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About Us

Captain Felix Cuadrado holding a caught tarpon fish

Meet the Captain

Captain Felix Cuadrado has been fishing in Puerto Rico in the Laguna San Jose and Laguna Torrecilla for 20 years. A native of San Juan, there are few fishing charter guides in Puerto Rico who are as intimately connected with the tides and ecosystem of the lagoons as Felix. On a typical day fishing the backwaters of Puerto Rico’s lagoons, it’s common to have around five to eight strikes of tarpon, jacks or snook.

Backwater fishing for tarpon is an almost surreal experience, affording anglers the opportunity to explore endless mangroves of Puerto Rico while targeting several of the most coveted light tackle species. You would be hard pressed to find another backwater fishing destination that affords unparalleled light tackle fishing within three to six miles of a major tourist hub.

Fisherman leaning into water from boat in Puerto Rico

Live Bait Tarpon Fishing

We use perch, pinfish, greenbacks and herring. The basic live bait technique is to anchor our boat and free line a lively bait to areas we know hold tarpon.

Sometimes the bait is weighted to get it near the bottom. Weights vary with the speed of the tidal current. Heavy weights can cause hooks to pull out. To correct this, we use light copper wire to attach the weights to our line so they will easily drop off and not be a hazard when we fight the tarpon.

Sometimes, a small piece of styrofoam is rigged as a breakaway float to suspend the bait. For tarpon fishing leaders we use about five to eight feet of heavy monofilament or fluorocarbon line from a 50-80 lb test.

Tarpon fishing hooks will vary with the size of the bait and hook brand. A 4/0 to an 11/0 circle hook is what we like best. It’s important to rig the live baits in the most natural way possible. For tarpon fishing with live bait, you should hook a perch in the mouth; greenbacks, greenies, and mullet are hooked through the mouth either vertically or horizontally.

An experienced tarpon guide will use various sizes and types of bait for the conditions. We like to keep a bait on the bottom and one or two baits free lined at different depths. For the best results, we will use three of four different baits at the same time until we find what the tarpon prefer.

Tarpon fishing lures

Tarpon Fishing With Artificial Baits

Although we specialize in live bait tarpon fishing, we have had good luck with big top water baits and minnow imitations as well as soft plastic baits on our Puerto Rico fishing charters. For top water tarpon fishing, casting big chuggers and sliders like the Zara Spook can be productive. For chuggers and poppers, we like to use a “chug and pause” presentation. For sliders, you can’t beat “walking the dog.”

You can fish big minnow baits with a fast retrieve and add a pause or stall to make the retrieve more erratic. It is always a good idea to try different speeds of retrieve depending on current conditions. Some of the best artificial baits for tarpon fishing in Puerto Rico are big soft plastics that imitate baitfish, eels, and sea worms. These can be weighted to fish deep and are versatile substitutes for live bait. We fish these baits slow and like to free line, dead drift them deep or rig them on jigs just like live bait. Casting across the current can also be effective.


Tarpon Fishing Rods and Line

For tarpon fishing and smaller tarpon, you could drop down to 12 or 15-lb tackle depending on the size of the tarpon. We have found Ande or Trileen Big Game monofilament line to be good choices for cost and performance. Mamoi Hi-Catch or Diamond Premium is more expensive and is a good line as well as good leader material. You should also have some Fluorocarbon leader for the tough bite.

We also use braided line and like Power Pro 30-50 pound. Our reel of choice would be a Shimano Saragosa. Penn, Shimano, Diawa, and Fin-nor all make good 30-lb spinning reels for tarpon fishing. Shimano, Diawa and Penn make decent rods. We prefer to use a seven-foot rod.

Man posing with a caught tarpon fish in Puerto Rico

Tarpon Fishing Tips