Indo-Pacific Tarpon ( Megalops cyprinoides )
Common Name: Tarpon
Local Name: Bulan-Bulan (Tagalog), Buan-Buan, Salongong, (Cebuano)
Max Size: 150 cm (18kgs)
Biodiversity: Marine; Freshwater; Brackish; Benthopelagic; Amphidromous;
Depth: 1 – ?? m
Fishing Season: All Year Long
Minimum Size Limit: 12 inches
Recommended Bait/Lures: Shrimp, small fish; spoons, jigs, crankbaits and soft plastics
IUCN Red List Status: Data Deficient (DD)
The Philippines is unfortunately not blessed like Florida, USA with giant Tarpon. Instead we have the smaller Pacific cousin; The Indo-Pacific Tarpon. Though this species is reported to reach up to 18kgs, which is a good sized fish, the common size found throughout Philippines waters is closer to 1-2kgs. These fish are Benthopelagic, meaning they spend the majority of their time just above the sea floor. They are also Amphidromous, meaning they migrate to freshwater from salt or from salt to fresh at some point in their lives. It is not uncommon to find these fish in freshwater rivers, ponds and even lakes. Adult tarpon are more commonly found at sea while the smaller ones are typically found close to shore. These are a popular fish to stock in freshwater sportfishing ponds because of their energetic fights and often aerobatic displays. Baby tarpon can often be seen in pet shops for sale for freshwater aquariums and are easy to spot due to their large flashy silver scales. Their local name Buan-Buan (literally – Moon-Moon) comes from their flashy white color which can even be seen reflecting of of light at night.
Tarpon are excellent game fish because they take a variety of lures and have great fighting abilities. They are however fair to poor as a food fish. Their flesh has a very muddy taste and so we recommend that you release these fish if you catch them.