Picture yourself drifting through Boca Grande pass watching hundreds of Tarpon rolling on the surface. The captain tells you they are crowded beneath you. He says “drop them”. You lower your bait to the bottom and feel a “thump”. Just as you start to crank you observe your line disappearing off the reel at a rapid pace. You move quickly to the front of the boat and the captain announces “he’s coming up!” There he is, 150 pounds of fish, six feet long, ten feet in the air, and only ten yards from the boat. For the next 30 minutes you do battle with this leviathan and when you finally have him at boat side for your photo, you realize you have five more hours to left to fish.
Boca Grande Pass is located at the south end of Gasparilla Island. The Pass is the deepest natural inlet on the Gulf of Mexico, reaching depths to approximately 80 feet. Tens of thousands of tarpon congregate in the area from April through August, feeding day and night, as they prepare for their offshore spawning ritual.
The moving tides of the Pass flush a steady supply of shrimp, crabs and various baitfish to the tarpon. The strongest tides of the full and new moons trigger a crab hatch and are known locally as ”Hill Tides”. This conveyer belt of easy available food has kept the tarpon coming back each spring and summer for generations.
The Pass is broken down into to several key areas by local fishermen.
“The Lighthouse Hole”
The largest hole with the deepest water, centrally located in the Pass. Often spoken of simply as, “the hole”.
“The Coast Guard Hole”
A smaller deep hole closest to the beach and the lighthouse. Was named after an old Coast Guard station that once stood beside the lighthouse and no longer exist.
The area east of the old phosphate dock.
The large flat area west of the offshore ledge of the Lighthouse Hole.
Without a doubt the tarpon is king of the inshore world. They are true giants with weights approaching 200 pounds common. There are two ways of fishing for these giants:
*Vertical jigging the deep pass of Boca Grande
*Throwing live bait and artificials on the pristine beaches of southwest Florida.
Beach fishing Tarpon Charter
Again, you are sitting 20 yards away from the most beautiful beaches in the world and the sun has not even broken the horizon. The captain tells you to get ready. You can see them rolling on the surface 100 yards away and closing. As their chrome sides, glistening from what little light there is turn over, you think to yourself ” make a good cast”. The crab flies perfectly through the air and lands right in the path of the oncoming Tarpon. There must be 30 or 40 of them. Then you see a flash, at the same time you feel it. The captain says “set on him”! Before you even have a chance to think, the fish is air born. You make it through the first jump. “Bow”, the captain says, as to your utter amazement the fish is in the air again. Twice more he explodes through the surface of the water, twisting and writhing before you can get your emotions in check. You can feel the enormous power of the Tarpon pulling the boat were he wants to go. You are in confident and in complete control when he is ready to fly once again. You see the line rising just as he breaks the surface. You bow and… he is gone. This is a Tarpon Fishing Charter in Boca Grande!
There are miles and miles of beautiful beaches off the southwest coast of Florida and during May and June there are thousands of Tarpon using these beaches as a natural highway during there annual migration. If you love to hunt and stalk your fish, this is the place for you. These trips start at sunrise and are usually done by noon. Both live bait and artificial are used when we are looking for silver on the beaches.
Hill Tide Tarpon Fishing Charters
During these very special days the Tarpon are getting ready to make the long journey offshore to spawn, and make sure we have Tarpon to catch in the future. These “Hill Tides” are very predictable as they occur every year around the New and full moon in May and June. There will be about 4 to 6 days that the afternoon outgoing tide will flush out of Charlotte Harbor and bring with it millions of small crabs and bait fish. This is the worlds biggest buffet line and the Tarpon treat it as one. We start in the early afternoon dipping crabs off the surface of the water, we then sit and wait for the Tarpon to start the migration offshore. When this happens the Tarpon begin to feed on anything they can, creating a perfect opportunity to have several hook ups in a very short time. Triple and double hookups are not uncommon during this type of fishing. It can be fast paced and very exciting as you will be only a few yards from schools of Tarpon that can number as high as 500. As you can tell these are days that always book up first so don’t delay if this sounds like something you would like to try, contact us and set up you Boca Grande Tarpon Charter today.
Tarpon Description: Tarpon have one single dorsal fin (the fin on the top) that extends into long filament. A tarpon’s back is dark blue to green or greenish black, shading into bright silver on the side. Their color may vary and be brownish gold in estuarine waters. Tarpon have huge scales and a large mouth that points upward. Tarpon are primarily an INSHORE fish, although adult fish spawn OFFSHORE where the ribbon-like larval stage of the fish can be found. We find our larger tarpon off the beaches in the summer. They are often found rolling on the surface and gulping air in while lurking for food or taking it easy between feeding sessions.
Tarpon can often be found in brackish or freshwater near mangroves or in residential canals. Look for tarpon to show up almost anywhere on the lagoons and beaches in Florida, but the tarpon “promise land” is found in Southwest and West Central Florida. Tarpon are slow growers and mature between 7 to 13 years of age. Spawning occurs between May and September when females may lay more than 12 million eggs each. Tarpon can tolerate wide range of salinity from fresh to very salty estuary waters. Juvenile tarpon are commonly found in fresh water and can breathe air at surface. Tarpon feed mainly on fish and large crustaceans.
Spring Time Tarpon Fishing Charters
(Excellent) During the months of March, April, and June we start to see a large migration of Tarpon move into the water of west central Florida. The Tarpon will come from the south and start to move into all the bays and passes that they come to looking for food and shelter. The spring time is the best time to fish for Tarpon, this is the time of year we have the most fish and the best weather to catch them. We can fish the beaches where we watch for large school of Tarpon moving up and down the beach, we use live bait most of the time consisting of small crabs and thread-fin shad. You wait for the fish to approach and lay the bait out in front of them as they swim by. Another area the Tarpon show up is around the large bridges that cross Tampa Bay, here they have a large food supply and it is almost like a buffet for them. We fish them here by anchoring up tide and drifting baits back to them.
Summer Time Tarpon Fishing Charters
(Very Good) The Months of June, July, and August offer some very good Tarpon fishing also. During this time of year the Tarpon are moving well inside of the larger bays like Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor. We look for schools of fish that are rolling on the surface, they are not the tight schools of the spring but there are alot of fish in one area. We set the boat up wind or up tide of the fish and drift through them with live thread-fin shad, we also can use large artificial swim baits this time of year.
Fall Tarpon Fishing Charters
(Very Good) The months of September, October, and November can still be very good for Tarpon fishing. You just have to do a little more planning, the Tarpon will be starting to migrate back south and a few fish will stay in the large bays all winter. The fish that are heading south will want to feed as much as they can for the journey, this presents the opportunity for some spectacular fishing. They will be concentrated around the mouths of most of the rivers, and passes. When the water starts to fall out, the bait-fish and crustaceans come with it, this creates a very good time for the tarpon to feed. If you are there when this is happening you can catch all the Tarpon you want, only draw back is they aren’t always there once they get there fill they move on.
Winter Tarpon Fishing Charters
(Average) During the months of December, January, and February we really don’t have any large Tarpon to fish for. We do have juvenile Tarpon that are 5 to 15 pounds, they move into the rivers and deep water canals in the area. We will see them rolling on the surface just like their bigger counterparts, however they usually stay in one area for most of the winter. We fish for them mostly with artificial lures, but on occasion they will eat live shrimp and if we can find them small bait-fish.