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Fishing Reports

It’s beach time baby!

By Fishing Reports

With three full weeks under my belt on this year’s tarpon season in Boca Grande has finally started to get some normalcy to it. The fish have finally left the pass and moved out on to the surrounding beaches. It is nice to see happy fish rolling up and down the beach with nobody driving over them and dropping balls of lead on them. 

Again the days in Boca Grande start early with a 6am pick up we are on the beach before daylight looking for the telltale swirls and slicks of happy schools of fish. Today I was fishing my longest tenured client and good friend, we have literally been fishing together since 1999. 

Apparently the holiday weekend was starting today, as we drove past Boca Grande pass it was already full of boats zipping around trying to get on top of the fish. Anyway we moved on down the beach in search of the Tarpon. It wasn’t long before we spotted some rolling fish, I put the trolling motor in the water and moved us into position for a cast. The first crab hit on the edge of where the fish were rolling and as the crab sank it was inhaled by a hungry Tarpon, as soon as the line came tight a silver missile erupted through the surface and started peeling drag. It took about 20 minutes to get the Tarpon boat side for a quick picture and then revive her and off she swam. 

The sun was up and we could now see just how big the school of Tarpon actually was, and it was no problem getting back in position for another shot at them. The Tarpon were still rolling slowly which is always a good sign, we fired two crabs into the mass of fish and were again rewarded with a hungry Tarpon that wanted nothing to do with his chosen breakfast. Again the fish did everything it could to lose us but the Owner hook stayed put and the Tarpon was boat side for another quick picture and release.

By now there were a few boats starting to migrate down the beach and our school had been discovered, so we decided to move north up the beach and look for more Tarpon rolling happily along. It didn’t take to long before we saw a large area of muddy water, as we approached it the side scan on my Simrad showed me that there was a school of Tarpon making the mud. We again set up and put crabs into the area, it took a few minutes but one of the lines came tight and once again we were fighting a silver king. This one was a little slicker than the first two and was able to throw the hook back at us after three spectacular jumps. 

 The rest of the morning went very similar to the first hour up until 10am, when it seemed as if the dinner bell quit ringing. After throwing crabs at several different schools with no takers we decided it was time for lunch and called it a day.

 It is very nice to have fish on the beach and not have to deal with the traffic in the ditch.

 

Till tomorrow tight lines,

Capt. Greg DeVault 

Boca Grande Tarpon Season has been AWESOME so far!

By Fishing Reports

May is always one of my favorite months to fish as it means Tarpon are here, and the past couple of weeks have made that statement very true. This year’s Boca Grande Tarpon season has been awesome so far with tons of fish here and more on their way up from the south. The last couple of days we have finally seen a reprieve in the wind, at least for a couple of days. 

On Saturday I was able to fish a good client and his two sons, who were on their first trip to Boca Grande, and the Tarpon did not disappoint. As we arrived at the pass while it was still dark, but you could see the white water from Tarpon blowing up on the surface. There were already a handful of boats there already and it was obvious that the tarpon were having crabs for breakfast, we quickly baited up and got a crab in the water, and before I could get the second crab in the water the first drag was already screaming and the fight was on. We fought a 100-pound tarpon for about 20 minutes before we had him boat side, the bite continued for about an hour and we were able to jump one more tarpon. As the sun came up the rest of the fleet showed up and just like that the bite died off.

On Sunday I had longtime clients and great friends Kevin and Becky, they brought along their niece and her husband Travis. We again arrived in the pass before daylight to see the Tarpon happy and on the surface busting crabs, we quickly got a crab out and hooked a Tarpon who made short work of the crab and unfortunately our hook also. As we eased to the outside of the tarpon to move back into position,  but it was obvious that the rest of the fleet was not sleeping in today. It did not take long for the Tarpon to go to the bottom and hunker down and quit eating. We decided to leave the weekend warriors in the pass and go find some quieter water and happy tarpon on the beautiful beaches of Boca Grande. We were able to locate a small school of Tarpon and got set up and put crabs in them, it took about 5 cast to them before Travis’s line came tight and a huge 150lb. Tarpon exploded through the surface. The fish took us up the beach for about 15 minutes and when we got her boat side we were very close to the beach, so we decided to get Travis the picture he has wanted for a long time, a beach shot.  After some great shots we revived the big girl and watched her swim off in the crystal clear water. 

