Changeover Month


by Capt. Sam O’Briant

We are now entering the second month of our annual spring change over. Things are starting to set up for the summer months in Pine Island Sound but we still have a few weeks of changing the guard.

Even though tarpon seem to have moved into the sound in March the vast majority of them should start showing up this month. Along with the tarpon schools you can expect to occasionally run into a large shark or two. The hammerheads and bull sharks tend to follow the tarpon schools.

Yes, it is stated that we have the world’s best tarpon fishing in Boca Grande Pass. However, if you do not want to get involved with the hordes of boats that drift that pass, you will find that Captiva and Redfish Passes are just as productive. How should you fish for tarpon? If you are drifting the passes, run a live bait under a cork and get in with the fleet. When you see the tarpon rolling remember there are maybe ten times as many below the surface as you see on top.

Another way of fishing for them is to anchor along the west side of the channel just north of St. James City. Here you can either use live bait (large) or cut bait soaked on the bottom. Catfish, ladyfish, or mullet are preferred choices. With this, just throw your line out and sit back. Check your baits every 20 or 30 minutes and put on fresh ones. With the bait on the bottom you can expect to also catch some large catfish or sharks.
Whatever your choice way of fishing, as a friend once put it, “tarpon fishing is 8 hours of pure boredom followed by maybe 15 minutes of pure ecstasy if you are lucky”.

We still have the schools of king and Spanish mackerel passing off the coast, headed north to the panhandle and Louisiana. While snook season is in full swing, the larger sheepshead have moved offshore and trout are still over the grass. Enjoy the changeover month.

Capt. Sam is a local licensed guide for hire who may be reached at 239-994-1495 or [email protected]