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‘Tarpon Capital of the World’

May 28, 2009
FL Guide

In late spring and summer, anglers take over Boca Grande for some of the best sportfishing around.

Boca Grande is known by many as the "tarpon capital of the world." This title comes from historic major tarpon tournaments usually held between May and July, when tarpon migrate to Boca Grande Pass by the thousands. This year, after a disappointing tournament in 2005, the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce skipped holding "the World's Richest Tarpon Tournament." But the Boca Grande Fishing Guides held their tournament for anglers.

Most game and sport fishing takes place outside the tournaments. Visitors often book a half- or full-day outing with a professional fishing guide for a more personal tour of the natural wonders of the island.

Numerous captains offer charters.

The Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association has more than 60 professional fishing guides as members who specialize in all types of fishing. Visit the group's Web site at

Fact Box

Rules of Boca Grande Pass

These rules are a guideline for all to follow. Due to the large number of boats in Boca Grande Pass, there must be some harmony among all involved. Keep in mind that the objective is to show clients and guests professionalism and a great time. By following these rules, we can all be winners and friends, hopefully. We have the best fishing in the world. Let's enjoy and preserve it.

1 "Short Drifting" is the most disruptive method

of boat operation and it is despised by all experienced pass fisherman. It causes hard feelings and sets off a chain reaction when one crowds in between drifting boats, which then continues to the next boat causing chaos for everyone in the fleet. The end result is fewer fish caught and the more quickly spooked fish will move to another location.

2 When finished with a drift, move back to the

head of the pack on the outside of the drifting boats, NOT through them.

3 Operate your boat in the pass among other

tarpon boats at a rate of speed that does not create a wake, especially in areas of shallow water known as the "pan" and "hill."

4 Keep the engine(s) running at all times and

keep your boat positioned so as not to disrupt another boat's drift.

5 Do not position your boat during a drift in

front of or under the bow of another boat.

6 Use tackle sufficient enough to control a

tarpon with a minimum of 50 pound test line. Do not follow the fish.

7 Once hooked, control the tarpon with your

boat and take the fish out of the pack as quickly as possible before finishing the fight and releasing the fish.

8 In case two boats tangle with each other's

lines, the boat with the fish should move out of the fleet. The other boat with no fish should release his drag and then go alongside and slightly ahead of the boat with the tarpon. The hook will slide up the tight line of hooked fish and it can then be easily removed at the rod tip by the captain. Be sure and give enough slack so he can easily remove the hook.

9 Do NOT

anchor in the pass!

10 Try to adhere to these rules. Watch and do

what the pros do and you will have fewer problems. If you need help, ask a professional guide.

Source: Boca Grande Fishing Guides Assoc.



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