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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: tarpon

Florida West Central Fishing 4Cast, Floridasportsman.com, 11/9/17 by Capt. Ray Markham

by on Nov.11, 2017, under Bradenton and Sarasota, St. Pete Beaches, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs

Coming off last weekend’s full moon, anglers posted a variety of reports ranging from brisk action on Spanish mackerel, kingfish, and gag grouper to trout, pompano, and snook. The action this weekend may be a little threatened by an incoming cold front that may kick up seas and blow beginning Friday. Pay close attention to the weather and make sure all your safety gear is in order if you decide to head out.

Tom Tait with a nice pompano, caught on a CAL Jig with a grub tail while fishing with Capt. Ray Markham aboard the Flat Back II.

OFFSHORE/ NEARSHORE

Gag grouper are where you find them right now. Water temperatures in the Gulf are beginning to cool and gags are slowly moving toward shore. Long runs to 125-foot depths are still producing some big gags for anglers, but just inside Tampa Bay, the Ship’s Channel is producing some nice fish for both trolling and bait-soaking anglers. To the north, Hernando anglers are finding gag grouper on shallow rock bottoms in depths ranging from 8 to 15-feet of water. These shallows allow for some topwater lure action. Larger crank baits like the Bomber Long A and or the slow sinking MirrOlure 77M twitchbait are excellent at this depth range. For anglers trolling depths from 25-to 40-feet, the Mann’s Stretch series in the model made for the depth fished are very good as is the MirrOlure 111MR 25+ and 113MR lures in orange with gold sides can troll up some nice gag and red grouper.

Mike Mahoney, of T. A. Mahoney Co., Inc. in Tampa trolled up some nice gag grouper in 35-to 45-feet of water in the bay this week. Mahoney was trolling inside the bay using a #3 planer with bright colored lures his green and pink plugs caught the largest gags they pulled out of the bay. Mahoney and some of the area’s top guides will be speaking at next weekend’s Reel Animals Fishing Show at the Florida State Fairground’s Expo Hall. On hand will be one of the nation’s top outdoor writers and former outdoors editor for the Tampa Tribune, Frank Sargeant.

Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina reported some ‘extreme’ action aboard this week’s 12-hour extreme trip. Anglers boated a 40-pound gag grouper and broke off a handful more that would have made the 40-pounder look small. They also broke off a huge wahoo that was estimated at 90-pounds. On their 44-hour trip, anglers whacked the snapper on the full moon. Mangrove, yellowtail, and lane snapper bit all night. Cobia and tripletail action was non-stop, according to Hubbard. This time of year is right for fishing and there’s no better time to book a trip. Go to http://HubbardsMarina.com for more information.

Anglers fishing with Capt. Rick Grassett out of CB Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key reported steady action along the beaches with fly anglers catching little tunny, i.e. false albacore or bonito, Spanish mackerel, and tripletail.

INSHORE

The flats from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs have seen some better trout over the past few weeks. Many anglers are reporting upper teen sized trout being caught on live shrimp under popping corks and on DOA Deadly Combos. Snook fishing seems to have slowed a bit in the area, but anglers continue to catch redfish in the Palm Harbor area around oyster bars on the flood tides using whitebait and gold spoons.

Look for the weekend’s slower tides to slow the action somewhat, but you can use the wind to your advantage by setting up between pinch points where wind blows through an area, producing an ambush area for predators.

FRESHWATER

Anglers reported some good bass fishing action on the lake at Walsingham Reservoir in Pinellas County. Using the new DOA PT-7 bass to 5-pounds were landed here. The large worm hook on the lure allows the lure to be cast into and around structure where these large bass are hiding. Give one a try. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham

(941) 723-2655

Ray.markham@gmail.com

www.CaptainRayMarkham.com

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 5/23/2015

by on May.24, 2015, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Fly anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, continued to have action with tarpon on several trips in the coastal gulf in Sarasota during the past week. We had multiple shots at tarpon, several bites and jumped one. Tarpon were plentiful as we came off a new moon, but a west wind pattern for most of the week made conditions tough due to rough water.

Jon Yenari, from Sarasota, FL, fished with me on Friday. With very challenging conditions, he hooked up with a tarpon on a fly, got 4 or 5 jumps and fought the fish for a few minutes before it chewed through his 80-pound bite tippet. Well done!

Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf should be a good option especially towards the end of the week when tides improve as we get closer to a full moon. Look for reds, snook and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars. Catch and release sight fishing for snook in the surf with flies or DOA Lures should also be a good option. You may also find trout, Spanish mackerel, blues or pompano on deep grass flats, particularly close to passes.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 5/17/2015

by on May.17, 2015, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had action with tarpon in the coastal gulf in Sarasota during the past week. Fly anglers had shots at tarpon, a couple of eats and jumped one and a spin fishing angler caught and released a tarpon on a live bait. Large schools of tarpon were on the move early in the day, particularly towards the end of the week.

Denis Clohisy, from WI, and Jim Dempsey, from IL, tarpon fished with fly and spinning tackle in the coastal gulf with me on Monday and Tuesday. We sight cast with DOA baits and flies in shallow water and drifted live baits in deep water where Jim caught and released a tarpon on a pinfish. A great job on his first tarpon!

Fly anglers got some action later in the week. We had some shots, a couple of eats and one hookup. Clark Keator, from the Orlando area, fished with me on Thursday and Friday. He had some shots early in the day both days and hooked up with one on a fly, getting several jumps before the fish jumped off.

Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf should be a good option as we head towards a new moon on Monday. Look for reds, snook, flounder and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars. You may also find trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, flounder or pompano on deep grass flats, particularly close to passes.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Launches Genetics Program, Calls for Angler Help

by on Jun.10, 2014, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Bonefish and Tarpon Trust is excited to officially announce the launch of our Bonefish Genetics and Tarpon Genetics Programs. These two programs will use tissue samples collected by anglers for genetic analysis to determine the extent that bonefish and tarpon in different locations are related. We are asking anglers who fish for bonefish and tarpon to collect tissue samples from the fish they catch (a scale for tarpon, a fin clip for bonefish), and then submit the samples to us for analysis. Our focus is the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and southeastern US. We are especially interested in tarpon DNA samples that come from outside the state of Florida, but all samples will be helpful. We already know from tagging research that bonefish have a relatively small home range except for spawning migrations, while tarpon are capable of undergoing long-distance migrations. The goal of the Bonefish Genetics Program is to determine the extent that bonefish populations in different locations in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic are related. The goal of the Tarpon Genetics Program is to determine if there is a single, regional tarpon population or multiple sub-populations. The data will provide invaluable information to help us guide management strategies. But, these multi-year programs will only be successful if anglers and guides participate.
To obtain a bonefish genetics or tarpon genetics sampling kit, please email info@bonefishtarpontrust.org or call 321-674-7758.
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Tarpon statewide snagging definition, gear rules in Boca Grande Pass changes effective Nov. 1, 2013

by on Oct.29, 2013, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

Changes that will add language to the current statewide snagging definition for tarpon and modify what types of gear can be used when fishing in Boca Grande Pass will go into effect Nov. 1.
These changes will provide further protection for this iconic fish.


The first part of the adopted changes includes adding language to the snagging definition to prohibit catching or attempting to catch tarpon that have not been attracted or enticed to strike an angler’s gear. This change will apply to tarpon fishing statewide. The current definition for snagging or snatch-hooking is the intentional catch of a fish by any device intended to impale or hook the fish by any part of its body other than the mouth. Adding language specifying that gear must entice the fish to strike with, and become hooked in, its mouth will help further protect tarpon from the act of snagging.
The second part of the changes prohibits fishing with gear that has a weight attached to a hook, artificial fly or lure in such a way that the weight hangs lower than the hook when the line or leader is suspended vertically from the rod (see photo below). This change will apply to fishing for all species year-round within Boca Grande Pass.

If this prohibited gear is on board a fishing vessel while inside the boundaries of the pass, it cannot be attached to any rod, line or leader and must be stowed. This change will further reduce the likelihood that tarpon in Boca Grande Pass will be snagged.
These changes will provide further protection for tarpon.
To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Tarpon.”

