Tarpon Fishing

Boca Grande / Charlotte Harbor,  Florida

Tarpon Fishing

Charlotte Harbor provides the best spring and early summer tarpon charter fishing in all of Florida. Huge concentrations of tarpon gather here prior to their offshore spawning migration. Once they have spawned they return to Charlotte Harbor to feed before moving onto their home waters for the summer months. Boca Grande is the best known tarpon fishing spot in Southwest Florida but there are miles of uncrowded fishing spots between Sanibel Island and Manasota Key. Pods of tarpon, some weighing well over 100 pounds cruise these areas daily. It's here where Capt. Dave operates his guide service. We fish for giant tarpon with 10-12 weight fly rods and 30 pound class spinning gear in three to twelve feet of water along the beaches from Cayo Costa to Stump Pass.

We cast flies, artificial lures, live crabs and baitfish to daisy chaining, laid up and rolling tarpon as they make their way to and from Boca Grande Pass.

Hill Tides

Every spring during new and full moons there is a phenomenon in Charlotte Harbor known as the "Hill Tides" the currents of the hill tides carry thousands of spawning crabs into the Gulf of Mexico through the passes. These "Pass Crabs" suspend in the upper part of the water column while being flushed out of the Harbor. Tarpon gorge themselves on the crabs while rolling and splashing on the surface.

This year's Hill Tides are: May 12-17 and 25-31 and June 8-14.

These are the absolute best times to fish for tarpon in Charlotte Harbor. However, anytime from mid-April through mid-June is considered prime tarpon time. Charlotte Harbor provides the best spring and early summer tarpon charter fishing in all of Florida. Huge concentrations of tarpon gather here prior to their offshore spawning migration. Once they have spawned they return to Charlotte Harbor to feed before moving onto their home waters for the summer months. Boca Grande is the best known tarpon fishing spot in Southwest Florida. There are miles of uncrowded fishing spots between Sanibel Island and Manasota Key. Pods of tarpon, some weighing well over 100 pounds cruise daily. It's here where Capt. Dave operates his guide service. We fish for giant tarpon with 10-12 weight fly rods and 30 pound class spinning gear in three to twelve feet of water along the beaches from Cayo Costa to Stump Pass. We cast flies, artificial lures, live crabs and baitfish to daisy chaining, laid up and rolling tarpon as they make their way to and from Boca Grande Pass.

Obsession Sportfishing Charters offers you a choice of guided tarpon charters: 

  • Four hour morning tarpon (April, May & June) $400 includes snacks and drinks.
  • Six hour tarpon (April, May & June) $550.
Blog posts tagged in Tarpon

2015-05-18-tarpon1sm 

2015-05-23tarpon5

Conditions: Hot- Backcountry water temps from Matlacha to Gasparilla are now in the high 80s. The beaches from Boca Grande to Sanibel are in the mid 80s. Thunderstorms are common as the sea breeze builds in the afternoons. Higher water levels are putting the snook and redfish up under the mangroves for most of the day. The Tarpon are rolling early but are running deep as soon as the sun gets bright.

 Bait: threadfin herring, Green back Herring, pinfish, shrimp, crab

Species to target this week: Tarpon, Snook, Redfish

Fishing Tactics: Mid day fishing now is very slow due to the heat. So, it’s time to trade sight fishing for early and late day blind casting. Watch for nervous bait, muds and pushes along the mangroves. Tarpon will be moving through the passes early and late. Watch for cruising beach tarpon before and after slack tide.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: If the tarpon fishing is slow, spend some time fishing the troughs along the surf line for BIG snook. Small to medium sized whitebait patterns seem to be getting the attracting the most action.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: Sluggos and Hogys rigged weedless are the hot setup for the mangroves right now for snook and redfish. Live crabs are working best on the beach for tarpon.

 7 day outlook: Moderate easterly and northeasterly winds giving way to the sea breeze will build afternoon thunderstorms. There will be good water flow on the beaches and in the mangroves all week. The redfish and smaller snook will be active early and late in the day. Tarpon are in good numbers both on the beaches and in Pine Island Sound but will be running deep mid day.  

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Videos

Fred Bogue from New Jersey went 8-4-3 on tarpon this week. We were spin fishing off the beaches of Gasparilla, Boca Grande and Captiva. Safe travels home Fed, Great fishing with you again this year.

Big thanks to Sara for holding down the fort back home while some untimely home insurance repairs were being done during Fred’s tarpon odyssey. 

