Extraordinary trophy. These are Atlantic fish which must have transited the Panama Canal. We’ve been catching and sighting them with more regularity, as if there is more of them here.

Tarpon are slow growing, long lived fish. Tarpon experience rapid growth till age twelve and then slows down considerably. A 100 lb. tarpon is 13 - 16 years old. They live to a maximum of 55 years.

tarpon coiba island fishing

You would not expect to find this gamefish in the Pacific Ocean, but you can find them here. They have transited the Panama Canal and taken up residence on the Pacific side. We never see a little one. Every fish we’ve hooked looks to be at least 60 pounds and most seem like they must go one hundred.

Nearly every tarpon we’ve hooked has been on a red & white CD-14, and usually in the same four spots off the SW and South sides of Coiba. We lose most of them, the small treble hooks on a CD-14 are not much for that big hard mouth. Most of the hook-ups seem to be in February. Often in really cloudy water near a river mouth when pelicans are diving & feeding. We get them when fishing for variety. It’s amazing all the species that will take a CD Magnum Rapalla or Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow. I’ve had anglers who’ve caught over thirty species in a week, not all big fish, just all different.

Sometime I’d like to have a guest who wants to target Tarpon and spend a week working at it with live baits & Coon-pops. I think small jack crevalle & big green jacks would be the bait to use. I think you’ll need a decent size circle hook and heavy drag to make one stick.

We have a lot of variety here, it’s a great part of the fun fishing in this pristine paradise, you never know what’s going to hit next. A tarpon is my favorite surprise.