I grew up fishing for tarpon in Fort Lauderdale. By the time I reached my teens, I was an enthusiastic angler in my own right. I spent a great deal of time during those years fishing for these iconic fish. My personal best was a monster weighing an estimated 150lbs that I caught on 12lb test when I was sixteen years old.
What makes Tarpon fishing in Fort Lauderdale so exhilarating?
A member of the world’s greatest game fish, they are supremely powerful. They do not give up the fight easily and will do everything they possibly can to break free of your line. Big and fast, they are famous for their incredible jumps and aerial displays.
What do Tarpon look like?
Giant scales cover their bodies and they are very bony. They are silver in color; with stunning green hues. Bony mouths make them very hard to hook.
How big are Tarpon?
These fish can grow into enormous giants. They average between 60lbs and 100lbs but they can easily exceed 200lbs in weight; frequently measuring between five and seven feet.
Where do you find Tarpon in Fort Lauderdale?
They are found near shore, as well as inside the inlet and inshore waterways. We catch them around bridges and docks. Often they are caught right in the middle of hectic boat traffic in the inlet. This adds excitement to the fight because we never know if a boat will come and cut our line with a 100lb tarpon on it.
What baits are used for Tarpon?
Live baits are the best for tarpon. Live shrimp, mullets and pilchards are my personal favorites but they can be caught on jigs, plugs and dead baits too.
What tackle is used to catch Tarpon?
Any type of rod and reel will work but it must be of sturdy quality. These fish often overpower cheap equipment. The lighter your tackle, the more you will feel their strength and the greater your excitement. Try to use at least 30lb test.
What methods are used to catch Tarpon?
Sharp circle hooks in live bait is the best method to use. We sometimes use treble hooks to increase our chances of setting the hook properly in their mouths. There are many underwater obstacles in the inland waterways, so we are careful about allowing them to wrap our lines because that is the first thing they will try to do. Some of the best tarpon fishing occurs at night.
What are the regulations for Tarpon fishing in Fort Lauderdale?
An angler may only kill one tarpon with purchase of a landing tag.
Do you have a favorite recipe for Tarpon?
Tarpon have little or no food value but they are a prized game fish in Fort Lauderdale.