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Port Canaveral Tarpon

Catch A Silver King on Florida's East Coast

Tuesday April 24, 2018

One of the most exciting fish to catch out of Port Canaveral Florida is the energetic and hard fighting tarpon. During Florida's blistering summers and mild falls, you'll find tarpon as an opportunity fish along our beaches from Canaveral National Seashore and south past world famous Cocoa Beach. Tarpon can be found adjacent to Canaveral in the Banana River Lagoon and it's backwater estuaries almost year around, but the really big fish are on the beach consistently during the summer months and into late September is the weather remains calm and the bait fish are present.

Cape Canaveral is home to one of the busiest Ports in the nation and host Canaveral Air Force Station (CAFS) & Navy Base where trident submarines dock and military/commercial launch vehicles are sent into orbit. Directly north from Canaveral you may witness a space shuttle launch or sightsee where the first man-on-the-moon launches departed from. Canaveral is America's gateway to space and leads the world's aerospace employment and technology. While traveling along the beaches searching for tarpon, anglers may fish to the backdrop of launch pads and towers along isolated beaches. The photo of the tarpon jumping on the hook below was taken right on the tip of Cape Canaveral near it's lighthouse peering out into the Atlantic Ocean.

"When you hook a tarpon and feel the power in your hands and the rod shaking, it's one awesome experience. Lagooner Fishing Guides showed us a great morning of fishing off Port Canaveral this summer and I'll be back again!"
Laura from Orlando, Florida

When Is The Best Tarpon Fishing?

Tarpon are a tropical or semi-tropical fish located around much of the world. Florida host some of the best fishing for Tarpon but anglers must understand that tarpon migrate and may or may not be in Canaveral during various times of the year. Captain Richard Bradley explains below...

Hello Anglers,
Understanding fish habits and migrations during different seasons and situations are important to a charter fishing captain when pursuing specific species. Tarpon's migration patterns follow three important events and needs of the tarpon; spawn, temperature (season) and food. Generally speaking tarpon will not tolerate cold weather and water for very long, their tropical needs are not unique in the fishing world and lower temperatures will cause them to migrate quickly southward toward the Florida Keys. Canaveral generally host big tarpon during the summer and early fall depending on the weather and water temperatures. Early November will see these big fish flowing out of Sebastian Inlet in the evenings on their way south for warmer waters.

If you're looking for year-around tarpon fishing, south Florida toward the Keys is a great place. Summer months are premium tarpon time for Canaveral and east central Florida. I hope this helps you in planning for catching tarpon around my home waters off Port Canaveral. Please call Captain Gina at (321) 868-4953 and she'll set you up for your next fishing trip.

Let's Go Fishing
Captain Richard Bradley

Tarpon Fighting Techniques

There's a lot of talk and misconception as to how to fight a tarpon on light tackle. Many anglers have heard the term, "Bow your rod to the silver king" when a tarpon jumps. Most have no idea as to why this technique is necessary.

Tarpon are large, heavy fish and have the ability to jump, wiggle and shake while airborne. Tarpon throw huge shockwave's into the fishing line and these convulsions can throw hooks and tackle as the line violently vibrates and rattles in the air.

To counter this, simply put your rod tip into the water when a tarpon jumps. This puts the fishing line into the water and reduces the amount of thrashing a line typically takes when a tarpon goes ballistic. Knowing this will help the angler to maintain control of his fish and hopefully not throw the hook.

Another good fighting technique for large fish is to always work against your fish and downward as far as possible. This confuses the fish and can throw their balance off. Never pull with the fish it gives them a break and allows for them to recover quickly. Remember a "green" or energetic tarpon should never be brought boatside.

Tarpon have one single dorsal fin (the fin on the top) that extends into long filament. A tarpon's back is dark blue to green or greenish black, shading into bright silver on the side. Their color may vary and be brownish gold in estuarine waters. Tarpon have huge scales that are often kept as trophies by anglers and a large mouth that points upward.

Primarily INSHORE fish, although adult fish spawn OFFSHORE where the ribbon-like larval stage of the fish can be found. We find our larger tarpon off the beaches in the summer. They are often found rolling on the surface and gulping air in while lurking for food or taking it easy between feeding sessions.

Tarpon can often be found in brackish or freshwater near mangroves or in residential canals. Look for tarpon to show up almost anywhere on the lagoons and beaches in Florida, but tarpon "promise land" is found in the Florida Keys and other locations around Florida. While the Orlando, Cocoa Beach area is not as consistent for these gamefish as south Florida areas, we nevertheless we catch our share of tarpon in the Central Florida area when the timing is right and they're around. Tarpon tend to move into the Central Florida area and move out... The Florida Keys tends to hold them year around.


Tarpon are slow growers and mature between 7 to 13 years of age. Spawning occurs between May and September when females may lay more than 12 million eggs each. Tarpon can tolerate wide range of salinity from fresh to very salty estuary waters. Juvenile tarpon are commonly found in fresh water and can breathe air at surface. Tarpon feed mainly on fish and large crustaceans.


Requires $50 tarpon tag to possess or harvest and two fish possession limit.

State Record

243 lbs.

Catch Tarpon At Port Cananveral

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: November 29 2016 20:34:55.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

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Fishing Reports

April - 2018 Fishing Report

Fishing Forecast

April - 2018 Fishing Forecast

April of 2018 should be a great spring for fishing in both inshore and offshore coastal waters of Central Florida. Look to the Mosquito Lagoon and Banana Rivers to produce redfish and sea trout consistently and then look toward the ocean and depending on the water temps, clear skies and wind the cobia will be on their way north and migrating past Canaveral towards their northern grounds on the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Central Florida's weather during the spring is usually no less than spectacular as the college spring breakers are winding up the end of their vacation and heading back to campus to finish up before summer break. Daytona Beach host several spring events from NASCAR Races, Bike Week and Spring Break activities while Cocoa Beach and it's Space Coast offer a much less crowded alternative for vacationers to seek a more secluded and restful Holiday. The temperatures are rising and the fishing should be heating up too in East Central Florida's Cocoa Beach.

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Lagooner Fishing Guides
Cocoa Beach's premier saltwater fishing guide with over 25 years of charter fishing experience in his native waters.
Telephone: 321-868-4953

204 Garfield Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL

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Inshore and Offshore Charter Fishing near Orlando and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

We had an awesome day of fishing with Captain Richard! Regardless of your fishing ability....Richard will get you on fish and make sure that everyone has a great day! He is professional, courteous and funny! We caught fish even though boats around us were struggling and we had a fantastic time! I would highly recommend fishing with Richard!
about Lagooner Fishing Charters on January 20, 2015

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