A couple pics from this week’s tarpon action

.2015-05-18-bogue-tarpon6sm  2015-05-18-bogue-tarpon2sm

Conditions: The tarpon are cruising the beaches with steady action other than slack tide. No big wind or heavy rain is forecasted so the fishing should remain good. There are a few big snook in the troughs and on the bars just off the breakers.

Bait: threadfin herring, Green back Herring, pinfish, shrimp, crab

Species to target this week: Tarpon, Snook

Fishing Tactics: Watch for pods of tarpon moving up and down the beach. If the action is slow move your attention to the Sounds.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: We have had good luck sight fishing for tarpon along the beaches off Gasparilla and Captiva islands in 6-10 feet of water. If you get refused change your fly.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: Live crabs have been hot this past week. Stay back from the pods as far as you can and make long casts.

7 day outlook: Chance of showers mid-week. Onshore winds could make for tuff beach fishing. But there are tarpon moving throughout Pine Island and Gasparilla sounds. Water temps are in the mid eighties, watch for rolling fish, they’ll be gulping air in this heat.

 

 

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Reports

This past week I had the pleasure of fishing with Jen Lofgren the store manager of Orvis, Cherry Creek in Denver, CO and Jason Cooper, fishing manager of Orvis Bellevue near Seattle WA. It was great getting to know these hard working and knowledgeable folks while fly fishing along the Gulf beaches of Pine Island and Gasparilla Sounds’ barrier islands. We had light winds, temps in the 90s and steady tarpon and snook action.

2015-05-08lofrgen2

2015-05-14cooper1sm

 

2015-05-14cooper2

06-14-14-tarpon-roll6

Conditions: The big wind and seas have subsided, the tarpon have returned to the beaches outside of Pine Island and Gasparilla Sounds.

 

Bait: threadfin herring, Green back Herring, pinfish, shrimp, crab

Species to target this week: Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Seatrout, Jack Crevalle

Fishing Tactics: The backcountry fishing as slowed up a bit but the sounds and beaches are producing. Go early and work the troughs and edges until the light get good for sight casting.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: There’s a lot of Pilchards and threadfins on the beaches… If your favorite pattern is not working swap to a whitebait imitation.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: Its tarpon time – lube your reel service your drag and pull test your knots.

 

7 day outlook: Tides will be close to neap early in the week with good flow returning by the weekend. Light to moderate east winds will provide for excellent beach tarpon and snook fishing. Watch for those afternoon thunderstorms.

Tarpon have arrived in Charlotte Harbor/ Boca Grande / Pine Island Sound. The next six week will provide the best tarpon light tackle and fly fishing action in Florida. I have some open charter dates, call / text 207-841-1444 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today for availablity.

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Videos

Full length version

Just under a minute of crazy 80 pound tarpon action. Caught with light tackle spinning gear using a live crab on the beach off Pine Island Sound's barrier Islands.

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Videos

Chris from Arcadia, FL and his buddy Mike from LeBelle, FL had a fun morning tarpon fishing on the beaches off Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound. Flat calm conditions, only three other skiffs in sight and happy tarpon for two hours made for trip to remember for a long time. The spawning migration has started and the next 6 weeks will provide world-class fishing here in Southwest Florida.   

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Reports

Chris From the Razzor Ranch in Zolfo Springs and his long time friend Mike had a great day of light tackle tarpon fishing off Captiva and Sanibel Islands. Perfect conditions and only three other skiffs in sight. We fished on pods of happy tarpon for two hours. By the way, the Razzor Ranch puts on a great hog hunt, I went there a couple weeks ago with my buddy Greg Straut and had an excellent time. 

2015-04-22chris-tarpon1

2015-04-22chris-tarpon3

2015-04-22chris-tarpon4

2015-04-22chris-tarpon5

Tarpon Prime Time is here, I have openings in May, airfair and rooms are now at off season rates! FMI go to the rates and resevation page

Tarpon Time

2011-05-tarpon2

Conditions: Water temps are between 81* and 85*. Moderate winds should allow for good sight fishing this week. There is a good chance of showers so keep an eye to the sky.

Bait: threadfin herring, Green back Herring, pinfish, shrimp, crab

Species to target this week: Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Seatrout, Jack Crevalle, Ladyfish.

Fishing Tactics: Time to hunt for tarpon. They are starting to show in Pine Island Sound and on the beaches. Look for rolling fish early and then for sub surface pods as soon as the light gets good.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: Tarpon time – rig your 11 or 12wt with a sink tip or use weighted flies if the tarpon are moving fast or deep.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: With backwater temps in the mid eighties, your casts need to be at the drip line or up under the mangroves as the tide rises.

