Tarpon Time

By: Capt. Bart Marx

May in Southwest Florida we look for the white butterflies to appear which lets us know that the silver kings are soon to come. It is a sign that the weather is changing, and the migration of the tarpon is on or is coming. Tarpon migrate from the south to the north this time of year, as their favorite water temperature is in the mid-eighties. Research shows they travel up the east coast as far as New Jersey as the water temperature rises. They come to Boca Grande this time of year to feed and travel back into the Gulf to spawn. Boca Grande is one mile wide, and Charlotte Harbor covers an area twenty mile north and south. And from Boca Grande Pass to Burnt Store Marina is about ten miles wide. In this area is a very large estuary/nursery for many fish and when the tides change Boca Grande is like a funnel with lots of water flowing through it, transporting all kinds of small fish and shrimp, and crabs. Tarpon have a very hard and bony mouth which makes it easy for them to crush crabs and small baits. Boca Grande Pass is a worldwide known place to target Tarpon. During this time, anglers like to sight fish for the silver king tarpon fly fishing and using spinning light tackle too. I personally do not eat tarpon, they are a game fish that you battle, and then set them free to be caught another day. There are some who eat tarpon, those are the ones that show up when the tarpon do, you know, the ones that come to eat wearing grey suites, as tarpon are high on the sharks favorite food. I have seen a six-foot tarpon eaten in two bites by a large hammerhead. Some other species in the Gulf like red grouper, lane and mangrove snapper can be found from eighty to one hundred feet this time of year and these can be found on natural ledges and some artificial reefs. Most anglers bring rods that you could catch sharks and big fish on, these I feel are way too big. Most of my harvest in the Gulf come from twenty-pound set ups. Using frozen baits first and when the bite slows then send down some fresh live baits to keep the bite going. This is when you may get the one that was watching the little guy’s feed, waiting for something better. Shrimp or green backs are good live baits to bring offshore for this reason. If you would like to try some of these techniques with Capt. Bart, give me a call 941-979-6517 or e-mail me at captbart@alphaomegacharters.com.

I also do training sessions on your boat inshore and offshore. give me a call so we can get you hooked up. And always remember singing drags and tight lines make me smile!