This article is a list of interesting facts about tarpon.

  • Fossil research shows that tarpon have been swimming in our oceans since prehistoric times.

  • Tarpon can reach sizes up to 8 feet and can weigh up to 280 pounds.

  • The life span of a tarpon can be in excess of 50 years. The oldest tarpon in captivity lived to be 63 years old.

  • Due to its majestic appearance of size and color, the tarpon is nicknamed "silver king."

  • Tarpon are primarily found in shallow coastal waters and estuaries, but they are also found in open marine waters, around coral reefs, and in some freshwater lakes and rivers.

  • Tarpon range from Virginia to central Brazil in the western Atlantic, along the coast of Africa in the eastern Atlantic, and all through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

  • Because of its strength, stamina, and fighting ability, the tarpon is one of Florida's premier game fish.

  • Tarpon have a special ability to gulp air at the surface when they are in a habitat that doesn't provide enough oxygen.

  • In their larval stage, tarpon are transparent, have a ribbonlike body and prominent fanglike teeth, and are less than an inch long.

  • Tarpon can only be fished recreationally in Florida. The majority of recreational anglers practice catch and release since the fish is not considered to be of any food value. However, anglers can possess them for trophy purposes at the cost of $50.00 per tag, per fish. Without this tag, possession is illegal.

  • If tarpon tags are purchased, anglers need to mail their return cards to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute by the end of August each year.
Conventional Tackle 243 pounds
Key West:
Gus Bell, 2/17/1975
Fly Fishing Tackle 202 pounds, 8 ounces
Jim Holland, Jr., 5/11/2001

Fishing regulations may change annually. Visit to view the most current recreational fishing regulations.

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There are 10 to 100 times more animals in seagrass beds than in adjacent sandy areas.

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