Tarpon Fishing at Boca Grande is known as some of the best tarpon fishing in the world. Each year hundreds of thousands of tarpon migrate to Boca Grande Pass and its surrounding area to breed. Boca Grande Pass is located off of Gasparilla Island at the mouth of Charlotte Harbor in Southwest Florida.
Since record keeping of any sort began, tarpon from the Gulf and the Caribbean come each and every year. After a long journey, most of them arrive in April and fatten up for the spawn. During the month of May they prepare for the spawn by gathering into large groups. They usually spawn in large groups of 500 or more on strong tides. After the spawn is over, which is usually in June, most of the fish migrate back to where they came from. However, as there is an abundance of food for the tarpon such as fish, crabs and shrimp, thousands of tarpon stay in the area until the water gets cooler which occurs normally during the months of either October or November.
Warming waters is the catalyst to the movement of the tarpon up from the Florida Keys. Normally in the Florida Keys in late March you'll start to see an abundant amount of tarpon in that area. I was totally amazed one year when I was on vacation and while at a marina saw hundreds of tarpon around the boats. My first thought was I could rent a boat and cast towards those huge schools of fish. I then expressed my idea to my wife and she said what sport that would be and after more thought of the matter agreed.
To get an idea of the amazing schools of fish you can find around marinas in the keys, check out some of the videos on You Tube. One in particular is "hand feeding tarpon at Robbie's Marina". The fish jump out of the water for bait and even grabbed the hand of the person feeding them.
If you fish Boca Grande Pass there are many charter boats in the area to choose from. If you take your own fishing boat there are rules that should be followed because there are so many other boats in the area. You are allowed no more than three fishing lines per vessel. You are not allowed to keep any tarpon without a tarpon tag. There are regulations on the gear you can use.
Circle hooks are highly recommended as it greatly increases the tarpon's chance for survival because most people fish for the sport of it and catch and release the tarpon. If you do charter a boat your captain will have all the knowledge required, otherwise you should do some research not only on successful fishing techniques but proper boating etiquette used in the area.
Some winters are colder than other which could delay the migration pattern of the tarpon, based on the temperature of the water. If you went to Boca Grande and the huge amounts of tarpon are not there because it is too early, you may have success in the surrounding areas including Pine Island Sound. To avoid any reservations or surprises call ahead or check out fishing reports.
If you want to plan ahead, the month of May should be a safe bet to enjoy great fishing at Boca Grande. If you never talk a tarpon before you'll be in for the thrill of a lifetime. Catching a 100 pound tarpon is not out of the norm, unfortunately ending up with only part of a tarpon occurs many times as that area has a lot of hammerhead sharks that will attack your catch.