Introduction: Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus)

The Tarpon, scientifically known as ⁣ Megalops atlanticus, belongs to the family of Elopidae. This impressive fish species is⁣ known⁤ for its silver scales, large size,⁤ and impressive leaping ⁢ability ‍while fighting against the ⁣angler’s line.

Conservation⁢ Status

Tarpon is ⁢listed ​as⁣ “Vulnerable” ⁣on the ⁣International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) ‍Red‍ List. Conservation efforts for this species includes several regulations limiting the harvest and ⁢possession of Tarpon. Catch and release practices are encouraged among anglers⁢ to ensure the ‍sustainability ​of the species.


Aspect Average Range
Length 4-8 feet 2.5-10⁤ feet
Weight 60-280 lbs 26-355 lbs
Average Lifespan 50 years N/A


Tarpon are widespread across the Atlantic ⁢coastal waters⁣ and ⁣estuaries from Virginia to Central Brazil, including‌ the⁢ Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. They‍ migrate towards ​the warm tropical and ‌subtropical regions during winter.


Tarpon inhabit both fresh⁣ and​ salt water, usually staying within a depth ‌range⁤ of 0-98 feet. ⁢They prefer water temperatures between 74-88 degrees Fahrenheit.

When and Where to​ See

Tarpon migration ⁢starts in late spring to early summer, typically peaking in May and June. These⁤ elusive species are‌ most active at dawn and dusk.

Best ⁢Fishing Locations

Some of the top Tarpon fishing locations are:

  1. Boca Grande, Florida, USA
  2. Key West, Florida,‍ USA
  3. Tampa Bay, Florida,​ USA
  4. Islamorada,⁤ Florida,‌ USA
  5. Montserrat, Caribbean
  6. San Juan, Puerto Rico
  7. Panama City, Panama
  8. Belize City, Belize
  9. Cabo ​Rojo, Puerto Rico
  10. Bimini, Bahamas

How to Catch

Live crabs and shrimp are the best baits for⁤ Tarpon. Fly fishing is also effective. The peak fishing time is generally at sunrise and⁣ sunset.

Identification Guide

Tarpon are characterized by‍ their shiny, ​silvery scales, elongated bodies, and a large mouth that points upwards. They are often mistaken for their cousin, the ladyfish,​ which is smaller in size.


While Tarpon is not considered a⁢ prime ​fish for eating due to its bony and oily ⁣meat, it can be prepared grilled or smoked. It has⁣ a unique flavor profile that’s moderately ⁢fat and​ very strong.

Additional Information

Tarpon are ‍known for their spectacular jumps when hooked,⁣ often shaking the hook in the⁣ process. Natural ‍predators include sharks⁢ and ⁤larger fish. The biggest threat to Tarpons are recreational anglers and habitat loss due to coastal development.

References and Further Reading ​

Florida⁣ Museum
International Game Fish ⁤Association
Sport Fishing Magazine: Best Tarpon ​Spots