Friday, June 19, 2009

Boca Tarpon, Clearwater Snook

Heat of the Summer is Here! 6/18/2009

man with snook

Hello everyone. It's been a while. I have been staying very busy fishing from Clearwater for inshore and near shore species, to Boca Grande for the Tarpon. It's very warm here, and just like always our tactics have changed to keep the fishing interesting. Also, my Dorado 23 boat has been a great change for me and by the next report I promise to have pictures of it on my website. I have had some awesome trips the past few weeks. Big tarpon in the Boca area and some big Snook around Clearwater. The Snook featured as my report 'pic of the month' was caught just recently while reef fishing. It measured out at 47 inches!!! We'll get to the details later. I also participated in the Old Salt's Ladies Tournament where we took 1st and 2nd in Spanish Mackerel! I hope you all have had a good summer so far. Here is what is going on out there..
First we'll start with the Tarpon. I have been taking the majority of my trips to Boca Grande. The Tarpon concentrate in that area better than anywhere in the world. I have been jig fishing in the pass in morning and then changing focus to the beach or east towards the shallow part of the harbor called 'The Hill'. We throw threadfin herring or crabs at the fish once they get out of the deep cuts of the pass. The sizes have all ranged from 60 - 180 lbs! You just never know what size fish is going to eat your bait! It can be frustrating too. Somedays, the Tarpon will eat everything you throw at them, then somedays not touch a thing. That's just fishing. There are reports of great Tarpon fishing around the Skyway Bridge in South Tampa Bay, as well as The Clearwater Pass bridge in Clearwater. There are also fish moving up the beaches from Indian shores towards Honeymoon. After the last big moon, the numbers dwindled a bit but they are starting to show again pretty well. There is still a few weeks of good Tarpon fishing to be had.
Snook are really doing well. They were a little late getting to the beaches this year but it seems like everything was a little later due to our strange spring, full of cold fronts. I have been using sardines as well as threadfins to target these fish. The usual hangouts, troughs and cuts, within feet of the shore line is my favorite place to look. We have had winds out of the west for weeks now, making it a little more difficult to sight the fish on the west side of the barrier islands such as Honeymoon and Caladesi. But, with years of experience, I can usually get in the zone for some action. I often hear of divers spotting large schools of huge Snook at our offshore reefs. Well this past week, my client and friend Rick Fisher hooked a strong fish while dropping cut sardines to the bottom for some Mangrove Snapper. We had caught some nice Mangroves and a few small Grouper when this fish hit hard!! I suspected it was larger Grouper or Cobia but we had no idea what was at the end of the line. To my surprise, it was the largest Snook I have ever seen. We got her in took a couple pics (on my cell phone camera) and released this giant back to the reef in 30 feet of water, alive and healthy. The next fish was a 33' Cobia. Those were great fish!!! Wish my digital camera wasn't broken!
Trout are plentiful on the flats near the passes with good tidal flow. 3 - 6 feet of water on the edge of the grass has been the best. Sardines and a little split shot as the sun gets higher in the middle of the day can produce several fish. They are mostly between 13 - 17 inches with a couple approaching 20 inches.
Redfishing has slowed with the high heat of the season. The docks and deeper mangrove edges on high tides are the place to focus when the sun is high. The shade attracts Reds, Snook and bait and can be the best way to hook a few keeper Reds. Cut sardines with a split shot to the hook is my favorite tactic here. We will also catch a few Reds and Trout on the beaches while Snook fishing in the troughs.
I have the freedom to run out to some near shore reefs with my new boat. The action is good with the Mangrove Snapper and smaller Grouper or anything else hanging around down there. It can save the day when inshore fishing is slow.
Don't wait all summer to get out here and have some fun. Families are welcome and I have had lots of them lately. I can take four people on this boat. Hope to hear from you soon and get you out there for great day. Capt. Brian.

Capt. Brian
Capt. Brian Caudill

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