How to Catch Tarpon in the Surf

Tarpon is a royal fish which has the ability to survive in salt water. Since its a big fish, catching it requires skill, effort and intelligence. Although it is found in the surf, it is difficult to catch because of its hard-boned mouth. If you are looking to successfully catch a tarpon, it is recommended you take a boat along with someone who can manage it while you attempt to catch the fish.

Tarpon is a large fish with a maximum height of about 7ft and weight of about 300lbs. However, you will not always find adult tarpons and should be equipped with baits of various sizes. If you are fishing for a baby tarpon, you will need a 6Wt to 9Wt fishing rod. If you want to catch medium sized tarpons, you need a 10Wt to 12Wt rod, while large ones will need you to have a 12Wt to 13Wt rod. The tarpon fish has large scales and it breathes by swallowing air. It eats shrimps, crabs, mullets and pinfish and the palolo worm is one of its favorite foods.

Things Required:

– Food for bating (crab, mullet, pinfish)
– Fishing Rods (according to the size of the tarpon you wish to catch)
– Gloves
– Boat


  • 1

    In order to catch a tarpon, reach the beach before day break. During this time you can find an easy catch no more than half a mile away from the shore.

  • 2

    You need to observe tarpons keenly and quietly. You may find them daisy chaining around each other. Observe their movements and keep yourself at a distance of 8 feet.

  • 3

    Now prepare the bait. If you use a bobber then you will be able to control the bait more conveniently. If you are baiting with the crab, then it is recommended to hook it with the shell. If it’s a pinfish then hook it from the dorsal fin.

    On the other hand threadfin must be hooked from under the nose and the same rule must be followed in case of mullet and menhaden. You need to follow these instructions to make sure you successfully bait the fish.

    If the bait is not alive then tie it with its anal or dorsal fin and put it down at the base.

  • 4

    Now once you have prepared the bait get ready for throwing the lines. Wear gloves in your hands in order to improve your grip.

  • 5

    Once you throw the lines, wait for sometime. As soon as you get a tarpon to take the bait, hold the rod firmly.

    When a tarpon is caught, it will jump high in the air and start shaking around. Before the fish tries to jump back in the water quickly move up the rod and roll the line.

    As soon as you catch the tarpon, start applying pressure on it. Keep in mind to apply pressure from different directions for best results.

  • 6

    Once it stops shaking, hold the fish and open its mouth to empty its gills of water.

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