Tarpon are among the most sought after saltwater game fish in the Orlando area, Florida is thriving with a healthy population of these silver jumpers or "Silver Kings" as they're often called. What's unusual about these fish is that they have no food value but anglers simply like to catch them for their enormous size and aerobatic fight. Tarpon are known to many anglers as the "Silver King" and when you hook one for the first time you get to know why they're named appropriately.
In the backwaters we often catch baby tarpon under twenty five pounds on both artificial and live baits. Tarpon have unusually hard mouths that have been compared to cinder blocks and remain toothless, but are non-the-less difficult to drive a hook into and extra sharp hooks are a must. Smaller tarpon are often more difficult to hookup than larger ones because of the lack of weight that helps drive the hooks into that formidable jaw, it's often easier to hook them on small sharp tackle and flyrods. Mammoth sized tarpon that are often caught off the beaches and in the inlets can exceed 175 pounds and are generally easier to hookup but difficult to land as it's an endurance test for both angler and fish.
Fights on larger tarpon often exceed two hours on the ocean because the tarpon sound deeper and put more stress on the tackle. Generally speaking a shallow caught tarpon in the lagoon will tire quicker, but the fights are still exciting and may exceed an hour if the fish is over eighty pounds or so. There are fish fighting tactics that can get the job done quicker and with better success. Number One Tactic is to always put the tip of the rod in the water when the fish starts to jump and continue keeping the tip submerged until the fish has completed it's jumping antics. This puts the line in the water and prevents shock waves from jerking the bait or throwing the hook. Many anglers call this method "Bowing to the Silver King", it's a good method and very valid. The second Tactic is to fight your fish against the angle he's swimming while keeping a downward pressure. This method messes up the tarpon's balance and disorients them for a quicker fight.
Anyway around it, Tarpon are a hard fighting and relatively consistent fishery in the Orlando area. If you want a tarpon fishing trip the best times are in the summer and fall in Central Florida's Orlando seashore.
Anglers and Friends,
It's always fun to fishing in the summer east of Orlando, Florida because the beaches and ocean hold such an abundance of fish including the feisty tarpon. On this page you'll see one happy angler holding a nice sized tarpon. "Nice" because it was a small one in tarpon terms only weighing in at less than 30 pounds allowing a short twenty five minute fight and quick release. Tarpon can be brutal and keep anglers preoccupied for hours in the worst conditions and it's often a battle of the will for both angler and fish. Only the strongest make it in large tarpon fights.
If you're down for a summer or fall visit please give us a call and we'll set you up for a day of fishing and if the tarpon are biting... It may be more than you bargained for.
Captain Richard Bradley
Lagooner Fishing Guide
Tarpon fishing near Orlando Florida can be found by driving directly east of the Orlando International Airport approximately 38 miles on SR 528/Beach Line. You can find directions on our Maps page to all the inshore fishing areas east of Orlando Florida on our Orlando Fishing Map page.
Fishing Locations (Where to meet your guide)
NO FISH NO PAY (warning)
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.
Fall tarpon fishing can be exciting in the early fall on the beaches near Orlando and exceptional in November near inlets and feeder creeks or tribuaries. As the fall matures toward winter, the tarpon fishing generally slows down on the beaches and the backwater small tarpon fishing can be something to look forward to on a day-to-day basis. The large tarpon have migrated southward and generally won't return to the beaches til the late spring. Look for tarpon fishing to peak on the beaches in September-October and then stage at the inlets in November to migrate south for the winter. Smaller juvenile tarpon will stick out the winters in warmer water backflows but will not bite as readily during the coldfronts.