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Banana River Tarpon

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Banana River Tarpon Guide

Fishing for Silver Kings on the East Coast of Florida

Monday May 29, 2017

Feeling a jumping and thrashing tarpon on the end of a rod & reel is and exciting way to spend an afternoon fishing on the Banana River Lagoon. Join Captain Richard Bradley on his home waters between Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island hunting for and catching the mighty silver king of the shallow water flats, beaches and backwater canals in East Central Florida.

Tarpon are one of the most sought out species of game fish in the world. During the summer and fall, tarpon can exceed 100 pounds in the Banana River Lagoon and near the beaches adjacent to the Cocoa Beach Shoreline. Once hooked a tarpon can over power young anglers to the point of pinning lighter people to the rail of the boat. Fortunately the Banana River tarpon are not often over 30 pounds but a whopper can come along at any moment during the warmer months!

We find that tarpon can make an appearance at almost anytime in the lagoon and it's best to target them with at least 12 pound test for most anglers. A beach tarpon in excess of 80 pounds may not be landed on less than twenty pound test unless the angler is well experienced and versed at landing large fish. Most larger fish are caught adjacent to the Banana River on Cocoa Beach just 45 minutes from the Orlando International Airport.

Smaller tarpon can be caught year around in the backwaters and flats of the Banana River Lagoon when there's plenty of bait around. Many of our anglers bring fly rods and their favorite tarpon flies to temp a strike from one the silver king of the flats in East Central Florida's Banana River Lagoon.

"The most thrilling outdoor's trips I've ever been on. Watching those huge tarpon crashing baits and then hooking up with the catch of my life, besides my hubby. I loved watching Captain Richard Bradley work on the boat and the day we had on the water catching tarpon!"
- Laura

Tarpon fishing in East Central Florida are an opportunity fish which means they don't show up on demand. "Our tarpon are not dependable like they are in the keys or in Boca Grande, " explains Captain Richard. "The trip with the anglers above happens about one in five trips during the summer off Cocoa Beach and but there's always fishing action for other species. Laura and her husband caught tarpon, sharks, king mackerel, cobia and bonito in a half day trip. You can expect great fishing action even if the silver king does not make his showing."

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.

Tarpon are one of Florida's largest inshore angling opportunities and popular game fish species.

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: December 10 2015 17:57:34.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

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Fishing Reports

May - 2017 Fishing Report

Captain Richard has been spending most days on the Ocean during the month of May only to retreat into the Banana River Lagoon on windier days when the Atlantic is too rough. There's been some redfish and sea trout caught in the shallow waters of the Banana, but the real action has been in the ocean.

Fishing Forecast

May - 2017 Fishing Forecast

May is one of the last month's of good fishing in the Banana River Lagoon until the summer months are over and the temperatures start to fall again in late September and October. May is awesome backwater snook time for Banana River anglers. Look for the early morning bite to produce great numbers of these hard hitting game fish. Fly fisherman only need to bring white mangrove flies in an assortment of sizes, but most snook will be in the single digit size so don't go past a 10 weight. Redfish will be plentiful and healthy sized in many areas of the Banana River and the sea trout will be staging around bait along sandbars and islands. Look for sea trout to slow down late in the month and as the summer temps rise the sea trout fishing will all but disappear excepting the smaller ones in the deeper water. Sebastian and the Mosquito Lagoon will be better sea trout areas in late May and into the summer.

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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 Charter Fishing in the Banana River Lagoon near 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.

I live in Cocoa Beach, but get lots of company from Germany & other parts of Europe, - gone fishing with Capt Richard of Lagooner Fishing Guides, several times, to make my friends Florida experience a real special one - never had more fun. Capt Richard Bradley makes your day so special from the second you put foot on his boat. Chances are , you're going to witness a georgeous sunrise, he will point out anything & everything worthwhile seeing, he's knowledgeable, funny & entertaining - and he KNOWS , WHERE THE FISH ARE !! Never been disappointed ever!! My friends won't leave Florida without having had the LAGOONER fishing experience.
about Lagooner Fishing Charters on October 31, 2013

5 / 5 stars 5 star rating

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