Well the end of May and beginning of June has been somewhat challenging in the Boca Grande area. Towards the end of May Tropical Storm Alberto blew through the region and the resulting low pressure caused the 10’s of thousands of tarpon that were staging in and around Boca Grande Pass to leave and head offshore. When this behavior occurs the tarpon usually go between 6-8 miles offshore and just kind of hang out and wait for the weather to clear. They can usually be caught out there provided the wind and seas are calm enough to get out to them. Unfortunately it was too windy and rough for approximately a week after Alberto passed and I spent the last week of May in port. I knew that once the tarpon returned they’d be hungry and they sure were. We timed it perfectly and fished them on Friday June 1, their first day back from offshore and we jumped 14 Tarpon in only a six hour trip! Then early the next week tragedy hit. SWFWMD and the Army Corps of Engineers opened the locks on Lake Okeechobee and started pumping millions of gallons of freshwater per day down the Caloosahatchee River and into Pine Island Sound. The influx of nitrogen rich freshwater coincided with a week of west winds and weak quarter moon tides and caused an outbreak of red tide. After about a week the winds shifted east and the stronger new moon tides helped flush the bacteria out to the open gulf. The fishing is starting to rebound and I predict a really good Tarpon bite to finish out June.
Looking forward to July as long as the tropical weather systems stay away the Tarpon fishing will remain strong along with beach Snook and nearshore species like Permit, Snapper and Cobia. For the beach Snook cast live Scaled Sardines or Pigfish into the first trough created by breaking waves for the larger breeder Snook. Look to the nearshore reefs and wrecks for the Permit, Snapper and Cobia. When Permit fishing I like to drift over the highest relief and cast crabs up current allowing them to drift naturally. For the Snapper I will anchor and chum with dead Scaled Sardines. Once the Snapper start to respond to the chum I will then drift pieces of cut Scaled Sardines back in the current with little or no weight. The Cobia are often spotted swimming on the surface above or near the structure. They will eat a variety of baits but my favorite is a live pinfish casted right in front of them.
Please take the time to visit WWW.CaptainsForCleanWater.Org to educate yourself on the water issues that our estuaries are facing and while you’re there please contribute whatever you can to help the fight to clean up our water for future generations.
Capt. Bobby Woodard