 

7 day outlook: Moderate winds and 20-50% chance of showers this week. Good morning tides will produce moving water for first part of the week. Neap tides late week morning tides will provide little or no moving water. 

I have a full compliment of Orvis H2 rods on my boat. If you haven't experienced the Helios 2, you are truly missing something. Book you trip today, cath a fish of a lifetime on the worlds best casting fly rod!

 Helios-2-470x260

bradsnook gregredfish

bradjack

Conditions: Neap tides of the past week are now behind us. Good flow and water temps in the low 80s will produce great conditions. Watch out for those afternoon storms though.

Bait: threadfin herring, Green back Herring, pinfish, shrimp

Species to target this week: Snook, Redfish, Seatrout, Jack Crevalle, Ladyfish, Bluefish.

Fishing Tactics: Go early and blind cast the first hour or two of the incoming tide. Sight fishing will be good as soon as the sun gets overhead.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: White bait patterns are working on snook. Be prepared for follows and refusals if the strip is not correct. You have to tease the big’uns into biting.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: White and pink soft plastic twitch baits are producing snook. Root beer is the redfish color of the week.

 

7 day outlook: A lack of weather fronts in the 7 day forecast will provide a steady barometer and light winds. There are a few snook on the beach and some tarpon in Pine Island Sound. Lots of white bait around too.  Snook, trout and jacks are on the backcountry flats. 

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Reports

 


Fishing Conditions: Wind and rain have clouded up the water a bit. The backcountry water has cooled off due to the rains.

 

Bait Currently in Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor: Pass crabs, Scaled sardines, threadfin herring, glass minnows, pinfish, shrimp, ladyfish

 

Fly Fishing Technics: Summer fishing; go early and get in before the storms. Sight casting is tuff do to water clarity so blind casting is a viable option. Visibility is a two way street – the tarpon and snook can’t see you as well too!

 

Fishing Tip of the Week:  The backcountry is producing better with the rain cooled water fish the falling tides when the redfish and snook come out from under the mangroves.

 

7 Day Outlook: Snook will be more plentiful in the sound and on the beaches. The mangroves and oyster reefs will hold good numbers of redfish. Tarpon continue to in good numbers along the beaches.

 

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Reports

 

06-14-14-tarpon-roll6


Fishing Conditions: Summer light tackle and fly fishing conditions are here. Eeasterly winds shifting onshore by mid day. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are now common. The backcountry water levels are moderate to high and temps are in the mid 80s. The beach waters are mostly clear providing good sight fishing opportunities.
Bait Currently in Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor: Pass crabs, Scaled sardines, threadfin herring, glass minnows, pinfish, shrimp, ladyfish
Fishing Conditions: Beach- Watch for rolling tarpon along the beaches early. Then stake out along contours as soon as the light gets good. Back Country- Go early and fish the falling tides when the redfish and snook will be out from under the mangroves.
Fishing Tip of the Week:  When fishing for tarpon, snook or redfish; change flies / lures after every refusal. Alternate between baitfish and crab / shrimp imitations.
7 Day Outlook: June is a great time for tarpon fly fishing. Watch for those afternoon storm though.

 

 

2014-05-28-tarpon-jump11

Fishing Conditions: Summer weather finally! Light winds are allowing for great beach fishing. Most of the tarpon have been up in Charlotte Harbor feeding on crabs and whitebait. The beaches have had good action as well. Water temps are in the mid 80s

 

Other Species Fished for This Week: Snook and Redfish

 

Fly Fishing Technics: This week we staged along the beaches of Gasparilla and Captiva. Both crab and baitfish flies were working.

 

 Tarpon Light Tackle Fishing Tip of the Week: Heavy boat traffic and fishing pressure will cause tarpon to move to deeper water.

 

Tarpon Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: Change flies after every refusal. Alternate between baitfish and crab / shrimp imitations.

 

Charlotte Harbor Fishing Outlook: Next week should provide great fishing action. The tarpon will move off the Hill and onto the beaches.

 

 

In this 90 second video Steve fly casts to a pod of daisy chaining tarpon off a beach near Charlotte Harbor. There were 6-8 fish weighing 60-100 pounds in this pod. You'll notice we were the only boat on these fish. This can be common and welcomed experience compared to the chaos of Boca Grande Pass if you know where to go... During day one Steve had 50+ tarpon by the boat with several good shots and a couple follows. Day two we only had 20 or so tarpon by the boat and they were pretty squirrely from the boats and fishing pressure that eventually found us. We finished day #2 out in the back country chasing reds and snook. Steve hooked his first snook and first redfish on fly rod before returning to the boat launch at 2pm. Safe travels home Steve, We’ll see you next May to continue the quest!

