Also known as the “poor man’s tarpon,” ladyfish are fierce fighters. They can be found in warm waters all over the world. Generally found inland, there are many different methods that will work for catching these fish, including topwater fishing, drift fishing, and surf casting among others.


Region: South
Habitat: Bay, Ocean

How to identify Ladyfish

Ladyfish are silver and slender and have thick eyelids, heavily forked tails, and big terminal mouths. They look similar to young tarpons due to having a tall ray on the dorsal fin. Most ladyfish weigh about 3-5 pounds, though some can weigh as much as 15-25 pounds.

Where to catch Ladyfish

Ladyfish can be found in warm waters throughout the world. They prefer inland waters that are up to 160 feet deep, such as lagoons estuaries, streams, shorelines, saltwater bays, open waters, and riverbend eddies.

Range: South
Ladyfish Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Ladyfish:

How to catch Ladyfish

Anglers fly-fishing and using light tackle when fishing for ladyfish will attest that these fish put up a big fight. A ladyfish will make it seem as though there’s a larger fish on the line. Ladyfish fight fiercely once hooked. They will run hard and leap into the air. Its nickname, “poor man’s tarpon,” refers to the acrobatic antics of these fish. Ladyfish are rather aggressive and may bite the line; therefore, a heavy mono leader is recommended. Anglers fish for them year round, many choosing to do so from piers and along beaches. To catch ladyfish, anglers use various methods, such as drift fishing, fly fishing, jigging, spin casting, still fishing, surf casting, and topwater fishing.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Ladyfish:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Ladyfish

Ladyfish are carnivorous and won’t hesitate to feed on its own kind. Menhaden, silversides, crustaceans, invertebrates, and smaller-bony fish work well as live bait. Whole bait does best since these fish feed by swallowing prey whole rather than chewing it. Cut bait, shrimp, or lures are also effective options.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Ladyfish: