The tarpons are large coastal fish notable as a
prize of anglers. There are two species in a single
genus Megalops in the family Megalopidae, one native
to the Atlantic, and the other to the Indo-Pacific
The Atlantic tarpon, Megalops atlanticus (Valenciennes
1847), inhabits coastal waters, estuaries, lagoons,
and rivers. It feeds on various fish and crabs.
It is capable of filling its swim bladder with air
and absorbing oxygen from it. Specimens have been
recorded at up to 250 cm in length and weighing
up to 161 kg. The Atlantic tarpon is also known
as the "silver king".
In appearance, it is greenish or bluish on top,
and silver on the sides. The large mouth is turned
upwards, the lower jaw containing an elongated bony
plate. The last ray of the dorsal fin is much longer
than the others, reaching nearly to the tail.
The tarpon is considered one of the great saltwater
game fish, not only because of the size it can reach
and its accessible haunts, but because of its fighting
spirit when hooked; it is very strong, making spectacular
leaps into the air. The flesh is desirable but bony.
In Florida, a special permit is required to kill
and keep a tarpon, so most tarpon fishing there
Live bait fishermen's bait of choice is the 'dollar
crab'. A small live blue crab about two inches across
its carapace, hooked through one end of it's shell
or underneath through a swimmer leg. Other extremely
effective live baits include pinfish, threadfin
herrings and pilchards.
The Indo-Pacific tarpon, Megalops cyprinoides is
a lesser-known and smaller fish.
the Silver King
On A Fly
• tarpon fly patterns
• Trinidad & Tobago Fishing
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