna Maria Island.

      Another option is to fish out of Fort Myers – you will find a lot of Tarpon there in shallow waters.

      If you need any more specific recommendations, I’d be happy to help.

      Have a nice trip,
      Stefan

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  • tom swift

    Sep 22, 2018

    my son and I are planning on going may 18 we were thinking about boca grande but i’m concerned about the red tide

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  • Ed Polk

    Mar 10, 2019

    Was planning on going to marathon the first week of July to tarpon fish. Any recommendations for a location/ guide around there?

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      Sean

      Mar 18, 2019

      Hello Ed,

      Thank you for reading the blog.

      There are a number of productive fishing spots near Marathon. For Tarpon, I would recommend fishing around 7-mile Bridge, as it sees the most consistent bite.

      As far as guides as concerned, please take a look at Savage Sportfishing Florida Keys and FinnAddict Sportfishing.

      Should you require any further assistance, please feel free to contact our Customer Service.

      Tight lines!

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  • Patrick Murphin

    Apr 3, 2019

    How’s the tarpon fishing around St George Island around early June? I will be down there then and I’m looking to book a trip.

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      Sean

      Apr 8, 2019

      Hello Patrick,

      Thanks for reading.

      Come June, Tarpon fishing around St George Island is fantastic. Please note that most charter operators depart from Apalachicola. It’s usually the offshore charters that depart from St George.

      Still, you’ll have no shortage of options. For example, you can go on an 8-hour outing with Apalachee Bay Charters.

      For more recommendations, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Team.

      Tight lines!

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  • Jim werner

    Apr 5, 2019

    Hello I’ll be at sunshine RV near Big Pine Key and would like to fish for Tarpon for the first time. Avid saltwater fisher (southern California)would like info on a guide in that area
    Will be there April 8-22 also possibly Bonefish
    Thanks Jim

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      Sean

      Apr 8, 2019

      Hello Jim,

      Thanks for reading.

      There are a couple of Tarpon fishing guides in the area that you might find interesting. These are: Kingfisher Backcountry Charters and Reel Therapy Fishing.

      Bonefish is great in April, as well as Permit, if that’s your thing.

      For more recommendations or any assistance with booking, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Team.

      Tight lines!

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      Jim werner

      Apr 8, 2019

      Awesome thanks Sean
      Now I have a starting point
      Jim

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      Sean

      Apr 9, 2019

      You’re most welcome, Jim!

      Hope you’ll have a great time!

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  • Allen Hilton

    Apr 9, 2019

    Last May at Boca Grande we were coming back in from a good day fishing. As we were headed towards the Placida boat ramp, passing through railroad trestle by the sandbar we spotted several large tarpon in shallow crystal clear water. We stopped under the bridge and threw out 2 lines with Pinfish. Within 5 minutes I had one on. It was 5 1/2 feet long, 36” girth. Approximately 125lbs. He breached the water 7 times and took 45-60 minutes to get him in. Great memories

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      Sean

      Apr 12, 2019

      Hey Allen,

      Thanks for sharing!

      Wow, that must’ve been some fight. That’s why they call Boca Grande the Tarpon capital of the world.

      Here’s to countless more memories like that one.

      Tight lines!

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  • Beth

    May 14, 2019

    We are looking to vacation in Florida in early Sept and my son & husband would like to take a day to fish for tarpon. What location would you recommend for tarpon that time of year? Thanks!

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      Sean

      May 17, 2019

      Hello Beth,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      For September, I would recommend wetting your lines in St. Augustine.

      You’ll have a great chance of catching some residential Tarpon on the Gulf side as well, in places like Tampa Bay and Boca Grande.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Have a great day!

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  • TJ Blakely

    May 24, 2019

    Hey,
    Me and my family will be down at Tarpon Springs area the first week of June and its always been a dream for me to catch a Tarpon. Any tips on where to go, what setup and bait to use or any guides to look at?

    Thanks!

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      Albert

      May 27, 2019

      Hi TJ,

      You could well be in luck. June is a great time of year to try for Tarpon!

      Your best bet would be to explore spots like Saint Joseph Sound with an experienced flats fishing charter.

