by Steve Johnson
The Fort Myers Beach Tarpon Hunters Club is the oldest Tarpon fishing club in the world. Established in 1962 with the principal objective of furthering the grand sport of Tarpon fishing with sportsmanship and safe boating practices. The club is committed to the preservation of tarpon and the conservation of their habitat, while following the International Game Fish Association rules for catch and release.
The Club targets the “Silver King” throughout the year during weekend “hunts”. Hunt winners earn awards and total catch information for the year is tracked for our membership award banquet. We host an Orientation Hunt for new members, a Rookie Hunt to pair experienced anglers with novice anglers and a Ladies Hunt, just to name a few. Boat ownership is not required, as members enjoy fishing together.
The Club meets on the first Wednesday of each month, in the Bonita Bill’s Waterfront Café community room on Fort Myers Beach from January-October. Aside from club business, we discuss historic catch locations, current tarpon movement information, member catch reports, live bait locations, and other key information to put you on the fish and increase catches. The Club also hosts guest speakers during the year.
Socially, Club membership includes annual family activities such as a fish fry, club picnic and an awards banquet, as well as “weigh-ins” at Bonita Bill’s following scheduled hunts. A recent addition to the schedule is our Up North Hunt, where members spend the night at Cabbage Key for two days of fishing.
We will host a Tackle Clinic on Wednesday, March 6th in the Bonita Bill’s Waterfront Café community room starting at 7:00pm. Our featured speaker is JoEllen Wilson, Juvenile Habitat Program Manager with the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. JoEllen will be providing insight into the future of the tarpon fishery. We will host additional speakers to cover tackle and techniques for conventional and light tackle fishing. This is a great opportunity to come out and get a feel for what the Club can offer.
If you are interested in pursuing the Silver King, there is no better community to learn from than the Fort Myers Beach Tarpon Hunters Club. Respected within the angling community, the Club offers over 50 years of tarpon fishing experience and data, paired with experienced anglers in each tackle classification and the most current fishing reports.
Contact Steve Johnson at 630-880-1023 or [email protected] for more information.