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The Best Tarpon Baits

The Best Tarpon Baits

on November 24, 2022

If you're looking to catch more tarpon, you need to use the best bait possible. When it comes to fishing for tarpon, using the right bait is essential for a successful catch fish.

There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing the right tarpon bait, including the type of fish you're targeting, the time of year, and the location.

In this blog post, we will discuss the best tarpon baits. We'll also provide tips on how to use these baits effectively. So if you're ready to start catching more tarpon, keep reading!

1. Menhaden Bait

Menhaden Bait

There are a lot of different options when it comes to Tarpon bait, but there is one clear winner: menhaden. Also known as mossbacks or fatback, menhaden are small, oily fish that are found in coastal waters all along the Gulf of Mexico.

While they are not the most attractive fish, their strong smell and taste make them irresistible to tarpon. In addition, menhaden are relatively easy to catch, which makes them a great choice for anglers who want to avoid the hassle of live bait.

Best of all, menhaden stay fresh for long periods, meaning that they can be used for multiple fun fishing trips. So if you're looking for the best Tarpon bait around, look no further than menhaden.

2. Live Bait

Live Bait

Live bait is the best way to attract tarpon. The best live baits include crabs, shrimp, mullet, sardines, and menhaden. If you can't find these live baits in your area, then artificial tarpon and the best fishing lures, jigs are great alternatives.

These baits work best when they resemble small fish, crabs, and shrimp. When using live bait, try to use the best quality and freshest bait that you can find.

The key is to use bait that is small enough that the monster tarpon won't be discouraged by its size, but large enough that it won't be eaten by smaller fish first. Live bait also has the added benefit of being able to move around, which will often attract the attention of a passing tarpon.

3. Cut Bait

Cut Bait

Cut bait is another excellent option for tarpon fishing. The strong smell of the bait can be very effective at attracting tarpon from long distances. If you don't have access to live bait, cut bait is the next best thing.

Cut bait is simply chunks of fish that have been taken from a larger catch. The key to using cut bait effectively is to make sure that the pieces are big enough to be noticed by a tarpon, but not so big that they sink into the deeper water and get lost among the weeds.

4. Crabs


Crabs are another great tarpon bait. Tarpon love to feast on crabs, particularly when they're fresh and served up in a variety of sizes. To best prepare your crab bait, it's best to lightly steam them so that they remain soft and tender.

There are a few different types of crabs that you can use as bait when fishing for tarpon. The most common type is the pass crab, which is found in shallow coastal waters. These crabs are relatively easy to catch, and their small size makes them ideal for baby tarpon fishing.

Calico crabs are another good option, and they can be found in both saltwater and freshwater habitats. Small blue crabs are also a good choice, although they can be more difficult to catch than pass or calico crabs.

Whichever type of crab you choose, make sure that it is freshly caught and properly sized for the tarpon you are targeting.

5. Shrimp


Last but not least, shrimp is one of the best tarpon baits around. Not only do tarpon love them and go crazy for them, but because they're relatively inexpensive and easy to find, they make an excellent bait choice for many anglers.

To best prepare shrimp for tarpon fishing, consider using either a whole or cut bait, and make sure you vary the presentation technique for the best results. Dead or alive, shrimp are an excellent choice when targeting these powerful fish. 

6. Mullet


Mullet is another classic bait that tarpon loves to eat. It’s best to use live bait since the active movement of the bait in the water can attract the attention of a tarpon.

Mullets are hardy fish that can withstand being hooked and survive in a variety of conditions. They are also a favorite food of tarpon, making them one of the best baits you can use.

Best of all, finger mullet is relatively easy to catch, making them a great choice for anglers of all levels of experience. So if you're looking to land a big tarpon, be sure to throw out a few alive swimming mullet jig the next time you're on the water.

7. Pinfish


When it comes to fishing for tarpon, few baits are as effective as pinfish. These small saltwater fish are a favorite food of tarpon, and they are relatively easy to catch. Best of all, they stay alive for long periods out of the water, making them ideal for use as live bait.

There are a few different ways to rig pinfish, but one of the most popular is to thread them onto a circle hook. This ensures that they will stay on the hook, even when being attacked by a large tarpon. If you're looking for an effective bait for tarpon fishing, pinfish are a great option.

