Boca Grande, FL has been coined “The Tarpon Capital of the World” because people travel from all over come to fish for the amazing silver fish. Tarpon are not primarily known as a food fish, because they are extremely bony. They are a terrific sport fish, a strong, fighting fish that jumps and puts on a terrific show for the anglers and spectators alike.
They are known to develop habits of coming in to docks if they are fed regularly. In Islamorada, FL there is a school of 50 – 100 tarpon that come in to be fed each day. It’s an impressive sight, as they roll along the surface of the water, splashing, sparkling, and coming up for air.
(this picture was taken years ago - concerns for the fish have prompted changes to protect them including hook style, line type and timing to release the fish - this tarpon was released safely )
An interesting, and somewhat unique, attribute of the Tarpon is its swim bladder. This air bladder helps it control its buoyancy, but more importantly, is used to access oxygen on the surface. The fish will die if it is not able to surface and breathe.
Evolutionists believe the swim bladder evolved from a lung which was once present in the fish. Creationists believe that God created the swim bladder to serve the purpose which it does, so well. Because the fish weighs more than the water, it would sink to the bottom without the organ or constant movement. Evolutionists have a difficult time explaining exactly how so many species of fish survived while such an important feature was “evolving”.
Tarpon eat shrimp, small fish, and love to eat crabs. They breed in warm offshore waters. The youngest tarpon do not eat, but simply absorb nutrients from the water. Juvenile fish eat grass, bugs, plankton, small crabs and more. They can grow in fresh or salt water reaching lengths of 5 to 8 feet. They weigh anywhere from 80 – 280 pounds.
Responsible fishermen use live bait or fly’s to catch tarpon in order to be sure not to drown or damage the fish. They are not food and can be caught and released safely so the rich heritage of fishing, that has been handed down for many generations of Floridians, and continue to pursue and catch the mighty tarpon.
(Redbone Tournament - To Catch the Cure for Cystic Fibrosis)
Photo's provided by Captain Mark Becton