With all the boats in the pass, the beach traffic was very light and we were able to get right back on our school of Tarpon, we got set up and Kevin made a great cast and the line came tight almost immediately. The Tarpon blasted through the surface twisting and flipping like an Olympic gymnast, and when she hit the water she also made a beeline for the beach. Kevin had the fish boat side after three more jumps and we found ourselves right on the beach again, so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and get Kevin and Becky their beach shot also.

Today is the first rainy day we have had and it looks like we are finally going to get into our summer patterns with afternoon storms this week, this will fire up and already good bite here in Boca Grande. If you have never fought a giant Tarpon or just want to do it again give me a call and we can get it set up.

Till tomorrow tight lines,

Capt. Greg DeVault

There’s nothing like tarpon season!

By Fishing Reports

There is nothing quite like Tarpon season. Every day starts at 4:30 and ends usually around dark and in between, there are some of the greatest memories any fisherman will have.

After picking up my clients this morning at Boca Grande we headed out to Boca Grande pass to see what was happing. As usual, the pass was loaded with fish and because it was the weekend it was also loaded with boats at 6AM, but the fish were extremely active and everyone with a crab on there hook was hooked up. We moved to the west of the fish and put out two crabs and set our drift to go right through the school on the incoming tide, just as I started to mark the giant school on my Simrad one of our lines came tight and a bolt of silver crashed through the surface, we were ON! As the other line was brought in, it also came tight and another Tarpon flew through the air….Double, and we were 10 minutes into the charter. As with most doubles, the fish very rarely go the same direction, so we tightened the Shimano drag down on the smaller of the two and attempted to guide him as best we could. A double on the beach is not a problem, but in the pass it is not exactly what you want, however, we were able to get one of the fish under control while the other fish with a very tight drag was jumping like a rabbit and would finally throw the hook. We could now concentrate on the other fish and after a great fight we had our first fish of the morning boat side.

As the morning proceeded, it became very apparent it was the weekend, by 8am the pass was very crowded and we decided to leave the weekend warriors and go find other Tarpon. We decided to run down the beach in search for some schools of fish, but it was slim Pickens as the water is still a little to cool for them to be in good numbers out there yet. And the weekend traffic was again making it tough to find Tarpon that were happy. So we decided to run south to a big sandbar that traditionally has Tarpon on it early in May, as we arrived I saw a few fish role and got us set up to intercept them. The water is so clear right now that you can see everything in it and it makes it very easy to spot and follow the fish. The group of Tarpon were moving right to us and we put two crabs right in their path, as soon as the Tarpon got to them one of our lines came tight and we were hooked up again. This time we had plenty of room and we were able to watch the Tarpon fly through the air several times before finally dislodging the hook. But man what a show she put on, and that is really the best part or fighting a tarpon, especially after you get your picture with one first thing.

Tomorrow is Sunday and I’m sure the crowds will be back, but it will be Monday soon!

 

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Capt. Greg DeVault

Boca Grande Tarpon Fishing

By Fishing Reports

Hello again, it has been a little while since my last report, but May and June mean Tarpon season and all that comes with it. I move down to beautiful Boca Grande Florida for a couple months and do nothing but chase tarpon for my clients for two months. This also means very long days, with most days having two trips, so I start at 5 AM and if I’m lucky I’m done by 8 PM. But I would not have it any other way and now that I have gotten into somewhat of a routine the reports should be much more consistent.

This report will kind of be an over view of the first 13 days here in Boca Grande. As usual for early May the one constant is the wind, seems like we are always dealing with it until mid May. However the Tarpon have shown up in huge numbers and Boca Grande Pass is choked full of them, unfortunately this is the only place they want to be right now. So the beaches that are usually flush with migrating tarpon are not seeing many traveling fish, and the little hidden spots that will usually produce are also void of the silver kings. The only problem that this brings up is it puts all of the fisherman in one area, the pass, and the pass is wide open to the wind. But on the up side the Tarpon have been hungry, we have been hooking and landing several fish on each trip. Small crabs have been the ticket to get them to eat and stay on the hook, we have had a very good hook up to landing ratio this year so far and hopefully that continues. 

