Tarpon season is now in full swing! Most of the tarpon start migrating to the southwest Florida region (Fort Myers, Sanibel, Captiva, Punta Gorda, Marco Island, etc to start spawning. April usually starts the first set of tarpon traveling down. However, May and June, you will begin to see fishing guides start to jump these fish. They are nicknamed the “Silver King” because of their large shiny silver scales. Another well known trait is to “bow to the king,” or drop the tip of your rod down to the fish as it leaps out of the water. This will prevent the hook from being spit out.
There are two species of Tarpon, Atlantic Tarpon (the tarpon that are known in our area) and the Indo-Pacific Tarpon. The fish have huge migratory patterns. They are found from Virginia to Brazil and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Tarpon are able to adapt to marine salt water and freshwater habitats. Within our brackish waters, this allows them to thrive. They have swim bladders which allow them to breath in low oxygen environments. Tarpon also can take gulps of air in the surface. They will roll in the surface to get air. During a big tarpon fight, they will jump and thrash out of the water to spit out the hook; at the end of the fight you will see them make big rolls for big gulps of air to re-energize.
Tarpon habitats change based on their age. Young larvae are found in clear warm oceanic waters close to the surface. Afterwards the slightly larger spawns are locate din salty marshes, tidal pools, creeks, and rivers. These are usually warmer, shallow and dark bodies of water with sand and muddy bottoms. As they grow larger they will move into freshwater rivers. After they are juveniles and adults, the Tarpon will migrate forwards open waters, though some will prefer to stay in freshwater/brackish water habitats.
The fish will spawn during the late spring and early summer. This is why Southwest Florida is a prime location to find tarpon during this time; they are spawning their young in our brackish water conditions. As mentioned above, there are perfect conditions for their eggs to survive. There are a lot of predators for the young because of their small size; as the fish grow into adulthood, they are more likely to fall prey to large sharks and alligators in our area.
Southwest Florida Charters found that their favorite food tends to be crabs, but it is not always the case though! There are also often times when threadfin fish are preferred. It really depends on the currents and sometimes the preference of the fish! It always seems like the fish group together and like to eat at the same time…
Because of the possibility of their large size (up to 8ft and 300 lbs), they are a popular sport fish in the Southwest Florida area. Specifically since they come down during the late spring and summer time to breed and lay their young, they are coveted and targeted during that time. Southwest Florida Charters will open up our tarpon fishing season in the month of May (we will see a few roll in April but most of the activity seems to start in May and progress into June/July). We have seen some exciting activity thus far! But of course, we are still doing combo, fishing, shelling, and sunset trips in between all the tarpon activity. Book now online at https://www.swflcharters.com/book-now or call us at 239-222-0813.