Tarpon – Megalops Atlanticus

Fishing Charters in PR


Savage – Relentless – Acrobatic – Insane

These are words that people use to describe the strike and ensuing battle with a Tarpon. Because of its strength, stamina, and fighting ability, the Tarpon is one of the World’s premier game fish. They also have such large numbers as they are not a target of commercial fisherman fishing in puerto rico so there is no fear of hurting the species by catch and release fly fishing.
Tarpon fishing in puerto rico can be incredibly frustrating at times but many people say that if they could only fish one species for the rest of their life it would be a Tarpon.

The information below is not general information in the traditional sense. We give you the background information but the focus is more on what you need to know about fishing for tarpon in puerto rico. Tarpons are large fish of the genus Mega lops. There are two species of Megalops, one native to the Atlantic, and the other to the Indo-Pacific oceans. Fishing in puerto rico we will only encounter the Atlanticus.

Megalops Atlanticus is found on the western Atlantic coast from Virginia to Brazil, throughout the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and throughout the Caribbean. Tarpon are also found along the eastern Atlantic coast from Senegal to South Angola. They survive in brackish waters (mix of salt and fresh waters) and habitats with low oxygen content due to their swim bladders with which they can breathe air. Making Laguna San Jose & Laguna Torrecilla one of the best fishing spots for tarpon fishing in puerto rico. They roll as they swim coming up for a sip of air every few minutes. The habitat of the Tarpon varies greatly with the developmental stage they are in. While only microscopic at birth, Tarpon in puerto rico may grow to lengths of more than eight feet and weigh more than 280 pounds. The average Tarpon weighs about 75 to 85 pounds, with many caught fish in puerto rico weighing well over 100 pounds. Some catches weigh more than 200 pounds but these are not the normal catch. A fish more than 100 pounds is generally a female, but no one is sure why these larger catches are not equally distributed. They grow very slowly, after a rapid initial growth of about 12 inches in the first year. It takes 8 to 10 years to reach sexual maturity and is believed that Tarpon in puerto rico can live 60 to 70 years. The oldest Tarpon in captivity lived to be 63 years old. Their habitats are characteristically warm, shallow, dark bodies of water with sandy mud bottoms. They also find their way into freshwater creeks, channels and streams.
As they progress from the juvenile stage to adulthood, they move back to the open waters of the ocean, though many may remain in brackish and freshwater habitats.
That is why there are so many different types of Tarpon and names for them. The most universally accepted and commonly used terms are:

“Laid up” Tarpon

Small, mid-size or large Tarpon that like backwater mangroves, canals, brackish lakes, lagoons or the flats. They are really just hanging out. They may or may not leave, and are almost ready to move out and reproduce, migrate, etc., they just haven’t done so yet.

Baby Tarpon

Small juvenile fish that is incredibly fun to catch. They are in the safety of the mangroves and the flats to avoid large predators. Many believe that Baby Tarpon remain in safer backwaters until they are about 5-8 years old, but no one has proven this. They are voracious eaters and highly sought after by anglers and are a good target for fishing charter guides in puerto rico. If you are just getting started with Tarpon fishing on a fly, this might be the way to go.

Resident Tarpon

Mid-size to large fish which essentially don’t migrate or haven’t yet, they usually stay in our lagoons. They stay in one area where food is plentiful (filleting tables on a dock, under bridges or near a waterfront restaurant). Most agree that they will eventually leave possibly to reproduce and become migrators, resume migration but it’s hard to say for sure. There are 60 lb. Tarpons by the Marina near Cangrejos Yacht Club every day and most times when someone is trying to catch one, they get spooled, tangled and cut off in about 5 minutes.

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