Best Time Of Year For Tarpon Fishing In The Keys

Jumping a tarpon like this is something that everyone should have the chance to experience

Jumping a tarpon like this is something that everyone should have the chance to experience

Question- What is the best time for Tarpon in the Keys?


The Florida Keys are home to one of the greatest migrations of gamefish in the world.  Tarpon move through the Keys in big numbers at certain times of the year. 

There are tarpon in the Florida Keys every single day of the year and it is possible to catch one of any size on any day, however, there are certainly better times than others to be here.

The question of what is the very best time is not actually that easy to answer if you have seen how the fishing changes with the seasons.  The blanket, easy answer is that the best times for tarpon in the Florida Keys is May and June.  This is a time of year where the migration should be in full swing and there should be the maximum number of fish in the area.

There are also the highest numbers of anglers and guides targeting them and sometimes, despite the large numbers of fish, you may get very few bites.

Personally, I like the fringe times for tarpon.  These are the times that most people consider too early or too late for tarpon.  It is very difficult for a traveling angler to hit these moments because they are extremely dependent on the weather and may be fleeting. 

If we get a warm stretch in Febuary or even January, the tarpon will pour in.  Many guides may not even notice because they are set in the winter pattern or may have anglers who are not yet ready to try for tarpon.  It is a gamble at best and one that not everyone can take, but for those who do go look and put in some time for the tarpon on warm winter days, the fishing can be the very best of the year.  It can be the best not because you see the most fish, but rather that the fish that you do see usually eat aggressively. 

It is hard to say which is better...seeing and casting to thousands of fish and catching 1 or 2 or seeing 5 fish and catching 4 of them. 

These warm winter days can extend into March when cold fronts plummet the temperature and it begins to warm again.

April, May and June are consistently good for tarpon.  Very few cold fronts disturb the rising temperature of the water and the tarpon flow through the Keys like a bird migration.

I also like the very late days of June and all of July for tarpon.  The pressure of the guides and anglers is reduced dramatically and there are still some fish around.  These fish become easier to catch due to the lack of pressure but harder to find. 

The Summer and Fall are fantastic for baby tarpon right up until the first cold front of late October or November pushes the mercury down into the 60's.

That is probably more information than you may have been looking for but it is a complete answer to the question.  April May and June for consistency, January, February, early March for a gamble and July-October for good action with smaller fish and a chance of big ones.

Hope that helps!

Tom Rowland

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