Key West Tarpon Fishing Charters

Key West Tarpon Fishing Charters

Best Tarpon Fishing Charters in Key West

Top Tarpon Fishing Charters in Key West

Tarpon Fishing in Key West

  • Size 25 to 80lbs
  • Food Value None
  • Game Qualities Excellent
  • Habitats Inshore, Flats, Backcountry

(Megalops atlanticus)

Every Floridian angler has to try Key West Tarpon fishing at least once in their lives. A vital component of the Florida Slam, the ‘Silver King’ rules the waves in the Lower Keys. Reaching mammoth sizes and featuring a prehistoric defense system, these iconic fish attract anglers to the southernmost city in continental USA in their thousands.

When to catch them

Although you can find Tarpon fish in the waters around Key West all year round, it’s the springtime that sees this fishery come alive. From March through June, most Key West Tarpon guides will be going out at least once a day to introduce anglers to these mighty beasts. If you're hoping to hook a 150lb monster in three feet of water, April and May is the best time to come. But with smaller Tarpon inhabiting the backcountry all year round, you never know when you might come across Florida's favorite inshore sport fish.

Techniques for Tarpon fishing in Key West

Saltwater fly fishing for Tarpon is very popular in Key West, especially in the flats. Most anglers use a 12-weight outfit for the Silver King with flies that imitate crustaceans—and a lot of patience. If you choose this path, you’ll likely hear the phrase ‘bow to the king,’ as you stoop forward trying to control the seemingly untamable force on the end of your line.

A slightly less challenging method for targeting Tarpon in Key West is coming aboard with 20-30lb spinning tackle and a collection of live shrimp, crabs, and pilchards. You can use this technique on the flats or in Key West Harbor.

Key West Tarpon fishing charters will often supply both fly and spinning gear, so just check the amenities section of the listing when choosing your guide.


Tarpon is a protected species in Florida that has been catch and release only since 2013. If you really want to keep one (and are pursuing an IGFA record), you will need to possess a tarpon tag, which may be used by one person only, once a year. However, this is not recommended. Tarpon measuring over 40 inches long must be kept in the water, with smaller fish being allowed on the boat temporarily for photography, measurement, or scientific sampling.   

Key West Tarpon Fishing Seasons

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Tarpon fishing in Key West varies moderately throughout the year. High season is April to July. Low season is January to February and October to December. There is no closed season.
Key West
Based on 20,001 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Reviews of Fishing in Tarpon Fishing in Key West

December fishing trip
Richard F. fished with Good Times Key West on December 13, 2020
We did a snorkel and sightseeing trip with this charter and they did the most amazing trip for us could not have asked for a better trip.
Fishing with Mike
Matt S. fished with Michael O’Brien Charters on August 11, 2020
Sometimes the fish aren't biting. There are no guarantees. Enjoy the view and the scenery and conversation if nothing else.
Evening half day trip with Ryan
Kate Z. fished with Good Times Key West on July 26, 2020
Sunscreen!!!! Also, have an idea of what type of fishing you’d like to do before booking and heading out, that way your captain can get you to the best spot!
Half Day with captain Hugh
Karl Z. fished with Reel Easy Charters on July 16, 2020
Just be watch, learn and enjoy being out on the water.
Yellow Jacks!!
Judy O. fished with Good Times Key West on July 6, 2020
Be ready to catch some fish. By hiring a guide, you have everything you need at your fingertips.... Bait, tackle, water and a nice boat to get you onto the water. Morning fishing is probably the best, as the afternoons can be extra steamy and fish may be sluggish.
Great Yellow Jack Fishing with Captain JJ
Asterios H. fished with Reel A Salt on June 26, 2020
The weather was amazing and fishing the back country was amazing! Highly recommend.
Half Day with Captain Russ
Tony D. fished with Corsair 2 Sportfishing Key West on August 14, 2019
Book your trip with a Captain who knows the area and Captain Russ has been in the Key West area fishing his entire life.
Half day trip with Ryan
Rebecca M. fished with Good Times Key West on August 2, 2019
Make sure you have something to put on to cover your skin from the sun...our Florida sun is hot in August!!