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Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor

Capt. Van Hubbard
May 9, 2000
Boca Grande - Saltwater Fishing Report


We shared a gathering of some of the very best snook anglers from this area. The Obannon Invitational is a primer Lee County fishing event. Weather was cooperative, bait available and there were still many goose eggs on the board after two long days of fishing. Boca Grande, Captain Cris Mitchell and an crew (Ted and Gigi Cannela from Cabbage Key and Tampa and Leslie Diez of Boca and Tampa) landed six large legal fish in the two days. They averaged almost 11 pounds, their total was 65 pounds as best I can remember. We did have fun at the dinner parties; especially Saturday night.

Cris' team got on good fish and did an excellent job to land the right sized ones. Several boats did enjoy outstanding catches. This is a first class, release only event. If your snook can not swim off it does not count. Most fish looked to be in good shape, of course some were better than others. Too large of a percentage of these top area anglers had little or nothing to weigh for 16 hours of hard fishing. That tell me we have not got the slot sized snook stocks our management experts keep telling us we have. If this cast can't bring em back something is wrong. We were lucky and caught three keeper fish in the (26-34") slot. We also released three huge fish for the future. These trophy fish did weighted as much as the top six legal fish. I'm glad to have these breeders remain in our system to replenish stocks. I'm partly to blame for the tight slot and proud of our conservation efforts to protect this valuable gamefish. I still do not understand the Costal Conservation Associations very limited of help in protecting Florida's number one gamefish? We do have fair numbers of undersized snook but most are harvested as soon as they reach close to the 26" minimum limit. We have some breeders now but how many get thru this gauntlet to replenish. Please help find a way to help snook if you really care about tomorrow. Mote has helped start a Snook Foundation to help snook. The Foundation can be contacted at 941-388-4558. Talk with the Director, Howard Wells about their efforts to protect and help our valuable fish.

Tarpon are rolling in, more and more every day. Many fish are still South so far but plenty are in our Big Pass. Boats are already gathering too. It's sure to be a busy year. Paradise is great, just not perfect. It's crowded now that we've been discovered. Part of us needs the traffic and all of us must cope with them. Try to go with the flow. The traffic in our Pass works by a system; read the Boca Grande Fishing Guides Associations free pamphlet. It's their sincere effort to help educate new anglers. Please use the tips. Everyone wins and gets more fish. We had one boat trolling spoons thru the fleet last Sunday, and looking at boats not their lines. You need to pay attention if your going to compete in this arena. It's safer if your sharp. This' not a place to be careless. A big tarpon running from fishermen and/or sharks is not a game to disrespect. carelessness is dangerous please respect the size and strength of these awesome silver kings.

Reds and trout are thankfully helping take up the slack for slower snook catching. Some mackerel, pompano and other fish are helping too. If your hungry and want dinner try them. Everything is moving around our boating traffic. Fish are scattered all over. That can be good or bad news depending on how you use the knowledge.

Fishing is great here and could be even better if we take the effort work around instead of over each other. We sat in a busy spot working some big snook for the tourney last weekend. I saw more encouraging examples of courtesy than I expected. Most skippers slowed and waved. A few need their heads examined and could use a lesson in manners. I'm going to dwell on the good memories. Multiple 25 pound snook to remember and joke about being too big.



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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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