There are many places to stop and see on the way to Key West, and one spot, in Islamorada, is Robbie’s Tarpon Feeding. You wouldn’t think that a place that feeds fish would be all that popular, but tarpon aren’t just any fish. They can reach more than six feet in length and live up to 55 years.

The tarpon feeding attraction got its start from the goodwill of founder Robbie Reckwerdt and his wife, Mona, in 1976. They found a tarpon foundering in the shallows. When Robbie lifted the fish, he saw that the right side of its jaw had been torn open by a fisherman’s gaff. He placed it in a shrimp tank and called a doctor, who showed up with his wife’s mattress needles and some twine. Scarface, as the large tarpon came to be known, slowly recovered and was released into the waters off the dock six months later. He began to frequent the docks and sometimes brought a friend or three. Soon, more tarpon began to appear, and eventually some offspring, I am sure . . . and a tourist attraction was born!

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