Tarpons are large air-breathing fish of the genus Megalops; one species is native to the Atlantic, and the other to the Indo-Pacific Seas. They are the only members of the family Megalopidae. Tarpon are considered one of the great saltwater game fishes. They are prized not only because of their great size, but also because of the fight they put up and their spectacular leaping ability. They are bony fish and their meat is not desirable, so most are released after they are caught. Numerous tournaments around the year are focused on catching tarpon. Tarpon grow to about 1.23 - 2.44 meters (4–8 ft) long and weigh 27 - 127 kilograms (60–280 lbs). They have dorsal and anal soft rays and have bluish or greenish backs. Tarpons possess shiny, silvery scales that cover most of their bodies, excluding the head. They have large eyes with adipose eyelids and broad mouths with prominent lower jaws that jut out farther than the rest of the face.
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They inhabit both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and their range in the eastern Atlantic has been reliably established from Senegal to the Congo. Tarpon inhabiting the western Atlantic are principally found to populate warmer coastal waters primarily in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, and the West Indies. Nonetheless, tarpons are regularly caught by anglers at Cape Hatteras and as far as Nova Scotia, Bermuda, and south to Argentina. We have lodges in Florida, Mexico and Belize where fly fishers can target tarpon.
For big tarpon, we suggest a 9' 12-weight rod with a very high quality large arbor reel capable of accommodating at least 250 yards of backing. For some of the smaller tarpon, you are still casting big flies. Therefore we suggest 10-weight outfits. Tarpon have very rough mouths and a shock tippet of 80+ pounds is necessary for the big boys.
Large saltwater streamers in 2/0 to 4/0 work well. Popular colors include red, black and purple.
Specializes in saltwater fishing and big game hunting.
Senior Program Manager
Specializes in Bahamas and Christmas Island fishing, and United States wingshooting programs.