Painting by Jim Pierce Key Largo

Sorry, I've retired.

Florida Keys Tarpon Fishing Guide

Tarpon Fishing in the Florida Keys Islamorada, Marathon, Key Largo

Fly Fishing Tarpon,Light Tackle Tarpon, Flats Fishing Oceanside and Bayside. Day and Night Tarpon trips.

Painting by Jim Pierce Key Largo

Permit in the back country.


Fly-Fishing for tarpon in the Keys is hard to beat for excitement. I'm Captain David Applegate (Cap'm Apple) and I do a lot of flats and back country tarpon fishing, sight fishing tarpon, both oceanside and backcountry flats and channels. I fish Islamorada, Key Largo and Marathon areas - more than 20 years in these areas.

Staking out on known tarpon freeways between flats and along banks is a good way to get plenty of shots at fish that can be seen from a distance, often far enough away to allow the fly fisherman or spin fisherman time to calm his nerves and heart rate a little before the cast.

The easiest way to catch them is bait, then spin fishing then fly fishing. For all three methods, the surest way to catch tarpon is at night. Consequently, I offer night tarpon trips, and fortunately, have an understanding wife.

A good guide knows the tides, flats and chanels, and the tarpon, and where they are today or likely to be tomorrow. After trip safety, these are probably the most important functions of a guide.

Only after that comes the experience in knowing how to catch them. Many of my customers have caught a great many fish and are already versed in that aspect. That is good for me, because I have been able to learn much from my customers over the last 30 years, and am able to pass those experiences along to my current ones.

Cap'm Apple out late with the Girls again!

(Photo by a customer. If you recognize this, let me know and I will credit you for the shot)



This flats tarpon was not happy about seeing the skiff.

(Photo by Cap'm Apple)


How Big do Tarpon Get? Even bigger than chubby below.


Photo by Hanson Carroll, Islamorada, Fl.



Big enough that caution is the best policy, partiularly when hooked close to the boat.

I only lost one friend (no customers) to a tarpon over the years; but , like Alfred Hitchcock, Hanson Carroll, the noted photographer and good friend from Islamorada, was on board and had his trusted brownie camera on hand to record the incident.

Photo by Hanson and Jay Carroll, Islamorada and Washington State.


My friend and fishing buddy, Jim, just took a tarpon video of one of my good customers catching a small tarpon on Apr 16, '09 using a fly on a 9 weight. Chris had caught one of about 90 lbs before the sun came up when it was too dark for the camera.

But even small tarpon are fun on a fly or light spin tackle. The video has been shortened to 5 minutes, but it's still 28 MB so it requires cable or DSL to see.

VIDEO Tarpon on a Fly Rod

Peak season is May and June and it's coming up quick. So give me a call if you are after some really fun fishing. My open dates change daily, so you'll have to call. The number below is my cell phone, which is with me in the boat, and I return calls in the order received, if I can't talk at the moment.

Have a great fishing season! And when in doubt, just keep cranking!

Home, Dolphin