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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What a week it has been!

Myself and two local Vineland Boys flew down to Fort Myers and drove to Boca Grande to fish for 2 1/2 days in the Boca Grande Pass.

The trip started out a little "rocky" with a Bomb scare at the PHL airport that delayed us for a couple of hours. Then there were the thunder and lightning storms with the added turbulence for good measure. (I was glad to touch the ground).

Anyway- we ended up being 2 hours late for our 1st trip but the Captain was waiting for us at the dock and we sped off to the Pass. We were lucky enough to be there during a "Hill Tide" on the dark moon. This Hill Tide is something else. Calico crabs, blue claws, and purple claw crabs are sucked out of the rivers and flats by the very strong current- and head out into the Gulf of Mexico. Fishermen go along and scoop up the crabs and use them as bait. The tarpon are anxiously waiting at the Pass for the crabs to work their way down to them.

After scooping up a couple dozen prime baits we speed to the Pass to look for schools of Tarpon. All I can say is WOW!!!!!!!

To see a school of HUNDREDS of Tarpons breaking water to gulp some air is remarkable!!! They are so pretty in the water. We would throw crabs in front of the moving schools and hang on. No takers this way, though.

Then as the tide slacks we would head right in the Pass and crabs and Tarpon were everywhere!!! It was something to see these huge 75-200POUND fish gulp a crab on the surface of the water. Did I mention that we were fishing in torrential downpours and thunder and lightning- but the fish were there and they were on.

I finally got a bite on a crab and my NorthEast instincts took over and I reached back to set the hook- even though the Cappy told us not to set the hook- I tried to move a beast of 100+lbs going one way with my line going the other way- BINK- gone!

Here is the Boca Grande Light.


Day 2- Jigging
We met the Cappy at 11am as instructed and we went to the Pass on the incoming tide to deep water jig for these fish. We would use a colored tiger/paddle tail on a 5-6ounce lead head with a circle hook wiretied to the leadhead. It is a comical set-up but it works.

It was tougher conditions today with a West wind at about 20knots. It was also a frustrating day as we were unable to get these Tarpon to bite the jigs- well they bit them, but no hookups! Then we fished the Hill Tide in the late afternoon until dark and we did not get any bites on Crabs. Things were looking BLEAK! Yet we were seeing Tarpon all day around us and on other boats.

Day 3- was altogether different. We met the Cappy at 6am and headed to the Pass to jig for the morning bite. It was on like Donkey Kong! We were now the jig masters and the 'Poons were hungry.

I forgot to mention that there was a Swedish Porn Star out there almost every day- fishing with these young guys from Norway and I guess here lucky Sugar Daddy
She was hot and teasing us EVERY day we were out there.

Anyway- we had tons of hookups but we now realize that there is more to it than hooking up! Once you hook up- you need to pull the Goliath out of the school of 500-1000 fish that it is in. It wants to stay in the schools to protect itself from the huge Hammerhead and Bull Sharks that are waiting for a tired Tarpon to leave the safety of the ranks. We hooked up and fought over a dozen Tarpon- but lines were broken all the time- either on sharp edges of the school, sharks, or the rocky ledges that are in the pass.

Boca Grande has the fastest running tide in the country so there is not much sand left in the pass. It is up to 75 feet deep and all rocks and ledges and caves. These hooked Tarpon run right under the ledge for protection and it's only a matter of time before you are broken off or a shark gets them. My buddy Todd Buonadonna did get one of his many hookups to the surface- and it was 180lb hog!!! All our fish were pre-spawn females and they were not interested in leaving the safety of the schools or the bottom of the Pass.

Here is Todd showing some disappointment after losing a fish to a shark after a 10 minute battle.


Since the bite was sooooo good on Tuesday- we decided to add a quick morning trip on Wednesday- because we just had to!!!! I'm glad we did!!! The 'Poons were "chewing the bottom out of the boat" as they say and I finally landed a Tarpon to the boat!!!!! It was a small one of 80lbs and knocked the heck out of me!!! My heart was racing and my adrenaline was pumped!!!


Here is the release:


It was truly a great day in my life and I just wanted to share it with everyone. This is world class fishing and I can't wait to go back down there.

We also witnessed a huge Bull Shark bite a mammoth Tarpon in half right next to the boat. It was not our fish- but you are fishing in such close quarters there- it is amazing to see. This shark took a 100+lb Tarpon and bit it in half- and gone!!!!! What a sight.

The boat handling required by these Boca Grande guides and Captains is nothing short of remarkable. They fish so close together that you could talk to other people as you would talk to someone at your dinner table. As soon as you get a fish on- the whole fleet motors over to you- b/c now they know where the school is. It's remarkable. This makes CM Rips fishing in November on a weekend look like fishing a lake all by yourself.

Sometimes tempers flair- but these people know how to work together and get the job done. When they get a double hookup- they pass the rod onto another boat- ANOTHER BOAT- because they cannot land two fish on the same boat. You have to chase these fish down and you are jockeying the boat in and out of the other boats- it's crazy!!! They call it Nascar fishing and was something to experience- even if you didn't get a fish.

OK- sorry to go so long. I guess the pictures tell the story but I will never forget my 1st striper and I will never forget my 1st trip for Boca Grande Pass Tarpon.

[ 06-29-2006, 06:37 PM: Message edited by: Partnership ]
 

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Cuz--

Wow all I can do is tell you how jealous I am. I am so sorry I didn't go. The pics are awesome but the story paints a much better picture. I can just picture you on the plane home jotting donw ideas of what to add in your post. A truly great trip with great fishing buddy's. I really felt like I was there with the accurate accounts of these monsters. I never knew that Boca Grande has the hardest running tide. Truly amazing. I am glad you had a AWESOME trip and got your picture and scale for a lifetime of memories! Again bro Congrats!
 

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NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE!

Great Shots Bro!!!!!!!
 

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Nice, nice job Tom

So what do you think of the Tarpon's fight ability ??

Pound for pound , not even a Marlin can compare


FISH ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everyone.

Dr. Bass- truthfully- I can't even imagine a fish of 150-180lbs! That fish was pulling sooooo hard- you could just feel the brute strength- it was amazing.

Mikey- next year brother!!!
 

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SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!
Hey Tom, I love the pics, but the story is the best. :eek: Wish I could of made it with you, sounds like a trip of a life time. Congrats on your first Poon.
How's next year look? :D
 

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Congrats on a great day of fishing and sounds like an incredible experience. Great story and pictures and thanks for sharing.

I was fishing for tarpon a few yrs ago under the 7 mile bridge in Marathon and was amazed at the Captains skills as he chased a tarpon between the bridge pilings in reverse :eek:

I've seen a nice shool while scuba diving at Looe Key Marine Sanctionary off of Big Pine and they truly are an amazing fish.
 

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Wow man!! Great great post. Loved it. It is really hard to convey just how awesome it is to fish the pass, but you did a fine job. My greatest fishing memories are from my one and only trip to Boca Grande. Simply awesome.



Congrats on the trip of a lifetime. And thanks for sharing with us all.
 

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ONE DAY, YES ONE DAY , I WILL GET THERE AND HOPE TO HAVE HALF AS GOOD OF A TIME AS YOU DID.....
WOULD LOVE TO TAKE MY DAD AND THE TWO SONS.....
 

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Tom, Your The Man !!! , Thanks For That Report Buddy,, Awesome PIC Of The Brute.....
 

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Tom, Glad you had a great trip! I've never caught anything stronger than tarpon. They're truly unreal. When are you going back? next week? :eek: :eek:
 
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