Key West Tarpon Fishing Charter

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Every year there is tarpon migration to the Florida Keys and its apex is in Key West. Every Spring thousands of these huge fish congregate in the harbor and channels surrounding Key West.

Tarpon a “pinnacle species”

Tarpon is one the “must-catch” big game fish. Catching a tarpon is an achievement, and catching one on a fly is an even bigger achievement.

A nice tarpon from the harbor

A nice tarpon from the harbor


These fish are big

Tarpon get big, really big sometimes over 150# and they can be found in waist deep water, sometimes even knee deep.

Tarpon Fishing Gear

Primarily we fish for tarpon with heavy spinning gear by Shimano but sometimes conventional gear is used as well.

Circle hooks are used mostly and the fish is always released. It is actually illegal to kill a tarpon unless you purchase a tag for it beforehand from the state.

Tarpon Fishing Bait

Tarpon can be kind of finicky eaters, and sometimes they will not eat at all. Other times they will inhale anything that is edible out there. Sometimes tarpon will only eat a certain bait and ignore all others. We fish both live and dead baits and switch based on what is or isn’t working.

It’s very common to be fishing for tarpon and have them breaking the surface all around you and not having a strike, and then it’s like switch reels start screaming and the action begins.

Tarpon fishing times

Tarpon can be caught at all times, but they seem to like the lower light conditions. Targeting them in the evening or at dawn can be particularly productive.  They also eat at night, which can a fun time to fish without the heat of the sun.IMG_0916

Chumming for Tarpon

It is popular to chum for tarpon in the Key West harbor. This is not done with the commercial chum that is used for yellowtail fishing. Captains acquire bags of what is known as “shrimp trash” which is by-catch from shrimp boats. This by-catch consists of small dead fish and crabs. Tarpon like to eat it.

You essentially throw handfuls of this trash a little at a time and tarpon in the area eventually will start eating it as it drifts back. Then you add a hook and BOOM you have one on.

Times of year for Tarpon

We have tarpon in Key West all year but the best time is spring and early summer.



Starting $700

36-foot SeaVee

Up to 6 People

Twin 300 HP Yahmaha

Starting $700

29-foot Whitewater Custom

Up to 6 People

Twin 200 HP Yahmaha

Starting $700

33-foot SeaVee

Up to 6 People

Twin 300 HP Yahmaha

We went out with Capt. Colin and had an awesome day. We took a half day charter and let him decide the way to spend it. The water was a little rough so we didn’t go out as far as we may have but we still had a great trip. We snagged an elusive monster grouper three times but he just wanted to tease us so we kept doing our thing and reeling in dinner.

My husband hooked a hefty sized shark but he broke the line before we got him to the boat. So yes, I have some stories about the ones who got away, but we didn’t go home disappointed. Colin cleaned and fileted our fish and recommended restaurants where the chef would prepare it for us. We took our catch to Southernmost Cafe and chef Kevin came to our table and talked about some options and soon delivered a beautiful spread.

It was an amazing experience all around and I highly recommend Captain Colin.

Honor C.

We had a great time with captain Damon!!!

And I don’t even like fishing!! lol we caught a bunch of fish between my husband and i! it was a fun experience!!

Fayelaine N.