Atlantic tarpon are a trophy sportfish that are mostly released as their flesh is very bony. However, if you live in a jurisdiction that allows harvest of tarpon and you do choose to take one, their eating qualities can be improved if they are killed immediately by iki jime or a firm knock to the head before placing them in an ice slurry after bleeding.
- Tarpon are large-scaled, silvery fishes , olive/green dorsally, with a large protrusible mouth, large eye and a single dorsal fin that has a distinctive trailing filament.
- Like their relatives the eels, they have a transparent marine leptocephalus larval stage. The leptocephalus metamorphoses into juvenile tarpon that frequent estuaries and freshwater reaches of rivers.
- This species frequents the tropical and subtropical regions of the Atlantic Ocean. It naturally occurs along virtually the entire east coast of the US as far north as Nova Scotia, south to Florida, through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean to South America as far south as Argentina.
- It has also been reported along the coast of southern France, and the West coast of Africa. Small numbers of Atlantic tarpon have also crossed through the Panama Canal into the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Fish Size Common Length:
Common between 2-4 feet long, maximum size exceeds 8 feet long and 300 pounds. World record 130 kg (286 lb) from Rubane, Guinea-Bissau.