How To:

Catch More Tarpon

Author: Albert Acosta

Read This To Catch More Tarpon

Tarpon Fishing

Want to catch more tarpon? Of course you do! Doesn't everyone want to be able to increase your hook up ratio and landing percentage? Tarpon are very strong and hard fighting fish that will give you a run for your money. Not only do they make hard fast runs but are very acrobatic and will put you tackle to the test. They can be very picky eaters as well if you do not have the right bait for them. In this article I will go over a few tips and tricks to help you increase your hook ups when fishing for these magnificent fish. 

Tip #1 prepare, prepare, prepare your tackle! 

I cannot stress this enough ....your gear has to be in tip top shape when fishing for these fish. Your reels drag must be ready and smooth and your fishing line must be good to go. 


I prefer to use between 30-50lb Bullbuster braid main line on a medium to heavy spinner depending on the size tarpon you are going after. 

Be Ready with Bullbuster Fishing Lines
Bullbuster Braid and Flurocarbon


I use Quantum Cabo's 40's and Penn Spinfisher 6500. 

Leader: Then top it off with about 4 to 5 foot Bullbuster 50-60 lb fluorocarbon. The fluorocarbon is crucial to prevent being cut off by these powerful fish.  Using good fluorocarbon will help greatly when these fish make hard runs and jumps in the air. Bullbuster lines I have found to be very very strong and dependable. I connect the fluorocarbon directly on to the braid with a braid to fluorocarbon knot. Check your knot to ensure you tied a good knot...the last thing you want is your knot to slip and loose a big fish. 


Next is hook selection...this is very important! Depending on the bait and size tarpon you plan to go after hook selection is crucial. I like to use a small circle hook thin wire extra strong 3/0-4/0 This helps with your hook ups because the thin wire will go into the tarpon's mouth much more easily than a large thicker size hook. Your hook ups will increase by using this style will be surprised of the size tarpon you can land with such a small hook. Here is the size of the hook I used recently on a successful tarpon trip...

Ree Small Circle Hook Thin Wire
Increase Your Hook Ups!

This small hook also allows you to fish very small baits like shrimp...which tarpon love! The small hook allows for stealthy presentations and looks more natural. I cant tell you the times i have hooked a tarpon on the smallest of shrimp....they have excellent eye sight and will see it even in dark conditions. Now remember know the area you are fishing and watch the action around your boat or shore...if you see monster tarpon over 80lbs lets say hitting bait then you might want to go with a step up in hook size 4.0 to 6.0. Monster tarpon will straighten out your hook for sure. I use Owner or Gamakatsu hooks when fishing for tarpon. Now that we have the tackle set up its time to go the bait...

Tip #2 Have A Variety Of Bait

 Its very impoartant to have more than just 1 bait type when fishing for tarpon. They can eat everything they see or be very finicky and only eat one certain type of bait. I usually automatically get shrimp and crabs and different types of sizes of live shrimp small to large and live crabs. That will give you two good choices and tarpon favorites. 

Tarpon Candy
Shrimp and Crabs

You can also take some dead mullet which they love to eat off the bottom as well. Once you get to an area whether its from shore or from a boat the next thing you should do is see what bait is around. There is nothing and I mean nothing better than catching live bait that is located in the immediate area where you are fishing. This will most likley be exactly what the tarpon are feeding on so bring your cast net or sabiki set up and catch live bait. Once you have your 3-4 different type baits you are ready! Put different baits out at the same time...shrimp freeline on one side and another with a crab or live area bait you caught with cast net. Use different size baits from tiny shrimp to larger ones this could mean a hook up or not! You can use a float set up or bottom rig as well depending on what you see the tarpon doing. If you see and hear them smacking bait on the surface then freeline or float is the way to go. 

Tip #3 The Fight! "bow to the King"

This Youtube video posted by "Captain Solo" shows you exactly how its done.

Once you have your tackle ready, your bait ready and deployed then the next thing is the hook up and fight! A tarpon hit can be vicious or just a gulp and run. You have to be ready. The good thing about using circle hooks and thin wire is that the tarpon will practically hook himself. Once you see or feel the hit the tarpon will run just give it a solid pull back once or twice to make sure hook is set  good and you are on! Now the fun begins and hold on. 

The tarpon will jump like crazy and make hard runs you have to be ready to "bow to the King"....this means when the tarpon is getting ready to jump or is jumping/spinning in the air point your rod tip down to him and give him some slack in the line...this will prevent break offs of the line or hooks being pulled. These fish are powerful and its common to hook 10 fish in a day or night and only land a small percentage of them lets say 2 to 3. So the better you get at "bowing to the King" the better your chances. 

Tip #4 Select the best time to fish.

 Fishing for tarpon is not an early morning be first on the water thing.... its a tide thing. They like moving water. I like outgoing tides at night with the moon 🌙 out or incoming tide. Beginning incoming or outgoing are good to fish and at night even better. Look for baitfish and look for feeding tarpon and position yourself in that area and you will get action! 

I hope you enjoyed my article and it helps you catch more fish. Remember Spend More Time Fishing and order your fishing lines online at Fast shipping and great products to help you catch more fish! Take care and get out and fish! 

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