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Tarpon fishing in Key West is an addiction. And that’s not just a bold statement. The Keys, with its incredible nursery of marine life and diverse ecosystem, is the place to be for any “Silver King” lover. Here, Tarpon aren’t just a prized game fish. Key West Tarpon represent the area better than any other species ever could.

The Sunshine State is one of the best places on earth to catch these acrobatic fish, and Key West is a perfect example of that. The crystal-clear waters provide a perfect habitat for Silver Kings all year long, and sight-fishing anglers use it to their advantage. However, landing Tarpon – this essential component of the Florida Inshore Slam – is never guaranteed.

In this guide, we’ll discuss what techniques local anglers use to land these beautiful fish. As well as that, we’ll cover the most popular spots in Key West and talk about the best time to pursue Key West Tarpon. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

How do I catch Tarpon in Key West?

If you choose Tarpon, there’s one rule you need to know –– it takes a lot of patience. Even local guides, knowledgeable professionals that have spent decades perfecting the craft, can’t guarantee that your effort will be rewarded.

As a respectful game fish, Tarpon fight tooth and nail. An average Silver King comes in at around 30–80 pounds, although you can come across much bigger fish. Tarpon are also known for jumping out of the water even after being hooked.

Do your best to try to control the incredible force at the end of your line and stoop forward. This is something known locally as “bowing to the King.” And then, Tarpon never seem to run out of energy, making you work to earn back all the lost line. Some Key West anglers say there’s always only one winner – you or the fish.

Read on to hear about the variety of ways you can go about Tarpon fishing in Key West. We’ll talk about the local techniques, the best bait, and all the tackle you need to land a Silver King. It goes without saying, however, that we recommend you book a trip with an experienced guide who can show you the ropes – even if you’ve targeted Tarpon before.


A picture showing a male angler wearing red shorts, flip-flops, and a light blue hoodie, holding a fishing rod and standing on a fishing boat with Key West in the background

Chumming for Tarpon in Key West is pretty niche, although it’s a long-standing tradition. Anglers hop on their boats and stay within 1–3 miles of the harbor. There, they toss the anchor, set up their gear, and start chumming with by-catch. This includes smaller fish and bait that was previously scooped up into the net and bought in advance.

Then, you only need to wait until it’s time to bring the fish to the back of the boat. Since Tarpon are opportunistic feeders, they can get pretty intrigued and pick up the scent of the chum tossed into the water. Once the Silver Kings start showing up, your captain will show you the proper way to drop the dead bait back and hook them up. Since Tarpon think it’s chum and not hooked bait, they might take the bait. Then it’s up to you to do the reeling in.

This method works best if there are a few boats side by side tossing chum, so you’ll usually have some company.

Sight Casting

A fishing guide standing on the platform of a boat, fishing in the flats in Key West, Florida

Tarpon hang out in shallow waters pretty close to shore. Naturally, if you pack your gear and head to the flats, it’s the perfect opportunity to sight fish. It looks something like this: you spot your target, cast your bait so that the fish sees it, and allow the bait to drop down. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Tarpon are easily spooked, so your presentation needs to be as quiet as possible – they won’t tolerate any extra noise. Bait movement and placement are critical. Local Tarpon anglers suggest placing your presentation in the direct path of the fish, making sure the bait descends in a natural way by peeling off the line.

Natural bait works best while sight casting. Pinfish, pilchards, mullet, shrimp, or crabs usually work well. Make sure you also use a sharp circle hook, suitable for a Tarpon’s bony mouth.


Two male anglers, one in a red t-shirt holding a fishing rod, and the other wearing a Yeti cap and dark sunglasses, holding a large Tarpon in the water from a boat by the shore in Key West, Florida

Trolling for Tarpon in Key West might not be the most common technique, but some anglers practice it on a regular basis. This method includes slowly trolling with live baits, covering a lot of ground. While you won’t necessarily be very active throughout the whole process, you still need to do the reeling in part. And we know that’s quite a challenge!