 

2014-05-26-jump

Boca Grande / Charlotte Harbor Fishing Conditions: We have settled in to our summer weather pattern finally! Light winds, water temps in the low 80s, and the tarpon are now everywhere along the beaches of Gasparilla, Cayo Costa and Captiva Islands. The best tarpon fishing of the 2014 season started this week.

Other Species Fished for This Week: Snook and Redfish

Fly Fishing Technics: Stake out along the beach and watch for fish moving both to and from the Passes.

Tarpon Light Tackle Fishing Tip of the Week: White bait and crabs are working equally well right now. I recommend using circle hooks. Please try to land and release your fish quickly. The sharks are lying in wait for spent tarpon…

Charlotte Harbor Fishing Outlook: Light winds and flat seas will provide excellent fishing conditions all this week. Tarpon ate moving to and from the Passes in large numbers. It will take a day or two for the tarpon to settle down from all the intense Memorial weekend fishing pressure. By mid-week we should see excellent fishing.

 

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Reports

We have four back to back charters this weekend. Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest tarpon fishing times here in Charlotte Harbor / Boca Grande. The boat ramps are full by 7am and the prime fishing spots fill up shortly thereafter.  The good news is the tarpon have returned to the beaches and we’re getting fly fishing and light tackle shots at several fish each trip out. We’ll be working the tarpon from Captiva to Gasparilla each day. Reports and photos to follow.

2014-05-23-14-tarpon -jump2

0214-5-19-tarpon-jump 2014-05-17-snook-bogue3

Charlotte Harbor Fishing Conditions: A strong cold front settled in on Wednesday of last week with strong N & NW winds which killed the tarpon fishing. There was a small bite on Wednesday before the winds picked up. The Boca Grande Kids Classic Tarpon Tournament was cancelled on Saturday due to rough conditions and the adult tourney landed 22 fish on Thursday and ZERO on Friday… The schools of tarpon moved offshore and even if they hadn’t the beaches were so rough and churned up we couldn’t fish. The wind is still blowing 20+NE today (Sunday) but the tarpon are already moving back to the beach with the wind shift.

Other Species Fished for This Week: Snook and Redfish

Fly Fishing Technics: We staked out on the shoals until the conditions made it impossible to fish. Then we worked areas in the sound for laid up tarpon. When the wind came on even stronger late in the week we went snook fishing.
Tarpon Fishing Tip of the Week: Fishing the shoals on high wind and swells can be challenging. The Tarpon run deep and are hard to spot until they are almost under the boat. Switching to a sink tip or even a shooting head line and a weighted fly will allow for quick casts and a fast sink.

Tarpon Fishing Tip of the Week: Fishing the shoals on high wind and swells can be challenging. The Tarpon run deep and are hard to spot until they are almost under the boat. Switching to a sink tip or even a shooting head line and a weighted fly will allow for quick casts and a fast sink.

Charlotte Harbor Fishing Outlook: Moderate NE winds will persist until mid-week this will allow for pretty good beach fishing conditions though the passes will be choppy. The tarpon have returned and the bite is back on.

Another strong cold front ascended on us this week dashing hopes of catching tarpon on Friday and Saturday. The video shows one of the more productive tarpon shoals in the area before and after the front’s 15-25knot winds arrived. So we went light tackle snook fishing in Charlotte Harbor and Matlacha. We had a hoot catching several snook between 18” and 26”.  Fred did have one tarpon crunch his crab on Wednesday but the circle hook didn’t set. Thanks for coming down again this year Fred. Safe travels home to New Jersey and see you soon in Maine!

 

05-09-14-ware-refish

05-09-14-ware-snook2We had a great week fly fishing the island of Pine Island Sound for tarpon snook and reds. Carroll and Lila Ware from Fins and Furs Adventures in Skowhegan, Maine caught snook and redfish fly fishing the backcountry on Friday morning before heading to the airport for their flight.  We were poling and sight casting in the Matlacha National Wildlife Refuge. That afternoon I took Artie Mabbett back to the same area and we sight fished to numerous 30”- 40” snook in 2 feet of water. We also had some nice action on redfish cruising the oyster reefs. With water temps in the low 80s and air temps in the high 80s mid-day and early afternoon fishing can be challenging but by staying a long cast from the fish, and trying different flies patterns you will be rewarded. I love fishing Charlotte Harbor and the surrounding waters this time of year!   

Subscribe To Captain Dave's Blog

Your Name:
Your Email:
Charter Fishing Network Web Site Hosting and Design : Charter Fishing Network
© 2015 Capt Dave Pecci, Obsession Sportfishing Charters