Saturday, April 21, 2018

Boca Grande guides cited for banned gear

Two prominent Boca Grande fishing guides were cited by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Wednesday for using "breakaway gear," a type of fishing tackle that is banned in the world-famous tarpon fishing hotspot.

Frank Davis, 53, a charter boat captain from Placida, received the misdemeanor citation at 6:45 p.m., according to FWC records. Davis made news this month when his team aboard the 24-foot Morgan won "The World's Richest Tarpon Tournament" organized by the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce.

Davis, a director of the Boca Grande Guides Association, is also vice chairman of Save the Tarpon, a not-for-profit corporation "created to advocate for ethical angling and promote the stewardship of the Boca Grande Pass Tarpon fishery," according to its website.

The tarpon group has been a vocal opponent of the style of gear fishing favored by out-of-town guides that was recently banned in the pass. According to the group's website: "We believe in the use of responsible, conservation-oriented fishing and handling techniques by anglers as well as preserving fair and equal access for all users in order to protect this historically and culturally significant fishery."

Shortly before Davis was cited, another prominent local charter boat captain, David Chatham, 35, of Port Charlotte, was ticketed for the same offense at 4:46 p.m. According to a profile posted by Gasparilla Outfitters, Chatham was born and raised in the surrounding waters and he now "live-bait Tarpon fishes the Pass in season." Chatham is also listed as a director of the Boca Grande Guides Association.

Neither Davis nor Chatham returned calls or emails. Both men are required to appear in court on June 17 in Fort Myers to face misdemeanor charges.

Tom McLaughlin, spokesman for Save the Tarpon, said the group will consider action after Davis' court appearance.


Captainís Corner: Variables are all that is constant when it comes to art of fishing

The unique variables and ever-changing conditions of fishing are what set it apart from most other sports. Basketball goals donít move, baseball diamonds are basically the same and tennis courts never change. Fishing, on the other hand, is constantly...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Captainís Corner: King mackerel the hot topic as gulf waters warm

King mackerel is always the hot topic this time of year, with tournaments every weekend for two months. Some believe that massive schools in the gulf migrate from their fall haunts in south Florida and the Keys to the north, with the larger females (...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

After significant winds from a front last week, things are calming down and fish are turning on again. Bait has gotten predictable and easier to chum on the flats after moving to deeper water during the front. Iíve been targeting trout at first light...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/19/18

Captainís Corner: Rush of warmer water in gulf heats up fishing on offshore reefs, wrecks

The rush of warmer water on our offshore reefs and wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico has brought with it a cadre of pelagic fish. Divers and anglers have enjoyed the influx of cobia, kingfish and more. The benthic (bottom) fish are splurging on the balls ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Captainís Corner: Spring bite is solid despite wacky weather

Bipolar weather continues to confuse both fish and anglers. Fortunately the water temperature has gotten high enough that the effects donít last long and the spring bite continues to be solid. Snook are still the hot bite in many areas around the bay...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Captainís Corner: Kingfish, sharks provide aerial displays

Fishing was good this past Saturday, ahead of the cold front. We fished close to shore about 2 miles. Our approach was simple. We anchored the boat, fished with live baits and chummed heavily. Kingfish action was nonstop for the entire morning. We ca...
Published: 04/16/18

Captainís Corner: Trolling or anchoring up, kingfish bite is hot

Are you looking for line-screaming action? Head offshore. The kingfish bite has been good, though high winds may require a wait for the water to clear. The best numbers have been about 5 miles out on the hard bottom. Trolling for kingfish works well;...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/15/18

Captainís Corner: Spring run is the most wonderful time of the year

The full spring run of all species in our area is in full swing. Whatever species you would like to target, inshore or offshore, is as good as it gets this time of year. Redfish schools have shown up in the flats around Pinellas Point, but they are i...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Captainís Corner: Spanish mackerel, kingfish showing up in big numbers

They are here! Spanish mackerel and kingfish have shown up in the numbers expected of them at this time of year. All we have to hope for is weather that will allow us to get offshore. In most years the hot spots have been the artificial reefs, shipwr...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/12/18

Captainís Corner: Offshore fishing heats up in spring

Spring is here and things are heating up offshore. Kingfish have arrived from Tarpon Springs to Anna Maria. Spanish mackerel are around many of the bridges and piers, and cobia have appeared on the wrecks. Our most interesting discovery last week was...
Published: 04/10/18
Updated: 04/11/18