Key West Pro Guides

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Tarpon Quest! - Battle the Silver King

March - April - May - June - July

The Florida Keys are world renowned for our incredible population of "The Silver King". Key West has long been known as the premier destination for serious Tarpon anglers looking to sight cast to these brutes in our gin clear waters, all without another boat in sight!

The Tarpon are by far the largest of our flats fish, mid-sized ones from around 30 to 75lbs., large sizes running 80 to 120lbs. and monsters more than 125lbs. The Tarpon run usually starts the latter part of January, peaks in May and begins to taper off around the beginning of July. The Tarpon are aggressive feeders that readily take well-presented large streamer flies, live baits like Mullet and Pinfish and love top water plugs.

A little about them:

Tarpon are the true brutes of the shallows. They can grow in excess of 300lbs. and at only 150, put up a fight for more than 2 ½ hours. Their acrobatic leaps and blistering runs make them a handful on the heaviest of tackle. They enter the Lower Keys in February to head offshore to spawn, leaving our waters in late July. They are the absolute most sought after species in the springtime.

What you and your guide are looking for:

Tarpon are some of the hardest fish to spot. When the conditions are good, you can sometimes see them rolling on the surface. Rolling Tarpon on the surface can show several signs; silver sides, black backs or their tails flipping as they go under. Wearing a good quality pair of polarized sunglasses will help you see the fish that your guide points out. When casting to rolling Tarpon, either lead them a little or put it in the heart of the school. When throwing flies, try to lead them by about 3 to 5 feet, this allows the fly to sink just a little, strip it slowly with short strips. When throwing plugs, lead them just a little, say 3 to 5 feet and keep your retrieve slow and steady, Tarpon are opportunistic feeders, don't make them work for it, tease them and make it easy. When they hit, Fly or Plug, multiple hook sets are key. They have very hard; bone like mouths, the sharper the hook, the better. Bang-Bang-Bang!

Tarpon Facts:

  • The life span of a tarpon can be in excess of 50 years. The oldest tarpon in captivity lived to be 63 years old.
  • Fossil research shows that tarpon have been swimming in our oceans since prehistoric times.
  • Tarpon is the only fish with an air bladder which allows it to absorb oxygen and live in waters with almost no oxygen content
  • Tarpon above 90 lbs. are almost certainly females

Flats Boat (1 to 2 guests): 1/2 Day $400 (4 Hours) – 5/8 Day $450 (5 Hours) - 3/4 Day $500 (6 hours) - Full Day $600 (8 hours)

BackCountry Boat (1-4 guests): 1/2 Day $475 (4 hours) - 5/8 Day $525.00 (5 Hours) - 3/4 Day $600 (6 hours) - Full Day $700 (8 hours)

Sunset Tarpon $450.00 (4 hours)

Light Tackle Boat (1 to 6 guests): 1/2 Day $700 (4 hours) - 5/8 Day $775.00 (5 Hours) - 3/4 Day $850 (6 hours) - Full Day $1000 (8 hours) (Vessels that comfortably accommodate 6 people are limited in availability)