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Calming seas should improve tarpon fishing

By Staff | May 11, 2011

Tracy Barrette, visiting from Connecticut, caught this big tarpon on Mother's Day. He was fishing in 20 feet of water in the Gulf off Sanibel on a trip with Captain Bill Russell.

We had to deal with wind much of the week, but fortunately strong tides helped counter it and the bite wasn’t too bad. The wind finally calmed for the weekend giving us perfect weather for Mothers Day.

Still plenty of nice trout around, with fish up to eighteen inches reported in Matlacha Pass near the power lines, in Pine Island Sound between Captiva Rocks and the fish shacks and also between Demere Key and Chino Island. The best fishing occurred over the incoming tide in four to six foot depths with live shiners, shrimp or Berkley Gulp shad tails.

Afternoon high tides gave anglers good opportunities for red fishing along the shorelines with mixed results reported. Not in great numbers, but fish from seventeen to well over thirty inches were caught in areas including the east and west wall a half mile south of the Matlacha Bridge, Cabbage Key and the Keys south of Pineland. Shiners, shrimp and pinfish worked for live baiters and gold spoons or DOA Cal baits for artificials.

Wind made tarpon fishing a challenge on most days, once the seas calmed over the weekend fish were much more visible. On the windy days, many anglers found success by anchoring up and soaking either cut bait on bottom or a small live crab under a bobber. On the calm days, live Atlantic thread herring or horse shiners was a good choice. Tarpon were reported a short distance off the beaches from Knapp’s Point of Sanibel north to Boca Grande and also in Charlotte Harbor near Boca Grande Pass.

Tarpon fishermen also reported lots of sharks along the beaches, primarily blacktips but also a few hammerheads and spinners. Most averaged four to six feet that were boated.

Extra large Spanish mackerel were caught on tarpon rigs both off the beaches and in the Harbor, most were caught on large live thread herring either free lined or suspended under a bobber. Mackerel were also caught by shore-bound anglers from the Bokeelia and Sanibel Piers and off the beach near Blind Pass. From shore, Silver Clark spoons and white quarter ounce nylon jigs with an extra fast retrieve made good baits.

Now maybe, just maybe, the wind will cooperate for an extended period. Tarpon are here; give it a few days without the stiff breeze and the schools will tighten up.

Mother’s Day morning we were greeted with flat calm seas and the tarpon were beginning to show in good numbers off Sanibel, and they were hungry. Let’s hope the trend continues and you get that chance to hook-up with the mighty Silver King… now is the time!

If you have a fishing story or for charter information, please contact us at 239-283-7960 or www.fishpineisland.com. Have a safe week and good fishin’.