Mango Creek Lodge’s tarpon fishing is focused on Roatan’s mangrove canals. On average, the tarpon range from 15 to 30 lbs, but we have seen some as large as 50 lbs. Tarpon put up a spectacular fight.
Roatan’s tarpon are present year-round, but their peak season is from October to January. November, the usual start of our rainy season, is when tarpon are most active.
At Mango Creek, we target these baby Tarpon up to 60 pounds. I think a 25 pound Tarpon on a ten weight fly rod is the ultimate in fun and excitement.
A 9-ft, 10-wt rod with a stiff butt section will work for most of Roatan’s tarpon. An 11- or 12-wt rod might be necessary if you want to hook a big one.
Bring reels that match your rods. You should also have at least 250 yds of 30-lb backing.
A tropical-weight, forward-floating line will cover most situations, but an extra spool loaded with an intermediate sinking tip line will be better for fishing for larger tarpon in the channels and deeper ocean-side flats.
Typical tarpon leaders are 5 ft of heavy butt section material (40–50 lbs) connected to an 18-in section of 16–26-lb class tippet and a 16-in section of 60–100-lb shock tippet. The heavy shock tippet will prevent the line from cutting on the tarpon’s sharp gill plates. The class section provides a weak point in the line so that it can break to prevent your fly rod or line from being lost.
Tarpon are sometimes incredibly finicky; other times, they will eat anything presented to them. Tarpon feed primarily on baitfish, but they are known to eat oceanic worms, crabs, and mollusks. Flies tied on chemically sharpened hooks or even circle hooks in sizes 2/0–4/0 do best.
- Swimming shrimp patterns (tan or orange) #2
- Mantis shrimp patterns #2
- Lemay’s Big-Eye Tarpon Fly (orange/brown, orange/blue, orange/green)
- Brown Charlie (brown/green) #2-4
- Toad Fly #2-4
- Merkin Crab #2
- Blanton’s Flashtail Whistler #4.
Our guides also recommend flies that are dark brown or moss green. In addition, they recommend bringing some big pattern streamers for tarpon. They usually take something 3 in or longer.