How To Catch Big Tarpon On Cut Bait (LIVE Tarpon Fight)

This was one wild ride!

If you like the thrill of battling big tarpon, then you’re going to love this video.

We were down in the Keys fishing with Capt. Mark “Hollywood” Johnson when we hooked into a 150-pound tarpon.

It absolutely whupped me, but we got it all on film and the whole time Hollywood was coaching me through the fight.

If you’ve ever wondered what to do if tarpon aren’t eating live bait, how to land a tarpon without it breaking you off, and where and when to catch tarpon, then you can’t miss this video.

Check it out below!

You can watch the video version of this podcast below (which I definitely recommend), listen to the audio version by clicking the play button underneath it, or listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

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Tarpon Fishing With Cut Bait [VIDEO]

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Tarpon Fishing With Cut Bait [PODCAST]

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Timestamped Table Of Contents:

  • 0:01 – Tarpon On!
  • 0:30 – The switch from live bait to cut bait
  • 1:30 – Check out Joe’s tarpon reel
  • 3:02 – This tarpon fight is intense
  • 4:27 – A very common mistake that anglers make is…
  • 5:55 – Every breath that the tarpon gets is like drinking a red bull
  • 6:12 – Successful technique to landing a big tarpon
  • 7:28 – Do this when the tarpon gets close to the boat
  • 7:53 – This is when you need to tighten the drag down
  • 11:14 – Write down this moment in history: Joe is speechless
  • 12:08 – The pros and cons of using cut bait for tarpon
  • 13:41 – You better eat your Wheaties
  • 13:54 – The biggest reason to palm the spool
  • 15:28 – Grab the mono not the braid, here’s why
  • 19:39 – A tarpon that does not jump will fight to the death
  • 21:10 – How to position yourself on the boat during a tarpon fight
  • 25:37 – Joe is definitely earning this catch
  • 29:17 – Listen in as Capt. Hollywood does what he does best: making dreams come true!

If you really want to get in on the action, book your trip with Florida Keys Fun Fishing here.


catching tarpon on cut bait

Fighting big tarpon is a battle that you better come prepared for…

They’re big, strong, and will fight to the death.

But as long as you’ve got the right gear and break their spirit by wearing them down quickly, you’ll be able to safely land and release them.

Have any questions about catching big tarpon?

Let me know down in the comments!

If you know someone that wants to catch a BIG tarpon this year, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

And if you’re in the Keys and want to go out with Capt. Hollywood and his crew, you can find them at

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A Rollins
1 year ago

How well did the Luna work?
In other words, did you bruise?

Steve Miller
1 year ago

Wow. That was one heck of a fish and one heck of a fight. However, I don’t see the how to part of it. I enjoyed the video, but figured there would be a lot of info about the equipment, the rig, etc.

Pat Murphy
1 year ago

What was the rig?
Weight or no weight?
How big of a piece cut bait?
What is the best cut bait?

Heading down to Marathon mid June
So interested in learning how to catch Tarpon

Eric Mielke
1 year ago

Joe nice poon, congrats!! 😁😁. Would like to see the anchor quick release setup in another video!

Roy Bennett
1 year ago

Congrats on a nice fish. It never gets old catching them. Living in Cape Coral, Fl I’m a member of the Cape Coral Tarpon Hunters Club since 1994. I’ve personally landed 332 tarpon most on dead baits and mostly on catfish. I’ve also had about 250 tarpon to the boat by Clients, family and friends. Even had a hooked tarpon jump into my boat that eventually swam away. Love catching them. Capt Roy (Hot One Charters).

1 year ago

How jealous am I. Don’t get the chance to do that on a regular basis. Can you let us know the set up. Rod, reel, braid, leader and hook. Down to Cuba in November and hoping to see a few.
great tuition as well guys. No high stickin there. 😎

richard martin
1 year ago

What kind of leader & weight set up did you use. I got the braid to mono with FG Knot in video but saw the weight down on the leader. I do a lot of beach fishing for tarpon but keep getting broken off!

Rick Farinella
1 year ago

Absolute fun to watch ! Great job doing all that work….Congrats !!!!

1 year ago

That was incredible. At my age not sure I could do it Joe.

1 year ago

Great video…great fish. Here’s the beer you wished for🍺😎


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