Check out our collection of tarpon pictures, featuring some of the largest tarpon ever caught.
Angler Max Domecq (left) landed this 286-pound, 9-ounce tarpon on a mullet in March 2003. It's currently the largest tarpon ever caught and recorded, according to the IGFA, landed in a little over an hour.
Using 30-pound tackle and a mullet, Jarland's catch tops out as the largest tarpon ever caught by a lady angler, beating out higher 80- and 130-pound tackle classes. According to this tarpon chart, a 249-pound tarpon measures anywhere from 81 to 90 inches (or about 7 feet in length).
In May 1991, Hogan used 2-pound-test line to catch this 56-pounder in Marathon, Florida Keys. The Florida Keys are one location where fishermen target tarpon all year long, making it one of the best tarpon fisheries in all the world. In fact, all U.S. IGFA tarpon records were caught in the state of Florida.
Boca Grande gets all the fanfare, but the central northwest waters of Florida probably have the best tarpon fishing that not many know about. And the local anglers want to keep it that way! But with world record catches in the IGFA record book, that might be hard to do. He enticed the tarpon with a Kilpatrick's Slick Slider and the landed the fish in just under two hours, making his tarpon the largest ever caught on fly.
The west coast of Florida easily trumps the east coast in terms of record tarpon catches. His record catch — which was completely legal — drew some criticism because it edged on the side of "trophy hunting" rather than "conservation." In Florida, tarpon are highly protected and can't be kept for harvest unless submitted for record consideration.
Tarpon have huge appeal across much of the world, including countries in Africa, but also numerous hot spots in the Americas like Trinidad and Tobago and Puerto Rico.