Key West Tarpon Fishing

(Typical Tarpon Season: Mid March-June; Mid April – Mid May being the peak)

Tarpon are one of the most sought after fish in the Keys because of their hard and long fight. Many anglers come back year after year to go tarpon fishing. They are one of the most powerful fish that most anglers have come across. Each tarpon has a different mind and gives a completely different fight from the last one. Tarpon are known for their jumps, which is how they are able to get off the hook a lot of times.

Key West Tarpon

Tarpon, or “silver kings,” make a migration through the keys every year. The Tarpon Migration (<– Article by Capt. Kyle) is one of the most fished happenings in this part of the world. These fish just happen to be all over the place when they are coming through our waters. They move through our shallow channels, hang out up on the flats in a foot of water, sit low in the shipping channels, as well as move through Key West harbor despite the boat traffic. Tarpon will be on both the Gulf of Mexico side of Key West, as well as the Atlantic side. The majority of the fish are most likely found on the Atlantic side.

Tarpon with Capt. Kyle Kelso

The size of tarpon cannot be chosen, as these fish all move in a huge school. Unless sight casted to a single fish, you will hook a tarpon anywhere from 30-150 pounds! Thats a pretty wide range, which is why we use the correct tackle and hooks! Undersizing tackle while tarpon fishing in a big school is a bad idea. It may be fun at times, but it’s not the most effective way to get a tarpon to the boat. There are many sharks in these areas as well, hunting for tarpon. If you don’t get your fish to the boat in a reasonable time, a shark could easily come up and attack your fish causing much pain and suffering! Tackle used is generally 6000-8000 series spinning rods paired with a stiffer rod. 30 pound braided line is also what we use, with fluorocarbon leader ranging from 30 -50 pound. Our clear Key West waters do not allow us to use too heavy of leaders like they can get away with in other parts of the state.

Tarpon are not hooked and landed every day, like all fish. If you come to Key West in the peak of their season though, the chances are pretty good at hooking up. The average ratio of hooked to landed for tarpon fishing on a productive 4 hour (half day) charter is 5 hookups to 3 landed fish (depending on their size!)

Tarpon jumping in Key West harbor

tarpon fishing in Key West

 Book your Key West Tarpon Charter today!