Three Key West Tarpon Fishing Techniques

The tarpon is an unusual fish that can be found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. They prefer waters that stay around 70 degrees so they are the most plentiful in Key West Florida. When fishing the Florida Keys, you get to catch these amazing species while enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery found anywhere in the United States.
Tarpons are one exciting fish with large bodies and a large mouth with heavy bone structure to match. They have bright silver sides and huge scales. One of the reasons why so many people seek out this species is because of its size. They can easily be found in the Key West area weighing between 40 and 100 pounds. That’s one huge fish and it does present quite a challenge when reeling one in!
Techniques to Use When Fishing for Tarpon in Key West
Tarpon is an amazing species that can put on quite a show. They have a lung that allows them to breathe oxygen. Therefore, you will often see them performing acrobatics that will literally take your breath away. Not only is this fun to watch but it also gives away their location so it makes it easier to find them.
When you get one of these fish hooked, you better be ready for the fight. They won’t come in quietly. Instead they will fight back and they won’t make it easy to say you caught one so you better be ready. If you let your guard down, you will most likely lose your catch. When you combine their size with the struggle they’ll put up, you can just imagine how difficult it will be to reel in one.
When you’re ready to seek out this species, here are three techniques to use when fishing for tarpon:
1. Use a spinning rod combined with 10 to 14 pound monofilament fishing line. Use light tackle and live bait and fish in harbors and around bridges for the best results. Some of the best baits to use include smaller fish such as pinfish, mullet, oversized shrimp and crabs.
2. Fly-fishing is a great way to catch tarpons. Use a 10 to 13 weight fly rod and some of the best flies to use are large merchants, Borski shrimp, clousers and deceivers. Fish the shallow flats on the west side of Key West and in the backcountry estuaries of the Gulf of Mexico and you should have amazing results. This method may be a little more challenging because you’ll need to get your fly right in front of the tarpon for it to see it but when you do and it takes the bait, it will be a thrill.
3. When fishing the channels use a casting rod and artificial bait. Some of the best lures to use include big top water baits, soft plastic and big minnows. Use weights when fishing with lures to get the bait down deep where they can be found in these waters.
When seeking out tarpon go out early and be flexible. This species, like most all of them, will take spells being picky. During these times, you’ll need to change things around a little to figure out what will get their attention.
Tarpon Fishing Tips
Tarpons are such an amazing species that any fishing enthusiast should try fishing for them at least once. You don’t know what you’re missing until you hook one of these and fight it all the way to shore. Seeking out this type of species is where stories come from that get passed down through the generations.
Tarpons often travel in schools, which is great news for the angler. This makes it easier to find them and it increases the number of bites you can get. The more bites you get, the more chances you have of reeling in one of these incredible fish.
Every year the tarpon have an annual run right through the middle of Key West. When this happens, there are thousands of these fish found in this area. For this reason, anglers from all over come out to fish for them. You can depend on these fish appearing every year around the same time so you can make plans to be there and do some of the most exciting fishing you’ve ever encounter.
If you’ve never fished for this species before or if you’ve never fished the Key West, then you could greatly benefit from using a guide service. This is a great way to go tarpon fishing because they know the area and where the best places to fish are located. They also know which baits will be the most effective and when. Fishing guides can give you some excellent advice that will help you reel in more fish. This way, you can have the best time you’ve ever imagined when tarpon fishing in Key West.

Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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