May 2010 Fishing Outlook and Info on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

It’s May in Southwest Florida and traditionally you would find Tarpon, giant Hammerheads, and Goliath Grouper to be the hot topic of discussion. However, with the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill slowly working it’s way across the Northern Gulf of Mexico, I have been met with a lot of questions.

At this point in time, at the current rate of flow, there is absolutely no impact to Southwest Florida. There is no projected path that would carry oil, or the less damaging oil “sheen,” to the shores of Boca Grande. We are thankfully being spared for the time being. As for fishing, it will be business as usual unless things take a drastic turn for the worse. We are still booking our remaining openings for Tarpon and Shark Season and beyond!

In the event that there is a negative impact on our fishery from the oil and we are unable to fish, our customers are entitled to a full refund of any deposit paid. So rest assured, hope for the best, and look forward a rewarding day on the water.

May, June, and July brings Tarpon Season. Not only Tarpon but the World Famous Giant Tarpon of Boca Grande! Though this Winter brought us temperatures much colder than usual, the season has begun. It may be a little late in getting running at full swing, but it is here. This will mean fantastic fishing later in the season as we work in mid-May, June and July. Boca Grande Tarpon fishing charters are not just live bait or jigging in Boca Grande Pass. This is also for those of you looking to tangle with a Silver King in Charlotte Harbor, Pine Island Sound, or off the beaches of Manasota Key, Boca Grande, and Cayo Costa. Look for the big boys and girls to filter into the pass, eventually forming the giant pods that Boca is famous for. These fish will move in and out of the Pass with the tide, and can easily be followed to provide a hot bite throughout the day and into the evenings. Tarpon jigs, DOA Bait Buster, and Yozuri Crystal Minnows will get the nod for artificials as will any of the Hogy baits from 10″ and up. Frisky live Threadfin Herring, Squirrel Fish, Pinfish, Ladyfish, and Crabs will all yield bites from even the most finicky fish.




Following the annual Tarpon migration are the biggest Hammerheads and Bull Sharks to be found anywhere in the World. Chasing these giants is not for the faint of heart, and is most certainly requires a captain with a keen working knowledge of not only true big game fishing, but also of IGFA rules and regulations if you are going to pursue a world record catch. Both Bulls and Great Hammerheads, in both Men’s and Women’s records can be broken any day in Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor during Tarpon season. These big girls are here to have pups, so Shark Fishing with Another Keeper Charters is 100% catch and release unless Captain Tom agrees that the shark with qualify for a current World Record catch. Look for these behemoths in the Pass, on The Hill, and in the harbor shadowing schools of Tarpon. Other fisherman are your best friends, as often when they hook a fish the sharks are not far behind!

The return of the stellar Goliath Grouper bite has happened! After a tough, cold Winter that put my favorite bite on ice I can officially say our 15-20 fish days are back! The Boca Grande phosphate docks and the Sanibel Causeway are the two go-to locations for tangling with Goliaths topping the 600lb mark. This is one of the most entertaining spectator fishing trips that you can find. Bring yourself and three friends and take turns laughing at your compadres whimper like puppies while an angry fish the size of a VW Beetle tries to pull their arms from their sockets! Big live baits and sting rays or Bat Rays are your baits of choice here. 20/0-24/0 circle hooks and 400-700lb mono or fluorocarbon are the ticket. PLEASE DO NOT USE STAINLESS HOOKS OR WIRE. These can be left in the fish for a very long time and lead to serious injury or death of this protected species.

Don’t overlook the great family fishing that can be had this month. With all the big fish to target its easy to overlook the hordes of Spanish Mackerel, big Ladyfish, Jack Crevalle, and even Bonnethead sharks that will keep the wee-ones on pins and needles! Fast action is the name of the game, so find some birds diving on bait or look for Mackerel and Bonito busting the surface just off the beaches. This is a great introduction to fishing, and creates long-lasting memories of a good day on the water.

After a very volatile winter shark fishing, it’s a delight for me to say that the shark fishing is FANTASTIC and will only get better this month–May is one of my favorite months. Blacktips, Spinners, Sandbar, Bulls, Lemon, Hammerheads, and a few Tigers will all be found within yards of the beach this month. The influx of calorie rich prey like Mackerel, Threadfin Hearing, Southern Stingrays, and Little Tunny (Bonito) will all draw these toothy critters close to shore. This makes them easy pickings for those who are diligent enough to pay attention to the bottom contour, currents, and procure fresh bait. Light tackle is the key to making this an unforgettable experience. 15-50lb braid and mono on spinning or conventional gear is perfect. I like to do a Bimini Twist in my standing line, follow by a Yucatan or Improved Reverse Albright to a heavy 100-150lb mono. I follow this up with a 12-20″ bite leader of light wire. If you have a problem getting broken off with Spinner Sharks, try using a short titanium bite leader. These are tooth proof AND flexible (unlike light multi strand). Live Blue Runner, big live Mullet, cut Bonito, Mackerel, and live or dead Rays will all work wonders a few hundred yards from shore.

Bringing up the list last but certainly not least is the nearshore action. King Mackerel, Cobia, and Permit will be the high liners. Don’t count out Gag and Red Grouper, Mangrove Snapper, and much more on these trips. Barracuda, Mackerel, and Cobia will all be fooled on light tackle with live baits ranging from the surface to just a bit off the bottom. Cover the water column while slowly drifting or slow/bump trolling (just enough to keep the lines straight) until you figure out which depth the fish are feeding best. It will vary from day to day and with the time of day. Start your search around structure, or anywhere you are finding good schools of bait. Use a light wire bite leader tied directly to a longer fluorocarbon leader, then tied directly to your standing line (I like a loop less Bimini Twist to a Reverse Improved Albright here). Try to use exclusively circle hooks for safe release of the fish. If you need a stinger, try to avoid using treble hooks if you plan on releasing any of these fish.
There is certainly no better way to spend time with family, friends, or just to relax away from it all than fishing the pristine waters of Englewood, Venice, Captiva, Boca Grande, Charlotte Harbor, and the Gulf of Mexico. If you are looking for fantastic inshore or offshore action, day or night, then you have come to the right place. Book your trip with Another Keeper Charters and you can rest assured that you will not only enjoy great fishing with Southwest Florida’s premier fishing guide and charter service, but you will also enjoy the company of arguably the friendliest Captain in the business!
See you soon!

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