Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida

Welcome anglers to Fat Cat sport fishing charters in Tampa Bay, St.Petersburg Florida area. We offer quality and professional fishing trips offshore, near shore and inshore for all the popular gamefish like TARPON that you expect to catch on a St.Pete Fl charter fishing trip or a Florida Tarpon fishing Charter.

 At Fat Cat Fishing Charters we offer Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters, Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida and information, sizes, bag limits, names and Florida regulations on over thirty fish species. Find information on Florida fish species for all sportsman and anglers to enjoy. Find information on,Grouper, Triple tail, Flounder, Sharks, Sailfish and over thirty Florida fish species. that inhabit the Deep Sea. Near Shore Beaches, inshore flats, back country, estuaries, bays, canals, docks and bridges of the St.Pete, Tampa bay Fl area.

Be sure to check up on your local area rules and regulations as they change often. What might have been a 20 inch keeper last year like Grouper might be 22 inches now as it is. Stay up to date with all your Florida fishing regulations and sizes and I hope this page will help you to know what  fish you catch. As you can see below a lot of fish look the same so try to learn the differences. Find facts and regulations on Tarpon Florida fishing Here.

Florida Fish Species Description, Similar Fish, Where Found, Size, and Remarks can be found at Fat Cat Fishing Charters for your convenience.

                                                                                                                                                                    CAPTAIN Brad Masters 727-564-6459

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida

Tarpon Family Elopidae  LADYFISH

Description: terminal mouth, slender body, small scales; last dorsal ray not elongated; head small and pointed.

Similar Fish: juvenile tarpon, Megalops atlanticus.

Where found: INSHORE fish, in bays and estuaries; occasionally enters freshwater, occurring in tidal pools and canals; often forms large schools and harasses bait at the surface.

Size: 2 to 3 pounds.

Remarks: known to spawn OFFSHORE, ribbon-like larvae very similar to Albula and Megalops, peaking in fall; adult feeds predominantly on fish and crustaceans; leaps when hooked.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida


Description: last ray of dorsal fin extended into long filament; one dorsal fin; back dark blue to green or greenish black, shading into bright silver on the sides; may be brownish gold in estuarien waters; huge scales; mouth large and points upward.

Similar Fish: as juveniles) ladyfish, Elops saurus.

Where found: primarily INSHORE fish, although adult fish spawn OFFSHORE where the ribbon-like larval stage of the fish can be found.

Size: most angler catches 40 to 50 pounds. On Fat Cat 100 plus.

Remarks: slow grower; matures at 7 to 13 years of age; spawning occurs between May and September; female may lay more than 12 million eggs; can tolerate wide range of salinity; juveniles commonly found in fresh water; can breathe air at surface; feeds mainly on fish and large crustaceans.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida


Description: high arched back; 10 to 14 pairs of chin barbs; gray or black colored body in adults; young have 4 to 6 vertical bars; has cobbelstone-like teeth capable of crushing oysters; scales large.

Similar Fish: the vertical bars on juvenile black drum are somewhat similar to those on sheepshead Archosargus probatocephalus; spadefish, Chaetodipterus faber; red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus.

Where found: INSHORE fish common to bays and lagoons; bottom dwiller often found around ouster beds; also OFFSHORE.

Size: Common to 30 pounds.

Remarks: largest member of the drum family; spawns nearshore in winter and early spring; feeds of oysters, mussels, crabs, shrimp, and occasionally fish; longevity to 35 or more years.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida

RED DRUM (redfish)

Description: chin without barbels; copper bronze body, lighter shade in clear waters; one to many spots at base of tail (rarely no spots); mouth horizontal and openng downward; scales large.

Similar Fish: black drum, Pogonias cromis.

Where found: juveniles are an INSHORE fish, migrating out of the estuaries at about 30 inches (4 years) and joining the spawning population OFFSHORE.

Size: one of 27 inches weighs about 8 pounds.

Remarks: red drum are an INSHORE species until they attain roughly 30 inches (4 years), then they migrate to join the NEARSHORE population; spawning occurs from August to November in NEARSHORE waters; sudden cold snaps may kill red drum in shallow, INSHORE waters; feeds on crustaceans, fish and mollusks; longevity to 20 years or more. 

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida


Description: Pale straw colored above, silvery sides and white below; no distinctive pigmentation, although faint diagonal lines may be present on upper body; 8 to 9 rays in the anal fin; large eyes; short snout; one or two prominent canine teeth usually present at tip of upper jaw; lower half of tail longer than upper half.

Similar Fish: Other seatrouts.

Where found: Most common over sand or sandy mud bottoms offshore along both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Florida; migrates into bays during cold months.

Size: Usually no more than 1/2 pound (less than 10 inches).

