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What Is A Tarpon Fish And 10 Facts You Should Know

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tarpon is an unmistakable fish. They can grow to a length of eight feet and weigh nearly 300 pounds. There are tough guys. In waters with low dissolved oxygen and varying amounts of PH, Tarpons can survive. They can even hang out in rivers with fresh water or in the open ocean. 

This picture was taken at The Elbow, a reef off Florida’s Key Largo. It is not rare to see tarpons in the summer, leaving the shallow waters of Florida Bay for the open ocean. I also keep my eyes open for hammerhead sharks during this period, because hammerheads love to eat Tarpons.

Is Tarpon a good fish to eat

is tarpon a good fish to eat
is tarpon a good fish to eat

Weighing anywhere from 60 to 280 pounds, one of the most coveted fish in the world is the enormous tarpon fish. Due to their large size and the difficulty they present in capturing, the species is valued and coveted by anglers. This fish is a wonder of the natural world and a fitting test for an angler who is up for a war, although it has no official commercial value. 

This ancient species is also known for its peculiar habit of swimming to the surface of the water to “gulp” air, enabling them to breathe efficiently through their swimming bladder. This is rare for a fish since the swim bladder is usually used for buoyancy and the gills are left for the absorption of oxygen. The “poon” is an obligate air-breather even in its juvenile phase.

While it may sound like a downside, it actually helps tarpons to live in low-oxygen waters, since they have their “gulping” strategy to support them. 

All this is to suggest that tarpons is just another species of fish with peculiar habits, although unusual, but nothing that makes it especially inedible. The common aversion to eating them is based solely on practicality: capturing and processing them is not a fun or easy fish. 

While it does not taste especially bad, its taste does not exactly compensate for its odor or the excessive amount of bones that you have to go through to enjoy it.

How To Cook Tarpon

To enjoy your tarpon dining experience, On the Gas suggests “poaching the hell out of it” and literally burying the fish in spices, so you don’t have to taste it exactly. Now, you might ask, “Why bother cooking it if the objective is not to taste the fish?” “Well, I ‘m curious about that, too. 

The point of this is, if you are someone who eats every catch you make through tradition and duty, this is one of the best routes you can take to enjoy your tarpons. Hey, Bon Appetit!

Are Tarpon dangerous to humans

are tarpon dangerous to humans
are tarpon dangerous to humans

While tarpon typically spook easily and show severe weariness when around humans, humans are injured often, and usually accidentally. Most accidents occur when anglers attempt to release tarpon after a fight, whereby tarpon in its violent thrashing reportedly killed the angler. One does not try to ship a tarpon that is still green (i.e. full of vigor) to prevent this circumstance. Before attempting either to gaff or bring the tarpon near for release, let the fish tire out thoroughly. A tarpon will periodically run into the boat and unintentionally dive into it. Several tarpon guides mentioned having rods, electronics, and other equipment destroyed by such a shark.

Can tarpons bite you

Yes, Tarpons can bite you. Often, a tarpon will chomp down on your hand or arm if you’re not fast enough. But they don’t have teeth (tarpon feeding wouldn’t be almost as common if they did). Sandpaper is like the inside of their mouths or like rough concrete. So getting ‘bitten’ by a tarpon doesn’t feel good, but you certainly won’t lose a limb from a tarpon bite.

Tarpon Fish Teeth

Tarpons have exceptionally small villiform (i.e., fine densely packed) teeth on their jaws, vomer, palatines, pterygoids, tongue, and skull base, while possessing an enormous mouth, frequently exaggerated by anglers or others as being the size of a five-gallon bucket. In addition, tarpons has an elongated bony plate along the long lower jaw that is upturned. This plate is used by the tarpon to crush crustaceans and other prey that are not eaten whole.

tarpon fishing season
tarpon fishing season

What Is The Best Month To Fish For Tarpon

When you’re in Florida, where you can find them, and when you should go fishing for them, this guide will give you some detail on how to catch Tarpon. It will also instruct you how to use the bait, how to hook the tarpons and land the fish the correct way.

Middle Keys and Upper Keys

Around Tom’s Harbor, Long Key, Seven Mile Bridge, and Channel Bridge, there are a lot of Tarpons. They can also be found at Jack Bank, Buchanan Bank, and flats. Even though they’re in the region all year round, the best time to go is from mid-March to mid-July. You will normally find them around Florida Bay during the spring, but then during the year they will start heading towards the Atlantic.

