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

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.

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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!   

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Reports

 

jump11

Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Conditions: Though we had a dry week, the wind and clouds were challenging.  Visibility on the beaches was not good. The tarpon and snook were on us before we could get set up in many cases. Fishing in the Sounds was much easier though blind casting rather than sightfishing was the best tactic.

 

Other Species Fished for This Week: Redfish, Snook, Trout, Shark

 

Fly Fishing Technics: Use sink tips or sinking intermediate lines along edges and in holes. Present your fly in the lower half of the water column when blind casting.

 

Spin fishing Technics: Suspended twitch baits are working great right now on reds, snook and trout. Yes, even tarpon like twitch baits but make sure you change out the hooks to ones that can take the abuse.

 

Tarpon Fishing Tip of the Week: Start early and blind cast edges and depressions in areas where tarpon are rolling. 6-10’ of water is best. You may jump your first tarpon before the lights come on!

 

Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Outlook: The persistent South quadrant winds will be subsiding. The water clarity on the beaches and in the Sounds will improve. Tarpon fishing will get better daily. Snook will be active on the beaches and around the docks in the ICW. Afternoon  redfishing should be productive.

 

 

We were working a couple rolling tarpon in a portion of upper Pine Island Sound one morning this week when this brown shark (sandbar shark) decided to take one of our baits. Robert did a great job keeping the shark out from under the boat and from getting tangled in the outboard. It bit it's way through the leader just as we were going to take a couple pictures. Way to go Robert! Safe travels home and I hope to see you again next year. Capt. Dave

 

The Tarpon are just starting to ascend on the beaches of Charlotte Harbor’s barrier Islands. Mac and I spent 4 hours sight fishing the bars in perfect conditions. We saw four tarpon which is a bit slow for this time of year. Mac got a good shot at one of them which turned and followed his fly but didn’t bite. The video closes with a snook that Mac caught the day before wading along Sanibel Island. Great fishing with you Mac! Safe travels home.

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Reports

 

2014-tarpon-boatside2

Charlotte Harbor Fishing Conditions: A few pods of tarpon are now showing up on the beaches. Individual fish are spread throughout the Sound. Water clarity has improved and there are schools of bait showing up. Water temps are rising into the mid 70’s.

Fly Fishing Technics: We spent this week fly fishing Upper Pine Island Sound for rolling and laid up tarpon. Slow sinking flies work best.

Tarpon Fishing Tip of the Week: Start early and watch for rolling tarpon. Blind cast to close by edges and deep holes.

Other Species Fished for This Week: Snook, Seatrout and Redfish

Charlotte Harbor Tarpon Fishing Fishing Outlook: Stable weather will allow the water temps to rise into the upper 70s. Pods of tarpon should become more common along the beaches from Captiva to Boca Grande.

 

 

What’s biting: Snook, Redfish, Seatrout and Jacks.

Gear Used: light tackle spin fishing and fly fishing.

Conditions: The weather fronts are becoming weaker as we move further into Spring. Bait is becoming more plentiful and water levels in the upper Charlotte Harbor are improving.

Technics that are working: If clouds or water conditions keep you from sight fishing you can blind cast to edges and potholes around the grass flats for redfish and sea trout. On the warmer days, try fly fishing the back country. Make your presentations tight to the mangroves. The snook and redfish will be there escaping the heat. When fly fishing after a passing cold front switch to a sinking intermediate or sink tip line and fish the deeper channels and holes using weighted flies.

Tip: I have never met an oyster bed I didn't like. It's worth a few snagged flies to explore them. There are many of these beds in Pine Island Sound to explore.

Outlook: The exiting cold front will give way to light east and southeast winds. The water will continue to warm ushering the first of the 2014 tarpon run. Watch for them at the passes and of Boca Grande and Captiva.

 

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Reports

 

2014-04-11-14-boca-winds

Obsession Charters Fishing Report Friday, April 11, 2014

 

Big winds early in the week and rain on Tuesday stirred things up in Pine Island Sound and Gasparilla Sound. Monday we fished light tackle the mangroves along East Wall of Charlotte Harbor from Punta Gorda to Burt Store Marina escaping the 20-25MPH SW winds.  Cloudy water and a drop in temperature after the front passed put the Sea Trout and Redfish into deep water. Patience and constantly changing up flies and lures did produce some fish. Surprisingly, the snook stayed on the flats and we were able to sight fish to them every day we were out. The wind shifted to ESE on Friday allowing more moving water on the incoming tides in the cuts of Turtle and Bull Bay. Some of the live bait fishers were seeing some action after a couple days of lockjaw.

 

The tarpon migration has been slow to start due to the endless fronts pushing through Charlotte Harbor and Boca Grande. There have been a few rolling and laid up tarpon spotted in Pine Island Sound and near the Passes at Captiva and Gasparilla so things are starting to happen. I’ll be fishing in Matlacha, lower Pine Island Sound and the Ding Darling Reserve several days the next two weeks. These are very fishy places for both fly and spinning gear.

 

 

 

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Reports

 

04-02-14-redfish

Pesky cold fronts have made the fishing in Pine Island Sound and around Cayo Costa a bit challenging. Water temps are dropping 8-12* when the fronts come through. Cooler water means making adjustments. Spin fishing the deep holes with slower retrieves works As the temps rebound the fish become more aggressive and move out of the holes and onto the flats where fly fishing has an advantage. There’s been some big redfish in up in Charlotte Harbor. The sea trout have been very cooperative in Gasparilla sound. The Gulf beaches have been quiet with just a few ladyfish and Spanish around. Tarpon sightings are becoming more common in the Sounds as they have started dropping out of the backcountry. It won’t be long and we’ll be bending those Orvis H2 rods along the beaches.

 

Want to win a free 4 hour fishing Charter? Answer this trivia question: Where is “Meatball” used in this website and what does it mean? Everyone who emails me the correct answer will be entered into a drawing for a free four hour fishing or sightseeing charter in either Florida or Maine during 2014. Value $350, can be used as partial consideration towards an alternate Obsession charter of your choice. Drawing will be held on Wednesday, April 16th. Happy searching and good luck!

 

Riding the swells in 6 feet of water while fly casting into the breakers... It doesn't get much better than that. July striper action on the Kennebec with Obsession Sportfishing Charters and Capt. Dave Pecci.

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Videos

Brad Osborn from Falmouth Maine jumps a very nice tarpon on a live crab.

 

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Videos

Larry Stelzer from Maine puts a hurting on an 80 pound tarpon. 80 pound tarpon puts a hurting right back on Larry. What doesn't show in the video is the 16' hammerhead shark that tried to eat Larry's tarpon. All is good though, the tarpon got away thanks to Larry's quick boating abilities.

 

Posted by Capt. Dave Pecci on in Florida Fishing Videos

On and Gone - 70-80 pounder pulled the hook on the first run. What a thrill.

 

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