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Indian River Tarpon

Catching Tarpon On The Indian River Lagoon

Friday August 18, 2017

Shimmery scales and powerful fights are the trademarks of an Indian River tarpon when they're jumping while being hooked up. Tarpon are one of the most exciting species in Florida and almost always surprise anglers as their first few jumps are a fantastic display of power and determination.

The habits and whereabouts of tarpon are as varied as any fish species. When mature and weighing in at over 100 pounds are often found in the middle of the lagoon in large congregations in late summer. But juvenile tarpon can be seen rolling in ditches or small narrow tributaries feeding off the main lagoon system. All size tarpon can be a challenge and thrill for anglers to enjoy.

Tarpon are not considered edible and are strictly a gamefish for enjoyment. Florida requires a $50 permit to harvest and keep a tarpon, but rarely are tarpon kept anymore as taxidermist no longer need a skin to complete a lifelike replica of their fish. A simple photograph and measurements will suffice as a referrence for the painter.

The Indian River Lagoon is a great place to take a fishing trip whether in pursuit of a tarpon or other popular gamefish on Florida's east coast. Try your hand at flyfishing or spin casting for these mangificent jumping giants of their inshore saltwater playground near Kennedy Space Center and the Atlantic Ocean.

Tarpon have one single dorsal fin (the fin on the top) that extends into long filament. A tarpon's back is dark blue to green or greenish black, shading into bright silver on the side. Their color may vary and be brownish gold in estuarine waters. Tarpon have huge scales that are often kept as trophies by anglers and a large mouth that points upward.

Primarily INSHORE fish, although adult fish spawn OFFSHORE where the ribbon-like larval stage of the fish can be found. We find our larger tarpon off the beaches in the summer. They are often found rolling on the surface and gulping air in while lurking for food or taking it easy between feeding sessions.

Tarpon can often be found in brackish or freshwater near mangroves or in residential canals. Look for tarpon to show up almost anywhere on the lagoons and beaches in Florida, but tarpon "promise land" is found in the Florida Keys and other locations around Florida. While the Orlando, Cocoa Beach area is not as consistent for these gamefish as south Florida areas, we nevertheless we catch our share of tarpon in the Central Florida area when the timing is right and they're around. Tarpon tend to move into the Central Florida area and move out... The Florida Keys tends to hold them year around.

Remarks

Tarpon are slow growers and mature between 7 to 13 years of age. Spawning occurs between May and September when females may lay more than 12 million eggs each. Tarpon can tolerate wide range of salinity from fresh to very salty estuary waters. Juvenile tarpon are commonly found in fresh water and can breathe air at surface. Tarpon feed mainly on fish and large crustaceans.

Regulations

Requires $50 tarpon tag to possess or harvest and two fish possession limit.

State Record

243 lbs.

Indian River Lagoon Tarpon Charters

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: November 08 2016 12:22:52.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

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Lagooner Fishing Guides
Cocoa Beach's premier saltwater fishing guide with over 25 years of charter fishing experience in his native waters.
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Review / Trip Advisor

Inshore and Offshore Charter Fishing near Orlando and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

Excellent people and experience! - My husband and I had never tried anything like this before so we were a bit nervous about being sea sick. Captain Richard was so nice and laid back and gave us tips and tricks to try and fight it off. My husband unfortunately was very sick even before we started to get the lines out. Captain Richard took control and told him what to do and even where to stand in the boat to make it better. Unfortunately after captain Richard tried all his tricks my husband was still pretty sick so we had to call it a day an hour early.
The day was definitely not a loss though. Even though we didn't get to catch any fish I still got to see tons of wildlife! We saw everything from dozens of turtles to Dolphins, Rays, and even an 8 ft hammerhead shark! Captain Richard is a pro and definitely knows what he's doing and talking about. I would recommend this trip for sure!

about Lagooner Fishing Charters on June 28, 2015

5 / 5 stars 5 star rating

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