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Event Article


Bow to the King - Fishing for Tarpon in the Florida Keys

Date: 5/23/18
Location: Marathon, Florida
Event: Fish off in the Keys
Event Date: 5/8-5/9/2019
Reviewer: Zander

Introduction: For many anglers Tarpon are a “bucket-list” fish, and are prized not only because of their size and beauty, but because they are so difficult to land due to their acrobatic leaping abilities. I’ve been wanting to check the Tarpon box off my personal list for a long time, and when I got the invite to the Florida Keys to target these incredible fish I jumped at the opportunity.


More than just a lighthouse, the Faro Blanco light tower is a landmark that greets everyone visiting the bayside village. When I first arrived there were numerous tarpon swimming around the resort

Fish off in the Keys: Paul Michele of Navionics organizes a media event every year that brings together manufacturers from across the industry with outdoor writers. This year the venue was the beautiful Faro Blanco Resort in Marathon, which is in the heart of the Florida Keys. The event was hosted by Garmin, Navionics, Okuma, AFW, Engel Coolers, Sawyer, Maui Jim, A Band of Anglers, and the Florida Keys and Key West tourism council.

The Faro Blanco marina is a beautiful venue for anglers, and on the first evening I captured lightning streaking across the sky. Good omen? I hoped so.

At the beginning of the event Andy Newman, Media Relations Director, for the Florida Keys and Key West tourism council and Sarah Fangman, Superintendent, of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary gave us a great preview of the amazing region, flora, and fauna that makes up the diverse coral cay archipelago of the Florida Keys. In addition to experiencing the region’s sportfishing firsthand we would also get an opportunity to sample some of the local eats, including lionfish prepared a variety of ways at the famed Castaway Restaurant, and a tour of historic Pigeon Key, a one-time base camp for workers who built Henry Flagler’s oversea railroad, connecting the keys via bridge for the first time ever, over a century ago.

Talk about fresh! At the Castaway Restaurant in Marathon we were treated to raw Lionfish Usuzukuri speared just hours ago

The Silver King: We have all seen the pictures and video of Tarpon, also known as Silver Kings, leaping acrobatically clear out of the water, and it is truly the stuff of dreams for anglers. The Tarpon that most anglers in the U.S. fish for are of the Atlantic Species, Megalops atlanticus, which can be found in great numbers throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. The Florida Keys, being situated right in the Gulf, offers anglers some of the very best Tarpon fishing in the nation.

Patrick Sébile, famed lure designer and founder of A Band of Anglers (ABOA) tests some of his newest prototype lures at Pigeon Key

Tarpon are often affectionately called “dinosaurs,” as they have been swimming in oceans since prehistoric times. These ancient fish possess a swim bladder which they use to breathe, enabling them to survive in a wide range of water conditions ranging from salt to brackish, and even conditions with extreme pH and low O2 content.

Tarpon are tough fish, and are able to transition from environments as they develop from larvae in the ocean, to creeks and rivers as juveniles, and back into ocean as they progress to adulthood, which can be up to 80 years!

The Florida Keys is a fishing paradise and there are numerous gamefish that anglers can pursue including Jacks, Redfish, Kingfish, Permit, Bonefish, Wahoo, Dolphin, Mutton Snapper, Barracuda, Snook, Grouper, Tuna, and Tarpon

Tarpon are also known to be powerful fighters, and are notoriously challenging to keep hooked. Juvenile and adult fish range in size from three to over eight feet long and can weigh anywhere from forty to over two three hundred pounds!

They are easy to identify with their large eyes, prominent lower jaws, and beautiful silvery scales that cover the length of their bodies. In terms of diet adult Tarpon are strictly carnivorous and often prey on shrimp, crabs and other fish including mullets, pinfish, grunts, herring, needlefish, and sardines.

May and June are some of the very best times to come to The Florida Keys to target Tarpon

Next Section: Getting the jump on some Tarpon...









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