Tips Using Bait Ffor Catching Tarpons

Tarpons are beautiful and exciting to catch, but they can be difficult to hook. If you're using live bait, it's important to choose the right kind of baitfish. Tarpons prefer relatively large baitfish that are easy to spot and eat. Mullet, crabs, and shrimp are all good choices. You'll also need to make sure your bait is the right size. Tarpons have large mouths, so they can easily eat baitfish that are several inches long.

Select Your Bait

Once you've selected the right kind of baitfish, you'll need to rig it properly. Tarpons have sharp teeth, so it's important to use a leader with a heavy-duty fishing line.

Circle hooks are also a good choice since they're less likely to tear out of the tarpon's mouth. When rigging your baitfish, hook it through the nose or lip rather than through the body. This will help keep the fish alive longer and make it easier for the tarpon to eat.

Pay Attention To Presentation

You'll also need to pay attention to your presentation when fishing for tarpon. Tarpons are typically found near the surface of the water, so cast your bait where you think the fish will be lurking. Allow your bait to sink for a few seconds before beginning your retrieve; this will help ensure that the tarpon sees it.

Retrieving Your Bait

As you retrieve your bait, use sharp jerks of the rod tip to make it look like a wounded fish. Tarpons are predators, so they're attracted to easy meals. If you can imitate an injured fish, you're more likely to get a bite.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of catching a tarpon the next time you go fishing adventure. Use the right kind of baitfish and rig it properly; then present your bait in a way that's likely to attract a hungry tarpon. With a little patience and practice, you'll be reeling in these impressive fish in no time.

Best Times To Fish For Tarpon

The best time to fish for tarpon is in the spring and summer months when the water temperatures are warmest. Tarpons are migratory fish, so they'll be moving into waters that are warmer during these months.

May and June are typically the best months for tarpon fishing in Florida or Best Lakes in Tennessee

Locations to Fish for Tarpon

Coastal areas such as bays, sounds, and estuaries are typically good spots to find tarpon. They're also often found near bridges and piers. In Florida, some of the best places to fish for tarpon include Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and Boca Grande Pass.

Navigable rivers can also be good spots for tarpon fishing. In Florida, the Suwannee River is a good spot to try.  


If you're looking to catch a tarpon on your next surf fishing trip, using the right bait is essential. There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing your bait, including the type of fish you're targeting, the time of year, and the location.

In this blog post, we've given you an overview of some of the best baits to use for your next tarpon fishing trip. So don't wait any longer—get out there and start catching some fish!

Question Answer

1: What is the best bait for tarpon fishing?

Many types of bait can be successful in tarpon fishing, but some of the most popular include shrimp and crabs, as well as pinfish.

Shrimp and crabs are both very common in coastal waters and make for a great choice of bait and the best tarpon fishing lures. They can easily be caught on a hook and work well when fished either live or dead. Pinfish are also a popular choice for bait, as they inhabit many of the same areas as tarpon. They can be caught tarpon on a hook fairly easily and work especially well when used live.

2. How do you rig bait for tarpon?

There are a lot of ways to rig bait for catch tarpon, but the most popular method is to use a large live mullet as bait. Some people like to use a wire leader, while others prefer to use a heavy monofilament line. The key is to use a sturdy rod and reel with enough backbone to handle a big tarpon. And make sure you have plenty of backup tackle because these fish can put up a fight!

3. What are the most common mistakes people make when fishing for tarpon?

The three most common mistakes people make when fishing for tarpon are:

1. Casting too close to the boat - Tarpons are skittish and will often spook if you cast too close. Cast further out into the open water so the tarpon has plenty of room to swim toward your bait.

2. Fishing with the wrong type of bait - Live bait is always best for catching tarpon. Try using a live mullet or pinfish.

3. Casting in the wrong direction - Tarpon fish often feeds near the surface of the water, so try casting your baits in that direction.

4: What type of tackle should I use for tarpon fishing?

A4: When targeting tarpon, it’s best to use light to medium spinning tackle. A 7- to 8-foot rod with medium power is best. Line strength should be a 10 to 20-pound test and you’ll want to use 30 to 40-pound leader material.


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