Naples, FL Tarpon Fishing April 2024

Tarpon have shown off the beaches as well some backcountry bays and some in the passes.

The annual tarpon spring migration has started with tarpon starting to move up the beaches from the south. Where do the tarpon come from is still somewhat of a mystery but some come from the Florida Keys and points beyond. 

By mid summer tarpon fishing happens as far north as the Florida pan handle, Louisiana, Alabama and even Texes.

Tarpon, also known as the silver king, is an interesting fish they can be very spooky and wary and tough to catch. Locally when fishing for tarpon off the beaches we get in about 10’ of water and use live crabs for bait. Pinfish, pilchards and squirrel fish can also be used when tarpon fishing. 

Fishing for tarpon in the backcountry can be tricky but cut bait seems to work the best. When tarpon fishing ion the backcountry it’s not uncommon to catch sharks also. Black tips, bulls sharks, lemon sharks and an occasional hammer head can be caught.

When tarpon are hooked they typically jump numerous times and take off in long runs. We use 8’ rods with 30-50lb braided line with a 6’ piece of 60-80lb fluorocarbon leader. 

Below are calendars with preferred tides.

May & June are peak months and days will get booked so call now and book your tarpon fishing adventure of a lifetime.

Give me a call, text or email to discuss dates.

Capt. Mark

239-450-9230

MAY TARPON CALENDAR

JUNE TARPON CALENDAR

Tarpon Fishing Techniques and info.

Tarpon fishing in Southwest Florida is a popular and exciting activity for anglers. The region offers abundant opportunities to catch these prized game fish.

Here are some tips and information for tarpon fishing in Southwest Florida:

  • Timing: Tarpon season in Southwest Florida typically runs from late spring through early fall, with peak activity occurring during the summer months. May through July is often considered the prime time for tarpon fishing in this region.
  • Location: Boca Grande Pass is renowned as one of the best tarpon fishing spots in the world. Other productive areas include the waters around Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Pine Island Sound, Charlotte Harbor, and the Caloosahatchee River.
  • Tactics: Tarpon can be targeted using a variety of techniques, including live bait fishing, sight casting with artificial lures, and fly fishing. Live bait such as mullet, threadfin herring, and crabs are popular choices. For artificial lures, jigs, soft plastics, and topwater plugs can be effective. Fly anglers often use large streamer patterns that mimic baitfish.
  • Equipment: When targeting tarpon, anglers typically use heavy-duty tackle to handle the fish’s size and strength. This often includes stout rods (usually 7 to 9 feet in length) paired with large spinning or conventional reels spooled with heavy monofilament or braided line. Leaders are usually made of heavy fluorocarbon or wire to resist abrasion from the tarpon’s rough mouth.
  • Regulations: It’s important to familiarize yourself with Florida fishing regulations, including size and bag limits, as well as any seasonal closures or restricted areas that may apply to tarpon fishing.
  • Guides: If you’re new to tarpon fishing or unfamiliar with the waters of Southwest Florida, hiring a local guide can greatly improve your chances of success. Experienced guides know the best spots, techniques, and timing for targeting tarpon in the area.
  • Weather: Keep an eye on weather conditions, as wind and tide can significantly impact tarpon fishing. Calm, sunny days with good tidal movement often provide the best fishing conditions.
  • Conservation: Tarpon are a valuable resource, so practicing catch and release is encouraged to help sustain the fishery for future generations. Handle tarpon with care, and use proper techniques to ensure their safe release.

By following these tips and guidelines, you can increase your chances of having a successful and enjoyable tarpon fishing experience in Southwest Florida.

Tarpon Biology

Tarpon are large, iconic fish known for their impressive size, strength, and acrobatic leaps when hooked. Here’s some information on their biology and fishing:

Biology:

  • Species: Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) are large, silvery fish found in warm coastal waters primarily in the Atlantic Ocean but also in parts of the Indo-Pacific.
  • Size: They can grow up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) in length and weigh as much as 280 pounds (127 kilograms). However, most tarpon caught by anglers are between 4 to 6 feet in length.
  • Habitat: Tarpon inhabit coastal waters, estuaries, bays, and lagoons. They prefer warmer water temperatures and are commonly found in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and along the southeastern coast of the United States.
  • Diet: Tarpon are opportunistic feeders and primarily consume fish, crustaceans, and occasionally smaller prey such as insects.
  • Reproduction: Tarpon are highly migratory and spawn offshore in the open ocean. Females release eggs into the water, which are then fertilized by males. After hatching, tarpon larvae drift with ocean currents before settling in coastal areas.

Fishing:

  • Tackle: Tarpon fishing requires heavy tackle due to the fish’s size and strength. Anglers typically use sturdy rods and reels spooled with heavy monofilament or braided line.
  • Techniques: Common fishing techniques for tarpon include live bait fishing, such as using mullet, pilchards, or crabs, as well as artificial lures like soft plastics, spoons, or topwater plugs. Fly fishing for tarpon is also popular and requires specialized gear and casting techniques.
  • Locations: Tarpon can be found in a variety of coastal environments, including shallow flats, channels, bridges, and nearshore reefs. Experienced anglers often target tarpon in specific locations known for holding concentrations of fish during certain times of the year.
  • Seasonality: Tarpon migrate seasonally, with peak fishing typically occurring during the warmer months in each region. In many areas, tarpon arrive in large numbers during the spring and summer months to spawn, providing anglers with prime opportunities to target these fish.
  • Catch and Release: Tarpon are a popular sport fish, and many anglers practice catch and release to conserve the population. Proper handling techniques, such as minimizing fight time, using barbless hooks, and avoiding dragging the fish onto the boat, can help ensure the tarpon’s survival after being released.
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Overall, tarpon fishing is a challenging and rewarding pursuit that requires skill, patience, and an understanding of the fish’s behavior and habitat. It offers anglers the opportunity to target one of the ocean’s most prized game fish in some of the world’s most beautiful coastal environments.

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