Tarpon Fishing Everglades – There are two types of tarpon – Atlantic tarpon and Indo-Pacific tarpon. The tarpon referred to here is the Atlantic tarpon because these are the ones found on the coast of the United States until the Gulf of Mexico.
Tarpon or Megalops atlanticus is both a freshwater and saltwater fish because they can breathe air directly. They are migratory, so they are always going to different waters all throughout the year. It is also called Silver King or Sabalo.
Tarpons can grow up to 7 feet long and can weigh more than 200 pounds. The heaviest tarpon found in Florida weighed 243 lbs. They are dominantly silver from the sides down to the belly, but they have a blue green color at the top.
Where to Find Tarpon
Tarpon is a very common fish found in Florida waters. They are migratory fishes, meaning they swim in different waters during certain seasons. Take, for example, March to December. During these months they are abundant in some waters in Florida because they are always after the water temperature which is more or less 79°F. From March to April, they will first arrive at the Florida Keys then move north towards central Florida as summer approaches. During the late summer until early fall they then move to northern Florida and then go back to south during the fall to winter months making it a complete journey for the tarpon.
The most common areas to find them are in deep channel cuts and passes, flats, and beaches. They can also be found near bridges or structures. Some of these places they use as a resting place during their journey over the freshwater to saltwater rivers.
Tackling Tarpon – Tarpon Fishing Everglades
Tarpons almost always give a fight and they are known for being very jumpy. They’re a challenge to catch but are also very rewarding. To catch a tarpon properly, you wouldn’t want to use a light tackle. This will allow the tarpon to easily fight back and once you go too long doing this, they might just end up dead (a dead tarpon is not your goal since they aren’t good for eating being full of bones).
However, don’t also go overboard and have a heavy tackle. 30 lbs – 50 lbs would be enough to give you the right amount of challenge and at the same time will not overwork the fish. Use a 7-ft medium action rod with a sturdy backbone too. Using monofilament rods will also be helpful because they tend to absorb the movements better.
There are two kinds of tackle you can use:
1. Spinning Tackle
This is by far the easiest tackle to do. It makes use of a spinning lure to entice the tarpon to go to you. It is most helpful when done on open water and you have people to help you return the fish out in the open.
2. Baitcasting Tackle
Compared to the spinning tackle, baitcasting tackle is used for catching tarpons near structures. This is because you would need more influence to bring the tarpon to you.
Surprisingly, one of the best lures you can use are artificial ones. This is due to the fact that you can fool the tarpon into thinking that your bait is their natural prey. For example, you can use a lure that mimics the movements and appearances of mullet, sardines, shad, and menhaden.
You can also use lures with a single hook. When you use this, the tarpon will have a hard time to move away and since it is in deep water, they won’t be able to jump from it.
To add to that, you can try using flies as lures and if you’re into fly fishing, then this is the way to go. The most advantageous to use are the slow-sinking toads.
Even though you can use artificial baits, nothing beats using live baits in catching tarpon. Always think of their natural diet in picking bait. For tarpon, it would be small to medium-sized estuarine fish. They can be mullets, menhaden, and blue crabs. They are not so keen on anchovies so stay away from that. However, tarpon does not mind if you use a dead fish as bait. They will take this anyway. There are several tarpons that get caught with just the use of sardines.
You can also try to use a fish that is large and shiny to attract their attention. Examples of this can be Mojarras and Blue Runners.