Skip to main content
Men fishing reeling in tarpon

Your Guide to Tarpon Fishing Season

Imagine cruising down the river and spotting a massive silvery fish leaping from the shallows. Peak tarpon fishing season is upon us, so now is the time to catch — and release — your next big fish.

Known as the “silver king,” tarpon are mighty fighters that can grow to more than 7 feet long and up to 300 pounds — considered a true trophy for seasoned anglers. Once you catch tarpon fever, it’s hard to get over it, and the thrill of pursuit will keep you coming back for more.

Tarpon Fishing

While you can find tarpon in Southwest Florida all year round, they tend to migrate to shallower waters in large numbers between April and June. That’s when the water reaches a consistent 75 degrees or more, and thousands of these mighty fish swim toward Boca Grande Pass and waters off Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach. When the temperature drops again, they move back into the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Tarpon fishing as we know it dates back to 1885, when a young architect from New York named William H. Wood pursued the mighty fish after figuring out the method of estimating a tarpon’s weight from the water, and finally succeeded in catching one using the modern rod and reel method. It’s believed that the first tarpon caught by rod and reel was in the bay of Sanibel Island which was later named Tarpon Bay.

Man Fish Tarpon Catch Boat

Nowadays, tarpon is officially a protected catch-and-release fish. If you are successful in hooking one, it’s best to photograph the game fish while it’s still in the water rather than pulling it out. It’s also recommended to limit fight time to 30 minutes so as not to leave the fish exhausted and vulnerable to predators.  
Ready to test your skills out on the water? Read more about how to plan a perfect weekend of fishing in Fort Myers and book your chartered fishing trip today.