Tarpons are impressive, ancient ocean fish and a fun, popular catch amongst saltwater anglers. Since prehistoric times, they have been swimming in our oceans and are now considered one of the great saltwater game fish. Tarpons, on average, grow up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) long and 45 kg (100 lbs) or larger! Divers who encounter tarpon underwater often mistake them as sharks at first due to their massive size and silver coloration.
Tarpons are the only marine fish in the Megalopidae family and are identifiable by their large silvery scales, long last dorsal fin ray, and bony throat plate with protruding lower jaw. There are only two species of tarpon, the Atlantic tarpon and the Indo-Pacific tarpon. Atlantic tarpon is commonly seen along the western Atlantic coast from Brazil to Virginia and throughout the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, as well as the west coast of Africa. You can find the Indo-Pacific tarpon along Africa’s east coast, Southeast Asia, Japan, Tahiti, and Australia. Tarpon can swim up rivers, and so they are found in both freshwater marshes as well as the open ocean. Explore the map below to see where you can dive with tarpon today!