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Wow! You don't see this everyday! Robert McCue got colleague & fill in deckhand Clark Wright on this piebald (albino with some pigmentation) tarpon this AM off Tampa Bay. Great job, guys! Check out Robert and Clark at:
Wow! You don’t see this everyday! Robert McCue got colleague & fill in deckhand Clark Wright on this piebald (albino with some pigmentation) tarpon this AM off Tampa Bay. Great job, guys! Check out Robert and Clark at:
Piebald Tarpon
Piebald Tarpon

Photo by Capt. Clark Wright

A rare piebald tarpon was caught and released in Florida earlier this month.

Capt. Clark Wright, who runs a charter service on Florida’s west coast, was fishing with a client on June 5 off Anna Maria’s coast when he spotted a strange looking fish jumping and rolling in the water. He said that even from a distance he could see that it had an orange tint and spots.

“In my 20 years of tarpon fishing, I’ve never seen a tarpon like this before,” Wright told Sport Fishing. “I told the visiting angler and my mate that we had to get this tarpon to the boat.”

They went for a closeup and caught the tarpon with a live blue crab around 7:30 a.m.

“We were hooting and hollering,” Clark said. “The angler, George Seibel, might be the luckiest angler out there right now. He came down from New York with his wife and caught this tarpon. We took a DNA sample and successfully released him. He lives to fight another day.”

The latter was news Kathryn Guindon, an assistant research scientist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s (FWC) Tarpon Genetics Recapture program, was ecstatic to hear.

“I have heard reports over my past ten years of tarpon like this, but never has someone retrieved a DNA sample to send to us,” said Guindon. “It looks similar to a koi fish.”

Guindon said that the strange looking fish is a piebald, which means it bares spots of unpigmented patterns. In the past this fish would have been labeled an albino.

“In 1936, an ‘albino’ tarpon was caught and recorded,” she said. “It actually hangs in the American Museum of Natural History — it looks just like this one.”

View the Pat Ford Tarpon Photo Gallery

Exploring the Rare Piebald Tarpon: A Unique Treasure in Florida’s Tarpon Fishing Scene

Florida’s coastal waters are renowned for their rich biodiversity, offering anglers a plethora of opportunities for adventure and discovery. Among the most sought-after catches in the region is the elusive piebald tarpon, a rare variant of the Atlantic tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) distinguished by its striking black and white coloration. This unique specimen not only captivates with its mesmerizing appearance but also presents anglers with an exhilarating challenge.

Understanding the Piebald Tarpon

The piebald tarpon’s distinctive coloration sets it apart from its counterparts, featuring irregular patches of black and white that create a stunning mosaic pattern. While the exact cause of this color variation remains a subject of speculation, scientists believe it may result from genetic mutations or environmental factors during the tarpon’s development stages. Regardless of its origins, encountering a piebald tarpon is a rare and unforgettable experience for any angler fortunate enough to cross paths with this remarkable creature.

Tarpon Fishing in Florida

Florida’s diverse ecosystem provides an ideal habitat for tarpon, making it a premier destination for anglers seeking to test their skills against these formidable game fish. From the expansive coastal flats of the Gulf Coast to the labyrinthine channels of the Florida Keys, there are countless opportunities to pursue tarpon in some of the most picturesque settings imaginable.

Expert Tips for Tarpon Fishing

For anglers planning a tarpon fishing expedition in Florida, here are some expert tips to enhance your chances of success:

  1. Timing is Key: Tarpon migration patterns vary throughout the year, with peak seasons typically occurring in the spring and summer months. Research the timing of the tarpon migration in your desired fishing location to maximize your chances of a successful outing.
  2. Equip Yourself Properly: Tarpon are renowned for their strength and agility, so it’s essential to equip yourself with the right gear. Opt for sturdy rods, heavy-duty reels, and strong braided lines to handle the challenge of battling these powerful fish.
  3. Master the Art of Presentation: Tarpon can be selective feeders, so presentation is crucial. Experiment with a variety of bait options, including live mullet, pinfish, or crabs, and vary your presentation techniques to entice strikes from wary tarpon.
  4. Exercise Patience and Persistence: Tarpon fishing requires patience and perseverance, as success often comes to those who are willing to put in the time and effort. Be prepared to spend long hours on the water, carefully observing the behavior of the fish and adjusting your tactics accordingly.


In the realm of tarpon fishing, encountering a piebald tarpon is a rare and unforgettable experience that epitomizes the thrill of the chase. With its unique coloration and formidable fighting spirit, the piebald tarpon represents the pinnacle of achievement for anglers who dare to pursue these majestic creatures. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a novice angler, the allure of tarpon fishing in Florida is undeniable, offering endless opportunities for adventure and excitement on the open seas.


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