The Tarpon, also known as the Silver King, is found in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, inhabiting coastal waters, estuaries, lagoons, and rivers. They’re highly migratory and known as one of the oldest living fish, evolving approximately 18 million years ago. The Tarpon is poorly received as a food fish but held in extremely high regard with travelling anglers, and thousands flock worldwide to target this incredible species. They are the largest species targeted by saltwater fly fishing anglers in shallow water and are famed for their astonishing size, armoured scales and impressive fighting style.
Tarpon are highly predatory and have the ability to fill their swim bladder with air, using it as a primitive lung, giving them an advantage over their prey when hunting, especially in low oxygenated water. Their large mouth turned upwards features an elongated, bony plate, perfect for crushing their diet of crustaceans, crabs and baitfish. They grow to impressive sizes and the largest ever recorded was a monster of over 2.5m in length and weighing over 350lb. They generally average anywhere between 10lb and 90lb, depending on their habitat, but they can easily grow to over 100lb in the right conditions.
There are many different ways to fish for Tarpon, including with lures and bait, but one of the most popular and exciting ways is to fly fish. You can use a sinking line and dredge areas where you know the fish live, but the most exhilarating way is to sight fish for them. They can be challenging to locate, spooky and hard to hook, but once you do, it’s all worthwhile. They have an incredible fighting spirit and are capable of jumping up to ten feet out of the water, often rattling their gills like an angry diamondback snake, trying to shed the anglers hook.
Below are the top destinations in the world for Tarpon Fishing.
Fly fishing is the emphasis of Mango Creek Lodge’s fishing operation, and the Lodge is Roatan’s premier saltwater fishery, presenting the opportunities for travelling rods to hook up with a coveted ‘Grand Slam’. Located in secluded Port Royal on Roatan’s East End, it’s just a stone’s throw away from some of the islands most productive flats.
Southern Belize’s Copal Tree Lodge is an idyllic high-end jungle hideaway overlooking the Rio Grande River in the ‘Green Heart of Belize’. Its location, setting, beautiful grounds, impeccable food, and service rank it among the finest destinations in the Caribbean, and it’s perfect for couples, families, and anglers alike.
This fishing epicentre known as Blue Horizon Lodge is renowned for its vast array of expansive pancake flats that teem with marine life, and its fabled waters are some of the best places in the world to fish for tailing Permit in shallow water. For decades, Blue Horizon Lodge has been known as 'THE' destination for hardcore Permit anglers.
Offering quick and easy access to miles and miles of firm, light bottom flats, Crooked & Acklins Trophy Lodge is perfect for classic wade fishing in skinny water. The flats stretch to the horizon, and travelling anglers can wade and fish as far as their legs will take them, for uncountable Bonefish and large Permit.
With only eight anglers allowed to fish the thousands of kilometres of waters in and around Zapata each week, many area's have never seen an angler. From a saltwater fly fishing perspective, the destination is in its infancy and is remarkable and a real jewel in Cuba's ecological crown.
With popper and lure fishing fast becoming the biggest technique practised amongst the travelling angler so if you take any activity and push it to the wildest edge, you create magic. Sportfishing along the pristine coastline of Gabon is definitely one such activity. Your need to fish wild remote waters may well be what drives you.
At Kwanza Lodge the fishing is varied with the opportunity to one day, fish the freshwaters of the river Cuanza for super huge Tarpon and then the next to be some nautical miles offshore fishing for huge Marlin. The guides will make sure that all your requirements are catered for, so if you wish to troll all day or even popper fish then this will be tailored into your itinerary.
Ascension Bay in Mexico is home to some of the most fantastic Fly Fishing that Mexico has to offer, the guides are also some of the most skilled and knowledgeable in all of the country. GRAND SLAMS and SUPER SLAMS are very achievable and this is the perfect destination for the flats fishing Enthusiast.
Over the last few years, Silver King Lodge in Costa Rica has built a reputation as one of the best Tarpon fishing destinations found anywhere in the world. Located in a lush tropical environment on the banks of the Rio Colorado on the northeast coast of Costa Rica, it's home to abundant numbers of big Tarpon.
