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It Turns out That Tarpon Travel Farther Than We Thought

Lenny Leonard

Tarpon are known for their amazing migratory routes, but this little guy has even the experts in awe!

Orvis CEO, Perk Perkins, jumped on board as the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust began tagging tarpon last May. Perkins helped sponsor a 45 lb tarpon, appropriately named Helios, to be fitted with one of their state of the art acoustic tags.

Helios was landed using a live crab in late May in the Lower Florida Keys. BTT scientists from UMass Amherst and Carleton University and Captain Lenny Leonard helped to tag and release Helios. This made Helios the second tagged fish of the program.

What happened next shocked everyone including the experts at the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.

tarpon
Start and Finish of the 400 Mile Journey

Wildly enough, feedback came a month later as researchers heard back from colleagues that their receiver in Port Orange, Fl. had picked up Helios on their receiver in late June! This meant that this relatively small tarpon had traveled an amazing 400 miles in only a month’s time!

As someone that has pursued tarpon with a fly rod throughout many areas of the world, I can not stress enough the importance of these types of projects. The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust is a fantastic organization and it is important that we understand what we need to do in order to sustain and improve the fisheries these fish migrate through.

So what does this mean to the scientists at the BTT? Well, previous studies conducted to track the migratory patterns of tarpon have only allowed scientist to track fish that were 80 pounds or larger.

This study gave experts the ability to see how smaller class fish like Helios move throughout the year. Since Helios is years from reaching sexual maturity is interesting to note just how far he traveled in such a short period of time. It was previously understood that the larger, more mature fish are the ones that take up the longer migratory routes as smaller fish typically stick to their local waters.

This discovery opens up a whole new door for scientists at the BTT, and will help them continue to be successful in their conservation efforts.

This information is just the tip of the iceberg as modern technology continues to help us study tarpon and other important species.

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It Turns out That Tarpon Travel Farther Than We Thought