This site is dedicated to preserving the small and fragile tarpon fishery in Virginia. Tarpon arrive in Virginia each June, and hang around through August, occasionally September.
Where tarpon are common, anglers have learned to properly fight and release tarpon. Here in Virginia, far too many anglers are not familiar with tarpon and how they should be cared for to insure their survival after release. Here are the basics...
Tarpon UNDER 40-inches can be held, briefly, out of the water for a photo. Set up the photo first, lift the fish, supporting its head and belly, click the pic, and return the fish to the water.
Fish OVER 40-inches, which includes almost all Virginia tarpon, should NEVER be removed from the water. Period. Tests conducted in Florida and other locations have confirmed that lifting big tarpon from the water causes fatal injury. If you need a pic, lean over the side of the boat and capture your face with the fish. If you need a weight estimate, measure the fork length and girth in the water, then use the chart made by the Bonefish Tarpon Trust to dertermine approximate weight.
NEVER place a hand in a tarpon's gills, and never use a gaff, even in the mouth.
You can find more information under the education tab at Bonefishtarpontrust.org.