- Although the flesh of the almaco jack is considered quality table fare, the species has been associated with ciguatera poisoning, a seldom fatal stomach irritation.
- The almaco jack is susceptible to tapeworm parasites in the caudal peduncle area, but the meat can be eaten safely if affected portions are cut away.
Considered one of the worlds premier saltwater gamefish, the tarpon is a large and powerful specimen. Its long, thick and streamlined body, which is covered in large scales, is a blue-gray to green-gray in color on its back and varies in darkness from silver to nearly black. On it sides and belly, the tarpon is a shiny silver. In brackish waters, tarpon may take on a golden or brownish tone whenever tannic acid present in the water. The tarpon has a large mouth with a prominent bony-plated lower jaw that protrudes upward. The dorsal fin, which begins just past the origination of the pelvic fin, has distinctive a long trailer at the end of the lowest ray. The base of the tail is thick and the large tail fin is widely forked.
Tarpon generally travel in schools and are opportunistic carnivores by nature. They will feed both day and night, and although they will move lazily in foraging areas, they can strike quickly when their prey has been identified. Tarpon feed on crabs and a variety of fish, including sardines, anchovies, mullets and pinfish.
In the western Atlantic, tarpon are common to the tropical waters between North and South America, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Their expanded range stretches from Virginia to central Brazil, depending on annual climate. In the eastern Atlantic, tarpon are common in the waters off the coast of western Africa from Mauritania to Angola. The eastern Atlantic tarpon may also range as far north as Portugal, southern France and the Irish coast.
The tarpon is an inshore species that primarily inhabits coastal waters and estuaries. Tarpon can also be found in bays, passes, canals, offshore marine waters, brackish river, mangrove-lined lagoons and sometimes around coral reefs. They may be found as deep as 100 feet, but generally are shallow-dwelling game fish. They seek warm waters and water temperatures in the 66 to 86 F range and can survive in waters with varying degrees of salinity. They are susceptible to stress in waters below 55 F.
- Tarpon are not known for their table fare. In fact, most tarpon caught by sports fisherman are fished for sport only and are released after catching. Outside of the North American there is some commercial interest for tarpon, but due do its bony nature they have not caught on commercially in the United States.
- Fossil research shows that the species has been swimming in the oceans since prehistoric times.
- The swim bladder of the tarpon is attached to the esophagus and can be filled directly with air. This allows the tarpon to survive in low-oxygen water as well as breath by gulping air while out of the water for extended periods of time.
- The all-tackle world record for tarpon is 283 pounds.