Tarpon Love

Capt. Michael Mauri getting some tarpon love! Photo provided by Michael Mauri.

What fly guy or gal doesn’t love tarpon? We often use “small fish techniques” to catch these silver kings but when you hook up, it becomes a totally different animal, especially the bigger ones. In so many situations it goes from nice and slow to insane in just a blink of an eye. It is also often insane when we look at the fly size we are using to catch these giants. Tarpon are just made for catching them on fly, with their big eyes, the large upturned mouth and these massive silver scales. There is nothing more exciting than sight fishing for these giants and fighting them on the fly.  They love to jump, pulling drag and keep the fight on the surface which makes it so much more fun for us!

Along the Treasure Coast, we actually live in a great place to enjoy tarpon fishing pretty much all year. I enjoy fishing mostly for juvenile tarpon during the winter months but once April arrives, I’m ready for the more consistent bigger fish. The big tarpon season runs until somewhere in November, depending on the weather.

Here are a few pointers to ensure their survival after the release:

  • Use strong enough tackle and learn how to use it.
  • Fight tarpon hard and short, this means apply a lot of pressure to land them quickly.
  • If there is a shark attacking the tarpon, break the tarpon off so you have the best chance at saving their life.
  • Keep tarpon in the water, don’t lift them into the boat or drag them on the beach. (Tarpon over 40 inches in length have to stay in the water, that’s the law!)
  • Release them quick and strong! Make sure your tarpon is ready to go before you let it go. Tarpon grow slowly and a big tarpon might be older than you!
  • If you want to take a picture that’s fine, but it has to be quick. Always keep in mind the tarpons life comes first, not your ego.

Protect them, enjoy catching them and tread them good – tarpon the ultimate fish for the fly!

To learn more about the life cycle of tarpon visit:

A Summary of the Tarpon Life Cycle

The Fly Fishing Column is written by Capt. Michael Mauri, www.mauriflyfishing.com, michael@mauriflyfishing.com, (772) 485-3321.