Boca Grande Pass is a Changin....

Each year I go down, things seem to be change.  This year caught me a little bit by surprise though.

NORMALLY...the traditional live bait guys fish all night and around dawn the fleet of smaller bay boat/center console type boats normally show up and shortly thereafter the bigger live bait boats head in.  I am always comforted as I make the turn into the pass before dawn and see the live bait boats.  Means there are fish there.  They haven't been there this year though.  Not sure why.  The fish have been there.  But the live bait fleet hasn't been out there. The crab bite is usually stellar until the sun gets up in the air and then for the last 20 years or so, the jig takes over the pass.

Along with the jig you get the few moron captains that drive way to fast, way to aggressively, and when they get on a pod of fish they slam it in reverse to slow down.  Which is always fun.  When the fish are not set up in huge schools this is like watching wack a mole.  Still don't know whatever happened to getting in a drift, get to the end of the drift, run OUTSIDE the drift to get back to the top, and do it again.  Oh yea, now I remember...THE PTTS.  I for one am very glad that is gone.  

I am not one of the staunch anti-jig guys.  I have fished it for a long time and I think it is a very effective tool.  I don't agree with the "snagging" device but that is neither here nor there and everyone has their opinions and blah blah blah so don't want to get into that argument here.

But the jig overall is pretty much gone.  There are still a few folks that fish it pretty much exclusively during the day and I have no issue with it but it is a much smaller percent and everyone seems to have crabs at the ready.  I personally use crabs until about 7:00-7:30 and then switch at least one if not two rods to jigs if I am staying in the pass.  The last few years though I am much more likely to run to the near shore reefs for permit, cobia, snapper, etc...  We probably got 7-10 hookups on jigs last week when I was there.  

Now, the rules about how you have to rig a jig are making things interesting.  With the weight above the hook (although I have seen some very interesting looking setups where the weight is below the hook somehow and even one where mysteriously it "broke away") the hook doesn't set as well.  So, you will get fish on, they will be on for a few minutes and then the hook will pull out.  Like the weight kind of blocks the hook from setting in their mouth.  But whatever.  I have caught enough tarpon that if I get a run and a jump and they get off, I am good with it.  Much less work...

But a LOT of the captains have switched away from the jig and are fishing live bait pretty much exclusively now.  That isn't really a problem.  Just find it interesting.  Talked to a few that I have fished next to for years and they basically have just been beaten by the anti-jig machine and don't want to deal with the PR etc.

One thing that is much different and keeps the captain on their toes is that a lot of people aren't fishing vertically, they are fishing horizontally.  Light or no weight and spinning gear 30-50' out from their boat.  Again, no big deal, I am just used to being able to drive wherever I want and you can get close to other boats as you adjust for your next drift but now there is a much larger buffer you have to be aware of.

I pretty much concentrate all my trips around the big moon tides from the end of May until the middle of June in Boca.  In the afternoons, it is all crabs and live bait.  Doing the drift like normal.  That hasn't changed much.

I am still amazed that NOBODY, not the live baiters, not the bay boat/former born again jiggers, NOBODY follows the rules of going around the fleet to get back in front of the drift.  I think if I could get one thing changed there, that would be the thing.  It is stupid not too but everyone runs right back up the middle...well, except me, but hey, got to be different.

Heading back down again Friday.  The pass has been looking pretty barren for the last few days.  Hoping it is the west winds and the fish will come back with a vengeance this weekend.  But offshore is calling too...

Tight lines...

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


  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 3,068 Captain
    Yeah it's been really rough out there... should calm down to slick conditions by Saturday.

    Full moon in a few days... the fish are probably going to run offshore and do their horizontal hokey pokey for a bit.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,248 Admiral
    I stay away from that zoo like the plague
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 11,932 AG
    edited June 14 #4
    kmagnuss said:
    Full moon in a few days... the fish are probably going to run offshore and do their horizontal hokey pokey for a bit.
    Please don't jinx us.  :)  

    Heading down on Saturday.  Fishing Sun & Mon w/Phil Dugger, and likely Tuesday (with Paul).  Mornings on beach for a few hours, then a siesta, then fishing the flush in the afternoon.
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,248 Admiral
    Phil's a good dude
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