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Hand Feeding A Tarpon

Old 05-25-2018, 03:50 PM
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Default Hand Feeding A Tarpon

A good friend of mine just sent me some pictures from a fishing trip to Islamorada Florida. They did very well and caught Mahi, Wahoo, Snapper, and Tuna, I assume Black fin. They also caught some Tarpon that were not kept.

He lives near Buffalo so all of his fishing at home is freshwater but he used to go fishing with me a lot, on my boat in the Delaware bay and sometimes offshore of Lewes Delaware.

Anyway the last picture that he sent me was of him hand feeding a Tarpon off of a dock. I assume it was near the slip where the charter boat docked, probably near the fish cleaning station. I was very surprised to see that and never heard of someone doing that. I'm sure that the locals or the Captain told him that it can be done because I doubt that he just happened to try it to see if it would work.

Maybe it's a common thing near there, but for me I thought it was cool as hell and was very surprised that it could be done. For you local guys, is this something that is not surprising and is done at other docks or is it as unusual as I think it is, I was just surprised that it could be done. Have a good one.
Dwight
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Old 05-25-2018, 03:54 PM
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Yes, its a thing.
Look up Robbies Marina in the Keys.
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Old 05-25-2018, 03:54 PM
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Looks like he was at Robbie’s at Islamorada. Huge school of tarpon, some approaching 6’, have gotten used to being fed. Ever so often some college kid lays down on the dock, holds the fish in his hand and says ‘hey, watch this, Tarpon will literally take his whole hand in the mouth. No teeth, just rough cartlidge like a bass, so no damage but can shock the heck out of the kid.
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Old 05-25-2018, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by dmartin View Post
A good friend of mine just sent me some pictures from a fishing trip to Islamorada Florida. They did very well and caught Mahi, Wahoo, Snapper, and Tuna, I assume Black fin. They also caught some Tarpon that were not kept.

He lives near Buffalo so all of his fishing at home is freshwater but he used to go fishing with me a lot, on my boat in the Delaware bay and sometimes offshore of Lewes Delaware.

Anyway the last picture that he sent me was of him hand feeding a Tarpon off of a dock. I assume it was near the slip where the charter boat docked, probably near the fish cleaning station. I was very surprised to see that and never heard of someone doing that. I'm sure that the locals or the Captain told him that it can be done because I doubt that he just happened to try it to see if it would work.

Maybe it's a common thing near there, but for me I thought it was cool as hell and was very surprised that it could be done. For you local guys, is this something that is not surprising and is done at other docks or is it as unusual as I think it is, I was just surprised that it could be done. Have a good one.
Dwight
Check out Robbie’s in Islamorada. Massive tarpon everywhere, buy a bucket of baitfish and go to town... just watch out for the pelicans, lol, they’re quick!

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Old 05-25-2018, 04:01 PM
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Videos and Livecam from Islamorada - Robbie's of Islamorada

It's raining now but it's fun live cam video to watch usually. They've got some nice new docks up since the hurricane.
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Old 05-25-2018, 04:16 PM
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At Robbies Marina it happens a hundred times a day everyday
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Old 05-25-2018, 05:14 PM
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I've done it, pretty cool for someone who always fished in fresh water.
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Old 05-25-2018, 05:21 PM
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That's really cool I had not heard of it and was surprised. If I ever get down that way I will remember it and make a point to go to Robbie's. Thanks for the replies, learn something new every day.
I think he just got home today so I figured I'd wait a day or two to call and get details, I'll ask him if it was at Robbie's.

Maybe when I call him I'll say "that was at Robbie's wasn't it, I used to do that all the time when I was down that way" grin. I doubt if he would believe me but it will be a good laugh.

Dwight
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Old 05-25-2018, 07:27 PM
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BTW, Tarpon aren' kept because they have no food value.
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Old 05-25-2018, 07:57 PM
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In fort lauderdale by 15th street fisheries restaurant they sell the bag of shrimp and tarpoon are fed. A lot of jacks are also around, not sure you might want to put your hand or fingers to a jack.
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Old 05-25-2018, 08:08 PM
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Does anyone know the marina this happens at?
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Old 05-25-2018, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by gcelevator View Post
In fort lauderdale by 15th street fisheries restaurant they sell the bag of shrimp and tarpoon are fed. A lot of jacks are also around, not sure you might want to put your hand or fingers to a jack.
Tell everyone what happens if you dangle a dead jack in the water.
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Old 05-26-2018, 05:04 AM
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The pelicans are a pita......
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Old 05-26-2018, 05:35 AM
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Took the kids to Robbie's this spring. Before that, I used to se Pelicans when I surfed. I thought of them as this majestic bird, swooping down along the waves and grabbing fish. Now I think they are crack heads.
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Old 05-26-2018, 06:24 AM
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I've got a different take on this... Only been to Robbies once at my daughters insistence. Although it is kinda cool to hand feed a huge critter like that, the tarpon I saw did not appear to be healthy. Some had "splotches" on them.
My guess is those fish never leave that boat basin, never get out into clean water.

The day I was there the dock was full of Asian dudes in skinny jeans and tank-tops... in spite of their best efforts to get the bait to the fish it looked like the pelicans were getting about 75% of the take.
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Old 05-26-2018, 10:02 AM
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I've done it in Caye Caulker Belize also.
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Old 05-26-2018, 10:12 AM
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The breakfast burrito at Robbies is great for a hangover. They also have a Bloody Mary where the straw is a hollowed out Slim Jim. Its got a bunch of other stuff in it like bacon, pickled grean bean, shrimp,olives stuffed with different stuff. Kids loved feeding the Tarpon. We also went out on the fishing boat and my son,(about 12yrs old at the time) caught about a 8 to 10lbs mutton. Biggest fish of the day and caught it on the small yellow tail rod. Good times.
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Old 05-26-2018, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Restrain View Post
Looks like he was at Robbie’s at Islamorada. Huge school of tarpon, some approaching 6’, have gotten used to being fed. Ever so often some college kid lays down on the dock, holds the fish in his hand and says ‘hey, watch this, Tarpon will literally take his whole hand in the mouth. No teeth, just rough cartlidge like a bass, so no damage but can shock the heck out of the kid.
That rough cartilage will absolutely do some damage. Abraded the skin off most of my hand and left a nasty infection.
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Old 05-26-2018, 04:57 PM
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Those Tarpon are pets
they came right back after Irma
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Old 05-26-2018, 05:05 PM
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Robbies may be one of the biggest touriist traps in the keys. And I’d have a full scale mutiny on my hands if I tried to drive by without stopping - both on the way down and on the way back. My gang would make life pretty miserable. At 3 or 4 bucks to feed em it’s got to be one of the cheapest stops in the keys. And yes their mouth will take the hide off.
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