For those that have never experienced the thrill of catching a giant Tarpon, there is nothing quite like the strength and speed of a Tarpon. They will take 100 yards of line in an instant and then rocket 10 feet in the air doing all types of twist and flips to dislodge the hook. It is a instant rush of adrenaline and for those that have had the chance to do it, it is an addiction.

There is another part of Tarpon fishing on the coast of Boca Grande that gets over looked by many just because the Tarpon garner most of the attention, and that is the shear beauty and tranquility of the water we fish in for these fish. A lot of our day is spent idling along some of the prettiest beaches the state of Florida has to offer, a lot of time without another boat in sight. And the waters are so clear that the sand turns them into an amazing turquois color that is mesmerizing, and then there are the Tarpon that give any angler the memory of a lifetime with just one jump!

It is not hard to understand why so many people come back each year to do battle with the king and then just sit back and soak in all the natural beauty that goes with it. If you have not done this yet, you really need to.

Till tomorrow tight lines,

Capt. Greg DeVault

New Port Richey Trout & Cobia

By Fishing Reports

Fishing report 4-21-20

March and April can be very tricky months to fish at times, it can be the best of the year or it can be very tough sometimes on two consecutive days. The main reason for this is because we are still getting cold fronts trying to move through the state, some make it and some don’t. It is never easy to predict what the fish will do after we have had a week or so of warm beautiful weather and then a front comes through and literally the weather turns 180 degrees. That was the case this morning as I got to the ramp to head out for bait. The warm humid air and light south winds were replaced by cool crisp air with a sturdy northwest breeze, not optimal conditions for where I have been catching bait, but the water temperature held up through the night so I was hopeful it would still be there.

As I arrived on the flat it was much choppier and the water was no longer gin clear, but as I started to chum up the bait I could see the flashes of what I was looking for. The first throw was a good one but that would be it, for the next hour every throw would only hold ten or twelve pilchards and a few pinfish. I kind of expected it and even though I had to throw the net several more times than I wanted to, I was able to get enough bait to make it through the day.

As I was heading back to Anclote River Park in New Port Richey to meet my charter, I was wondering what the weather change would do to the fish. One way or another I was going to find out soon enough. We were right on the start of a good incoming tide, so I decided to run south to a rock jetty off of Tarpon Springs that I have been doing very good on big Gator Trout on just this tide. As we pulled in I could see the current was moving around the top of the jetty and through the hole just like we needed it to. The only good thing about a NW wind was it was right at our back for this spot and we could stay off a good ways and make long cast with it. After four or five casts and drifts through the hole we finally connected with a nice Trout, I was slightly worried they may have moved with the change in wind direction but they stayed home. We stayed there for an hour or so and caught a good number of trout, but with limited bait I didn’t want to burn it all here.

While we were catching the trout, the wind had noticeably dropped off and we had almost slick conditions by the time we were ready to move on, something I was glad to see and also very surprised to get.

We left the jetty and ran north, I was going to jump ahead of the tide and go to one of my spots off of Hudson for some snook. As we were running across the shallow flats I saw a Cobia following a big Stingray, Finally. I swung around and my client made a perfect cast, and the Cobia ate the bait immediately. When he got boat side I was able to lip him and he measured 39 inches, a very respectable cobia for sure. We stayed in the area and idled around to see if we could see anymore and boy were we rewarded for our time, we ended up staying on that flat for the rest of the charter catching four more Cobia and seeing at least fifteen or sixteen others, it was the best Cobia day I had had all spring for sure.

I will say I am not easily fooled by my home waters very often, but today got me for sure, as I was not expecting anything like what we experienced. It is a good reason to always be alert and always looking around, that one cobia I saw turned a so so day into on of the best this spring.

