Full Day – $1000
In the world of sport fishing its not easy to earn a spot as one of the top fishing destinations in the world, but it only takes one trip to the Boca Grande area to understand just how this body of water has come to be known as the “Tarpon Capitol of the World.”
The Tarpon (Megalops Atlanticus) is widely considered to be the King of all coastal game fish displaying tumultuous strength, blinding speed, inexorable will, and jumps that make even the most acrobatically inclined billfish blush.
Watching an angry ‘Silver King’ rocket from calm turquoise waters as she tries with dogged determination to dislodge the hook, truly has to be one of life’s most precious moments. The worlds of the angler and the fish, predator and prey, merge and intertwine in a sort of primitive ballet culminating in a meeting that will leave an indelible mark upon the soul of those who are fortunate enough to experience it. You lock eyes with your quarry and quickly realize that peering back at you is not the blank stare of a mindless beast, but an unsettling soulful gaze that somehow feels ancient and wise. It seems as if you both realize that this was not a fight to the death, but more of a scrimmage of wills with both contestants content to let the other be on his way.
Once you have had your first Tarpon encounter, you will be hooked for life. The spirit of the Sabalo will take up residence in your thoughts and dreams.
You will also come to realize that a day of Tarpon fishing is not tallied in terms of pounds and inches, but rather in some incalculable unit of joy that comes from interacting with one of natures most magnificent creatures. Tarpon fishing is spectacular in Boca Grande and can’t be beat in shear numbers of fish caught and in the average size of the fish caught. (The Tarpon here average 85lbs-135lbs and regularly surpass the 190lb mark.) If you book a Boca Grande Tarpon trip, be ready for the experience of a lifetime. You are sure to have a lot of action, fight a lot of fish, and hopefully take home the coveted boat side picture of your giant Silver King.
Boca Grande is unique not only because of the number of Tarpon available to be caught and their size, but also because of the various locations that Tarpon can be targeted, each with its own . Though Boca Grande Pass proper is the most well known and at times is certainly the most productive place to fish, there are many days that not only will more fish be caught away from the pass in the quiet corners of Charlotte Harbor and off the beaches of Gasparilla Island, Cayo Costa and North Captiva, but you will find that you will enjoy the fishing much more with a little more space between you and the crowds.
Boca Grande Tarpon fishing is of course a physical sport, but with proper coaching and a little determination anglers both male and female, of all skill levels, from 9 years old to 86 years old have hooked, fought, and landed Tarpon with Capt. Tom in the Boca Grande area.
For Tarpon fishing in the Boca Grande Area only the highest quality rods and reels are used. Accurate Twin spin reels are well matched to Crowder and custom rods specially built to tackle the giant Tarpon of Boca Grande while still retaining the sensitivity to cast baits to wandering pods just off the beach. Live Baits are the mainstay with Blue and Pass Crabs, Threadfin Herring, and squirrel fish topping the list. There are situations that allow us to use artificial lures on these fish, however due to the sheer volume of available food those times are somewhat limited during the prime season.
Tackle & Techniques
Boca Grande Tarpon fishing requires top quality tackle to ensure that you not only hook, but also land your catch of a lifetime. Top of the line Accurate Twin Spin 12 and 20 reels are matched to Crowder rods and spooled with 30-60lb solid and hollow-core braided spectra line from Jerry Brown Industries. Live Crabs, Threadfin Herring, Squirrelfish, Ladyfish, and Mullet along with an assortment of artificial lures are used to fool the Tarpon of Boca Grande.
Fishing The Beach
In stark contrast to the fast paced action of Boca Grande Pass fishing, chasing the roaming pods of tarpon just off the area scenic beaches can be a great way to catch your tarpon on light tackle while experiencing the peace and serenity that Southwest Florida has to offer. This is a great relaxing way to chase Silver Kings and offers an interesting change in tactics from the usual scenario found while ‘pass fishing’. Generally done in the mornings and late evenings with live baits, pods of fish are found visually by the captain through the use of the dual-control Tower, the boat is then positioned in their path as live baits are cast towards the school.
This is more a game of ‘chess’ than the ‘checkers’ so often played in the Pass itself. Fewer boats and sharks, wide open space, and a general feeling of peace and calm (helping the angler to relax and focus) all contribute significantly higher landing percentages while beach fishing. On calm mornings when no other boats are around, we often are able to beach the boat, hop off, and finish out the fight with our toes in the sand! This provides an opportunity to wade into the warm gulf waters and unhook your tarpon face to face!
The Hill Tide
The ‘Hill Tide’ is a local reference used to describe an occurrence during the new and full moons of May, June, and early July that is truly one of the most amazing fishing experiences you could imagine. During these tides, hundreds of thousands of crabs are washed out of the vast shallows of Charlotte Harbor and right through Boca Grande Pass over an area known as “The Hill.” Tarpon congregate on ‘The Hill’ and proceed to absolutely stuff them selves on these tasty little morsels. They can been seen feeding actively on the surface, and will rarely turn down a properly presented live crab as bait. Double, and even triple hookups are not uncommon during these feeding frenzies. Hill tides are fairly easy to predict based on a combination of full/new moons and strong outgoing tides that take place late in the day. Hill tides can get crowded in Boca Grande Pass, but its for a good reason…we catch TONS of Tarpon. Chances are that you will be tuckered out before the fish stop biting! If the crowds just aren’t your thing, there are also plenty of fish to be caught in Charlotte Harbor, off the beaches, and even in some of the smaller passes north and south of Boca Grande during these same moon phases. Some of the most memorable trips in recent years have taken place in the small passes where we have found ourselves with one or two boats, or even all alone while still catching plenty of Tarpon.
A selection of Boca Grande Tarpon Fishing photos: