Silver King, Sabalo
All Florida coasts plus the Greater Antilles and some other Caribbean
islands, including the Virgin and Cayman Islands. Scattered in the
Fishable throughout Florida in warm months, including the Panhandle, but
adults are largely confined to South Florida in the winter. Major
fishing efforts for big Tarpon are directed at live-baiting in large
passes, inlets, channels and river mouths throughout the state, and at
sight-fishing with fly and casting tackle on shallow flats in the Keys
and on the lower Gulf Coast from Homosassa southward. Large and medium
Tarpon also are found off the beaches and in the surf of both coasts at
times, and many are hooked from bridges and piers, especially at night.
Medium-size fish are common in a variety of settings in South and
Central Florida, including freshwater rivers and landlocked canals. Tiny
juveniles inhabit landlocked canals and ditches.
Green or steel above, silver on sides and belly. Deep, thick body;
forked tail. Long trailer at end of dorsal fin.
From 12 inches or less to about 75 pounds, on average, although big fish
of 100 to 150 pounds are numerous in many areas. World record 283
pounds, 4 ounces.
FLORIDA RECORD : 243 pounds
Famous for the spectacle and frequency of its jumps. Giant Tarpon don't
quite match the acrobatics of the smaller ones, but they leap frequently
enough in shallow water, and with even more fury.
TACKLE AND BAITS:
Anglers seeking big fish in passes, channels, deep bays and surf areas
like stout tackle with lines testing at least 30 pounds. All sizes of
spinning, bait casting and fly tackle get lots of play for smaller fish.
The same types of gear, although of heavier proportions, are also used
for big fish on shallow flats. Use at least 15-pound line on spinning
and casting gear, and at least a 10-weight fly outfit with minimum
16-pound tippet. Heavy monofilament leaders or tippets are required
because of the Tarpon's very rough mouth. Drift-fishermen in the passes
and inlets prefer live baits mainly small crabs and small fish. All
Tarpon will take dead baits, such as a Mullet head or half Mullet,
fished patiently on bottom. For trolling or surfcasting with heavier
gear, large jigs, spoons and lipped plugs get the call. Generally,
casters enjoy the most success with swimming plugs, jerk plugs and
surface plugs. Fly fishermen rely heavily on scissor-action feather
streamers and bulky bucktail streamers.
Casting; Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.