Best flies for tarpon fishing.
 Picture of large tarpon as a header for a sellection of tarpon flies.

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Barred Marabou Toad Barred Marabou Toad
Price: $2.95
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: 25-0 -

Black Death Black Death
Price: $4.95
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: 18145 -

There are different styles of "Tarpon Bunny" that do a great job. One of the best is the Black Death. It gets a lot of action. Be sure to have some in your box.

Boca Grande Tarpon Day Glow Boca Grande Tarpon Day Glow
Price: $7.00
(2)
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: 00TA-BG-DG30 -

Bocca Grand, the enterence to Charlotte Harbor, in southwest Florida is one of the most fabled "big tarpon" areas in the world. Next time you are fishing for tarpon anywhere in Florida, take along a supply of these bright colored flies.

Bunny Deceivers Weedless (RZ) Bunny Deceivers Weedless (RZ)
Price: $4.95
(1)
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: 7619 -

Cockroach Cockroach
Price: $4.95
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: 2370 -

Natural banded colors with an black, no eyes. Natural brown buck tail collar. The head is epoxy coated. This is the best finish available at any price. Can be fished with a loop knot. May be the most popular tarpon fly, period.

G/S Roosta G/S Roosta
Price: $10.75
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: 1977 -

Big trevally from Christmas Island. Designed primarily for roosterfish in the Sea of Cortez, the Roosta Series has accounted for many other sportfish as well. Roostas are best presented with fly lines that get them to the strike-zone quickly. For that reason sinking shooting heads lines are best. Sight fishing is an advantage. Target your fish so that it has little time to analyze your offering. Cast a straight, tight line. Be ready to strip as soon as the fly hits the water. Olive/WhiteMany...

Gurgler Gurgler, floating, surface disturbance, saltwater fly, fly fishing in saltwater, saltwater popper
Price: $3.95
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: SW076RW3/0 -

Gurgler, Red & WhiteThe Gurgler type of fly became popular with Florida guides fishing baby tarpon & snook in the Glades. The snook pictured above ate this red and white Gurgler after it was cast into a little hole in the mangrove shoreline at the mouth of the Belize River on the outskirts of Belize City, which is a fairly high traffic area. Snook, like black bass are often attracted to flies that make a commotion when retrieved across the surface of the water. The Dorado in the Sea of Cortez...

Silver King Wings Silver King Wings
Price: $4.95
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: 00816- -

This is often the go-to fly when tarpon have been worked over and are spooky. This is also a great fly for baby tarpon in black water creeks. The head and eyes are 3D epoxy coated. This is the best finish available at any price. Can be fished with a four turn snell or loop knot.

Tarpon Bunny Tarpon Bunny
Price: $7.00
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: 00TA-B0 -

Black/Red/Purple color mixture is very popular in every part of Belize from small tarpon in the black-water creeks and jungle lagoons, to out in the Cayes, and in mouths of big rivers for giant migratory poons.The Tarpon bunny design features a split tail and a head of spun EP fibers that gives each fly nearly neutral buoyancy, which suspends the fly in the water column.Orange with black markings is another universal color combo for all tarpon of all sizes, in all habibats. A great way to fish...

Tarpon Streamer Tarpon Streamer
Price: $7.00
(2)
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: 00TA-S0 -

Tarpon Streamers are tied on extra sharp, extra strong Gamakatsu SC15-Wide Gape hooks.Black/Purple flies are espeially productive on those hard to fish cloud-cover days and around large river mouths where the water is dirty. Orange has been on of the go-to colors for clear water and bright sunlight.Black/Red is often the best color for tea colored brakish water that tarpon love to hide a forage in. ...

Tarpon Toad Fly, Chartreuse, picture
Price: $5.50
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: 665 -

The Tarpon Toad fly was developed by Gary Merriman who owns the The Fish Hawk in Atlanta, Georgia. This version used rabbit strip for the tail. Captain Tim Hoover tied some toads with marabou for famed tarpon angler Andy Mill. This version is now more popular than the original. Toads are some of the most popular flies for big tarpon in Florida waters. They also work in Belize and Cuba, or anywhere tarpon ar found in clear water. Our Toads are tied on extra strong, razor sharp Tiemco TMC600SP...

