Boca Grande fishing guide, Capt. Scott Hughes                        Boca Grande Tarpon Fishing   

                   With Capt. Scott Hughes          

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     During the months of May and June tarpon from all of the eastern Gulf of Mexico gather in and around Boca Grande Pass to socialize and feed in preparation for their annual spawn in the offshore waters near the contental shelf. This journey is estimated at over 100 miles and requires an incredible amount of energy. Boca Grande Pass is loaded with small pass crabs during the summer months and these crabs are one of the reasons that Boca Grande can sustain thousands of tarpon during the peek months. Charlotte Harbor is the largest undeveloped bay system in Florida. This allows millions of pass crabs to flourish and when the tides are strongest flush out into the gulf to release their eggs. The tarpon use this migration as an easy way to feed and gain nutrition for their own migration.

     I use two main techniques for targeting tarpon in Boca Grande Pass. If the tarpon are holding in over 30ft of water and the pass is crowded, I'll usually drop heavy lead jigs with a soft plastic body. For this style of fishing I use a conventional reel spooled with 40-50 mono and a very stout 7ft fast action rod. If the tarpon are holding in water over 30ft deep and are scattered out and the boat traffic is spread out then I'll usually drift fish with live pass crabs or thread herring. If the tarpon are schooled up in less than 30ft of water I'll sight fish with live crabs or thread herring. The drift fishing can be done with heavy spinning tackle or conventional reels. The sight casting is done with special tarpon spinning rods that I have made that are very strong in the butt but very fast action for long distance casting with a very small crab.

During the months of May and June I run two tarpon charters per day. Since the tarpon are keying on Boca Grande Pass for those two months, I usually don't stray to far from the pass. Sometimes the tarpon are thick inside the pass and sometimes there are more fish near the pass either on the nearby beaches or inside Charlotte Harbor. I'll fish for the tarpon where ever the conditions are best for getting the most hook-ups. My morning tarpon charter start at 6:00 Am and runs until about 12:30 Pm. My afternoon tarpon fishing trips start at 1:30 Pm and run until about 7:30 Pm.  All tarpon fishing charters for the months of May and June are $600 per trip for 1-3 anglers.

The months of May and June are the peek months of tarpon fishing. Try to schedule your tarpon charter as soon as possible to get an available date. I'd say that there only about 20-25 extremely capable tarpon fishing guides in Southwest that catch tarpon on a daily basis and their days book up fast.

Tarpon Fishing Rates for April, May and June 2010

10hr Split trip: 6hrs fishing before lunch followed by a lunch break and then 4 hrs of tarpon fishing after lunch    $1000.00

6hr AM trip: 6hrs of tarpon fishing starting at 6:00 AM and returning at 12:30 PM          $600.00

6hr PM trip: 6hrs of tarpon fishing starting a 1:30 PM and returning at 7:30 PM               $600.00

The whole day: 6:00 AM start with a 1 hour break during the slow period and a return to the dock at 9:00 PM   $1400.00


225 pound tarpon caught off Boca Grande Pass This 200lb club tarpon was probably closer 225 lbs and was caught jigging for tarpon in Boca Grande Pass.

Sight fishing tarpon schools near Boca Grande These two you anglers are doubled up on two tarpon while sight fishing large schools of tarpon offshore of Boca Grande Pass.

Kids fishing for tarpon This was the first of the two tarpon to be landed.

sight fishing for tarpon The second tarpon was landed a short time later.

tarpon jumps  A hooked tarpon will usually jump violently 4-5 times to spit the hook. The larger the tarpon the less they jump because the big tarpon pull some serious drag and don't get as frustrated as the smaller 50-80 pounders. This jumping tarpon was hooked while fishing off the beach of Boca Grande.

Tarpon Fishing Punta Gorda This tarpon came from just inshore of Boca Grande Pass in the lower area of Charlotte harbor.


Huge Tarpon I usually average a half dozen 200lb class tarpon per season in the Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor area. 95% of the tarpon in the Fort Myers to Boca Grande area are between 70 and 150 pounds. I average 3-5 hook-ups on tarpon per trip for the months of April, May, June, July and August.

If your into big game hunting or fishing your really owe it to yourself to give tarpon fishing in the fort Myers to Boca Grande area shot. I guarantee that you'll be hooked.


To book a fishing charter targeting trophy sized tarpon in Boca Grande call: 941-575-2389