Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus)


  1. Size: Tarpon are known for their impressive size. They can grow up to 8 feet in length and weigh over 300 pounds and it’s not uncommon to catch tarpon in the 100 to 200-pound range.
  2. Habitat: Anna Maria Island is surrounded by some of the best tarpon fishing grounds in the world. Look for tarpon rolling in passes, running in schools along the beaches, and congregating under bridges in late spring and early summer. May and June are the prime months, but the population is healthy through August. 
  3. Bait: Freelined live crabs (pass and blue) and threadfin herring are the two main baits to be used for tarpon, but whitebait, pinfish, large shrimp, ladyfish, and mojarra can also entice a strike. Artificial lures and flies can be effective in certain select situations.
  4. Tackle: A fight with a tarpon is extreme and comparable to a billfish. Heavy spinning gear or conventional tackle is necessary as a large tarpon will easily spool an underpowered reel in seconds. Acrobatic leaps, violent head shakes, and hundred-yard runs make tarpon some of the most challenging and sought-after game fish in the world. 
  5. Food Value: The Florida tarpon fishery is strictly catch and release and tarpon are to be kept in the water when boat side. Care and time should be given to their revival as they are often exhausted after an extended fight.