Florida Teen Lands Rare Golden Tarpon

It’s about this time around Florid and the Gulf of Mexico that anglers are going nuts over tarpon. One teenager off the Florida panhandle caught an extremely rare golden tarpon that’s truly a sight to see. 

Will Chapman, 16, didn’t realize he’d hooked a special fish until they got it to the surface and it looked like a koi. The fight took about 20 minutes before they got a good look at it. 

“It was absolutely beautiful once he got him near the boat,” Will’s father Mark told the Bradenton Herald. 

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Normally tarpon are silver along the sides and belly and have darker shades of blue and black along their backs, but this one had bright yellow coloration along its back and the tips of his pectoral fins were lit up blue. 

In all his years of fishing, Capt. Patrick Dineen with Flyliner Charters who escorted Will and his father, said he has never seen a fish like that before. 

“Wherever the pigmentation was, it was golden,” he told the paper. “All the silver parts were almost white. It was a captivating type of fish. My God, was it beautiful.”

While a golden tarpon is rare, they do show up from time to time at the end of a line. A few years ago a fisherman caught a similar fish with golden coloration and it was determined it was a piebald tarpon, which means it bares spots of unpigmented patterns.

In the 1930s, it was considered an albino tarpon. A specimen even hangs in the American Museum of Natural History, according to Sport Fishing Magazine.