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Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor

Capt. Van Hubbard
January 31, 2000
Boca Grande - Saltwater Fishing Report


As of the First snook between 27"&34" can be kept. With water temperature bouncing around 60, this sub tropical fish will be concerned with survival, not food. It's rational to expect improvement soon. Snook will start to tease us as the waters warm. Look for a fair day here and there and make the best of them the South Westers are often our best days this month. Things start to improve in a month or so as the waters warm into the 70s. The good fishing starts at 75 degrees water temp if we can find some minnows to excite em.

We can pick up a fresh snook or two for dinner once in awhile. Start exploring the Upper Harbor. The Myakka and Peace rivers are interesting places to poke around. Fish around the structures and creek mouths, don't skip the fallen trees. Concentrate efforts to the afternoons, fish the sunny shorelines and try a few cast after work. In other areas try those creeks. Try the channels around Boca. This time of year the fish can be in your back yard. Work around the deeper holes and slow your retrieves way down. Rattle Traps are often hot now. There are numerous rattle lures and the noise calls these game fish some times. Lipped swimming lures are good too. The Swimming Image is working great for some guides. Capt. Steve Hogan of Gasparilla Marina love both the Spitting and Swimming lures. If you haven't tried the new Super lines your missing the boat and it's your loss. Do not expect to see much white bait until it warms. We had some around but it should have headed for the Keys. You'll just have to learn to fish with artificials, it's OK to learn something occasionally.

Fishing does benefit from all the big storms. The winds move fish around, and are essential to flushing the Harbor and our canals. The uncomfortable conditions are the only times fish have to unwind without fishing pressure. Everything needs a chance to rest and regroup. I'll bet the Super Bowl teams are take a breather by now. What a game especially the second half...

Look for redfish and trout to pick up the slack. They'll get hungry as things warm up; one of these days. Spring is not that far off; you need to be lining up your tarpon dates... like yesterday. The back country is nice now. This is the time to play with your fly fishing. Site casting in the shallow clear waters of our back country can not be beat. Even our beautiful Everglades can't beat Charlotte Harbor's red and big trout fishing.

Sheepshead are set to get together and start chewing, any time. Keep trying because this is a limited opportunity. These are tasty fish with liberal bag limits, don't miss this run. The Phosphate Dock should be good even with the work in progress. They'll be gathering near any structure and heading toward to the Gulf to spawn. Capt. Tater Spinks has talked with me about this overlooked off shore fishery. Use shrimp and lighter gear. They get fish above 5 pounds regularly.

Snapper and grouper are biting too. See about a trip while the fish are hot. Capt. Jack Pierson of Englewood Bait house says his boats were enjoying some fantastic catches before the winds; from both boats (Venice and Englewood). They are running their big Cat from Venice because Stump Pass is to shallow.

Stump Pass is about the same. This recent storm moved sand around but when Capt. John Knight of the #1 Hooker and I checked the depths on Wed. we found 3+' in the two usual low spots. Please be careful of the first two houses on the South side of the pass because we have a very shallow long sand bar running from this shore to the spit at the North side. The outside bar is still very tricky, be cautious.

Real progress towards the emergency dredging is not progressing fast enough to get this project done before turtle season. Mac Horton and Adam Cummings and the Commission are trying but they are waging a steep up hill battle. DEP and the permitting process has complicated things. Plus they put out for bids to move the sand away from the pass. This cost to much so now we are negotiating with the only firm that bid trying to get the project into budget. With the new guide lines other companies could compete for this project but they can not be involved now because they couldn't move the sand as far as the initial specs. required. Life goes on and the problems just get more complex. But don't worry the bureaucracies of our government are supported by our taxes us to help us get the best deal. Unfortunately as to often happens, the safe guards to protect us are costing us more time, money and hardships.

On to happier things; but let's not forget these challenges.


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Professional guide since 1976. starting at John's Pass in St Pete./ Tampa Bay area, now 28 years in Boca Grande & Charlotte Harbor/Lemon Bay specialties sight fishing; big tarpon, snook, reds, pompano, big kings, cuda, cobia, etc... If it swims our back country, inside, or near shore waters He has the experience to help you catch em. Captain Van is an expert pioneer live minnow/natural bait guide, "Lures by God" as he calls em; but he can fish lures or fly. Safe & comfortable 23' Dorado with T-

Contact Info:

Let's go Fishin' inc.
PO Box 146
Placida, FL 33946
Phone: 941-740-4665
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