Rusty Fly Charters

Tarpon Fishing in the Florida Keys




Tarpon fishing in the Florida Keys is some of the most exciting inshore fishing on the planet.  Watching a tarpon blast a fly or a live mullet is incredible.  They have nothing but bad intentions on the strike.  These fish grow to sizes in excess of 200 pounds and can be 8′ long.  The tarpon is an incredibly agile fish with tremendous leaping ability.  The jumps are what it’s all about.


The big schools of migratory tarpon pass through the Keys in the spring time.  During the migration, trains of tarpon swim along our coastlines on their long journey to spawn.  They are found in huge numbers that time of year, but are also available into the summer months.  They can be caught with a variety of tackle and baits, but I personally feel the tarpon is the most perfectly designed fish in the ocean for a fly rod.  The nature of how they eat on the surface makes them one of my favorite fly targeted species down here. Teasing a big poon into eating a few feathers, and the thrill of seeing the monster tarpon explode out of the water attached to an 11 wt is undescribable!


Tarpon fishing is also available on heavier spinning tackle where they are targeted with live bait and with artificials.   Whether sight casting to trains of migrating tarpon on fly, or drifting a live bait for them, the eat is something to be seen by everyone.  They make for some of the most memorable fishing experiences you can have. Prime big tarpon season is April-June during the peak of the migration. Every year is different though.  We find them a lot earlier if the weather is nice.   Juvenile tarpon are pretty much available year round, weather pending of course.  They range from 5-50#’s, and can be highly aggressive eaters.


Recommended Tackle and Info


Fly Anglers- For baby tarpon, I recommend using 7-9 wts.  And for adult tarpon, I recommend using 10-12 wts.  You need a to rig your rod with floating line and plenty of backing.  Tarpon will test your tackle to the fullest of their abilities. Bad knots and jenky gear can and will fail.  Make sure all of your stuff is working properly and your knots are solid.  Make sure to have a local fly shop check out your rigging.


Spin Anglers-  Baby tarpon I recommend using 10-12# medium action spinning rods rigged with 10-15# braid.  For adult tarpon, I will typically use 20-30# sinning rod outfits.  I like a medium heavy 20# class rod for sight casting rigeed with 20-30# braid. And a 30# class spinning rod rigged with 30-50# braid for live bait fishing


*Top quality tackle is provided if needed on all charters.