Boca Grande Recap....2016

So, my two weekends in Boca Grande are completed. Just a little recap...

First weekend was with my Brother and friends from college. June 1 - 7

I got down there on June 1st about 2:30 or 3:00 and headed to the house on LGI. **** it is hot and lugging up all the booze, food, supplies etc to the house was a real BEEATCH....but I got it done. The crew was showing up the next day so I was solo for the night so I headed out to a near shore reef around 5:00. Couldn't find chum anywhere down there. Went to 3 stores and nobody had it. Evidently ARS season scooped it all up....fortunately I bought a couple blocks with me. Roughly 40' deep and crystal clear. I could see the bottom. Threw a chum block out and almost immediately the snapper were up in the slick. Probably caught 25-30 of them and kept 4 or 5 of the nicer size ones and headed in. But that was exactly what I was hoping to find as our dinner plans....

Headed in and wanted to try and find some crabs to prep for the weekend. It was a little early in the week for crabs but I was hopeful. Well, that plan didn't work out so well. I was flagged down by somebody and they came over and knew me from here. It was nice to put a face with a name on the forum. Talking for a while and I said I was hoping to net a few crabs and he reached into his live well and pulled me out a dozen or so. Thanks again LGI. Very much appreciated.

Got back to the dock, met the neighbors who were from Gulfport and frequent visitors to Omaddy's which is a place my wife and I go to a lot. Cleaned the fish and gave it to them for dinner and headed to bed.

Got up the next morning, worked a bit and waited for the crew to show. We get them all moved in and head down to the pass. LGI's crabs were the ticket and we hooked 4 the first night. Here we are fighting one... We pretty much sucked the whole weekend (actually the whole year so far) at our landing percentage. We were 1-4 this night and that was a leader touch only....


Head back to the house for a fresh blackened fish dinner.... My other brother Darrell passed away a couple years ago so we went to the beach and had a little celebration in his honor. Played hells bells and all had a shot of his favorite - Old Grandad....which is horrible by the way...but we had to do it.



Pretty much hooked a couple of tarpon each trip the rest of the weekend. Did a lot of snapper fishing and relaxing....


Then tropical storm Collen decided to crash the party so we had to cut our trip 2 days short...which was a bummer. The pass was full of tarpon and traffic was overall pretty light. Monday and Tuesday would have been outrageous..... Oh well...better safe than sorry, there will be another day. 1-15 for the weekend which totally sucks....lots of snapper for the griddle and we had a great time.

Trip # 2 - Boys weekend...

Trip 2 was June 15-19. We had two boats and 10 people total. My boat had Kiel, Manny, Swifty and Lane. A pretty seasoned fishing crew. Mark's boat had Mark, Marcus, David, Edward, and Jack. Decent fisherman but more targeting the party than the fish. We stayed on LGI, they stayed at Boca Grande North.

We get down on the 15th and as we are dumping the boat in the water Dave Markett walks up to me and says all the fish left....I said my buddy told me yesterday there were more fish than he has ever seen and he went 4-7 this morning...he said, well they left.

GREAT.... So we go get moved into the house. MUCH EASIER with 3 people than one... And we head down towards the pass to take a look. Swifty overslept and missed his flight and we picked Lane up at Millers. There were about a 1000 mangos under the docks at millers.....

Headed to the pass and as predicted...NADA. No fish. So, it was a nice night and I wanted to try another reef that I hadn't fished so we headed offshore a little bit. Went to the powerpole reef. Put a few mangos in the box, place was pretty alive. Sharks came in and started causing some havic. Saw two nice cobia but couldn't get past the sharks to get to them.

Head to the Tremblay reef where I did well on mangos the prior weekend and I think we put 8 or 10 more nice ones in the box. Then I get something nice on the line and pull in a snook. Let him go. Another good yank and snook #2. Little bigger. Let him go. 5 miles offshore and 2 snook. I am NOT a snook fisherman, at least I have never targeted them. I think I have caught 2 snook in my life prior to that. Also got a keeper gag.

So we head in for a nice blackened mango dinner.

Day 2 - Mark and at least part of his crew are heading in that afternoon. We get up at dawn and head for the pass hopeful that the fish came back. They did not....So we head offshore to another reef that we have done really well at. Again we crush the mangos and go back in to take a look and some fish had showed up. We hooked 2 on jigs but landed neither. Mark showed up finally and was fishing crabs and hooked three. We dipped some crabs but it was a pretty strong west wind throwing 3-5 footers into the pass so we said screw that and headed back to the house for a good night.

Day 3 - Didn't bother getting up at dawn since no fish. Headed to the pass about the same time they arrived the day before. Nada.... I don't recall exactly what we did that morning but we ended up at Cabbage Key for lunch and then came back. They were already out of the pass and up on the hill. We did manage to hook 2 doing that which was good. The crab flush was UNBELIEVABLE. More crabs than I think I have ever seen. We dipped plenty of crabs and fished for a while but nothing was chewing. Strong west winds didn't give us many choices so headed back for dinner.

Day 4 - No fish...never came in at all so now we are scrambling. West winds again pretty strong. Ran around the bay trying to find some structure we could fish but didn't find anything I liked. Ended up running jug creek and went to Lazy Flamingo for lunch. That is a really cool run if you have never done it. After lunch we came back out and had to figure out something to do. The wind had laid down a little bit so we decided to stick our nose out and see if we could get to Helen's reef of Cayo costa. It wasn't actually bad so we went for it and we were glad we did.

Ended up with 4 permit, 2 more snook, 8-10 mangos (lost a 20+ incher when it got tangled in our buoy line), a keeper cobia. So we had a great day.

#1 not bad

#2 not bad again

#3 - a BEAST

Headed back to the sandbar and found boat # 2 enjoying themselves....Hung out with them for a couple hours and headed home for the last night party....

Sunday morning we slept in, got the house all cleaned, sent Lane on his way and decided to run down to the pass one more time. No looped around Gasparilla and headed back north to Tremblay reef. Within seconds of deploying a crab, the rod doubled over and the permit was a beast. Never saw him but he ran a lot of line out and scraped some structure and was gone. We got 3 more permit in about 30 minutes, only landing one, we saw one next to the boat and he took off and rubbed us off. But had a great time.

So for the weekend. 0-4 or 5 on tarpon, 4-9 on permit, probably 20-30 mangos, 4 snook, gag, cobia, sharks.....

Didn't do to good on tarpon overall but had a great time with a bunch of great friends and family and can't wait to get back next year.

Tight lines.
In Loving Memory of James Zielske, January 19, 1957-July 5, 2013


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