Jan 28

Boca Grande tarponLearning to catch tarpon is the biggest goal for several saltwater anglers. But tarpon remains unconquerable for most of them. Since they are hard to locate and hook, and have extraordinary acrobatics and raw power, they are extremely difficult to land.

However, there is a special destination where thousands of tarpon arrive every year in full force, giving anglers of all types and skill levels the opportunity to meet the Silver King. This is Boca Grande, Florida!

Here are some basics of Boca Grande fishing for tarpon.

Quick Tarpon Facts

Tarpon is an interesting fish and checking its history is worth. It’s clear from fossil records that tarpon have been around since prehistoric times and have had little evolution. Their scales are thick resembling armor and protect them against predators, especially sharks.

They can gulp air and thereby surviving in water that has low oxygen levels. They have big eyes that help them hunt with flawless proficiency and huge “bucket mouths” to scoop up prey.

120-pound tarpon are considered to be small in Boca Grande while tarpon weighing 200 to 250 pounds measuring 8 feet are considered real trophies. Tarpon are renowned for their incredible stamina, strength and uncanny skill to shake the hook as they whip and jump through the air.

Quick Boca Grande Facts

Rightly famed as the “Tarpon Capital of the World”, Boca Grande is a favorite spot for migratory tarpon in the Gulf of Mexico and of the anglers that are passionate for catching them. The Boca Grande town is situated on the small, narrow Gasparilla Island located at the mouth of Charlotte Harbor on Florida’s southwest coast.

A stretch of water known as the Boca Grande Pass is the place famous for the best tarpon fishing and is located between Cayo Costa Island on the south and Gasparilla Island on the north.

Best Time for Tarpon Fishing in Boca Grande Pass

Every year, beginning from mid-April or mid-May and lasting up to August or September, migratory tarpon start entering the bays and passes across the Gulf to feed heavily prior to heading offshore to spawn. Although tarpon move into several other bays along the west coast of Florida, Boca Grande gets the largest numbers of returning fish every year.

The Boca Grande tarpon fishing season coincides with the yearly spawning phenomenon and typically lasts for around 80 days. June is usually considered as the peak for the Boca Grande tarpon fishing season and the largest numbers of anglers are found fishing in the Pass during this month.

While angling in Boca Grande pass, you can share the water with a lot of other anglers, all of whom are passionate for catching tarpon. Weekends are typically the most crowded and Sundays especially busy courtesy to the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series. If you prefer less crowd, plan a trip during the week.

Rules and Regulations

Since they have no food value, tarpon were not the subject of studies or protection like other species e.g. marlin and tuna. However, today with their growing popularity in saltwater sport fishing, they are known as a precious asset for local economies and so, strict rules and regulations have been set to protect the species.

Here’s a quick look:

  • Tarpon fishing in Boca Grande is catch and release only.
  • There are trophy tags available for purchase and allow the harvest of one fish per person per season for the sake of IGFA record qualification or trophy mounting.
  • You can catch tarpon with line and hook only, including both artificial and natural lures.
  • You can use only single hooks to rig dead or alive natural bait.
  • Snatch hooking, harpooning, spearing, gaffing or snagging tarpon is prohibited.
  • Breakaway gear is prohibited.

With all this information, you can head towards Boca Grande to meet your beloved tarpon and enjoy catching them. Start right away!