Tarpon is a huge industry in the Keys and a half day charter usually runs around $400, with a full day priced at around $600. Just keep in mind the charter owners are busy professionals and often are fully booked months in advance.
Scientists have found evidence of fishing as far back as 40,000 years. Over the years man has used nets to catch large groups of fish. They have also used spears and a rod and reel, or angler. An angler is the traditional pole that has a reel with a line attached to a hook. The picky Tarpon will not eat anything that is not alive so most people use shrimp or baitfish. Guides generally recommend trolling for these large, skittish fish from a flat boat.
The king of the game fish is the Atlantic Tarpon. He is valued as a tough competitor because he is so tough and puts on such a fight when he is finally caught. This massive fish has been known to grow as big as 350 pounds but usually ranges anywhere from 25 to 280 pounds. It is not uncommon to reel in one of these big boys and find that he measures in at an awesome 8 feet. Very few people actually eat this guy though, the meat simply is not good. Most of the time he is caught and released but you can purchase a permit to keep him and mount him as a trophy.
Key West is a well known island on the south tip of the Florida Keys. The Keys are actually made up of a chain of coral reef that has formed into a group of islands. They are connected by a one lane highway that stretches the length of the chain. While it can be very hot in the summer it is never cold. The only real concern is the unpredictable hurricane season, which sometimes derails tourism for a short time.
Because the weather is so pleasant, people fish all year around in Key West. However, this fish has a definite season. It runs from about March through September but the peak months are in May and June. Most people book charter guides as these locals have the best information about the fishes location.
The Tarpon fish is a large, strong fish and it generally requires heavy duty equipment to catch one. Most guides will have equipment available with their charter. However, if you want to bring your own then most people recommend a 30 to 50 pound line and a heavy rod and reel. Some more experienced fishers like to use a lighter line though, because they consider it to be more sporting. The most important point though is that you must use live bait, this canny fish has no interest in any other type.
In order to ensure availability of a charter and guide you may want to book your Key West Tarpon fishing trip way in advance. You usually do not have to worry about the equipment, since most guides provide it with the charter. However, if you want to bring your own make sure it is heavy weight. Remember the Florida Keys can be very hot and always dress accordingly.
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