Red hot fishing action – May 17, 2010

Boca Grande snook and tarpon fishing is great right now!

Lots of distractions to sidetrack us right now, but the most important fact is our waters are clean and fish are biting.  Schools of tarpon poured into the Boca Grande Pass today.  Every thing on the national media is scaring folks

Boca Grande tarpon

photo by Merry Beth Ryan

about the big oil spill; it MAY become a problem locally but no oil projected here any time soon.   It’s a massive ecological disaster and will effect fishing in many areas for a long time; just remember that the Gulf of Mexico is enormous and as big a spill as this is, it has only has affected a very small percentage so far!  Present projections indicate a probability the mess will pass far offshore of my Englewood area some time in the future. The Gulf Stream is almost a hundred miles off our beaches! As long as an early season hurricane does not blow it in we should dodge at least most of this mess.  Indirectly the press coverage has already scared many folks away from Florida and fishing.  If and when we have oil it could be a problem; right now this miss information and media scare is doing all the damage in Florida!   Please take the time to study the facts before you blow off your plans to visit any of the Gulf Coast vacation destinations.  Some of the northern Gulf areas are and will be affected but again right now more damage is being done around Florida by the dramatic media scares.   God only knows what will happen but our fishing is excellent and I had some for dinner last night!

Tarpon are beginning to act normal finally.  We enjoyed good tides and catching the last few days.  Winds have been East and stronger than usual so the open waters were choppier than we are used to.  Crabs have been available just expensive.  Several local bait houses also sell eating blue crabs and they have some beautiful hard crabs for sale.  I have been enjoying them weekly steamed in Old Bay.  Fish are not staying in the Boca Grande Hole like they should in the daytime yet.   So far we do not have consistent schools of giant tarpon on the beaches like we are used to but expect to any day.  Everything is behind normal patterns but seam to be catching up swiftly. Several schools migrated in today and were hungry.  Tarpon will be red hot for the next month or more.

Snook will continue to improve as they begin to stage for Gulf spawning.  As long as we can catch minnows we will be able to catch snook.  These next several moon phases will help us see just how the stocks are! We need to be careful in handling any fish we release.  Live fish grow and dead fish are just crab bait.  We have a big problem along this section of the Gulf Coast with dolphin eating our releases.  There is a catch 22 deal because we must release these fish and can not feed dolphins!  So while it is hard we have to stoop fishing and frequently move from good fish to prevent wasting our snook for dolphin food.  Catch a few enjoy the action and then try some mackerel or something else.

I attended a “Dolphin Smart” school at the Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota last week addressing this problem. I must say I was very impressed with the ladies efforts, understanding, and accomplishments creating and managing this innovative program.  They are not up to speed on the fishing aspects yet but are reaching out to get that handle also.  They have created a program that encourages dolphin related eco tours to use standardized, noninvasive practices on dolphin viewing trips.  They help in marketing if you follow their guidelines.  It’s a win, win situation and a remarkable step for National Marine Fisheries Services staff! I need to share these remarkable positive accomplishments since I am so frustrated with their marine fishery “science” and management of groupers and snapper. Maybe some day in my life time, NMFS fishery experts will visit reality and grasp the problems too many goliath grouper are creating and open this fishery?  I am sure they are too worried about this oil mess right now.

Baitfish are available we just need to bounce around because they are hit hard when twenty or thirty boats lock in on a bunch.  Many of our visitors here are chasing minnows and fish right now.   Lots of folks, guides included think they need several hundred minnows to fish with and end up wasting time and minnows overdoing it.  It is almost impossible to help your catching inside by chumming with live minnows because amateurs have trained the gulls and terns to lock in and hang around anyone throwing out minnows.  The birds scare away the fish these experts are targeting.  Feeding fish do not like bird shadows!  As soon as the birds appear stop feeding them or catch less fish.

Redfish and trout are both open and here.  Action is irregular but nice hot flurries enhance the trip.  Mackerel are still around and offer our best bet for some fish to take home and share.  We have plenty of mackerel and liberal bag limits.  They are fast, fun and food; nice combination.  Just carry extra ice to keep em fresh.

Let’s Go Fishin’ now the fish are biting.  Like Captain Wilson used to say; “if your to busy to go fishing you are just too busy!”  Captain Van Hubbard www.captvan.com

Captain Van Hubbard

P.O. Box 146
Placida, FL 33946

941-468-4017

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