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Capt. Greg DeVault

Port Richey Inshore Slams

By Fishing Reports

Todays forecast was much better than yesterday’s for sure, no rain light winds and temperatures in the high 80s. And again our weatherman missed it by a mile, I drove out to get bait in the rain and by ten o clock it was blowing 20+ knots, at least he got the temperature right! The rain was not a deterrent today as it had stopped by the time I got set up on the bait flat. I was hopeful for another easy day throwing the net, and I was finally rewarded, it only took three throws of the net to fill the well with beautiful pilchards. I had a little extra time before I had to pick up my charter so I decided to do a little scouting, it is always a bonus to be able to locate fish for future trips, as I usually have just enough time to get from the bait to my clients during the average morning.

After doing some looking I headed north to the Cottee River in Port Richey to meet my Charter. The sun had come out and the wind had not yet started to blow so I decided to run north of Hudson to get away from the weekend crowds. We started in a little back bay and had to wait on the tide to start moving so we would have a little depth for the fish to be comfortable. Once the water started moving we got a few good bites and turned them into Snook, but as soon the bite started it seemed to shut down just that fast. We moved to another little bay and had the same result, I’m not sure why, but it seemed like we could only get one or two bites at each stop. Once the tide got high I decided to go to an area that I had not been to in a while, it was a big flat that was solid rock and usually had big Trout and redfish on it. As we pulled in the wind had started to blow so I let it push us into the area silently, we got set up and put the bait out, it took a while but the fish finally moved in. we hooked big Gator Trout two at a time for thirty minutes or so, and just as fast as the other spots the bite stopped, at least we got more than two to bite. We decided to run back south off of New Port Richey to look for Cobia, it was pretty windy but the sun was bright and high in the sky and with the gin clear water I could see very well. We looked for almost an hour and only saw two stingrays, I’m not sure what happened to our stingrays and cobia this month but they have been noticeably absent. 

We moved into a very small bay that gets very little pressure and on a busy day like today that is what we needed, the tide had just started going out so I was hopeful for a good bite. It took a couple moves but we were able to get a decent bite going, a couple nice Snook, a few Redfish, and some Jack Cravelle were all there to fight. As we headed back in the river going toward the dock, I began to understand why the bite was short in most spots, as it was like a parade of boats going both in and out. Thank god tomorrow is Monday and the traffic on the water will be light!

Till Tomorrow, tight lines

Capt. Greg DeVault

Iffy weather, great fishing.

By Fishing Reports

So today was another day that proves fishermen are much better meteorologists than any weatherman on TV. The weather for Saturday was supposed to be beautiful until the afternoon, and I had two trips today to boot. I figured the first one would be fine but the second one might be iffy, but as I dropped the boat in the water I could feel the heavy air and moist breeze already, and I knew I would be re-planning my day on the fly. Sure enough, as soon as it started to break dawn you could see the dark skies already approaching from the NW. Luckily bait was fairly easy and I was able to load the well with enough bait for both trips in about an hour, a vast improvement over the rest of the week. However, by the time I was done rinsing off the boat I could hear the rumbles of thunder in the distance, we still had some sunlight as my morning charter arrived so we decided to give it a go. I decided to run north to a channel edge that had some nice trout on it and if the rain got to us we would be running south to safety. I guess you can’t blame the weatherman too much at least he got the day right for the rain, but he was 7 hours off! Once we arrived the skies were starting to get very dark, we put out the baits and the trout hit immediately. We put a few in the boat pretty quickly, but the skies were looking very ominous. We started to get some light rain, but my crew was troopers and decided to fish on, unfortunately, it was only the beginning of a lot more rain. We ran south toward lighter skies and decided to give a jetty off of Tarpon Springs a try, we were able to get south of the rain but the thunder was still banging and we knew our time was short. We got set up and had a few nice hits, but we could literally see a wall of water coming our way and the flash of lighting with it. We decided not to test Mother Nature and to the dock we went.