Toms Tantrum Toms Tantrum
Price: $4.95
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: 25-0610- -

Whistler Whistler
Price: $4.95
Availability: In Stock 1-2 day
Item #: 764 -

Tarpon are nearly like steelhead in that they move freely between fresh and salt water. Tarpon can migrate many miles inland, up rivers and roam head water lakes and creeks. Some jungle rivers are turbid. At times, usually during freshets, tarpon seem to enjoy the cover. As in all rivers, when there is bed load shift, there are a lot of prey species exposed for exploitation. Tarpon within these turbid rivers can be very aggressive feeders. The greatest of these tarpon rivers in Central America...

Fly Fishing For Tarpon

A collage of pictures of a fly angler battling and subduing a large tarpon.

In early April schools of giant tarpon start sneaking into "Back Country" ; that amorphous conglomeration of mangrove islands, reefs and flats on the Gulf side of the Florida Keys. In this early season the area around Marathon in the Middle Keys can be loaded with fresh, laid-up tarpon that haven't seen a fly. Many of these fish will weigh 100-200 pounds. You can get lots of shots, but don't expect these fish to be easy. They are shy and hard to hook and when you hook one they will be exceptionally powerful in the oxygen rich, cool water. 

You better pay close attention to details such as leader knots, backing knots and the durability of your reel. Big tarpon can dismantle tackle. And they can wear you out physically. Any tarpon of over a hundred pounds might take a couple hours to land. A tarpon over 150-ponds might take several hours. Billy Pate's 188-pound record tarpon took him nine hours and 35-miles. When it finally came to the boat, it jerked the muscular 275-pound guide overboard into harms way. But that is the attraction.

Hunters that pursue large carnivores look for the same kind of experience. If the game were easy, it might not have as much allure. My largest tarpon landed was hooked in the early season off Big Pine Key, Florida. It wasn't big by tarpon standards. The estimate was 135-pounds. It took 2 1/2 hours of pulling my guts out before it finally gave up. To this date it is the largest fish of any kind that I have landed and it is indelibly etched in my mind.

Tarpon are hard to see. Laid-up tarpon are the hardest. They look like black logs suspended lazily just below the choppy surface of the water. You have to see them clearly before you cast. There is only one end of a tarpon that will eat a fly. The fly must be cast to exactly the right place in front of his face. Casting gets harder with adrenalin pumping through your veins, but adrenalin is the whole reason for the hunt in the first place.

My first big tarpon took fly turning away with such force that the line burnt a groove in my hand. I struck back a couple of times. Then the fish went berserk; rocketing its seven foot long body high into the air several times as the line melted off the reel. There aren't words that can describe the helpless feeling. The twelve weight rod that felt like such a "stick" before I left Oregon now felt puny against such ferocious power. After ten minutes and several more sky walking jumps, the hook which had been driven so deep into the flesh pulled free. Twenty minutes later the second tarpon took my fly coming head on toward me and pushed enough slack into the line that I thought it missed the fly completely. Yet as it went on past me the line came tight and a couple of hard jabs buried the hook into the cartilage of her upper lip. Then the fish bolted a couple of hundred yards of backing off the reel without jumping. It stayed down and nearly half an hour passed before we saw the size of the this fish. Then it jumped twice. It was a little smaller than the first fish.

Tarpon are able to gulp air into their swim bladders and absorb oxygen from the atmosphere. This action enables tarpon to live in oxygen starved water or supercharge themselves as they are being played on a hook and line. The trick is to keep a fish from gulping air by pulling its head down by sticking your rod under water and giving it a "down and dirty". I wasn't able to keep my big tarpon from gulping and the fight went on for two and one half hours. Finally my guide grabbed the tarpon by the lower jaw with both hands and hoisted it across the bow of the boat for a quick length measurement and a picture. It was 78"; easily the largest tarpon I had ever landed. It was returned to the water where it revived instantly. I, however was exhausted.
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