Sharks? We got them. All species and sizes. Offshore, in the passes, inshore, in the river, which is why I swim in my pool. Recently Mote Marine tagged their largest hammerhead (caught by Capt. Bo Johnson) at 13.5 feet. Tarpon are getting eaten at an alarming rate by hungry packs of big bull sharks in Boca Grande. Capt. Wholean reported in Water Life magazine that up to 90 percent of Boca tarpon catches he witnessed in May where attacked by sharks.
This only adds fuel to the fire of Boca Grande tarpon tournament protesters.
If you want to get in on the action either by boat or shore, preparation is fairly simple: 40-pound test line to a strong swivel then add a length of 100-pound test single strand wire to a 8/0 - 10/0 circle hook. Anchor and put the chum bag over the side and let the current disperse the oils and scent and sit tight.
Capt. George Tunison
Bait rods with a chunk of mullet, ladyfish, bonito, jack - practically anything oily - and hang on.
Shore-based anglers sometimes employ a kayak to run their baits out a hundred yards or so offshore to get in on the action. Something about being in a kayak at night with 13-foot hammerheads patrolling the local waters would make me a little more than apprehensive.
Make sure to gut, bleed and ice immediately after catching any shark bound for the grill and make sure you take home the right species as several are now thankfully protected.
According to who you talk to, tarpon fishing for the most part has been tough this season. A longtime member of the Cape Coral Tarpon Club told me the same, saying that even their star members are catching but putting in many long hours to hook up.
Boca Pass and along the beaches seems to be the real go-to destinations using small blue and pass crabs for live baits. Never overlook Captiva Pass for tarpon. Typically catfish tails are preferred bottom bait but this year chunk mullet seem to be out fishing kitty parts.
My favorite tarpon fishing is at night in the river under all the bridges but this year it's been really hit or miss. As with any fishing, it's put in your time and pay your dues.
Capt. Rob's Bait and Tackle tells me the same concerning bridge tarpon at night but suggests anglers find snook at the mouth of the river. Mangrove snapper and trout fishing is picking up as well.
The absence of live bait this year has really thrown a kink into the plans of many that depend on cast nets full of live chum to get their fish in a cooperative mood.
I've been doing well on snook up to 41 inches around docks and islands near the passes on jigs and twitch baits. Not all the big boys are at the passes as Wednesday night there was a huge feeding frenzy of big snook chowing down under a local Matlacha bridge as reported by folks on foot returning from local watering holes.
It's hard to beat a plain white bucktail jig in 1/4 to 3/8 oz sizes for snook. Arm one rod with a white bucktail and another with a Zman white plastic grub to cover your snook jig attack plan. If you're a jig angler that hops your bait back to you and you aren't getting results, try retrieving in a straight line.
As with fishing any lure, always experiment with retrieve speed, action, color and size and let the fish tell you what they want.
Redfish are eating in the shade so get out there and put shrimp (fresh or frozen) or pinfish on your circle hook and get it in a deep hole or under the bushes. Don't be afraid to add 3-5 smaller shrimp on your hook to make a meal for a never picky piggy redfish.