My second charter was to start around 1:30 that afternoon, and after looking at radar and talking with my charter we decided we would be ok, as the rain system was not a very big one and after a couple hours it was gone. I met my second charter at Anclote River park in New Port Richey right on time and although we still had some light drizzle, the skies would soon clear and turn into a beautiful afternoon. We had a decent out going tide so I decided to run north off of Port Richey to a small bay to catch some snook. Once we got set up we could see the water was moving out, and the first bait was hit hard by a nice snook, unfortunately, he was able to get to a dock and break us off. We managed to catch a few small snook and a redfish before we moved on. As the tide got lower the speed of the tide slowed dramatically and the bite was tough for the next few hours. We jumped spot to spot and caught a couple fish in most of the holes but it was slow. We had about two hours left in the trip and the tide was going to start coming in and I was hopeful the bite would turn on. I ran south back the jetty off of Tarpon Springs I had been chased from earlier. The tide had just started in and within a few minutes of seeing the water movement we were in the fish, we had a solid bite of big Gator Trout, Jack Cravelle, and a few snook for the rest of the trip. 

 We ended the day with a double hookup on some very nice Trout, as we headed back to the dock I was amazed at what gorgeous afternoon the rainy weather had turned in to.

 

Till Tomorrow, tight lines

Capt. Greg DeVault 

Anclote Fishing Report

By Fishing Reports

After a couple days off the water due to slow tides and some rainy weather, it was time to get back after the fish and hopefully pick up where we left off. I started early, as I wasn’t sure if the bait situation had gotten any better. I started on the last flat I had got it at in hopes that it would still be there. The first throw was pretty good as was the second and my hopes were high, unfortunately that would be the end of the bait on that flat. I moved farther south toward Tarpon Springs to see if I could get a few more net full to finish up with bait. The bait wasn’t very thick but I was able to get enough to have plenty for the day.

I arrived at Anclote River park in New Port Richey just as my charter for the day was arriving, today was one of my corporate customers, and the guys are always looking forward to getting on the water. We had a pretty good incoming tide for the next few hours so I decided to start by running south to a island I have been catching a bunch of good trout. When we arrived the bite started off slow, but once we found where they were laying, the action was steady for the time we were there.

Once the tide slowed up the bite tapered off with it, so we decided to run north to an area that typically holds some nice Snook off of Port Richey. When we got there the tide was dead slack and nothing was happening, so I took a few minutes to retie a couple of the rods. Once the water started moving we started hearing some fish pop the surface, we put some baits in the area and both were taken without hesitation. We landed one of the snook and the other jumped free, but that was the last bite we would get. I knew we were going to have a weak outgoing tide but there was almost no movement to stimulate any kind of bite.

The rest of the trip was a copy of that spot, we would pull in get a couple of bites and that was it, so we decided to just keep bouncing around and picking off whatever would bite. We hit 10 or 12 different spots and the fish would just not get fired up, sometimes the fish just don’t want to cooperate.

With about an hour to go the wind laid down completely and the water went slick, I told the guys we should look for cobia on this tide. We ran to a close-by flat and started looking, the water had again cooled down to 70 degrees with the clouds and rain from the days before. We covered a bunch of ground but only saw 3 Sting rays and no Cobia but we did come across a school of ten-pound jacks that gave everyone a good tug. After that we spent a few more minutes looking for Cobia before we headed back south to the dock.

Tomorrow and the next few days should get better with great weather and tides getting stronger, hopefully the bait will also get better with it.

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Capt. Greg DeVault

Tarpon Springs trout, reds, snook.

By Fishing Reports

Fishing Report 4-10=20

 

Another windy start to the morning awaited me as I arrived at the ramp, I had my charter meet me again before we went to get bait, as I wasn’t sure how long it would take. As we left the dock in Tarpon Springs I could feel the wind had a little more velocity than it had yesterday, I wasn’t sure how the bait would react, but would soon find out. We got set up with the outgoing tide and started chumming, after ten minutes or so I decided to throw the net to see what had arrived. As I drew the net up I did not like what I was seeing, very few silver flashes, I threw the net again after ten more minutes and it was again empty. Defiantly not the result I wanted, we Left the flat and ran west out to Anclote Island to see if it was any better out there. Unfortunately, it was not, I threw the net several times and had forty baits to fish with, we also had a good number of pinfish for the redfish and cobia. 

