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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

Friday June 22, 2018

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

June - 2018 Fishing Report

The summer is upon us and June is the beginning of the hottest time of the year. Typically Captain Richard is fishing the ocean during this month so his reports are not as fulfilling about the Banana River but some of my friends have been doing fine with small sea trout, jacks and ladyfish around the spoil islands and deeper dropoffs.

Fishing Forecast

June - 2018 Fishing Forecast

Forecasting the Banana River in the month of June is challenging as the water temperatures rise the bite tends to go down so that's why you'll find many anglers pursuing other places like Port Canaveral or Sebastian Inlet area where there's tidal flow and water exchange. The Banana is a unique estuary because of it's distance from any open ocean inlets and bays. Because of this it's important to realize that the temps can often get into the mid 80's and higher causing the fish to be less receptive to feeding and more likely to seek cooler places under docks or simply migrate into more comfortable waters.

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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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TripAdvisor Review

Review / Trip Advisor

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.

BIG fish - Capt. Richard knows how to put you on the fish!! He is a very knowledgeable guide and knows the waters well. We were on big reds and trout within minutes of the leaving the dock and ventured about the lagoon to catch different species. It was fun and exciting. The scenery in the Lagoon is remarkable! Richard’s boat was well...
about Lagooner Fishing Charters on January 20, 2015

5 / 5 stars 5 star rating

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