You’re not going to find a lot of saltwater gamefish that can match the tarpon when it comes to performance as it latches on your hook. The silvery scales are its most obvious characteristic and it is the reason why it is known as the silver king. If you want to catch a tarpon, make sure you’ve got the right gear, and you can get that at Eat My Tackle.
There are two types of tarpon: Megalops cyprinoides in the Indo Pacific and the Megalops atlanticus in the Atlantic. Both types are sought after by anglers because of their power and aggression, and their flesh is bony, so the usual practice is catch and release. Tarpon comes in different shapes and sizes but the adult ones can weigh up to 200 lbs. and this alone gives you an idea why they’re much sought after by anglers.
How to Catch Tarpon
Tarpon usually feed on crabs, shrimps and forage fish, so you will want to look for fly patterns that simulate the shape and colors of these organisms as that is the most effective method for attracting the fish. Tarpon don’t have teeth but their jaw and mouth is surrounded by boney structures, so force is required to get the hook in place.
To catch tarpon you’ll need a quality fly rod. 10 to 12 weight rods are the ones anglers typically use depending on the size of the tarpon they’re after. Floating fly lines are often chosen for their reliability, and of course you should never buy a cheap reel. The general rule is simple enough: you must invest in quality gear to catch a 200 lb. tarpon.
Calm conditions is the best time to go tarpon fishing, and provided there’s not a lot of wind involved you can use a 20 or 30 lb. test leader around 15 feet or more. If the weather is less ideal then you’ll want one that is no more than 10 feet. The shock tippet needs to be around 40 to 80 lbs. but this will also depend on the tarpon you’re going after.
Your fly needs to be presented properly so it works, and here the weather conditions when you cast will be crucial. If the water is clear and calm you will be able to set your fly 10 feet in front of the tarpon, but if the water isn’t clear you’ll want to cut the distance to 5 feet.
Always cast in front of the tarpon and strip the fly in a natural manner. Don’t strip the fly towards it because preys don’t do that. If you do this the tarpon might get scared off and make it harder to catch.
Because of their size and power, new anglers could have a difficult time hauling them in. That doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on it though: as long as you’ve got the proper gear and tackle you stand a good chance of landing a good sized tarpon. Just make sure you’re ready for it!