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Silver King Fishing for Sabalo in the Sunshine State

Thursday April 19, 2018

Florida Tarpon Fishing GuideOften considered one of the most brutal fighting inshore and near-shore fish in Florida, the tarpon can often exceed 150 pounds and take hours to bring in. Known as the silver king to many anglers, the Florida tarpon lives up to it's name as the king of fish on coastline. Florida has the lion share of tarpon in North America and host several different migrations including the most famous gulf coast migration that includes Boca Grande and Homosassa. The Florida Keys seems to have a permanent tarpon presence and our east coast tarpon show up for the summer months from May to September.

Live bait tends to get the best tarpon bite on the east coast, but many west coast and Key's guides might argue that jigs and flies seem to get the a consistent bite too. Fly fishing is the most challenging and a ten weight would be the right choice for tarpon in the 100 pound or less range with 11 weights for many of the heavy weight champions.

Fly Fishing For Tarpon

For smaller "ditch tarpon" on the inshore waters that are less than 20 pounds and eight or nine weight will be adequate, but the large tarpon will need beefier rods up to eleven weights. A good compromise would be a 10 weight with an intermediate weight forward line. We choose the St. Croix Legend series 10 weights and they get the job done.

Depending on where you are at and what the tarpon are seeking and relating to, the best flies are probably bait-fish patterns from the Stu Apte Tarpon Fly to an assortment of streamers. Tarpon can be notoriously finicky and they can also have their moments when they eat anything you throw at them. On the east Coast of Central Florida we don't often sight-fish for tarpon directly, but we do get in the area they are rolling and feeding near bait pods often. Smaller tarpon can often be seen rolling and gulping air in the backwaters in deeper water.

When is The Best Times to Fish for Tarpon in Florida?

There's no doubt that Tarpon like the warmer times of the year. On Florida's east central coastline it's a summer-time ordeal, but on the west coast of Florida below Tampa Bay it's a spring and early summer fishery.

florida Tarpon FishingHow big do Tarpon get in Florida

Tarpon can exceed 200 pounds but that's pretty rare in Florida where tarpon get into the high 100 pound range consistently. While a 200+ pounder is possible, it's a very formidable fish and are considered a lifetime achievement for many anglers.

As always I look forward to hearing from many of you soon, if you need to contact Captain Gina and setup a charter please call her at (321) 868-4953 or just fill out the form on the left.

Where is Florida's Best Tarpon Fishing?

Boca Grande in May is Florida's Mecca for tarpon fishing, but you'd better be prepared for combat fishing and willing to pay big bucks for the chance to jump a tarpon. You'll be fishing bumper to bumper in a pass and it will challenge your demeanor and patience. On Florida's Space Coast you can expect semi-consistent tarpon fishing all summer along the beaches from June thru September.

Tarpon have one single dorsal fin (the fin on the top) that extends into long filament. A tarpon's back is dark blue to green or greenish black, shading into bright silver on the side. Their color may vary and be brownish gold in estuarine waters. Tarpon have huge scales that are often kept as trophies by anglers and a large mouth that points upward.

Primarily INSHORE fish, although adult fish spawn OFFSHORE where the ribbon-like larval stage of the fish can be found. We find our larger tarpon off the beaches in the summer. They are often found rolling on the surface and gulping air in while lurking for food or taking it easy between feeding sessions.

Tarpon can often be found in brackish or freshwater near mangroves or in residential canals. Look for tarpon to show up almost anywhere on the lagoons and beaches in Florida, but tarpon "promise land" is found in the Florida Keys and other locations around Florida. While the Orlando, Cocoa Beach area is not as consistent for these gamefish as south Florida areas, we nevertheless we catch our share of tarpon in the Central Florida area when the timing is right and they're around. Tarpon tend to move into the Central Florida area and move out... The Florida Keys tends to hold them year around.


Tarpon are slow growers and mature between 7 to 13 years of age. Spawning occurs between May and September when females may lay more than 12 million eggs each. Tarpon can tolerate wide range of salinity from fresh to very salty estuary waters. Juvenile tarpon are commonly found in fresh water and can breathe air at surface. Tarpon feed mainly on fish and large crustaceans.


Requires $50 tarpon tag to possess or harvest and two fish possession limit.

State Record

243 lbs.

Florida Tarpon Fishing

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: October 20 2016 16:28:03.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

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Fishing Reports

April - 2018 Fishing Report

Fishing Forecast

April - 2018 Fishing Forecast

April of 2018 should be a great spring for fishing in both inshore and offshore coastal waters of Central Florida. Look to the Mosquito Lagoon and Banana Rivers to produce redfish and sea trout consistently and then look toward the ocean and depending on the water temps, clear skies and wind the cobia will be on their way north and migrating past Canaveral towards their northern grounds on the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Central Florida's weather during the spring is usually no less than spectacular as the college spring breakers are winding up the end of their vacation and heading back to campus to finish up before summer break. Daytona Beach host several spring events from NASCAR Races, Bike Week and Spring Break activities while Cocoa Beach and it's Space Coast offer a much less crowded alternative for vacationers to seek a more secluded and restful Holiday. The temperatures are rising and the fishing should be heating up too in East Central Florida's Cocoa Beach.

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Lagooner Fishing Guides
Cocoa Beach's premier saltwater fishing guide with over 25 years of charter fishing experience in his native waters.
Telephone: 321-868-4953

204 Garfield Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL

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Inshore and Offshore Charter Fishing near Orlando and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

We had an awesome day of fishing with Captain Richard! Regardless of your fishing ability....Richard will get you on fish and make sure that everyone has a great day! He is professional, courteous and funny! We caught fish even though boats around us were struggling and we had a fantastic time! I would highly recommend fishing with Richard!
about Lagooner Fishing Charters on January 20, 2015

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