July 2015 Boca Grande Tarpon Fishing Report
Today is the 4th of July, I hope everyone had a safe holiday and was able to spend some quality time with family and friends, hopefully on the water! My last report/blog wasn’t very detailed as I did not have very much time to sit down in fron of the computer. I fished just about 100 of the last 110 days, the only scheduled time off I had the last two months was mothers day and memorial day. The 2015 spring season was very busy for me as usual. I’m going to break this report into two sections, the “here and now” and the “what to expect”.
First, the “here and now”. Well I wish I could tell you that the tarpon fishing is on fire but that would be a lie. Tarpon fishing right now is tough, in fact it sucks. The last two weeks ( last 2 weeks of June 2015) have been some of the most challenging tarpon charters I can ever remember. It is not for a lack of fish, in fact there are more tarpon in the Boca Grande area right now than in most years past this time of year. The beach is loaded with tarpon, the problem is they are not eating well. I as long with the last few guides still tarpon fishing here are fishing for 1 or 2 bites a trip, that is the reality. Every now and then I would hit a home run but I have struck out more than I have hit homers the last two weeks. I fished 2 days of the hill tide we had last week (full moon), I did well both afternoons with multiple hook ups and landed fish, the mornings however are a different story. I have been finding large schools of tarpon along the beach at sunrise everyday but the tarpon have lock jaw. I have found that the majority of my bites are coming off of threadfins opposed to crabs which is normally the case with post spawn tarpon. I took of the holiday weekend but I have a full schedule next week so hopefully Monday brings a surprise with hungry tarpon, they will have to eat at some point. All of my guide buddies are having the same results.
With that said persistence will pay off, the tarpon fishing will get back to normal. July is a very good month to fish as the fish are post spawn and will need to replenish some lost body weight. I’m currently still fishing Boca Grande, there are plenty of tarpon to target on the beaches, I will move back up into Charlotte Harbor soon though. I’m sure there are some tarpon in the harbor but I have not had a chance to scout up there yet, with so many tarpon still on the beaches it is hard to justify looking anywhere else, even though the bite has been poor. If the bite isn’t somewhat normal on Monday then I will have to seriously go scout other areas. I hate to go “looking” for fish on charters but I need to find some hungry tarpon at some point. Again, the bait of choice right now is live threadfins, dead bait will work if the tarpon get scattered along the beach as well. Crabs will get you by for the first hour of daylight but after that I would suggest spending some time to catch some live bait.
“What to Expect!”
Like I said, the tarpon will have to eat at some point! As we progress through summer and get closer to fall the tarpon fishing will flat out go off! Once the tarpon move back into Charlotte Harbor they have one main goal, get as fat as they can before winter. The tarpon fishing is great in August but the tarpon fishing in September and October is flat out BADASS, it is the best bite of the year. Last year was awesome, very little boat pressure and thousands of hungry tarpon. It is normal to spend the whole day tarpon fishing on any given day in September or October and not see another boat tarpon fishing. If you are thinking about a tarpon trip I would suggest fishing September or October. My last tarpon charter of 2014 was October 31st and I imagine this year my last trip will be around the same time. The primary bait I use that time of year is ladyfish, I also throw a lot of artificial as well. Not only will the tarpon fishing be great but the backcountry fishing will be great as well. Redfish will begin to school up in large numbers and the snook will fatten up for the winter. On top of that we will get our fall run of kingfish and the cobia fishing will be good as well. Shorter days and slightly cooler temperatures will have Charlotte Harbor teaming with hungry predators, it is not a good time of year to be a bait fish!
I’m going to try something new on this blog, I want to see if people actually read it and how many. I’m going to offer a FREE 6 hour tarpon charter to the first person who emails me. Simply email me and say you want the free charter, if you are the first person then you get a free trip. You can use this free trip anytime between now and October 31st. You can bring 2 anglers, I would suggest doing a tarpon trip but if you want to fish for something else then that is fine. Please keep in mind that I have not done any backcountry fishing the last 3 months and more than likely I won’t do much until the tarpon fishing is over sometime this fall. I can normally scratch out a decent backcountry trip in September or October as the fishing is very good. Please do not call me for this free trip as I’m fishing everyday still and I want to make sure the first person gets the trip, the only way I can assure that happens is via email as I don’t answer the phone much while I’m working. Send a email to firstname.lastname@example.org.