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12/17/01 03:54 AM
SW Florida Report: Kings - Kings - Kings [Post#: 526 ] Reply to this post

Fishing Report for Charlotte Harbor / Boca Grande
Weekending 12-15-01

The warm days and calm seas enabled me to take the 22’ Pathfinder offshore for a couple of Grouper & AJ trips this week. We loaded up the livewell with Blue Runners and Horse Pinfish and off to the grounds we went. We concentrated on structure in 60 – 70 feet of water west-northwest of Boca Grande Pass. While the AJ’s were nowhere to be found, on both days we were greeted with plenty of Gag Grouper. Every drop resulted in slammed rods. Unfortunately, our fish landed to hook up ratio was a bit off due to overwhelming power of the fish and the obstructions down below. We did however manage to land enough Gags to 30” to put a few on ice and provide for several memorable releases.

On the Pelagic front we hoped to find a few kings west of Boca Grande Pass, but skunked out. I did take two trips this week west of Clearwater and the Kings are everywhere. The morning bite with a strong tide resulted in double-digit fish every morning. Schools of Blue Runners & Threadfins were easily cast netted in 15 – 20’ of water. Get out early and take care of the bait duties before sunup as the bite slowed down by 8:30am. The morning bite was as fast as you can put a bait in the water.

Once the crowds gathered, the bite slowed down and we worked our way NW of Clearwater Pass and worked Pods of Threadfins in 30 – 35 foot of water. Using the “Run and Gun” technique, we were able to quickly work “Surfacing” pods, and eliminated the ones that held Spanish Macks and Bonito, and concentrated on the larger Pods being worked by Kingfish. The smaller Kings (Snakes) were feeding right in the middle of the Pods, while the larger fish roamed well outside of the Pods. If the bait remained stationary over hard bottom or structure, we anchored and heavily chummed to keep the bait around the boat. This technique proved very effective for us this weekend, and we were able to avoid the headaches, tangles and stress involved in fishing more popular areas such as Sandy Key Hard Bottom and any of the other publicized reefs, which held fewer kings after the morning bite and also attracted a herd of boaters looking to cash in on the action. Most of the day, we were the only boat working a school of bait and fish.

We were using Shimano Stradic 6000 and Fin-Nor 12A Spinners loaded with #15 line and a 10” trace of #5 wire tied direct to our main line with an Albright knot. For a hook, we relied on a single #6 4x Eagle Claw treble. By keeping the line light, leader short, and hooks & wire to a minimum, we were able to convince the Kings to chew all day long.

Anchor, hang a chum block and free line two or three baits. Two 5’ under a balloon and the other with a small split shot. Tail hook the threadfins (Without the use of a trailer). Even with a small single hook, 90% of our bites resulted in solid hook-ups! The single treble hook also enabled us to quickly and safely release all Kings after our trip iced the fish they wanted for dinner.

If the Kings are in the area, it should not take but a few minutes before a hookup. If you don’t get a hook up in 15 minutes, move to the next likely spot. Kings are literally everywhere, and it’s either you wait for them to come to you (And they eventually will provided you are anchored over bait) or you go to them. We chose the latter. In addition, don’t be surprised if a Cobia or a Bull Red jumps on your bait this time of the year.

On the inshore front, I was out twice this week and focused my attention to the preserve. Redfish were the prevailing fish this week. The last couple of hours of the afternoon outgo provided for dozens of shots at cruising and tailing redfish on the flats back in the preserve, as well as areas bordering and within Turtle and Bull Bays. 1/8th oz gold spoons and Tube Baits were the lures of choice, as were flys following a Pinfish and/or Sardine Pattern. The waters are clear and clam, and it may help to downsize your line and leader to #8 main, and #20 fluorocarbon. For the live baiters, pods of 3 – 4” threadfins are all over the northern reaches of the harbor between Ponce and the two bridges, as well as Bull Bay.

The fish are chewing for the holidays. Go and get on them!

Tight Lines.

Capt. Allan B. Beraquit
Coast II Coast Fishing Charters, Inc.
1-866-4-TARPON /

Capt. Allan Beraquit
Coast II Coast Fishing Charters, Inc.

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