The Florida Keys, one of the most well preserved marine ecosystems in the Sunshine State, is the place to be if you’re looking for an exciting Tarpon fishing adventure. “Silver Kings” are the stuff of legends in this area, and it’s no surprise that anglers come here every year for their slice of the pie.
You’ll find Tarpon in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico. These monsters are some of the most prized game fish, thanks to their incredible fighting abilities. They can grow to impressive sizes, with the average catch coming in at around 30–80 pounds. Record-breakers, on the other hand, reach over 200 pounds!
Tarpon thrive in shallow waters, thanks to their ability to gulp air by rolling at the surface. The waters around the Florida Keys are their perfect habitat, so it’s no wonder that it’s the most famous place in the world to go after these silver beauties.
Revered for their endurance, Tarpon are known for breaking lines and leaving anglers wanting more. Catching one of these shiny beasts is an angler’s rite of passage, so you should definitely put it on your fishing list. Read on to find out more about Tarpon fishing in the Florida Keys, and how to get ready for your trip.
How do I catch Tarpon in the Florida Keys?
There’s a variety of ways you can go about your Tarpon fishing adventure. You’re probably wondering what bait to use, and what the best techniques are. If it’s your first time, it might be good to book a trip with an experienced charter captain who can show you the ropes. But if you’re up to the challenge, we’ve got you covered there too, so read on!
Since you can’t locate Tarpon well in deeper waters, they’re normally caught close to shore, on the flats. This is where sight casting is the most popular technique. Using natural bait is the best way to entice the bite of Silver Kings. Shrimp or crabs, as well as pilchards, mullet, and pinfish, all work great.
When you spot one, cast your bait in front of the fish close enough for it to see it, and allow your bait to drop down. Tarpon are very easily spooked, so it’s important to make sure you’re not making any unnecessary noise. Also, make sure you use a sharp circle hook, or else you won’t be able to set it due to their bony mouths.
While it may not be as commonly used, another fun technique to use when going after big Tarpon is trolling. Slow trolling with live baits is a great way to cover a lot of ground and let the rods do the work for you. Deploy two baits, like pinfish, behind the boat at different distances, and put the rods in the holders. If you’re planning on using artificials, topwater plugs and spoons work great.
All you have to do then is slowly drive the boat, relax, and cover the water. For even better results, try using a multi-bait setup. Have a shrimp on one line, crab on the other, and maybe put down a big pinfish on a third rod. Spread the lines out when trolling to avoid tangling, and wait for that beast to bite!