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Tarpon, Bonefish Become Catch & Release Only in Florida Sept. 1, 2013

by on Aug.27, 2013, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

From The Fishing Wire:

Two premier recreational fisheries will soon have new protections in place, a measure aimed at ensuring that tarpon and bonefish’s economic and fishing value remain for generations to come. Tarpon and bonefish become catch-and-release only fisheries beginning Sept. 1.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved these proactive management measures at its June 12 meeting in Lakeland. The catch-and-release proposal was adopted in recognition of the fact that the economic and fishing values of bonefish and tarpon greatly exceed their value as food fishes.

The following changes will go into effect Sept. 1 in state and federal waters off Florida:

  • All harvest of tarpon will be eliminated, with the exception of the harvest or possession of a single tarpon when in pursuit of an International Game Fish Association record and in conjunction with a tarpon tag.
  • Tarpon tags will be limited to one per person, per year except for properly licensed charter boat captains and fishing guides.
  • Transport or shipment of tarpon becomes limited to one fish per person.
  • There will be a one-fish-per-vessel limit for tarpon.
  • Gear used for tarpon will be limited to hook-and-line only.
  • Multiple hooks in conjunction with live or dead natural bait cannot be used to target or harvest tarpon, or to target bonefish.
  • People will be allowed to temporarily possess a tarpon for photography, measurement of length and girth and scientific sampling, with the stipulation that tarpon more than 40 inches must remain in the water.
  • Tarpon regulations will extend into federal waters.
  • The bonefish tournament exemption permit is eliminated. This exemption allowed tournament anglers with the proper permit to temporarily possess bonefish for transport to a tournament scale.

To learn more about tarpon and bonefish, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater” and “Recreational Regulations.”
– See more at: http://www.thefishingwire.com/story/297121#sthash.OAvlfoyU.dpuf

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FWC Takes Action Regarding Catch-and-Release Status of Tarpon and Bonefish

by on Jun.17, 2013, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

From Frank Sargeant, Editor, The Fishing Wire:

Florida’s FWC agreed to make tarpon and bonefish gamefish, allowing no harvest of bones and only one tarpon per year in pursuit of records, with a state permit. The commission also presented a draft rule that would ban the break-away jig that has been at the heart of so much controversy in tarpon fishing at Boca Grande Pass for the last 20 years-the proposal will be acted upon at the next commission meeting in Sept. 4-6 in Pensacola. Meantime, jig fishermen say they have already crafted a new lure that will get around the ruling-so the dockside arguments are likely to continue.

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Florida Makes Tarpon, Bonefish Catch-And-Release Only

by on Jun.13, 2013, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), at its June 12 meeting in Lakeland, approved a proposal to make tarpon and bonefish catch-and-release-only fisheries and moved forward with a proposal to modify the types of gear used to target tarpon in Boca Grande Pass.

This catch-and-release proposal was adopted in recognition of the fact that the economic and fishing value of bonefish and tarpon greatly exceed their value as food fishes.

The following changes will go into effect Sept. 1 in state and federal waters off Florida:

All harvest of tarpon will be eliminated, with the exception of the harvest or possession of a single tarpon when in pursuit of an IGFA record and in conjunction with a tarpon tag.

Tarpon tags will be limited to one per person, per year (except for charter boat captains).

Transport or shipment of tarpon becomes limited to one fish per person.

One fish per vessel limit is created for tarpon.

Gear used for tarpon will be limited to hook-and-line only.

People will be allowed to temporarily possess a tarpon for photography, measurement of length and girth and scientific sampling, with the stipulation that tarpon more than 40 inches must remain in the water.

Tarpon regulations will extend into federal waters.

The bonefish tournament exemption permit is eliminated. This exemption allows tournament anglers with the proper permit to temporarily possess bonefish for transport to a tournament scale.

The Commission also approved modifying the tarpon tag program by eliminating the current reporting requirements and shifting the start and end date for when the tarpon tag is valid from July through June to a calendar year, January through December. These rules will be changed in FWC code and will go into effect Sept. 1.

The Commission also moved forward with a two-part proposal that would include adding language to the current statewide snagging definition and modifying what types of gear could be used to target tarpon in Boca Grande Pass. The proposal would add language that prohibits catching or attempting to catch tarpon that have not been attracted or enticed by the angler’s gear to the snagging definition that applies statewide. This change would apply to tarpon fishing statewide. The second part of the proposal would prohibit fishing with gear that has a weight attached to the bottom of a hook. This change would apply to fishing for all species year-round within Boca Grande Pass.

