5 Fascinating Facts About Tarpon

Posted by Capt. Tony Fontana on February 1, 2017 in Fishing Tips
Tarpon Fishing in Naples, FL
Tarpon Fishing in Naples, FL

If you are someone who likes to go fishing, chances are that you have heard of tarpon. But do you know anything about this fish? There are some things that you may not know about the fish. How big do they grow? What kind of water do they live in? How do they spawn? Here are five facts about tarpon you may not know.

Growth and Eating Habits

An Atlantic tarpon can grow anywhere from 4-8 feet in length and they’re very active, plus they have great strength. When they are hooked, a tarpon will vigorously leap and this makes it a game fish that a lot of anglers will go after. Their bodies are silvery in color and they are covered in large scales. An adult tarpon will prey on fish, shrimp and crabs and they’re swallowed whole.


Tarpons are able to breathe using their swim bladders, something that the majority of other fish only use for buoyancy. Having the ability to go to the surface to gulp oxygen will give them short energy bursts and allows adults and young to live in the waters that have low oxygen levels and fewer amounts of predators.

Water Temperature

A tarpon is able to tolerate different temperatures and levels of salt. But temperatures under 60 will cause them to be inactive and under 40 will kill them.

Spawning and Growth

A tarpon will spawn in secluded and warm areas. Eggs and sperm all are released into water, in a process known as broadcast spawning. The females will release as many as 12 million eggs each time. Once the eggs are fertilized, these eggs float on top of the water and this stage is known as leptocephalus. The eggs resemble transparent ribbons and it makes them hard for the predators to see. To nourish themselves, the eggs absorb the nutrients in the water by way of the skin. Then the tarpon enters its juvenile stage, staying in the shallow waters, before becoming an adult.

The next time you go fishing for tarpon, now you know a bit more about these wonderful fish. Go out and catch a big one!