This tarpon feeding got ugly in a hurry!
The tarpon is one of the coolest saltwater game fish in existence. These giant fish tend to leap spectacularly out of the air when hooked while fishing. As a result, they have become one of the more popular species to target for visitors to the Florida Keys.
While fishing for these powerful fish is popular, at least one spot on the Keys is famous because it gives visitors the chance to hand-feed one of these awesome predators. Robbie's restaurant is located on the waterfront in Islamorada and has attracted tarpon for decades. It is a now a destination spot as tourists flock there for their own chance to feed them by hand.
YouTuber Outdoors Allie was in the area and just had to try this for herself. She quickly found out that one must be careful when attempting this. A true giant ends up biting the fish she is holding and most of her forearm in the process too. The entire incident was caught on video of course.
These fish are fast! That happened so quickly that poor Allie had hardly any time to react to the fish latching on to her. That tarpon latched on nearly up to her elbow! Obviously, the tarpon did not mean to do that. Humans are not a natural prey item. It was simply responding the way tarpon have at this location for years.
Amazingly, this type of incident is not entirely uncommon on this dock. The tarpon at Robbie's are completely conditioned to feeding there and they are not shy about leaping out of the water when they see a human above holding an easy meal. Bites are common and well-documented on YouTube if you go searching. Most people describe the bite as a scraping feeling similar to sandpaper.
As painful as those scrape marks look after the fact, this looks like too much fun. We are adding "feed the tarpon" to our angling bucket list for sure!