Contact Pepe directly: (305) 304-0983 • Garrison Bight Marina 711 Eisenhower Dr, Key West, FL 33040

Key West Tarpon Fishing

If you were to ask myself, Capt. Pepe, or one of our many guests who have gone fishing with me over the years what their favorite type of fishing is, most of them would say “tarpon fishing in the Key West Harbor”, because of the exciting fight these guys put up.

tarpon-candy - fishing bait

Tarpon Candy

And fortunately, Key West offers many different techniques to fish for tarpon with some fishermen going after these giant fighters on the shallow flats, fishing with spin tackle or fly fishing for them.  Myself, I prefer to fish for tarpon in the Key West Harbor area using conventional, or spin tackle and using chum as a way to ‘tease’ the tarpon for a close by-the-boat catch.

Many of the guests I have really like this style of tarpon fishing because you can hook and catch an large amount of tarpon and other fish as well with relative ease (after the fight).  The technique of chumming, and charging the waters around the boat with live bait can produce some unbelievable catches.  You can often see tarpon flashing right behind the boat as they go after the chum and your bait – hopefully allowing you to snag one in the process.  After all, you are not here just for sight-seeing! But for most of the fishing season you can view large schools of tarpon as they troll around right in the Key West Harbor.

View of Key West - Photo: Tore Sætre

View of Key West – Photo: Tore Sætre

Tarpon Catching in Key West – Chumming

The best way to catch a tarpon and a lot of other fish in the Key West waters, is by chumming them up.  We can also bring along live bait to use if needed during slack tide, where the water is not so active.  Live bait can also be effective, but you will not see anywhere the number of fish caught as you will with chumming. You can catch tarpon pretty well from mid February to July, although the rest of the year will be dependent upon the type of weather you have.  Tarpon fishing in Key West is best done in the months of March, April, May, June and July.  This also happens to be the time when large numbers of tarpon  can be found in the Key West Harbor – which is why the harbor is also busy with anglers trying to book their tarpon charters.

Tips for Booking your Tarpon Fishing Trip

The first step to catching tarpon is to book a trip in the Key West Harbor with myself or on of the dependable charter captains found there. When you call to book your trip, giving me the days you want to fish, a good captain will always pull his tide charts as the first move. This determines when the best time to book the trip will be.

Both the departure time as well as the duration of the trip will be based on these tables. Because Tarpon feed best when the tide is moving, which means food is being moved around. If there is no tidal flow, there will be no food or chum moving to turn the bite on. A good captain will always explain what they are doing, how you should drift a bait, how to catch the fish, as well as how to fight and land them. In other words – you are supposed to have a good time and enjoy yourself, not worry about how to do everything!