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Tarpon Fishing World Records

Billy Pate Record Tarpon
Billy Pate's Record Tarpon

Florida currently holds 29 world records for tarpon. Of these records, all of the major fly fishing records have been caught off of Florida’s central west coast in the Homosassa area.

In 1982, Billy Pate set a fly fishing record on 16-pound tippet with a 188-pound tarpon caught off of Homosassa. For the next 19 years, some of the world’s best fly fishermen and guides attempted to break Pate’s record and become the first angler to land a tarpon on fly fishing tackle that was over 200 pounds.

On May 11, 2001, that feat finally happened. Jim Holland Jr., guided by Captain Steve Kirkpatrick, caught the first tarpon with fly fishing equipment over 200 pounds: a 202-pound, 8-ounce tarpon on 20-pound tippet.

Tom Evans Record Tarpon
Tom Evan's Record Tarpon


Pate’s 16-pound tippet record was broken on May 13, 2003 with a 190-pound, 9-ounce tarpon caught by Tom Evans Jr. Evans was guided by Captain Al Doparik.

The Florida state record for tarpon caught with conventional tackle is 243 pounds, caught by Gus Bell in Key West in 1975 on just 20-pound test line. The guide was Captain Bob West who also guided two other anglers to Florida records that have since been broken.


The all-tackle world record (additionally certified as the 80-pound class record) for a giant tarpon is 286-pounds, 9-ounces caught by Max Domecq in Rubane, Guinea-Bissau, Africa on March 20, 2003.

Max Domecq Record Tarpon
Max Domecq's Record Tarpon

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