Skip fished Monday for snook since it was too rough to tarpon fish. We got off to a slow start but ended up with twenty snook up to thirty-one inches. They were fun on ten pound spinning gear and live minnows. We fished around Lemon Bay and up towards Venice. Many spots were off but some sere hot. We also got two reds and a few trout.
Wednesday evening I took a couple of friends out to look for tarpon. We found plenty and Pastor Jim Hennesy got a large tarpon promptly on his first cast. I may have been divine guidance? They ended up with multiple opportunities and even landed a double header before we headed in. we did have some trouble with sharks but they seemed to be already full.
Thursday AM I rigged some new tackle. I have some new Quantum reels and Fin Nor rods for tarpon season. Skip and I took our new rods out to test our luck and gear for the evening tide that had been so productive the night before. It turned out to be a “you should have been here yesterday” deal. We saw some fish but they were not cooperative this time. It happens and we occasionally are dealt challenging cards. As Skip said it was beautiful and a lot better than work!
Friday Am we started off around Boca Grande Pass. Skip was ready with his new gear and connected with a huge tarpon. She jumped several times and I even got some photos. This giant Boca Grande tarpon was almost two hundred pounds. We got her boats side for photos and his pride and joy rod “blew up”; I mean it exploded in his hands. I grabbed the leader to pull her back for better photos and she was not interested in modeling. She was healthy and gone! The tarpon slowed down so we headed off shore to try for permit. We found barracuda and cobia that Skip brought boat side but the permit were huge and tore us up, twice! We came back in and caught him another tarpon up by Venice, to add to his memorable adventures. I can assure you Skip will never forget his fishing in Boca Grande and he took home some awesome photos to share!
Sunday started off great; Alex, Scott, and Amman joined me at Stump Pass marina and we found tarpon without boats before sunrise up by Venice. But they would not settle down to any pattern we could follow. We got a few good shots right in front of schools but not bites. We cruised on down to Boca Grande because it is full of silver kings. Again we found the fish but no one was hooking up we put baits in front of school after school. We tried crabs and minnows, I even dropped down to sixty pound leaders. It was fun but not catching.
Monday, the same crew, we decided to try the snook and reef fishing. We got started catching some nice snook and Flipper crashed our party. We shot off shore to try one of the artificial reefs. We found Manta Rays which were an awesome sight. It has been years since I saw a school of a dozen mantas. A pair of large cobia were hanging with the rays so I pitched em a minnow. The battle was on but the structure was too close; we got cut off. The cuda were even shut down, not even eating the chum minnows! The kings and mackerel were not responding to our frozen chum so we went back inshore. We tried some snook again and it was red hot. All the guys landed several snook up to about twenty pounds. We had some trout and a small redfish also.
Tarpon trip today Alex got a big one hundred sixty plus pound giant! We were on fish much of the day but they were not as hungry as usual. As our tides pick up this week I expect a much stronger bite!
Rene and Bryan had a great trip Thursday morning. They caught numerous nice snook plus several reds and trout. We were fishing white bait and threadfin minnows on ten pound spinning gear. It was awesome action for about two hours until the tide slowed down and dolphin ran us off. We found other trout but even more dolphin. We ended up catching a few big ladyfish while jigging for pompano. It was great to share good fishing with such a wonderful couple.
It has been a long but wonderful week of fishing. Today, Friday the twenty-seventh, I got an early Memorial Day present from above. Bob, Brian, Sam and Nick came back for their second day of fishing. We fished had Wednesday and found plenty of fish but that teased us relentlessly. Today was ours. It started off tough; rain woke me up just after four AM. Rain chased us around the first hour. We backed up and came in to cast net some minnows. We played with eh snook for an hour catching several before the dolphin ran us off. Both Sam and Nick landed several nice snook but Sam’s was bigger, about seventeen pound. Sam even got a slam with a redfish and trout. We headed back into the Gulf and I was concerned about an off shore storm. I shared my thoughts with my crew; “no guts, no glory” and we took off. We did get a few sprinkles but started to find tarpon. Lots of tarpon, we even found a “Happy” school milling waiting for our crabs. Nick had the hot hand and landed a fine fish about one hundred thirty pounds. It was his first and he did great. Dad and Granddad were excited too. We worked at it a while and Sam hooked and landed a nice hundred pounder. We were alone and surrounded by happy schools of tarpon. Not big schools but nice slow groups. Brian hooked several and we had a few other bites we missed. Most important was that we got to enjoy some tarpon fishing the way it is supposed to be! Thank you Big Guy!
It does not happen every day any more but it is wonderful to enjoy great action and family bonding; teenagers having fun with Dad and Granddad. It’s hard to guess what fishing will be like every day but the fish are here and sometimes it all comes together! Sorry it took so long to put this tighter but I have been tired after our fishing adventures recently. I do have some dates open in June if you are ready to go for it? Let’s Go Fishin’ soon! Captain Van Hubbard <www.captvan.com>