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Remembering Tarpon, Texas

Port Aransas Museum Debuts "The Tarpon Era" Exhibit
Posted at 10:09 AM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 11:09:45-05

PORT ARANSAS, Texas — From 1885 to 1950 the Port Aransas economy relied heavily on tarpon fishing.

Fisherman would come from all over the country just to get a chance to catch a tarpon.

Even former President Franklin Roosevelt visited and caught a few himself.

But when tarpon started dying off, catching one became rare.

Rene Lopez has been fishing in Port Aransas for decades.

He says there's nothing like catching a tarpon.

“It's one of those prize fish that everyone wants to catch. It’s hard to catch and I’m lucky enough to be one of the few people to catch 'em,” said Lopez.

Cliff Strain, the Port Aransas Museum Executive Director says due to over fishing and the fact that tarpon only stay a mile from the jetties, the tarpon population started to decline over 50 years ago.

“For a long time it was the major activity and the draw for people to come to this town. There's still a few people here who don't know we used to be called 'Tarpon, Texas’”, said Strain.

Even the city's biggest fishing tournament, the Deep Sea Roundup was once called "The Tarpon Rodeo"and competed only for tarpons.

Strain has spent the past six months helping create "The Tarpon Era" Exhibit.

He feels residents and visitors will appreciate learning more of what the city was once famous for.

“You know kind of bring back some memories that maybe some people never knew existed about Port Aransas," said Strain.

The exhibit debuts today at 1 p.m. and admission is free.