The Megalops Atlanticus aka the Tarpon is one of the most popular sports fish in Florida. This beast of a fish is reputed for its acrobatic abilities when caught on the end of a fishing line and has been reported to jump up to 10 feet into the air. The fish is not considered the sea monster it is for its agility, it also tends to grow to a massive size. As much as these fish are sought after for the sport of fishing, Tarpons are rarely ever eaten. It has nothing to do with whether or not they are edible. It is just that their flesh is filled with very small, tiny to pick out bones that make for an exceptionally difficult experience with regard to eating. They are usually found in waters with the temperature range of 74-88 degrees Farenheit. This guide aims to tell you a little bit about where you can look for the Tarpon fish and the ideal time to go and find them accordingly.
Seasons & Locations
For the best sporting experience fishing Tarpon, you need to know where you will find them and at what time. That will give you sufficient time to prepare.
Upper and Middle Keys
Tarpons have a large population concentration around the Channel Bridges, Tom’s Harbor, Seven Mile Bridge and the Long Key area. They can be found in the flats as well as at the Jack Bank and the Buchanan Bank. They are present there almost all year round, but the key season is from mid March to mid July. They’re on the Florida Bay side during spring time but tend to move towards the Atlantic side as the year progresses.
In the Lower Keys area, the best locations to find the Tarpon fish are in the Key West Harbor, the Bahia Honda Bridge area and the Marquesas Keys. Over here, the best time of the year is from the month of May through to late in July except for the Key West Harbor, which is full of Tarpons that are feeding from the month of January to March. There are a lot of Tarpons in the Marquesas Keys because of the fact that the area is uninhabited, and is not connected with the Key West by any roads. The Bahia Honda Bridge is somewhat abandoned now. It used to connect the Bahia Honda Key with the Spanish Harbor. The water surrounding the bridge is also chalk full of Tarpon fish.
Everglades National Park and the Ten Thousand Islands
The Sandy Key and Rabbit Key Basins, the canals at Lake Ingraham and the river mouths of the rivers Lostman’s and Harney are ideal areas. The Turner River at Chokoloskee is famous for the big Tarpon. There’s good game all year round with March and July being peak season.
Atlantic Coast South of Biscayne Bay
They are found throughout the coast of Florida, but the more ideal locations are the ports and inlets that are south of the Biscayne Bay. The Government Cut, in particular and the Port Everglades are the best locations from the month of January to June.
Florida’s West Coast from Everglades to Panhandle
The world’s most famous location for Tarpon fishing is the Boca Grande. People from all over the world come to fish there from May to June. Flats surrounding the Homosassa Bay and Crystal River are ideal locations May through June while the Apalachicola Bay is good from the start of June through the rest of the summer months.