Key West Tarpon Fishing

Did you know that tarpons – you know those large herring-like game fish that thrive in the warm seas of the Key West – are actually pre-historic sea creatures? They’re from way back. Think: 125 million years!

While that knowledge probably won’t do anything for your fishing skills, still it makes good fodder for a story as you sit there on deck, waiting for these elusive babies to give your line a tug.

Key West is particularly known for housing a thriving population of tarpons. In fact, Key West tarpon fishing is one of the most popular attractions in this charming, paradise-like city in the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys. Yes, that’s true, even as Key West tarpon fishing with light tackle has only been perfect in the last 100 years.

Ah, but that only makes things even more…interesting. Because while the goal is always, always “to catch fish,” Key West tarpon fishing isn’t going to be a lot of fun if there’s no challenge involved.

So below are some tips to help you get the most out of your Key West tarpon fishing trip:

Know What You’re Up Against

The fish is not your enemy, but you still need to prepare for the eventual face-off. And like any great warrior who prepares for the battle of a lifetime, you need to learn all that you can about what you’ll be up against when you go on a Key West tarpon fishing trip.

The Silver King

First is the fish. (But of course!) Tarpon is the common name for the family of fishes known as Elopidae that usually thrives in the warm seas of the Western Hemisphere, sometimes from as far north as Long Island to as far south as Brazil and to the west coast of Africa to even freshwater streams.

Some people call them “silver king” because of their heavy, silvery scales, which are sometimes used as ornaments. When you go on a Key West tarpon fishing trip, be prepared to catch tarpon averaging 6 ft. in length and 150 lbs in weight.

Live Bait

You can use as many fishing techniques as you want when you go on a Key West tarpon fishing trip. The thing about tarpons is that there is no particular technique to use in order to assure a good catch. What’s more, tarpons are generally “catch-and-release” types and pose very little food value. But just to let you know, if you plan on using live bait while Key West tarpon fishing, use crabs, shrimp, pinfish, and mullet. Once you get to the areas that hold tarpon, just anchor your boat and free line a lively bait. Use weight that is enough to sink the bait near the bottom.

Fishing Rods and Lines

Light tackle is widely preferred for Key West tarpon fishing. That’s because the rods are very easy to use when fishing in open water. For fishing bridges, use 20 lb spinning gears or 30 lb conventional gears.

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