(Megalops cyprinoides)

Commonly referred to as Tarpon or ox eyed herring!

The tarpon is a feisty northern sport fish species famous for their aerobatic displays when hooked. They are commonly encountered as a by catch whilst targeting other more popular northern, freshwater species such as the barramundi and are also extremely popular amongst fly anglers. The Australian tarpon – (Megalops cyprinoides) is closely related to the larger specimens of tarpon – (Megalops atlantics) which are commonly found in areas such as the Florida Keys in America and can grow to a staggering 100 kilos!


Tarpon can be encountered across the entire top end of Australia.


Tarpon can grow to a maximum weight of around 2.5 kilos and around 60cm in length here in Australian waters.


Tarpon inhabit most fresh water streams and tidal estuary systems throughout the top end of Australia.


Tarpon can be easily recognised by their shiny, metallic like appearance and large under slung jaw. They have a large eye and a powerful forked tail capable of propelling this species from the water. The scales are also quite large providing great protection against the tarpons many predators.

Taste rating

  • Zero Taste Rating

Tarpon are mostly recognised for their sporting abilities rather than their eating qualities.

Sport rating

  • Eighty Sport Rating

Tarpon are excellent sport on light spin and fly tackle!

Tackle requirements

Light graphite rods in the 3 – 6kg range, around 6’ in length matched to spin reels in the 2500 – 4000 class spooled with braided or gel spun lines with a breaking strain of 6 – 10lb are ideal for casting lures both from the shore and out in the boat for average sized Tarpon. Small feather jigs or soft plastic lures are ideal for targeting this aerobatic little northern sport fish which are also a fantastic target species for salt water fly out fits which should be rated between 5WT – 8WT depending on the size of fish being targeted.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Tarpon will readily take a variety of baits such as prawns and small bait fish and are also particularly partial to small feathered jigs, soft plastic lures and fly’s

Handy hints and tips

When fishing for Tarpon try using a small surface lure or popper styled fly as the surface strikes displayed by this species are what makes Tarpon fishing all worth while!

Preferred fishing times and tides

Tarpon prefer a falling tide with plenty of water movement and will generally become much more active after dark.


[What The Fish]