While 2 species of Tarpon actually exist, Aussie anglers are concerned with the species that lives in waters of the Indo-Pacific. This species of Tarpon is found from the eastern coast of Africa through southeast Asia, Japan, Tahiti and Australia. In Australia, Tarpon are also called Oxeye Herring.
Tarpons grow to a whopping 1.5m and around 3.5kg.
Tarpon are a powerful fish and are not sought after much for their flesh but rather as an exciting fish to battle.
HOW TO IDENTIFY TARPON
They are distinguished by dorsal and anal soft rays. They also have bluish or greenish backs. You will know you have a Tarpon on your hands because they have shiny, silvery scales that cover most of their bodies except for their head. They eye is also very large. The most distinguishing feature of the Tarpon is the lower jaw, which protrudes much more than the rest of the face and the long trailing filament at the rear of the single dorsal fin.
WHERE TO CATCH TARPON
Tarpon are found in both saltwater and freshwater habitats. They spawn in warm offshore waters. They are found in ascending rivers to access freshwater marshes. They can survive in brackish water, waters of varying pH and habitats with low dissolved levels of oxygen because the have swim bladders.
Tarpon are found from Onslow in Western Australia and northern waters around the east coast as far south as Sydney in New South Wales.
HOW TO CATCH TARPON
Tarpon make for great fun and are a prized sports fish because they like to jump out of the water when they are caught.
Tarpon are an excellent fighting fish and are a target species for both hardbody lure and fly fishers. Most fish are taken on small shiny lures. They also take well to fly.
Tarpon can be caught in rivers and tidal estuaries, both fresh and saltwater. They readily accept small flies, fishing lures, chrome slices and jigs. A 3kg spin fishing rod and reel outfit is sufficient when fishing for Tarpon.
Small fresh and dead prawns, sardines or strips of flesh bait will also work in saltwater.
Tarpon are considered very poor eating and care should be taken after they are caught while releasing.