Tarpon

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

Tarpon fishing in the Florida Keys is some of the finest in the world. You’ll find this Silver King cruising inshore waters all the way from the Everglades and Key Largo down to Key West. Typically known as a highly seasonal fish, Tarpon in the Keys tend to stick around for most of the year, giving anglers all the more reason to make this their go-to destination.

Some specimens here grow as large as 200 lbs. Hook into this acrobatic game fish and get ready for the fight of your life!

When and Where to Fish for Tarpon

The best Tarpon fishing in the Keys runs from March until June, when these fish storm inshore waters by the thousands.

Anglers target Tarpon on the flats, in the backcountry, and near numerous bridges. In fact, with so many bridges connecting the Keys, these structures happen to be one of the choice locations for local Tarpon fishing.

You’ll find some of the best Tarpon fishing spots in the upper Keys, particularly around Key Largo and Islamorada. These islands give you access to productive flats as well as the endless waterways of the Everglades.

The Seven Mile Bridge and the Bahia Honda Bridge south of Marathon are also famous for impeccable Tarpon fishing. Anglers swear by the waters under these bridges, where you can catch 100+ lb specimens on fly.

Yet another prime fishing spot is down in Key West harbor, where Tarpon make themselves at home in winter (so long as the water stays relatively warm). Look for them here around bridges and in the channels.

How to Fish for Tarpon

Nothing thrills anglers in the Florida Keys more than sight fishing for Tarpon. On the flats, you’ll spot the Silver King most often around raised areas near openings in the banks. This is where they ambush baitfish swept in by the tide, providing the perfect opportunity to cast a line while they feed.

You can use 20-30 lb spinning tackle with a 6’ leder of 50 lb monofilament. Effective baits include live Shrimp, Crab, and Pilchards.

Fly fishermen should use a 12-weight outfit.

When fishing in deeper areas like channels, the standard method is to anchor the boat and fish live bait (Mullet, Pinfish, or Crab) under a cork. You can lure Tarpon closer by chumming Shrimp, cut fresh fish, or frozen ground Menhaden. Fish in either the morning or afternoon, while the tide is slowly ebbing.

Need to Know

All licensed fishing charters in the Florida Keys provide a license for their customers. If you plan on fishing from your own boat or from shore, you must purchase a fishing license (available online).

As with all of Florida, Tarpon fishing in the Keys is strictly catch and release. Large Tarpon (over 40”) should not be removed from the water.

One exception is if you land a record-breaking Tarpon, in which case you may keep your catch. If you plan on breaking the IGFA Tarpon record, be sure to purchase a Tarpon tag ahead of time ($50, price subject to change).

Tarpon

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

Florida Keys Tarpon Fishing Seasons

Loading Fish Calendar!
Please Wait...

Seasonality

Tarpon fishing in Florida Keys varies moderately throughout the year. High season is April to September. Low season is January to February and October to December. There is no closed season.

What People Are Saying About Tarpon Fishing in Florida Keys

"Half day with Captain from Ft Collins, and first mate Greg "

Thomas Loften fished with Salty Goat Fishing Charters, LLC on November 30, 2018

We had a wonderful time with a diverse group who were friendly and nice! The crew was amazing always there when you needed them to help get your catch off your line and made sure you had bait to continue fishing. The cleaning area was very fun with tarpon and one egret that waited for some slim pickings but choice tidbits. Thanks again for a great time! We are having our catch for dinner!!

"Full Day with Captain Tim"

Brent Booker fished with JFK Charters Islamorada on November 26, 2018

30 years of experience shows. My 10 year and I were on the fish thanks to Capt Tim. We caught Redfish, ladyfish, and Jack’s one after another. Tarpon rolling all around us, we just couldn’t get a hookup. Highly recommend him for a fly and light tackle in Islamorada.

"2 hour trip with Charles"

Derek Pendergast fished with Master Dangler Charters on November 24, 2018

Nice guy. Caught a couple fish and took us a few different places to try for tarpon and snapper. Wife caught a nice Jack. Would go again
Florida Keys
4.56
Based on 8,817 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Top Tarpon Fishing Charters in Florida Keys

Nearby Tarpon Fishing Destinations