Typical bait for trolling for Tarpon includes pinfish, crab, and shrimp, although artificials are also on the menu, such as spoons and topwater plugs. Some anglers use a multi-bait setup with two or more rods in the water. As for the trolling speed, local anglers stick to about 1.5–2.25 miles per hour.

Fly Fishing

A picture showing a male angler casting a fly rod in the Florida Keys' flats.

Fly fishing for Tarpon isn’t just another way to catch the Silver King. In Key West, fly fishing is like a religion. Any angler in the Keys, guide or not, would agree that Tarpon are the most iconic inshore fish, and catching them on the fly is a real craft.

Fly fishing is challenging and requires perhaps even more patience than other styles of fishing. But it’s, undoubtedly, a rewarding activity. You need to make quick casts and pick the right fly outfit and flies. Tarpon will test your angling skills, stamina, and instincts all at the same time.

While fly fishing for Tarpon in Key West, you can either stake out and wait for the fish to come to you or actively pole a flat and look for the Silver King yourself. Staking out is a traditional fly fishing method that’s been practiced in Key West for generations. Whatever technique you’d like to try, it’s always recommended to head out with a local guide first.


A male angler standing on a boat in Key West, Florida, fishing for a Tarpon that's leaping out of the water in front of him

In general, anglers tend to go spin fishing for Tarpon in Key West because they’re more comfortable with this technique rather than fly fishing. Depending on the time of the year, anglers adjust the technique to fit the circumstances.

For instance, during late February and early March, Tarpon hang out a little deeper than usual, in the channels and edges. Those early season Kings react well to live bait and artificial lures. As the season progresses, the waters get calmer, so Tarpon move to shallower waters. This, in turn, makes them slightly more sensitive to any presentation. Spin fishing works well for both shallow and deep water.

What gear do I need for Tarpon fishing in Key West?

A picture showing two arms with orange gloves holding a large Tarpon by its mouth in the water in Key West, Florida

Since your average fight with Key West Tarpon lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to well over an hour, you need to have the right gear prepared. If you go for spinning gear, consider using 20–30 lb tackle with reels packed with 300 yards of braided line and 150 yards of monofilament backing.

If fly fishing is your technique of choice, local anglers use 11–12 wt rods with floating lines for regular Tarpon, and 9–10 wt for smaller ones. Flies are normally 3–5 inches long, up to 5/0 for large and 2–2/0 hooks for juvenile Tarpon.

When fishing in rivers and canals, locals recommend using a 5–7 wt rod, a 10 lb tippet with a 20 lb, 12″ shock. One of the most important things is tailoring the color of your fly to the color of the bottom. In general, a streamer should have good contrast with the bottom of the fishery. For instance, light grey, blue, or green are great for dark grass, while orange, yellow, and red patterns work for sandy bottoms.

What’s the best bait for Tarpon?

A picture showing a Tarpon jumping out of the water with the coast behind it in Key West, Florida

Flies aside, both live bait and artificial lures work well while fishing for Key West Tarpon. Live, dead, or cut bait produces good results on the flats. You can go with pilchards, pinfish, and mullet. If you use shrimp as live bait, thread and freeline it or hook it under its horn on the head. Alternatively, you can use crabs instead of shrimp, as long as you remove their claws in advance and hook them bottom-up.

If you’re sticking to artificials, it’s recommended to use them on flats. Some of the most effective lures include spinning lures and plugs, Gator spoons, Rapala Magnum for trolling, and colorful plastic worms when fishing close to the bottom. Round-headed crappie jigs, Rebels, and small Rapalas are good options for canals and rivers.

Where do I go Tarpon fishing in Key West?

