Tarpon fishing done right

Tarpon My Way

Tarpon at the boat – mission accomplished

There are lots of ways to fish for tarpon in Boca Grande/Charlotte Harbor. They all have their appeal, but my way of fishing is fish stalking with lighter tackle and live bait during daylight hours. My way catches tarpon for my clients and provides a high level of excitement and satisfaction; it’s that simple.

Sight casting live bait on spinning tackle is not just exciting, but one of the most productive ways to catch tarpon. For those hunters out there, tarpon fishing is a lot like hunting. We start out looking for a school of what we call “happy tarpon.”  They are generally slow rolling, floating on the surface, or just finning. There is nothing like sneaking up on a happy school of tarpon with our trolling motor, and slinging a crab out and watching a giant tarpon sky rocketing out of the water 10 feet into the air.


Tarpon fishing in the peak of the Boca Grande/Charlotte Harbor season means lots of charter boats carrying clients are on the water. Unfortunately, many of those client-anglers have no idea they made the wrong choice for their charter captain.  I hate to see it, so DON’T BE THAT GUY.

Don’t be that guy stuck on a boat that doesn’t even have a trolling motor.
Don’t be that guy on a boat without live crabs in the live well
Don’t be that guy who booked a captain just because he has a couple of tournament trophies. Charter fishing isn’t tournament fishing, after all.
Don’t be that guy who fell for the “no-pay-tarpon guarantee.” The guarantee usually is that you will hook or jump a tarpon. It sounds great until you realize your guide stepped down to 30-pound-test leader just to get a bite, but the fish quickly cuts through the leader. My job is to not only find and hook tarpon, but ensure you land one.
Don’t be that guy who believes the guarantee means your guide will work harder for you because of a guarantee. In fact, it can be just the opposite – he won’t even try. I see it every year when a guarantee guide cancels your trip just because the fishing was a little tough the day before. He’s spooked by his own guarantee and the prospect of giving away a free trip, so you miss out while others booked with better guides are on the water catching fish
Don’t be that guy who booked a guide who only knows one way and one place to catch tarpon. Ask him where he plans to fish, and if he says Boca Grande Pass, ask him what happens if the fish are not there. Can he fish the beach, the harbor, the Hill?
Don’t be that guy who is embarrassed by his guide, because instead of finding tarpon for his clients, he follows reputable, fish-catching tarpon guides around in hopes the better guide will lead him to the fish. There is nothing more mortifying for those poor clients. I know, because I’ve seen it when those captains follow me.
Don’t be that guy who opts for a booking service thinking it’s the best way to go. While booking services do feature good tarpon guides, the downside is that many guides who have trouble booking trips also are part of these services, and there’s a reason they have trouble booking trips.