Boating Lifestyle

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Saltwater Fish - Tarpon


Megalops atlanticus

AKA:  Silver king, silverfish, sabalo


Distinguishing Markings:

Silver in color, with large heavy scales, tubular body, large uptilted mouth with protruding lower jaw.  The last ray of the single dorsal fin is extended into a long filament.  Back is dark blue to green or greenish black, shading into bright silver on the sides, or it may be brownish gold in estuarian waters.



Typically 30 to 50 pounds; up to 225 pounds



South Atlantic Coast, along Florida, into the Gulf of Mexico, through Louisiana



Living in a variety of habitats; they are found close to shore going into mouths and passes of rivers along the coast.  Equipped with a lung like bladder that enables it to survive in water with low oxygen levels.


Food Preference:

Baitfish, crabs, shrimp



Spawning occurs between May and September; females may lay more than 12 million eggs; can tolerate wide range of salinity; juveniles commonly found in fresh water; can breathe air at surface.


Fishing Tips:

These fish are hard to find and even more challenging to hook and land.  It is very difficult to set a hook in the hard bony mouth of a tarpon.  An attempt usually fails as the strong spectacular leaper can easily throw the hook.  Cast or troll with plugs, spoons, artificial lures and flies.  Still fish or drift with natural baits of striped mullet, pogie, crabs and shrimp.   Sharp hooks are a must.


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