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200+ pound Tarpon Caught and Released in Boca Grande

Capt. Nelson Italiano III and his client, Tony, recently landed an exceptionally large tarpon, estimated to weigh over 200 lbs. Below is the report from Capt. Italiano and the response from Dr. Aaron Adams, BTT Director of Science and Conservation 

"Last night we landed a tarpon of a lifetime," writes Capt. Italiano. "She was 86" to the fork and broke the line before I could get a girth. She had an exceptionally large girth. We battled her for 49 minutes on 100 lb braided line on a Penn 20T and a 30 class rod. We hooked her in Boca Grande Pass and she took us out over the north bar and 3/4 of a mile offshore. She was old and smart--she pulled every tarpon trick in the book in a single fight."

Hi Nelson,

Wow, that's an enormous fish. Thanks for the report. The data on tarpon age are very sparse, unfortunately. Based on the only study done on tarpon age and growth, the fish you caught was very likely a female--this is due to the size. According to the study, males don't get that large. That said, the study only had one fish that was approximately the length of the one you caught. That fish was over 50 years old. But growth rate can be very variable among individual fish--that's just an estimate. But it is likely an old fish. Good to hear that it swam away in good shape.

--Aaron Adams