It is that time of year again, yup you guessed it, it’s Tarpon Fishing Season! If you have been out on the North End of Anna Maria Island lately, known as Bean Point. You may have noticed all the boats sitting side by side in the deep waters of Bean Point Pass jockeying for position to try and catch one of these once in a lifetime big game fish! You may have also noticed boats circling or casting at fish off the beach, or drifting Egmont Key, or trying their luck at any one of our bridges – especially the Sunshine Skyway.
When to Fish for Tarpon
During the Summer months of late May until late July, these fish can be found all around our areas in large numbers. You’ll likely identify them because of the anglers chasing them. The Southwest Florida area is a tarpon haven, and these fish pile up here during their annual migration starting on the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast of Florida. They can be found up the Gulf coast around Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas, and ending in Central America. They love the Anna Maria fishery due to the large amount of baitfish in our area, consisting of mainly what the locals call “shiners, threadfin (threadies), and sardines.”
More about Tarpons
Tarpon are also big fans of our Summer tidal flows that results in very large tidal drops for our Gulf waters of over 2 feet in just a few hours. This large tidal flush causes significant currents, especially around these “passes” where deep water channels meet our shallow flat areas or islands. This tidal flow not only flushes water through these passes, but it also brings these bait fish and small “pass” crabs. The tarpon sit in these narrow inlets and wait for the buffet to start… and so do the anglers!
Testing your Luck
Locals and tourists alike test their luck with these fish and is truly one of the best fishing experiences you’ll have. It is not uncommon to “jump” multiple tarpon in a single fishing day, and maybe “boat” a couple. What we mean by jump is exactly that, these fish love to jump when hooked. They are acrobatics at their core and the aerial display they put on when hooked is amazing. Even if you aren’t holding a fishing rod with a tarpon attached to the line, it is an amazing experience to just sit and watch the other anglers fight these fish.
Let’s Go “Boating”
Because of these acrobatics, these fish are very difficult to catch, or “boat” as we call it. Boating a fish counts when the leader line is touched, or the fish is safely grabbed to remove the hook. And ensuring the fish is unharmed, safe, and ready to be released. You may or may not know, but these fish are catch and release only, they are just a game fish. This ensures the safety of the species, helps to ensure a large population and fishing experiences for years to come. In fact, Tarpons are a very protected fish. No fish larger than 40 pounds can be brought on board of a boat for photos. Therefore, all the photos you see will be with anglers holding them in the water or alongside the boat. Tarpon fishing is truly one of the most fun times of the year. We highly recommend it for any experience level of angler. Our team of property managers would be happy to recommend some anglers to you, so don’t hesitate to ask. You can also check out our website and view our preferred fishing charter vendors.
AMI Locals recommends:
Justin Moore- http://moorefishing.com/
Jason Stock- http://www.jmsnookykayakcharters.com
Brian Peacock – http://www.baytobayfishingcharters.com/
Mac Gregory- https://www.facebook.com/CaptainMacGregory/
We have great local guides to help ensure a quality fishing experience for you. If Tarpon isn’t of interest, they can help you find many of the great fish species in our area. Some of the fish might be: Snook, Redfish, Grouper, Snapper, Trout, Permit, Pompano, Cobia, Tuna, Sailfish, and more!