Tarpon, Tarpon Everywhere, by Capt. Sam O’Briant

May not be big, but still fun with Capt. Sam!


The month of May is upon us and up north that may have meant flowers.  What we may look for in May is the hope that the rainy season will begin soon.   On the other hand, do our fin and scaled friends like the rain.  This could be the last month for a while that they will have the full salt content in the area.  Once freshwater arrives the fish will move closer and closer to the Gulf.

For right now let us look at the coming month – May.  We should be in the midst of tarpon season.  They should be spread out all over Pine Island Sound and along the outer coastal shoreline.  You can find them in small schools along the channels edges and through the passes.

These tarpon schools are like icebergs. It is said that what you see on the surface rolling only represents about 10% of the school.  The rest stay under the surface.  If you are looking for the schools daisy chaining offshore, you need not venture much outside of 2 miles and in maybe 20 to 40 feet of water.  Get ahead of the school and let it come to you.  On the other hand, if you are looking to stay inside, I would check out the western edge of the channel just north of St. James City.  This time of year, you will see 10 to 20 boats anchored in the area.  Leave plenty of room between you and the next boat.  When hooked these fish can be expected to run and jump.  You do not want them to tangle your lines in the next boat’s.  Other places you may want to examine would be the passes.  Everyone knows that Boca Grande Pass is considered the world’s top tarpon fishing location.  There is little difference between Redfish and Captiva passes to Boca Grande.  You can find the tarpon schools in both of them.

Another favorite game fish that should be out and bout is Mr. Snook.  They will be cruising the surf line of the outer islands.  You should also be able to find them lying under the bushes on just about all the mangrove islands.  If there is a question of whether to fish under a dead tree or a green one, pick the green one.  Another thing about the elusive snook is that they are usually lazy.  Sometimes you have to present your bait to a snook several times before it will strike.  You need to be sure and get up under the overhang.  Drifting your bait along the drip line may not produce as well as if it were under the overhang.

Let us get our kids out there fishing and teach them the ethical way to do it.

Capt. Sam is a local licensed guide for hire who may be reached at 239-994-1495 or captainobriant@gmail.com