It’s hardly possible to name a better place for Silver King fishing than Boca Grande, the “Tarpon Capital of the World.” The best part is, this place has been a fishing town since forever. In fact, Tarpon fishing in Boca Grande dates back to the 18th century.
It’s no wonder that this southwest Floridian community is so attractive to Silver King lovers. Located on Gasparilla Island, Boca Grande is home to the deepest natural pass in Florida, with strong currents that hold a lot of migratory fish species. And, of course, a lot of Tarpon.
In this guide, we’ll explain why Tarpon have become synonymous with Boca Grande. You’ll learn about techniques to land your very own silver monster, as well as seasonality, regulations, and the best spots in Boca Grande. Let’s dive in.
How do I catch Tarpon in Boca Grande?
Catching Tarpon is every sport fisher’s dream. Why? Well, Tarpon always put up a ferocious fight and test your angling skills like nothing else. Everyone aspires to break the world records, hoping to land a 150 lb Silver King. So what are the most common ways to do that? Read on to find out…
It’s a challenge to spot Tarpon in deeper waters, so a lot of anglers stick to the flats. Sight casting for Tarpon works well close to shore, especially using natural bait. This includes pinfish, mullet, and pilchards.
One of the most challenging aspects of sight casting is the fact that Tarpon are easy to spook. Anglers try to make as little noise as possible, casting the bait closer to the spotted target. The best idea is to head out with a local guide who knows how to spot, hook, and land Tarpon.
While fishing for Tarpon is a big challenge, some anglers prefer to make it even more interesting by targeting them with a fly rod. Fly fishing for Tarpon is another popular method and an ultimate challenge in Boca Grande, which a lot of anglers practice for decades, season after season.
A typical fly outfit for Tarpon fishing includes flies with high contrast with grass and sandy bottoms, as well as 11 and 12 wt fly rods and floating fly lines. Just like with sight casting, fishing with a charter helps you out a lot – your guide will most likely take care of all the necessary equipment.
Trolling for Tarpon in Boca Grande can be a lot of fun! This isn’t the most popular technique, although a lot of anglers do go for slow trolling to catch their Silver King. They’ll finely tune the trolling speed to about 1.5–2.25 miles per hour, spread the lines, and deploy two or more live baits behind the boat at different distances.
Artificial bait works fine, too. If you’re not planning on fishing with crab, shrimp, or maybe pinfish, you can go for spoons and topwater plugs.
Where can I go Tarpon fishing in Boca Grande?
One thing’s for sure – you can’t go wrong with whatever spot you choose in the “Tarpon Capital of the World.” Boca Grande is full of productive spots, so you only need to choose where to go first. Here’s a handy list of our top places for Tarpon fishing in Boca Grande:
- Boca Grande Pass. Everyone knows that when the season comes, the first thing you should do is hit the waters of the Boca Grande Pass. This place is an absolute must for anyone who’s looking to catch Tarpon. The Pass separates Boca Grande from the barrier island of Cayo Costa and is home to thousands of Silver Kings that pass here year after year.
- Gasparilla Island. This place is a dream come true for anyone who dreams about seeing Tarpon’s famous acrobatic jumps in real life. The kings love it here, with all their favorite food – shrimps, blue crab, sand bream, and perch – available in the deep waters.
- The Lighthouse Hole. Although Tarpon pile around the Lighthouse Hole, this spot isn’t as “mainstream” as the previous two. “The Hole” is blessed with deep waters pretty close to shore, and it allows anglers to enjoy fishing for Tarpon without too much traffic.
- Charlotte Harbor. It’s common knowledge that come spring, the second largest estuary in Florida is practically flooded with Tarpon. They actively feed here before spawning in July. The Harbor sits between Punta Gorda’s shorelines and the Boca Grande Pass.