Remarks: Smallest seatrout; spawns offshore in deep water during spring, summer and fall; feeds on small fish and shrimp. 

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida


Description: dark gray or green above, with sky blue tinges shading to silvery and white below; numerous distinct round black spots on back, extending to the dorsal fins and tail; black margin on posterior of tail; no barbels; no scales on the soft dorsal fin; one or two prominent canine teeth usually present at tip of upper jaw.

Similar Fish: Other seatrouts.

Where found: INSHORE and/or NEARSHORE over grass, sand and sandy bottoms; move into slow-moving or still, deep waters in cold weather.

Size: common to 4 pounds on west coast, larger on east coast.

Remarks: matures during first or second year and spawns INSHORE from March through November; often in association with seagrass beds; lives mainly in estuaries and moves only short distances; adults feed mainly on shrimp and small fish; prefers water temperatures between 58 and 81 degrees F and may be killed if trapped in shallow water during cold weather; longevity 8 to 10 years.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida


Description: color bluish-green to greenish-gold back and silvery or yellowish belly; soft dorsal and anal fins almost identical in size; prominent black spot on operculum (gill cover); black spot at the base of each pectoral fin; no scales on throat.

Similar Fish: other Caranx.

Where found: common in both INSHORE waters and the open sea.

Size: usually 3 to 5 pounds.

Remarks: tolerates a wide range of salinities; schools corner a school of baitfish at the surface and feed with commotion that can be seen at great distances; feeds mainly on small fish; peak spawning occurs OFFSHORE from March through September.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida


Description: Snout broadly rounded and short; first dorsal fin triangular and very high; poorly developed dermal ridge between dorsal fins; brown or gray in color with white underside; upper and lower teeth finely serrated.

Similar Fish: Dusky shark, Carcharhinus obscurus; bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas.

Where found: NEARSHORE fish typically found at depths ranging from 60 to 200 feet.

Size: common to 6 feet.

Remarks: Both predator and scavanger; feeding chiefly near the bottom on fish and shellfish; migrates long distances; matures at about 6 feet in length.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida

Snook Family Centropomidae COMMON SNOOK

Description: distinct lateral line; high, divided dorsal fin; sloping forehead; large mouth, protruding lower jaw; grows much larger than other snooks; pelvic fin yellow.

Similar Fish: Other Centropomus.

Where found: from central Florida south, usually INSHORE in coastal and brackish waters, along mangrove shorelines, seawalls, and bridges; also on reefs and pilings NEARSHORE.

Size: most catches 5 to 8 pounds.

Remarks: spawns primarily in summer; cannot tolerate water temperatures below 60 degrees F; can tolerate wholly fresh or saltwater; schools along shore and in passes during spawning season; feeds on fish and larrge crustaceans. 

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida

Gulf Flounder Family Bothidae FLOUNDER

Description: body color brown, its shade depending on color of bottom, with numerous spots and blotches; 3 prominent eye-like spots forming a triangle; one spot on lateral line, one above, one below; numerous white spots scattered over body and fins (albigutta, white-spotted); strong canine-like teeth; caudal fin in shape of wedge, its tip in the middle.

Similar fish: southern flounder, P. lethostigma (no eye-like spots; color pattern is key to distinguishing the two species).

Where found: INSHORE on sandy or mud bottoms, often ranging into tidal creeks; occasionally caught on NEARSHORE rocky reefs.

Size: common to 2 pounds, generally smaller than southern flounder.

Remarks: hatches into usual fish form, but right eye migrates over to left side early in life; a bottom dweller; thought to spawn OFFSHORE; feeds on crustaceans and small fishes.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida

GAG Grouper

Description: brownish gray in color with dark worm-like markings on sides; strong serrated spur at bottom margin of preopercle, less noticeable in large specimens; fins dark, with anal and caudal having white margin. Often confused with black grouper; tail of gag is slightly concave, black is square; gag has white margin on anal and caudal fins, black does not; under 10 pounds, gag's spur on preopercle is distinctive, where black is gently rounded.

Similar Fish: black grouper M. bonaci.

Where found: adults OFFSHORE over rocks and reefs; juveniles occur in seagrass beds INSHORE.

Size: common to 25 pounds.

Remarks: forms spawning aggregations in water no shallower than 120 feet in Middle Grounds area, January through March; current reseach to identify similar aggregations off Atlantic coast is ongoing. Young gags are predominantly female, transforming into males as they grow larger; feeds on fish and squid.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida


Description: Head and fins covered with small black spots; irregular dark and vertical bars present on the sides of body; pectoral and caudal fins rounded; first dorsal fin shorter than and not separated from second dorsal; adults huge, up to 800 pounds; eyes small.

Similar Fish: Other grouper.

Where found: Nearshore often around docks, in deep holes, and on ledges; young often occur in estuaries, especially around oyster bars; more abundant in southern Florida than in northern waters.

Size: Largest of the groupers.

Remarks: Spawns over summer months; lifespan of 30 to 50 years; feeds on crustaceans and fish. NOTE: jewfish are totally protected from harvest in Florida waters.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida


Description: color brownish red; lining of mouth scarlet-orange; blotches on sides in unorganized pattern; second spine of dorsal fin longer than others; pectoral fins longer than pelvic fins; squared off tail; margin of soft dorsal black with white at midfin; black dots around the eyes.

Similar Fish: Nassau grouper, E. striatus.

Where found: bottom dwelling fish associated with hard bottom; juveniles OFFSHORE along with adults greater than 6 years old; fish from 1 to 6 years occupy NEARSHORE reefs.

Size: common to 15 pounds.

Remarks: spawns in April and May; prefer water temperatures between 66 and 77 degrees F; undergoes sex reversal, young individual females becoming males as they age; lifespan of at least 25 years; feeds on squid, crustaceans, and fish.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida

Mackerel Family Scombridae CERO

Description: Color of back iridescent bluish green; sides silvery, yellow spots forming lines above and below a bronze stripe from pectoral fin to base of tail; front of first dorsal fin is bluish black; lateral line curves gradually to base of caudal fin.

Similar Fish: Spanish mackerel, S. maculatus; king mackerel, S. cavalla (only the cero has the yellow-brown stripes from the pectoral to caudal fin).

Where found: near shore and offshore fish occurring mainly in south Florida, especially over coral reefs and wrecks.

Size: Common to 5 pounds.

Remarks: Unlike other mackerels, does not stray far from south Florida waters; spawns offshore in midsummer; feeds on small fish and squid.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida


Description: color of back iridescent bluish green; sides silvery, streamlined body with tapered head; no black pigment on front of dorsal fin; lateral line starts high and drops sharply below the second dorsal fin; young fish often have yellow spots like those of the Spanish mackerel.

Similar Fish: cero, S. regalis; Spanish mackerel, S. maculatus.

Where found: NEARSHORE and OFFSHORE, occasionally taken from piers running into deep water.

Size: Common to 20 pounds.

Remarks: schooling fish that migrates fom south Florida waters in winter to more northerly waters in spring; Gulf population thought to be separate from Atlantic population, with considerable mixing in winter from Cape Canaveral past Key West; spawns in midsummer OFFSHORE; feeds on small fish and squid.

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida


Description: basic silvery color; with 5 or 6 distinct vertical black bands on sides, not always the same on both sides; prominent teeth, including incisors, molars, and rounded grinders; no barbels on lower jaw; strong and sharp spines on dorsal and anal fins.

Similar Fish: black drum, Pogonias cromis; Atlantic spadefish, Chaetodipterus (black drum have barbels on lower jaw, sheepshead do not; vertical barring on sides of black drum and spadefish disappear as fish mature; spadefish have small, brush-like teeth).

Where found: INSHORE species around oyster bars, seawalls and in tidal creeks; moves NEARSHORE in late winter and early spring for spawning, gathering over debris, artificial reefs and around navigation markers.

Size: INSHORE, 1 to 2 pounds; OFFSHORE, common to 8 pounds.

Remarks: feeds on mollusks and crustaceans such as fiddler crabs and barnacles; famed nibblers, prompting the saying that "anglers must strike just before they bite." 

Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida


Description: Color dark brown or gray, may have a reddish tinge; broad-based triangular tooth patch on roof of mouth with a posterior extension; despite its specific name, which translates to "blue-fin," the fins have only a slight tinge of blue; canine teeth in both jaws very strong; one pair of canines enlarged and visible even when mouth is closed.

Similar Fish: Gray snapper.

Where found: Juveniles INSHORE in grass beds; adults OFFSHORE or NEARSHORE over wrecks, reefs, and ledges.

Size: Common to 40 pounds.

Remarks: The largest of the snappers, ranging to 125 pounds; not common anywhere in its range; feeds on fishes and larger crustaceans; in the Keys, spawns during later summer.

Cobia are also fish that we catch on a regular basis and many are incidental catches while live baiting on the reef. Cobia are also associated with turtles and whales. If we happen to see a turtle while fishing we almost always toss a live bait towards the turtle. If a cobia is nearby, they will readily eat our bait. Boats with towers also target cobia while sight casting to stingrays in shallower water. Cobia will often be found near or behind a stingray and usually eat crustaceans that the stingray may displace with his fins. 

                                                                                                                                                                              Florida Tarpon Fishing Charters | Tarpon Fishing Charters Florida

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