      I would recommend booking with a charter that offers specialty Tarpon trips for the best chance of hooking one. Quite a few captains in the area offer them (for example, this, this, and this, although you should look around to find one which suits you).

      It may also be a good idea to contact the captain to talk through your plans and preferences (scroll down to the “about the captain” section and hit the “message captain” button).

      Finally, we have a detailed guide to fishing in Tarpon Springs which may be useful for you.

      I hope this helps, and that you manage to catch a monster!

      Tight lines!

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  • kim McReynolds

    Jun 9, 2019

    I’m coming to Florida an would like to know good place’s to fish for Tarpon.
    I will be staying in the Coconut Creek area. Any help i have been fishing most of my life but this is a first for the Silver King.

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      Albert

      Jun 10, 2019

      Hi Kim,

      Sounds like you’re in for a treat!

      You can find Tarpon in the Intracoastal Waterway all along Southeast Florida. However, the best place to try for one is Biscayne Bay near Miami. You can check out our guide to Tarpon fishing in Miami and find information on the charters operating in the area here.

      I hope that helps!

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  • Randy Sprague

    Jul 2, 2019

    End of june, doing well at beach, east coast, tarpon hitting on small bait not so much on mullet. lost nice one Saturday evening with friends sunset made the day

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      Albert

      Jul 2, 2019

      Hi Randy,

      Thanks for the comment. It’s always great to hear what’s working at the moment.

      I hope you have better luck with the next big one you hook.

      Tight lines!

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  • Sara Roberts

    Aug 11, 2019

    My son, an experienced fisherman, is turning 16 in January— his dream is to catch a tarpon on a fly rod. We would love to take him on a surprise trip on his birthday, but are most concerned with him actually getting to catch one. Would January be okay or would we do better waiting? Also if January works, where should we go (assuming keys) and do you recommend a charter or guide?

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      Albert

      Aug 12, 2019

      Hi Sara,

      He must be quite the expert to be taking on the Silver King!

      Tarpon high season runs late March through the middle of June in the Keys, so you’ll have much better chances of hooking them if you visit a little later.

      Key West and Islamorada are both world-class Tarpon fisheries with plenty of expert charters to choose from. If you’re not set on the Keys, Boca Grande is possibly the most productive Tarpon fishery on earth. You can find extra information about all three places by following the links.

      When looking at local charters, I’d recommend going for a small flats fishing boat. Ideally something with a poling platform at the back so you can get close to the fish without making any noise. Something like this is a good example.

      If you would like help choosing a charter, feel free to get in touch with our Customer Support team at [email protected]

      I hope your son lands the fish of a lifetime!

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      Sara Roberts

      Aug 12, 2019

      Thank you! I guess we will wait until March— bummer but I do want his best chances!

      And yes, he’s quite the fisherman. We live in Virginia Beach and he fishes nearly every day. I don’t know if obsessed even covers it…..:)

      Thanks for your help!

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      Albert

      Aug 12, 2019

      Hi Sara,

      Always happy to help!

      Yeah, waiting until March will definitely give him the best chance of catching that dream fish.

      Be sure to let us know how it goes!

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  • Helen cascella

    Aug 21, 2019

    My fiancé is a huge fan of tarpon fishing; I am totally ignorant on the subject (and fishing in general ). For a wedding present I would like to arrange for s 2-3 surprise fishing trip May/June 2020.

    Any info regarding accommodations, fishing areas and any other information would be greatly appreciated..

    Thanks
    Helen Cascella

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      Sean

      Aug 23, 2019

      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for reading.

      First of all, congrats! We really like your idea for a wedding present!

      It’s good that you choose May/June for your trip because that is precisely when Tarpon are on the bite. Location-wise, I would recommend Boca Grande, arguably the best Tarpon fishing destination in the world. One of the local fishing spots I would recommend you try is the Lighthouse Hole.

      If you’d like a more touristy location with a good Tarpon bite, you can go with Key West. The harbor is where you’ll have the best chance of hooking the Silver King.

      Regarding any charter recommendations, our Customer Service will gladly help you out.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Have a great day!

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