Best Tarpon Fishing Charters in Key West

Top Tarpon Fishing Charters in Key West



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

Tarpon Fishing in Key West

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.   



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

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.

Reviews of Fishing in Tarpon Fishing in Key West

"June fishing trip"

Nathaniel Mckinney fished with Easy Does It on June 25, 2020

Chris Berglund is a very experienced guide, we went out to do some Tarpon fishing and ended up catching multiple sharks, barracuda, yellow jack fish that we later had for dinner, and multiple tarpon. Cannot day enough good things about this charter and the captain! We will definitely be going back. Thanks Chris!

"Early Tarpon with Captain Chris "

Oren Weiss fished with Reel Easy Charters on November 24, 2019

Hooked some Tarpon early but couldn’t land them so we caught a lot of snappers and ate our catch. It was great!!

"Fishing with John"

Kent Murray fished with Reel Easy Charters on September 29, 2019

Great time.We even caught Tarpon during the worst time of the year to find them.

"Short last minute trip"

Kyle Barniak fished with Good Times Key West on June 27, 2019

A+ across the board. I had a few hours so I was able to book online and got a text back from the captain with directions right away. Excellent communication and boat. Even though we didn’t catch the big one it was not without trying. We were on the Tarpon but couldn’t get them to hit. Found some grouper and had a great time.

"1/2 day with Captain Ryan"

Walter Weaver fished with Live Action Sportfishing on June 18, 2019

excellent at finding the Tarpon very comfortable and at ease trip

"Fishing trip with John"

Carolyn Neiheiser fished with Reel Easy Charters on May 25, 2019

Remarkable experience! As soon as we got to our location, there were Tarpon everywhere. They were hard to catch but lots of fun to fish for. John was very enthusiastic and had great mannerism. He made our trip one to remember!
Key West
Based on 19,145 reviews by FishingBooker anglers