A Traveler’s Guide to Feeding the Tarpon at Robbie’s of Islamorada

Mar 30, 2023

Are you looking for a unique and exciting experience while vacationing in Key West? Look no further than Robbie’s of Islamorada, located just 57.8 miles away from Sun Outdoors Sugarloaf Key (1 hour and 21 minutes). Not only is this a fun family activity, but it also allows visitors to learn more about the fascinating tarpon fish! So here is a traveler’s guide to feeding the tarpon at Robbie’s of Islamorada!

The History of the Tarpon Fish

The tarpon is a large, silver-hued fish that has been said to live up to 50 years (one in captivity lived 68 years), can grow up to 8 feet in length and weigh a whopping 280+ lbs!!!. It’s native to subtropical climates and can be found in waters around the world. It has been sought after by fishermen since the early 1900’s due to its impressive size and fighting spirit. Though they are considered game fish and not meant for consumption, tarpons have become synonymous with Florida fishing trips.

Feeding the Tarpon at Robbie’s

Feeding the tarpon at Robbie’s of Islamorada is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed while visiting Key West! Not only will you get an incredible opportunity to observe these majestic creatures up close and personal but also learn more about their history. 

“‘Amazing,’ ‘breathtaking,’ and ‘impressive’ are words we often hear from first-time visitors. They’re referring to the school of more than 100 tarpon that come here daily and linger for hours at Robbie’s.” (Source)

It all began back in 1976 when Robbie and his wife, Mona, were feeding the tarpon. Robbie noticed that one of the fish had swam into too shallow of water and was struggling to get out. So Robbie jumped into action to help free it and get it back to safer waters. He lifted the fish out of the water and he saw that his jaw had been torn open. 

After calling for help from Doc Roach they managed to give the poor fish some stitches. Robbie playfully named the injured tarpon “Scarface”. After feeding Scarface for 6 months, they set him free and every so often he would return with a friend or two. It became a tradition and the rest is literally history!

Now people from all around the world come to marvel at these majestic creatures! The cost to feed the tarpon is currently: admission to the dock is $2.50 per person (once per day) and each bucket of fish is $5.00 (5-8 fish per bucket). 

“Gorge fresh, delicious seafood and sip one of our signature cocktails, local draft beer, or our famous loaded Trailer Trash Bloody Mary on the waterfront deck and enjoy the show of the tarpon feeding frenzy!” (Source) 

Now that we have given you a traveler’s guide to feeding the tarpon at Robbie’s of Islamorada…we can’t forgot about all the other things that make Robbie’s…Robbie’s!

Robbie’s Open Air Market

In addition to feeding the tarpon, Robbie’s of Islamorada also offers an open air market filled with souvenirs, snacks, drinks, and other items. There are plenty of opportunities for shopping here, so you can pick up some local wares or grab something on your way out! Be sure to check out their selection of handcrafted jewelry made by local artisans – these make for great gifts or souvenirs! 

There are eight shops in the open air market. The Shop at Robbie’s features Robbie’s merchandise including women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing. They also have fun island home decor and some unique metal art to add to your collection. 

Another neat shop is Niknax which is home to an eclectic collection of antiques & collectibles from all over the world. They have many different interesting items not limited to: nautical artifacts, carved wood, coins, fossils, comics, and much more! Check out their IG here: @_niknax_

Looking to chill after a hot day fishing? Check out Charli’s Icee Shack who is known for it’s organic sugar cane syrup and authentic shaved ice. And don’t forget to get a chocolate key lime pie on a stick! Delicious! 

Barbara Weingardt Art is a unique experience as well. She paints live at Robbie’s and also has custom art available to purchase. There are a few more featured artists in Fishbone Art and Tim Rahn Photography who specialize in marine photography. 

Bead Shack features KeyZ style painted signs & buoys, island jewelry for all ages, and customizable painted surfboards. Get your island swag here! 

Rounding out the open air market is the Glass Shack. They feature locally made products, shells (a large collection) and sunglasses for all ages! Be sure to check out the market and all it has to offer.

Robbie’s Restaurant

If you need something more than snacks or souvenirs before heading back home from your trip, then why not stop by Robbie’s Restaurant? 

Located adjacent to the dock where you feed the tarpon, this restaurant is all about fresh seafood with a twist – think delicious dishes like fried grouper sandwiches with tartar sauce and slaw or oysters served on a bed of ice with horseradish cocktail sauce. 

This waterfront eatery offers unbeatable views of the marina as well as some delicious food that will fuel your journey back home! Check out the menu by clicking here. 

Water Activities at Robbie’s 

There are too many to name in this post so be sure to check them all out here! Whatever water activity you like from Jet-ski tours to kayak and paddle board rentals to snorkeling or parasailing…Robbie’s can get you set up with the best experience! And don’t forget to book your fishing trip with the greatest captains around! Here is all the information on fishing with Robbie’s. 

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