A picture showing the flats of Key West, Florida, on a sunny day, with the coast visible in the background

It’s safe to say that Key West is practically one big hot spot for Tarpon fishing. You’ll have all the chances to try your luck if you cast on the flats or head to one of the channels. Here’s a quick list of spots to consider for your Key West Tarpon adventure:

  • Flats. Key West’s flats are the place to be if you’re chasing a Silver King in May, June, and sometimes July. Some locals fish right from a skiff or bay boat, targeting strings of Tarpon that are making their way down the edges of the flats.
  • Backcountry and channels. Early in the year, Tarpon move to the channels and backcountry. When they come varies from year to year and depends on how cold the winter is. In general, they can be seen as early as late January. Just like on the flats, anglers target backcountry Tarpon on bay and flats fishing boats.
  • Harbor and bridges. Key West Harbor is a great place for a Tarpon chumming trip. These fish love harbors and bridges, although the fishing conditions aren’t always ideal due to waves and ripping currents. You can plan a trip anytime from spring through early summer.

Tarpon Fishing Season in Key West

Two anglers, one male and one female, both smiling, while the male angler is holding a freshly-caught Tarpon in the water in Key West, Florida

Tarpon fishing in Key West is good all year round, although the success of your trip depends on the exact season. Silver Kings migrate to Key West every February and then head offshore to spawn in the summer. Here’s a quick breakdown of the Tarpon seasons:

Spring/early summer. The fish number in the thousands during the spring months. This is when the big migrational Tarpon start showing up, starting in March. April through June is the overall best time for a Tarpon fishing trip, since large schools of fish travel through the lower Keys. During peak season, you can even hook a 150 lb monster in just three feet of water!

Late summer/fall. During in this period, anglers enjoy hunting for juvenile “baby” Tarpon on the fly or light tackle in the backcountry. These fish are smaller but are fun to catch, hopping all over the shallows. Since the waters in Key West stay warm longer, Tarpon tend to stick around well into October.

Winter. The cooler months may make it harder for anglers to find good numbers of Tarpon, but the fishing doesn’t stop. In fact, you can enjoy nighttime baby Tarpon trips during this time of year. You also have the chance to find larger Tarpon in late winter before the migration season starts.

Key West Tarpon Fishing FAQs

Do I need a license to fish for Tarpon in Key West?
  • You may need to purchase a valid Florida fishing license before your trip. However, the majority of charter operators and guides cover licenses for everyone on board, including Tarpon anglers.
Can I keep Tarpon?
  • Tarpon are strictly catch-and-release as a protected species in Florida. You can retain the fish if you’re pursuing an IGFA record and have a special Tarpon tag, although this isn’t encouraged. All Tarpon over 40 inches must be kept in the water, while smaller fish are allowed on board temporarily.
Are Tarpon good to eat?
  • Tarpon are edible, but don’t taste very good. Their meat contains a lot of small bones, which makes it hard to eat. Plus, Tarpon are a strictly catch-and-release species.

Tarpon Fishing in Key West – The Silver King of the Conch Republic

Two anglers on a fishing boat in Key West, Florida, one of them holding a fishing rod, while the other iss smiling and holding a large Tarpon in the water

There are so many reasons why Tarpon fishing in Key West is so popular. In addition to productive grounds, experienced guides, and beautiful weather, the southernmost city in the continental USA is also one of the most beautiful places in the country. And who would say no to a few days in this angling paradise, especially when a couple of Silver Kings are in the cards?

Every Floridian and visiting angler has to go Key West Tarpon fishing at least once. Have you ever tried it? Share your Tarpon stories in the comments below!

The post Tarpon Fishing in Key West: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Lisa
Title: Tarpon Fishing in Key West: The Complete Guide
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Published Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2022 08:15:00 +0000


A SHIRT IS BORN: How the Exclusive 2024 FCCS Tee Came to Life

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A SHIRT IS BORN: How the Exclusive 2024 FCCS Tee Came to Life

Since the Future Collector Car Show (FCCS) made its move to the Polo Field at WestWorld and takes place during Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale Auctions, the team has become dedicated to creating an exclusive commemorative T-shirt that celebrates the event and its participants. What makes the shirt special is that it showcases the prior year’s Best of Show winner, aiming to provide a unique keepsake and encourage a competitive show field. The 2024 shirt features the 2023 Best of Show winner, a 2002 Honda S2000 owned by David Flinn.

