The number of flies that catch tarpon is pretty impressive. Tarpon may not be as picky as some species, but the profile of the fly, matching the hatch, hook size, and sink rate are all still important considerations. In the videos below, we aggregated 10 great flies that are often used for Silver Kings. You may have a few of them tied already, but maybe there are some you aren’t familiar with. Plus, a few mad scientists can pick up some tips for your own creations.
Captain Brad Lowman explains how to tie this variation of the Tarpon Toad fly. It’s a highly effective fly on the West Coast of Florida.
Black Death Tarpon Toad
Legendary angler Stu Apte developed the Black Death to have black-and-red contrasting colors and a tapered head design, specifically to minimize wind resistance when casting. Many fly variations now incorporate some of the unique aspects found in the original fly. Below is the Black Death Tarpon Toad.
This effective tarpon pattern originates from Key West. Peter Smith demonstrates how to tie this fun fly at the Somerset Fly Show.
Though no one is exactly sure what the Tarpon Bunny imitates, the key seems to be the lively movement of the rabbit strip. Tarpon eat it up!
Each year, Keys tarpon go crazy for little red Palolo worms during their annual hatch. If you’re not casting a fly imitating a worm when the hatch happens, you might not get a bite.
The gurgler is a top baby tarpon fly, explains Scott Yetter. This fly imitates a shrimp and travels just under the surface.
Stu Apte Tarpon Fly
This shrimp imitator incorporates marabou on a Gamakatsu size 2/0 hook. Attractive for tarpon and fly tiers alike!
Fish eat the Tarpon Snake fly because of its shape, especially if silhouetted in darker waters against a sunlit surface. Ladyfish and mullet are not black in color, but this fly still imitates them well.
Sometimes tarpon don’t want baitfish or shrimp, that’s when this crab fly comes in handy.
EP Fiber Sardine
If you’ve made it this far, you get one BONUS VIDEO! __Craig Smothers shows how to tie Puglisi fiber tarpon flies, in this case a sardine imitation that’s popular in Gulf of Mexico coastal waters.