Below you will find a list of the best tarpon (silver king) baits including pros and cons.
If you have ever heard the saying "elephants eat peanuts" , apply this saying to tarpon and you get tarpon eat shrimp. Some of the biggest tarpon ever landed were caught on small shrimp. One great thing about the shrimp, is that they are easy to get and everything loves eating them.
- Easy to find since most bait and tackle stores carry them
- Easy to keep alive before and after your fishing trip.
- Don't stay alive well after multiple casts
- Get picked away by fish that aren't your target species
- Can be hard to get to swim right with the wrong hook, especially if you are trying to get them into the zone.
Crabs are one of the tarpons favorite snacks. Their tongues are designed to crush crab shells on the roof of their mouth. One great thing about the crab is that most fish won't try to eat them, so you are more likely to get your target species.
- Many bait stores carry them
- Don't usually get picked at by fish that are not your target
- Very hardy (they will survive multiple casts)
- More expensive than shrimp
- Harder to find than shrimp
Captain Jeff has probably single handedly made the mullet the most infamous baitfish out there.
Mullet is one of the most iconic baitfish for tarpon. They have been made famous and part of the fishing culture by the Likes of Lunkerdog and his "HogLeg" crew as well as by BlacktipH who shocked the world with his first of its kind intense drone footage of the mullet run.
Check out this epic footage by BlacktipH of the mullet run.
- Easy to cast net since they travel in schools
- Very lively
- Can survive multiple casts
- Stay on the surface naturally (you will not need a float)
- You have to catch them unlike shrimp and crabs
- Hard to come up with another con.
*Well.. they may jump out of your baitwell or bucket (so get a lid)
The pinfish is an excellent bait for tarpon. Not only do tarpon love them, but they are hardy and easy to find.
- Easy to catch
- Tarpon love them
- Can find them in some bait stores
- Can catch them with a cast net
- Can catch them with a trap
- Need a float as they will often head straight to the bottom
- More expensive than shrimp
- May prick you in the hand (it will be worth it for the poon)
5) Threadfin Herring
Threadfin herring are a more delicate bait than most other tarpon baits. But if you happen to get one in front of a tarpon, there is no turning back.
- Tarpon will not turn them down
- Easy to catch with sabikis
- Usually easy to find
- Harder to catch then all of the baits mentioned above
- They are not too hardy, so you will not find them in most bait stores
- Not found in too many land based locations
- Better to sabiki them then cast net since they are fragile
Do I Need Fluorocarbon For Tarpon Fishing?
Over the years many people have asked us whether they need fluorocarbon to catch Tarpon. The short answer is no, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t help!
Advantages Of Fluorocarbon For Tarpon Fishing
Many anglers don’t use fluorocarbon and catch Tarpon, but there are many advantages that of fluorocarbon that these Tarpon fishermen may be missing out on.
Abrasion Resistance- Fluorocarbon is a lot harder then monofilament because the plastic it is made from is A LOT harder than regular monofilament. More abrasion resistance your line will last longer against the sand paper like mouths of Tarpon.
Visibility - Fluorocarbon is a lot more dense then monofilament which lets light pass through it more easily. This means that it is virtually invisible underwater. If the Tarpon bite has been slow and the water is clear, try switching to fluorocarbon.
Want To Learn More About Choosing Your Fishing Line For Tarpon?
We wrote this article for those who are spooling up their setup to catch tarpon. This is a quick read that will tell you exactly what you should buy to target tarpon.
What Braided Fishing Line Should I Use?
We recommend using 50-65Lb braid for fishing for tarpon. You can fish 20-30Lb braid if fishing for tarpon in the 10-30Lb range.
We recommend 25-30Lb monofilament for tarpon fishing if you want to fish mono. However we feel that braid is a lot more effective for tarpon fishing since it will allow you to put the pressure you need on the fish with lighter tackle (quick releases make for healthy releases).
For days when the bite is slow scale back to 40Lb mono leader , but for most days we recommend keeping 50,60, and 80lb leader material in your tackle bag.
What Fluorocarbon Leader Material Should I Use?
Fluorocarbon can make a big difference when the tarpon bite is slow. For days when the bite is slow scale back to 40Lb fluorocarbon, but for most days we recommend keeping 50,60, and 80lb fluoro in your tackle bag.