The "Tarpon Fishing Capital of the World" Boca Grande Pass and Charlotte Harbor are the place to catch Florida’s silver kings. Tarpon grace the mouth of Charlotte Harbor with their presence in late spring and early summer. Appropriately named Bocca Grande Pass or Big Mouth Pass, this spot especially the summer is simply about one thing, Tarpon.
According to Ken
Schultz's Fishing Encyclopedia,
Charlotte Harbor feeds into the gulf at Boca Grande, which has a
fishery. From mid-April to mid-July, Boca Grande Pass might hold 20,000
or more Tarpon. At
times, it seems almost as many boats are in the pass fishing for them.
bait, such as crabs, squirrelfish, pinfish, and
pilchards, fishing them at the bottom of the holes in the pass where the
Tarpon gather. Jigs
work especially well. The rigs consist of a circle hook with a plastic grub.
A round lead weight is attached to the hook with a tiewrap. The jig is fished just off
the bottom from a drifting boat.
When a Tarpon hits,
the weight breaks free.
anglers use only
The pass, located between Charlotte’s Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico, during its 80-day season, can get very crowed. The Boca Grande Fishing Guide Association was forced to create a set of regulations just for the pass due to the congestion.
Most fish using live bait such as moon crabs, squirrelfish, pinfish, and pilchards. A few slightly rundown docks can be found where phosphate ore was once loaded on the docks and then shipped through the pass.
Too late for tarpon? If you can get a good spot, some locals suggest the old dock located on the north shore of the pass near the bulk fuel docks for snook.
From GAFF Magazine:
It's Tarpon time in the world's best "poon" fishing hole. Boca Grande
Pass is ground zero for arriving summertime anglers from around the
globe. The sight of thousands of sunrise Tarpon rolling on the water's
surface is a truly magical experience. Estimates suggest that fifty to a
hundred thousand Tarpon migrate into Boca Grande and the Charlotte
Harbor estuary during this edition of GAFF to spawn and feed. jig
fishing "the pass" is preferred by most guides and can easily yield ten
or more sizeable hook-ups during a typical five-hour morning charter.
Anglers that want to avoid the hustle and bustle of BGP take to the
beaches and the interior waters of Charlotte Harbor for fly, live bait
and plug sight casting opportunities. Peak BGP Tarpon season runs from
late April through June, but resident and plenty of migrating Tarpon
will remain in Charlotte Harbor until the fall. If you haven't fished
this area for Tarpon, NOW IS THE TIME!
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