The Lower Keys Tarpon Season

The Bahia Honda Bridge, Marquesas Keys and Key West Harbor are your best bets while you’re here. From May to July, except for the harbor, which is full of Tarpons food from January to March, you want to fish here. The Keys of the Marquesas are uninhabited and are not linked by road. Key West is full of Tarpon, and if you are able to reach it, it is a perfect place to fish. The bridge is still not used, but it is surrounded by Tarpon-filled waters.

Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands Tarpon Season

Rabbit Key, Sandy Key Basins, Lake Ingraham Canals, Harney, and the mouths of the rivers of Lostman are perfect spots for Tarpon fishing. You can catch them here all year round, but March through July is the best time to catch them.

West (Everglades to Panhandle) Tarpon Season

Boca Grande is the best and most popular Tarpon fishing spot. May to June is the best time for fishing, and that’s when people from all over the world come and catch Tarpons. The flats around the Crystal River and Homosassa Bay are full of giant Tarpons. Apalachicola Bay is another good place to fish during June and summer.

Below Biscayne Bay, the Atlantic Coast Tarpons Season

While they are found along Florida’s Atlantic coast, the very best fishing will be given by inlets and ports below Biscayne Bay. From January through June, the Port Everglades and Government Cut are excellent.

10 Facts About The Tarpon Fish

10 facts about the tarpon fish
10 facts about the tarpon fish

An Atlantic tarpon can grow from 4-8 feet in length anywhere and they are very active and strong. Using their swimming bladders, tarpons can breathe, something that most other fish do only for buoyancy. Depending on the water temperature, they will live at various temperatures and salt levels.

Their bodies are silvery in color and large scales are covered and they have silvery scales. They are a game fish that, when they are hooked, a lot of anglers can go for. By going to the surface to gulp air, tarpons is able to breathe, allowing them to survive at low levels of oxygen with less predators.

They’ll feed on fish , crabs, and shrimp, and they’ll be swallowed whole. To nourish themselves, the eggs mimic transparent ribbons.

Here Are 10 Facts About Tarpon

  1. There are over 28,000 different fish, but only two tarpon species.
  2. Tarpons can adapt to both salt and fresh water, being found in Lake Nicaragua and other fresh water habitats
  3. Tarpons may produce over 12 million eggs. The eggs hatch in sea, and the larvae drift onto shore where they undergo a metamorphosis, growing to half the size they previously reached and taking on a more recognizable form as the tarpon’s shape.
  4. According to scientists, fish are actually the first vertebrates on earth and date back to the Paleozoic era, the first fossil evidence of the Tarpon fish is 125 million years old — that means these fish are older than a T-Rex dinosaur!
  5. Tarpon can grow to be over 8 ft long and weigh nearly 300 pounds.
  6. The Shedd Aquarium of Chicago euthanized a 64-year-old tarpon in the 1990s.
  7. Tarpons live to be about 150 years old.
  8. Tarpons have five types of color receptors in their eyes, enabling them to see colors far more vibrant than we do.  In case you wonder, we can see only three types of color receptors in our eyes.
  9. Tarpon scales have been used to stimulate nails, to decorate walls, and as medicine. In Brazil the scales were pulverized and mixed into tea because it was believed it helped people with asthma. But these days an asthma inhaler is safer.
  10. One Cool Thing About Tarpon – They have for rows of lung-like material in their water bladder that lets them breathe oxygen on both land and water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is tarpon a good fish to eat?

Though it does not taste incredibly poor, its taste does not exactly compensate for its odor or the overwhelming number of bones you have to go through to enjoy it.

Are Tarpon dangerous?

Periodically, a tarpon can run into boats and dive accidentally into them. Rods, electronics, and other equipment destroyed by tarpon were reported by several tarpon guides.

Do tarpon have teeth?

Tarpons have exceptionally small villiform (i.e., fine densely packed) teeth on their jaws

Bottom Line

Tarpon can grow to a length of eight feet and weigh nearly 300 pounds. The ancient species is also known for its peculiar habit of swimming to the surface of the water to “gulp” air.

Tarpon is a wonder of the natural world and a fitting test for an angler who is up for a war. The common aversion to eating them is based solely on practicality: capturing and processing them is not fun.

To enjoy your tarpon dining experience, On the Gas suggests “poaching the hell out of it” and burying the fish in spices.

Tarpon typically spook easily and show severe weariness when around humans. Most accidents occur when anglers attempt to release tarpon after a fight.

Tarpon have exceptionally small villiform (i.e., fine densely packed) teeth on their jaws. They are a game fish that, when they are hooked, a lot of anglers can go for.

They can grow from 4-8 feet in length anywhere and they are very active and strong. Using their swimming bladders, tarpons can breathe, something that most other fish do only for buoyancy.

Eggs mimic transparent ribbons to feed themselves.

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