This proposal will be brought back for a final public hearing at the Sept. 4-6 meeting in Pensacola.

To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and click on “Commission Meetings” and “Agenda.” – See more at: http://www.thefishingwire.com/story/290792#sthash.6E82VaNx.dpuf

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The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

by on Oct.02, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Marco and The 10,000 Islands, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Naples, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, St. Pete Beaches, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, The Sunshine Skyway and Beyond to Egmont, Upper Charlotte Harbor

The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

It’s been a long time coming, but the University Press of Florida has just released my second fishing book.  If you’re a native and wanting more information on the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Chassahowitzka to Chokoloskee, you need this book.  If you’re planning to winter in Florida, you need this book.  Everyone needs this book. The Table of Contents is outlined below.

To order, simply click on the link on the sidebar to the right of this page and you’ll be taken to Amazon.com.  Thanks–and enjoy!

Part One–The Destinations

1.  Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida

2.  The Upper Suncoast-Hernando and Pasco Counties

3.  Tarpon Springs and North Pinellas County

4.  St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Peninsula

5.  Old Tampa Bay, Tampa and The Bay’s Eastern Shore

6.  Manatee and Sarasota Counties-The Gateway to Tropical Florida

7.  Charlotte Harbor and Her Gulf Islands

8.  Fort Myers, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva

9.  Naples, Marco and The Ten Thousand Islands

Part Two–Practical Matters

10. It’s All About The Fish…

11. …And How to Catch Them

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Inshore bite heats up as tarpon numbers rise By Capt. Ray Markham, May 14, 2012

by on May.14, 2012, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

Despite slower tides toward the week’s end, this past week anglers fishing aboard my Action Craft flats skiff, the Flat Back II experienced some good action with snook, trout, and redfish. Black sea bass and flounder were a couple of other critters on the catch list, but the “big 3” were tops this week.
Largest trout of the week, taping out at just over 23-inches came on a MirrOlure Top Dog while fishing with Michael ‘Mookie’ Wilson with the Lakeland Ledger newspaper and online website, www.polkoutdoors.com. I managed a Grand slam in first 30-minutes of our trip using CAL Jigs with Shad tails and a MirrOlure Top Dog in the ‘18’color, (greenback). We saw a solid top water bite for a couple of hours in the morning while fishing the major solunar period under an overcast sky that kept the light subdued. Tides never really moved much, turning the bite into a slower process, but we worked at it, producing a fine catch for the day.
Tarpon are showing up in a little better numbers and by the weekend, they should be in a feeding mood for the new moon next Sunday. Early and late day outgoing tides should be the most productive. While many anglers will choose to fish the sunrise tide, a good portion will opt for the big outgoing drop late in the day towards sundown. Wind conditions are usually much better early in the day before the sun gets up very high. Sight casting opportunities for fly anglers will likely be optimal after the sun comes up on the beaches. Several patterns are productive for fly anglers with baitfish patterns tops during incoming tides. Lefty’s Deceiver in black or purple or black and purple work well. Crab patterns could produce on the outgoing tides nearest the new moon.
Artificial lure anglers can score tarpon on the Trolling model DOA Baitbuster, the 4-inch Shrimp, and on the Swimming Mullet from DOA. MirrOlure Catch 2000 with beefed up hooks are one of my top producing hard baits for poons when fishing shallow water just off the beaches in near the mouth of the Manatee River or Terra Ceia Bay. Skyway tarpon tend to prefer the DOA Baitbuster.
Snook are getting easier to catch due to the heavy feeding pattern these fish encounter as the prepare to go into their spawn. The fish will concentrate, staging up in passes and on the beaches while they are there for the spawn. Catch and release fishing for these fish only is permitted during the season closure. It’s best to crimp down barbs on hook to make for an easier release that will also cause minimal harm to the fish so it can be released. Beach fish can be caught on Eppinger Rex gold spoons in the 1/2-ounce model. Baitfish are the staple in their diets while on the beaches. DOA Shrimp drifted in the current around the passes work well around the new moons. If currents are running hard, a small split shot attached a foot or so up the line will get the DOA Shrimp down to the bottom where the majority of the fish will hang.

Capt. Ray Markham runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia and can be reached for charter at (941) 228-3474 or via email at flatback@tampabay.rr.com.

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