Without a doubt, one of the world’s finest fly fishing Tarpon destinations has managed to stay below the radar resulting in large and aggressive Tarpon who are not afraid to charge and inhale a fly. Overall, expect many shots at fish from 60 to over 200LBS each day as the Tarpon are active feeding fish with very little fishing pressure.
This is flat’s fishing far beyond your wildest dreams! The Isle of Youth lays 100km off the coast of mainland Cuba, nearly straight south of Havana. If Tarpon are a species on your saltwater fly fishing hit list then this is definitely the destination for you. There are good populations of both resident and monster migratory Tarpon.
This great resort provides fantastic fly-fishing and provides a great safe, exciting and entertaining destination that you can bring and enjoy with your family. The beachfront location of this resort provides several amenities for your enjoyment, whether it is arranging for a massage in the lodge massage room or a day out on the flats.
Turneffe Flats is one of the world’s premier flats fishing destinations combining a remarkable fishery with excellent English-speaking guides, top-notch equipment and superior service. The ability to sight-fish for Bonefish Permit and Tarpon on any given day makes Turneffe one of the few places where a Grand Slam is always a possibility.
An angler’s paradise in the middle of stunning saltwater flats, the area is approximately 2600 square miles, a vast offshore wilderness where you will rarely see another angler, other than people in your own group. It has to be one of the best places in the world to fly fish for Permit Tarpon and Bonefish.
With our Cuba partners, we now have access to the exclusive fishing rights on the designated Cayo Largo Natural Reserve, which encompasses some 140 square miles of saltwater flats and channels. This has to be one of the best places in the world to catch a grand slam and super grand slam all on the fly.
Cayo Romano is the latest most exciting saltwater fishing locations to become available to ardent fly-anglers. Located on the North Coast of Cuba in the Jardines de Rey, it consists of a huge fishable area, which provides incredible opportunities for big Permit, alongside some really exciting Tarpon fishing on the flats.
Located at the southern end of Ascension Bay in the heart of the 1.3 million acre private preserve, Casa Blanca has established itself as Mexico’s premier saltwater fly fishing destination. For many years now Casa Blanca has mesmerised anglers with its endless expanses of turquoise flats providing the ultimate water for Bonefish, Permit and Tarpon.
The Gardens of the King or Cayo Santa Maria is one of the most precious spots in Cuba and the Caribbean. Renowned as a Tarpon paradise, it's now viewed as one of the best destinations in the Caribbean for catching big Tarpon on the fly. As well as the big Tarpon, it's also home to all the traditional flats species like Bonefish, Permit and Snook.
Average Customer Satisfaction Score 88%
"If you're looking at a trip saltwater fly fishing then I'd 100% recommend Zapata. The Bonefish fishing was incredible and I even landed some nice Tarpon. On the final day, I came within a whisker of my first grand slam too, but unfortunately, the Permit just eluded me! The single angler skiffs were excellent and the guides very knowledgeable, the liveaboard was quite a unique experience too. Overall a brilliant trip!"
"Hope you receive this feedback. Just returned from our trip and wow, wow, wow, there was 4 of us all first time trying for big tarpon, but as it is something we had all wanted to do for a longtime we thought it would be safer to us a travel company. After speaking to a few we opted for Sportquest Holidays as they gave us the most confidence, nothing was too much trouble for them and they did not mind all our questions. All in all an fantastic holiday and first class service from Sportquest. We will alway use them from now on."
"We had a week of rain, rain and more rain, we have never seen so much rain in our lives. Apart from getting very wet each and everyday everything else was perfect. The fishing was good and we found tarpon on a regular basis in the ocean were the dirty water meets the clean sea water. We landed a good few but also lost more than we landed with fish throwing the hooks. After each day and returning back very wet the lodge staff always welcomed us with dry towels and stiff drinks to warm up both our outside and insides. We love to return again soon and hopefully see some sun."