In the realm of creative design, crafting of the FCCS commemorative T-shirt is more than just placing a photo on a shirt and calling it a day ‒ it’s a meticulous process that involves expertise, innovation and talented designers. To create something truly special, the team turned to Corbin Snyder, Director of Marketing and Creative at Barrett-Jackson. Since the design had to feature the 2023 winner, the team had to start with a clean photo of the Best of Show S2K.

The creative team brought the S2K into the cutting-edge Barrett-Jackson studio for a photo shoot. The studio features a white cyclorama, or “cyc” for short. The cyc is a huge wall used to suggest unlimited space – a literal blank canvas – which makes the design process easier as there isn’t a distracting background. The studio also provides excellent controlled lighting which ensures an evenly lit car without any glaring reflections or strange light spots that would necessitate a significant amount of retouching for the final design. Barrett-Jackson Media Director Tim Heit played with multiple angles and took a variety of different photos to ensure the most compelling image for the commemorative tee.

Once the car was photographed, the images were turned over to the graphics team. Each design iteration went through a process of exploration, from vibrant hues to distinct angles.

With any project that comes across his desk, Snyder encourages his team to come up with a design for themselves, letting their imaginations run wild, then create a second one that fits within the project parameters and finally create a third they think would appeal to the masses. Making sure the design flows and is cohesive – as well as remembering the audience and where the design will live (in this case, on a T-shirt) – is key.

The core of this collective endeavor is rooted in the quest for a design that not only respects the 2023 Best of Show champion but also captures the essence of the FCCS event. It serves as a tribute to the commitment, originality and artistic craftsmanship embedded in creating a T-shirt to be treasured by both participants and spectators.

FCCS participants with a vehicle on the show field will receive the special shirt upon entry to the event, while spectators can pre-order the limited-edition tee on Barrett-Jackson’s official merchandise site here.

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By: Barrett-Jackson
Title: A SHIRT IS BORN: How the Exclusive 2024 FCCS Tee Came to Life
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Published Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2023 23:42:33 +0000

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Adam Beyer Modernizes Old Drumcode Sound with Let’s Begin EP

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Following the most prolific year of his production career, Adam Beyer starts 2024 right with another standout EP, ‘Let’s Begin’, which takes influence from the ‘90s Drumcode sound with a modern touch.

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Let’s Begin

Looking backwards to go forwards, the three-track work kicks off with ‘Let’s Begin’ . It sees Beyer lean on faster tempos and rugged rhythms to craft a high octane, atmosphere heavy cut. Trust me it will hit you right between the eyes. The eerie vocals will take you into a wild journey. An absolutely cracking peak-time tune that highlighted recent gigs at L56 in Ljubljana and Fairground Festival in Hannover.

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Computerized’ is a masterclass in dancefloor mentalism. It brings forth shades of hardcore influenced vocals and menacing synth lines reminiscent of early 2000s Frankfurt. No surprise this brought maximum vibes at Beyer’s NYE gigs in the States at Teksupport and Insomniac’s Countdown NYE event.

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Fresh out of the studio, ‘Red Room’ is a dreamy belter that takes in subtle hints of classic four-to-the-floor grooves reminiscent of UK hard dance. Just before an industrial synth section ramps up the intensity. Exhilarating stuff.

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“This new three-tracker is on the rawer techno tip and is an ode to Drumcode’s earlier material. It’s a take on the ‘90s sound blended with new modern elements. For this release I wanted to take the Adam Beyer techno sound from that period and bring it up-to-date. It’s dirty with a new twist, direct and to the point. This project is not a statement, rather it’s a release that was inspired by the big techno shows I played in Europe this autumn like Awakenings, Mayday and Timewarp.”Adam Beyer

Let’s Begin is the EP we wanted to power through the rest of the year

The post Adam Beyer Modernizes Old Drumcode Sound with Let’s Begin EP appeared first on EDMTunes.


By: Jay Seabrook
Title: Adam Beyer Modernizes Old Drumcode Sound with Let’s Begin EP
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Published Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2024 01:33:47 +0000

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I’m a beaver. You’re a beaver. We are beavers all.

MIT beaver panorama

For more than 20 million years, beavers have been, well, busy. They’ve been felling trees for that long, and building dams and lodges for at least the last few million years, earning a well-deserved reputation for industriousness and ingenuity. It seemed only fitting, then, that MIT saw fit to claim the beaver as its mascot in 1914. By 1921, The Tech reported that gray beaver hats had become “the distinguishing mark of an Institute man” at college gatherings. The toothy, mainly nocturnal rodent has appeared on every rendition of the MIT class ring—now lovingly called the brass rat—since it was introduced in 1929. 

Read on to learn more about Castor canadensis, the remarkable four-legged engineers.

Family life

The North American beaver is the largest rodent in the Northern Hemisphere, typically weighing in at 35 to 65 pounds. (Only the South American capybara weighs more.) They make their homes in ponds, rivers, streams, and wetlands throughout most of North America.

long scene of beavers in a natural environment swimming, chewing wood and grooming

They are one of the few species in the world that typically mate for life. Their offspring, known as kits, can swim within days of birth, but their childhoods are among the longest in the animal world. They generally live for two years with their parents, which both take part in raising them. It takes that long for the parents and older siblings to show them, by example, how to build dams and lodges, how to plan and dig channels, and how to select food, harvest it, and store it for the winter. It’s kind of like going to engineering school. Beavers then move on to form their own families, often building their own colonies. They typically live to age 10 or 12 in the wild.

well-planned diet

Beavers are vegetarians but with a twist. They favor the inner bark of certain tree species, including willow, poplar, aspen, birch, and maple, feasting on the cambium, the soft, sap-laden layer immediately under the outer bark. Conifers, however, are not considered a delicacy. Beavers eat them only rarely, and tend to fell them mainly for dam building and to encourage growth of things they’d rather eat. In summer they consume readily available grasses, leaves, herbs, fruit, and aquatic plants. To prepare for winter in cold climates, they create an underwater cache of sticks and logs they’ve gnawed from trees they’ve felled. First they assemble a floating raft of not-so-delicious branches above a deep part of their pond; then they stash their preferred branches beneath them. The pile absorbs water and sinks to the bottom, with the less-favored branches often freezing in the ice at the surface and acting as a protective covering that secures the more-desirable lower branches, which remain accessible below the ice. The cold water preserves the nutritional value of the branches.

While humans can’t digest cellulose, beavers have a small sac between the large and small intestines containing microorganisms that ferment this material, helping them digest up to 30% of it.

chieving the perfect pelt

Forget mink, ermine, and sable. Of all fur-bearing animals, beavers have the coat that is rated the warmest. So it’s no surprise that European demand for hats made of warm, water-resistant, and durable beaver felt led to lucrative trapping and fur-trading ventures in North America. In the 17th and 18th centuries, as many as 200,000 North American beaver pelts were exported annually to Europe. (Fierce competition to monopolize the fur trade led to a series of so-called Beaver Wars between 1628 and the Treaty of Montreal in 1701: the Iroquois Confederation, backed by the Dutch and British, battled the Huron Confederation, backed by France.) These enterprises gave rise to many European settlements and trading centers in North America—and nearly wiped out the continent’s beaver population.

On January 17, 1914, MIT President Richard Maclaurin accepted the Technology Club of New York’s proposal that the beaver—nature’s engineer—serve as MIT’s mascot. In 1977, TIM the beaver first showed up on campus to celebrate the 50th reunion of the Class of 1927

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By: William Miller ’51, SM ’52
Title: I’m a beaver. You’re a beaver. We are beavers all.
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Published Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2024 12:00:00 +0000

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