Snorkeling at Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary – Florida Keys
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April 3, 2014

Fishing: Hooking Tarpon from No Name Key Bridge (Big Pine Key, Florida)

Photo Credit by: Maël BALLAND

QUESTION: What’s the biggest fish you've ever caught?

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Another windy day so instead of taking the porta-bote out, we fish off of No Name Key Bridge... right next to the Old Wooden Bridge Marina where we've rented a boat slip for the month. We've caught various fish from the bridge before... namely, Cero Mackerel and Black Grouper but today we learned how to fish for giant tarpons!

An elderly couple, next to us, seemed to have a system. Wifey would use shrimp to catch the bait fish while hubby would use the bait fish she caught to sport fish for tarpon. He shared his knowledge with us and showed us how to hook our Mangrove Snapper through it's spine. Today was our first experience ever hooking tarpon. Tarpon season here is from May and June but they're around alright! I can see getting on a charter boat just so you can pull the tarpon on the boat... really see how big your catch was. There was no way we could ever pull up the tarpon from the bridge. These guys had to be between 20-130lbs. I've never seen such big fish leap out of the water making a louder cannonball than I could ever make! They were smart, too! Every single one that was hooked would go back towards the bridge to break our lines.

Tarpon Facts

  • Tarpons have been recorded at up to 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) in length and weighing up to 161 kg (355 lb).
  • The Atlantic tarpon is also known as the silver king.
  • In appearance, a tarpon is greenish or bluish on top and silver on the sides.
  • In Florida and Alabama, a special permit is required to kill and keep a tarpon, so most tarpon fishing there is catch and release.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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