We headed south to start with to a spot off of Tarpon Spring that has had a bunch of Trout and a few Snook, with the wind blowing at 20 knots out of the NW we were able to set up a good distance from our spot and not alert the fish. The first bait was sent in and was inhaled by a very large Snook, who proceeded to make a forty-yard run before we could turn her. Once turned she made a run for some rocks, and with a bad angle we could not get her stopped and she was able to cut the line on the rocks, very depressing! However, we hooked one more snook there and caught and released twenty or so big gator Trout before we decided to run north to off New Port Richey to see if the redfish would eat for us. 

With all the west wind we have had the past couple days the incoming tide was extremely high, so I knew the redfish would be way up in the Mangroves and tough to get baits to. Luckily the wind and tide were helping by pushing into the mangroves and we were able to let the bait drift right up and under them, every time we got the drift right we hooked a fish. Most of the fish were mid slot fish with a lot of energy and plenty of power to pull the drags.

After 5 or so Redfish the bite slowed and we decided to try and spot some Cobia, conditions were less than desirable but I could see enough to make us hopeful. After thirty minutes of looking and seeing absolutely no stingrays or cobia we decided to go on to try and catch some snook.

With the water still moving in we moved to a mangrove edge that had a nice undercut bank, we put a few baits out and one of them was hit hard by a hungry Snook. After a few strong runs we were able to bring a decent snook boat side, and after a few photos she was released to fight again.

I am taking the weekend off as I do not want to deal with the crowds I know will be out there, and hopefully the bait will decide to thicken back up so we don’t have to throw the net 50 times a day!

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Capt. Greg DeVault

Beautiful day for fishing.

By Fishing Reports

Today started with one of the prettiest rides across the water I have had in a long time, I left the dock at 6am but it was far from dark, we had one of the biggest and brightest moons I have seen all year. As I left the Cottee River to head to the bait flat it was like daylight on the water, there was nothing I could not see and the wind was dead calm so the surface was like a mirror. It always seems like we have more windy and rainy days than not but the really nice ones stick with you. As I arrived at the bait flat I was again the first one and the only one for quite a while, I was hoping for a easier time with the bait, but today would not be that day. I started chumming and I could see some flashing and decided to throw, I got about 50 Pilchards on that throw. Unfortunately, that would be the best throw of the day, and it was back to 15 to 20 a throw, it took about an hour but I secured enough bait for the day.

I met my charter for the day at 8:30 am at Anclote River park in Tarpon Springs, the tide had just started to come in so I decided to make a short run out to Anclote island to fish some holes and troughs I hadn’t hit in a while. We started in one of my favorite holes, you have to run a very shallow flat to get into a 5-foot deep hole that is always loaded with fish. Once we got set up we could see mullet flashing and jumping in the deepest part of the hole, we put two baits out and after they got chased across the hole very aggressive Speckled Trout hit them both. This went on for the entire time we were in there, and once the water came in we decided to move on to try other things.

While we were out by the island I decided to check on a few spots I haven’t been to in a while, the first spot was a hole along a beach that usually holds some nice trout. As we pulled up I could see fish moving in the hole, we put a couple baits out and one was hit instantly, the drag started screaming and I knew this wasn’t a Trout. The fish made a screaming run and then broke the surface and showed us she was a large Snook. She made one more strong run and then broke the 30 pound leader, we quickly retied and put more baits out but apparently that was the only hungry Snook. We tried for another 20 minutes but decided to move on to some other fish.

We rode north toward New Port Richey to fish a spot I had seen some big redfish at yesterday. We were going to fish a small bay with a very dark muddy bottom that had good current flow on the incoming tide. We put out the first bait and it got chased right away but nothing ate it, I put a cut bait out and it took about 2 minutes before the line came tight. Once hooked it pulled like a fright train and was rolling just like a redfish, the only question was how big was it. It mad two big runs trying to get to the mangrove edge but the Shimano drag was smooth and strong and turned the red away from trouble. When we got the fish to the boat he measured 32 inches and weighed in at 11 pounds, It was defiantly the fish of the day.

 We bounced around to a few more spots and caught some more trout and reds, and even got some Jack Cravelle to take the bait.

Another warm day means warmer water tomorrow and with good tides through the week it will be a good end to this week.

 

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Capt. Greg DeVault