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BTT Tarpon Tagging Project In Full Swing

As winter turns to spring, tarpon fishing is starting to heat up. Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s Tarpon Tagging Project is underway in the Keys for the start of the great migration. In June, the tarpon tagging team will move from the Keys to western Florida (Charlotte Harbor, Tampa Bay, Apalachicola) and then, will end the summer in Brunswick, Georgia, at beautiful the Cabin Bluff Cumberland River Retreat. This past week, in preparation for the largest tarpon tagging year yet, BTT research associate Lucas Griffin visited Cabin Bluff to meet with local guides and anglers to talk tarpon, of course, and to lay the groundwork for a two-week tagging trip in July. Over 15 local guides and anglers gathered to work out logistics and planning for the collaborative tagging effort. Here, in Georgia, you’ll find tarpon from the backwater estuaries to the deep water coastal areas.

With a battery life of five to seven years in the tags, we can track these fish across multiple migrations providing critical information for appropriate management and conservation. Tarpon tagged from Georgia have ventured as far south as Key West and as far north as the Chesapeake Bay. Interestingly while some tarpon returned to the exact same location at the same time for the following year, some tagged fish migrated south and remained in southern Florida. Further, we had one Georgia tagged tarpon that was never detected south of Cape Canaveral in the following year. As anglers, we know these are complicated fish! We hope to tag many more fish here in Georgia to better understand this species that we love so much. Be on the lookout for us on the water come July if you decide to try your luck at this incredible Georgia fishery!

We’ll also be tagging tarpon during the 5th Annual Hell’s Bay Tarpon Cup Tournament, 16-19 August at Cabin Bluff. Reserve your spot now!

This research effort represents a major step towards refining tarpon management and conservation efforts – none of which would be possible without a cast of dedicated tarpon anglers, guides, and the BTT Tarpon Tagging Project’s major sponsor, Maverick Boat Group. We look forward to more thrilling angling adventures, acoustic tagging, and the crucial findings this project will provide. 

We thank Cabin Bluff for their continued commitment to tarpon conservation and local guides: Rob Aldridge, Roger Burge, Bert Byrd, Tim Cutting, Scott Dykes, Dave Edwards, Danny Flynn, Ron Gibson, Richard James, Allen Mills, Toby Mohrman, and Scott Owens. (photo: Dr. Aaron Adams)