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We'll be hunting silver kings awhile longer down here around Boca

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On: Sat, Jul 12, 2008 at 12:00AM | By: Captain Van Hubbard

Tarpon are still a major target species thru July and August. We do have several other options if you want fresh fish for your dinner; redfish, trout, permit, snapper and Spanish Mackerel are offered. Snook are ready to fool around with if you want catch and release action. Our weather is hot now so start out early and beat the heat. Also be careful in the evenings: it’s the rainy season and we get dangerous thunderstorms. Tarpon may require some effort to locate after the intent pressure of the prime season; but the crowds will be gone after the Fourth of July. Most of the locals work together; our “coconut telegraph” and cell phones help us stay on the schools of fish. Since many fish showed up late this year I expect good catching to linger indefinitely. We still have new schools of fish migrating in as I put this together. Crabs are difficult to even buy this season, but “pass crabs” work also. It should change but God only knows. Rains usually push pass crabs from the rivers downstream to hungry tarpon. T

he Boca Grande Pass will still hold concentrations of silver kings but sharks can spoil this fishing as it has in recent years. The sharks are chummed up by the lighter gear employed by the out of town fisherman and accustomed to eating tarpon during the day while they control the “Pass” in season. Sharks have even run the fish outside the Pass, when the mono crowd goes home. If sharks are eating your tarpon please stop and go shark fishing instead; or move on to other areas. The big secret to real tarpon fishing is simple take your time and make your efforts count. Observe the fish until you understand their movements, do not charge in and screw em up. Set up to present your baits or lures naturally ahead of the movement. Happy fish feed much better than scared fish. We frequently hook up on our first cast because the fish are unruffled and we do not push them. It’s hard to stalk fish if you are not properly equipped. Electric motors make repositioning possible close to fish. If you crank up a combustion engine too close it spooks fish! As you look for fish try to travel inshore or offshore of the path fish are using. You will not make friends of other anglers by scaring fish for miles as you travel on the path of fish movements. Your lack of knowledge still scares the fish! Enjoy this wonderful opportunity. Ask for help before you step on toes and most of us are glad to help if we can at the time. Also just stay back and watch a real pro work fish, the key is to anticipate fish movements. You can learn from experienced anglers with out messing up their trip. No one was born an expert, we all paid our dues gaining experience and do enjoy helping anyone that respects us and the fish.

Redfish are not thick but around. Trout are rebounding well from the “05 & 06” red tides. Both will benefit from the abundant spawn of baitfish we have now. Minnows are tiny but will grow rapidly. You will need your smallest mesh net or learn a hard lesson about gilling fish. Some are so small they gill in a glass minnow mesh. Use corks to help cast these tiny baits. Size down on hooks and rigs also. Look for fish around the bait masses. Permit can vary in size but can make your day if you are prepared to catch them. They like shrimp or crabs. Some can be found near shore but most larger ones are on the wrecks. Snapper are fattening up fast on those minnow schools also. You’ll need to go light here. Use fluorocarbon and small hooks. Circle hooks are required in Federal waters but recommended inshore also. Reel before you pull; they do work. Spanish are around the passes and scattered on artificial reefs too. We like the tiny minnows here. Dead or alive they work just set out a chum bag and let it work for you. Use 30 or 40 pound mono or fluorocarbon here. Light long shank hooks are perfect. You will get cut off bring extra. Try to concentrate on tide changes or slow tide days. Current flow can be so fast it scatters your chum too far to fast. Carry plenty of ice cuz it’s hot and fish need to be kept cold. Fishing is fine if you work with Mother Nature. Please use caution with those evening thunderstorms; safety first. Let’s go fishin’ soon. Capt. Van Hubbard Past President of Florida Guides Association and Winner of 1999 Mote Marine Award


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