Despite the seemingly nonstop wind this summer, the fishing was pretty productive most days. For May and June, we primarily focused on targeting the world famous Boca Grande tarpon and goliath grouper. The tarpon action was hot in May…there were several days we had double digit hook ups. But, fronts moving around the area and the insane number of big sharks pushed the tarpon around a bit and by June the tarpon were a little quirky, visiting areas that we won’t typically catch them. Landing a tarpon in June became quite an accomplishment. Within minutes of a hookup, sharks were already trailing the hooked tarpon. They’re starting to move north now and our tarpon season is winding down, but if you’re still wanting to get out and catch one, there are some pods still around along the beaches and in the passes. Our go to baits are 2-3in crabs and/or threadfin herring.
The goliath grouper population around Boca Grande has definitely improved this last year following the red tide of 2018. Our clients were able to land, photograph, and release over 100 grouper this year so far. With each goliath, we collect DNA samples for Florida Fish & Wildlife. With this data, they are able to look at the grouper family structure in our area, as well as determine if fish are migrating from other areas where DNA samples have been collected.
Nearshore, there have been reports of good snapper and an occasional keeper red or gag grouper. The nearshore reefs are still holding big permit. On one trip we boated 23 permit! Had we not used up all of our crabs, we probably would have caught more. Further out, there are many reports of red snapper out past 40 miles.