Tarpon can reach more than 300 lbs and grow up to 9 feet in length. The current world record for tarpon was set in 2003 when it weighed 286 lbs and 9 ounces. However, larger tarpon were caught and tape-measured and photographed. Officially recorded weights have not been established.
The Florida record is 243 lbs, but both the Florida and world records have been broken multiple times by fish-lovers who took photos of their fish and released them back to the wild.
Africa has also seen many huge tarpon. These areas are less developed and more remote, so it is almost impossible to record official measurements of lengths or weights.
Tarpon can live up to 60 years in captivity, but in the wild they are usually only around 50 years old. Like most fish, the females live longer and grow bigger than their male counterparts. A male tarpon can live to 30 years, while a female tarpon could live to 63 years in a Chicago aquarium.
The tarpon doesn’t reach sexual maturity until around 7 years old, at which point they can start their spawning rituals. Scientists believe that the tarpon spawn in deep water, up to 400 feet. The females are able to release their eggs by the pressure at these depths, according to scientists.
A tarpon takes between 13 and 16 years to reach 100 pounds. It is important to save your tarpon so that they can swim under their own power.
The article was written by a professional charter captain at Salty Knots Fishing Charters with 15+ years of experience in the Gulf of Mexico. Salty Knots Fishing Charters is a local fishing charter service based out of St. Pete Beach, Florida. “We know what it takes to catch a giant trophy fish!” Click here to learn more!