Tarpon is a catch-and-release only fishery.
One tarpon tag per person per year may be purchased when in pursuit of an International Game Fish Association (IGFA) record. Vessel, transport and shipment limited to one fish.
Boca Grande Pass Regulations:
This is an example of prohibited gear:
If the weight can slip down the shank to the bottom of the hook, as demonstrated in this video, it is prohibited.
Learn more about recent regulation changes by reading our Frequently Asked Questions.
Unsure if the gear is prohibited? Call the regional office at 863-648-3200.
Map of Boca Grande Pass
Several buoys marking Boca Grande Pass were moved by the U.S. Coast Guard in 2016 to better align with the shifting channel. One buoy specifically (Flashing Red Buoy #12) was a reference point marking the boundaries of Boca Grande Pass for the purposes of specific gear restrictions. Red buoy #12 was removed and replaced with a new buoy (Charlotte Harbor Channel LB 6). This new buoy is about a quarter mile East-Southeast of the old buoy. Please note that due to this buoy change, the boundaries of Boca Grande Pass have also changed. (see map below)
Tarpon is an iconic saltwater fish. When handled properly, these large fish are more likely to survive and evade predators. Follow these guidelines to ensure tarpon remains the strong and viable fishery it is today.
Know tarpon regulations
Tarpon tags may only be used to harvest potential IGFA record-sized tarpon. Taxidermy mounts can be made with length and girth measurements and a photograph.
Keep head and gills in the water
Do not target from bridges or piers - Releasing tarpon from bridges or piers requires specialized lifting gear or cutting the line, which leaves long amounts of line trailing behind the fish.
Use proper tackle
State Waters Harvest Seasons
Habitat and Fishing Tips:
Tarpon are found throughout Florida’s coastal environment during the summer months. During the winter months, coastal water temperatures in much of the state drop significantly and cause tarpon to concentrate in South Florida. Tarpon, which feed primarily on fish, shrimp and crabs, are powerful, explosive and acrobatic fighters. Tarpon also have great stamina, making them one of Florida’s most challenging and exciting nearshore sportfish. Tarpon can be caught on flies, streamers, floating and diving lures, jigs, live bait and dead bait. The tackle to be used depends largely on the type of bait used, the location and the size of fish being targeted. While tarpon are not a toothy predator, a long, heavy monofilament leader is very important to protect your line from being cut by the gill plate or tail. Tarpon have poor food value and are almost exclusively a catch and release fishery. If you intend to keep a tarpon, you must purchase a tarpon tag in advance.
243 lb, caught near Key West
Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study (Video)
Image Credit:Diane Rome Peebles
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