Fishing For Tarpon In Boca Grande Florida
What are Tarpon?
Tarpon grow to about 4–8 ft long and weigh 60–280 lbs. They have dorsal and anal soft rays and have bluish or greenish backs. Tarpon possess distinctive lateral lines and have shiny, silvery scales that cover most of their bodies, excluding the head. They have large eyes with adipose eyelids and broad mouths with prominent lower jaws that jut out farther than the rest of the face.
Tarpon are a favorite sport fish to catch because of thier size and strength. They also jump and violently shake their head when hooked making them very challenging to catch and a lot of fun!.
Tarpon are not a fish you catch for food. Traditionally they are strictly a sport fish, catch and release.
Why do Tarpon Roll on the water surface?
Tarpon are in the category of fish known as "air breathers" they have a swim bladder that also functions as a respitory organ.
Tarpon "Roll" on the surface to essentially breath air. They exchange gasses when they roll and "breath". Tarpon in fact will die if they cannot reach the water surface and be allowed to "breath". This fact makes them prey to various fish and birds especially when they are young. When Tarpon roll they are also visible to fisherman. They tend to travel in "pods" and thus when we are in Tarpon season you will see boats driving around trying to spot pods of Tarpon rolling on the surface.
Once a pod is spotted a boat can follow the pod and then throw bait on top into the pod of Tarpon. Typically this is done with Pass crabs, little crabs that are found floating on sea grass and other debris these are a favorite food of Tarpon.
Boca Grande Pass
Boca Grande Pass "spanish for Big Mouth" is the largest natural deep water pass in Florida. With depths reaching over 80ft. in some spots.
Tarpon have been stacking up in the pass for hundreds of years. The natural estuaries and other bodies of water that connect and eventually flow out into charlotte harbor and the pass make it a prime location for Tarpon. Tarpon will grow up in shallow water where they can find protection from predators and the make their way out to the harbor and eventually the pass.
Tarpon can survive in fresh water as young as well. It is not uncommon for young tarpon to be found in fresh water lakes connect via man make pipes, canals and such out to salt water bodies.
Fising for Tarpon in and around Boca Grande Pass
Tarpon fishing in and around the pass varies. Some anglers fish the pass using Jigs. These jigs are typically lowered down in the pass with crab or some other bait attached and then bounced up and down waiting for a passing Tarpon to latch on or even be accidentally hooked. There is much debate about these practices. Not only is it frounded upon by many local fisherman and charters it is also crazy to see all the boats in the pass stacked up almost running into each other. It gets crazy in the pass. Captain Steve does NOT use this method to catch Tarpon.
Tarpon can be caught at the right time of year, typically the summer months begining in April, May June and July at many locations in and around the Pass also other areas north of the pass.
Captain steve uses the age old method knowing where Tarpon are, where they are moving to and spotting pods of surfacing Tarpon and throwing into the pod to catch them.