Tarpon have a dark blue to greenish back with bright silver sides and belly made up of large shiny scales. Fish inhabiting inland waters often appear brownish or brassy.

They have an enormous mouth lacking teeth.

Tarpon Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year Round
Size Limit No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person No Limit
Delaware Range Atlantic Ocean
Abundance in Delaware Waters Rare - this species is more common south of Delaware.
General Habitat and Food Preferences Tarpon can be found in a wide variety of habitats, but are primarily found in coastal waters, bays, and estuaries from nearshore to depths of 100 feet.

They feed on crabs, shrimps, and fishes.
Did You Know? When Tarpon first hatch they do not forage, but instead absorb nutrients directly from the water like a sponge.

They can also tolerate oxygen-poor waters due to a modified air bladder that allows them to gulp air from the surface.
Common Lures and Baits In more southerly waters, Tarpon are often caught by free lining live crabs and mullet. Sometimes the bait is weighted to get it near the bottom.

They also can be caught on big top water lures, fish imitating lures, and soft plastic baits.

It is said that the most recent Tarpon taken off Delaware’s coast by an angler was caught by trolling a fish imitating lure.

If you are lucky enough to hook a Tarpon, they are spectacular jumpers.
Typical Sizes Caught In general, Tarpon caught by anglers range between 50 and 125 pounds.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Tarpon are not currently eligible for a Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament or Live Release award, but a large specimen may qualify for an “Unusual Species” award.
Delaware State Record Tarpon are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.