PBD Fish Reports
Kimball and Les Beery, authors of Angler’s Guide to Kayak Fishing Southwest Florida-Sarasota Bay to Pine Island contributed this expanded excerpt from their book to focus attention on the fantastic paddle craft fishing available to anglers in Southwest Florida. See more at www.anglerpocketguides.com Ed
Boca Grande Fishing Pier launch is one of the most consistently fishy launches that we recommend. Nearby Gasparilla Pass creates tidal currents which combine with the abundant grass flats, sand bars and the abandoned trestle make this a great place to fish without having to paddle far. The launch is also close to the parking area so a dolly is not needed. This area is best on a west wind.
If the tides and wind are favorable paddle left [north] and go under the fishing pier. Give the pier anglers a lot of space to avoid tangling in their lines. Continue paddling northwest, passing under the causeway bridge and head for Gasparilla Pass. On an incoming tide, staying close to the shore and docks will help you avoid most of the current. Landing at the pass and fishing from the beach is a good plan here since the deepest part of the channel lies just off shore. This pass and beach used to be accessible by car but development has made boats and kayaks the only way to get to this excellent point. Expect to catch Spanish mackerel, sheepshead, bluefish, sea trout, grouper, pompano, snook, whiting and many other gamefish that move through the pass. While fishing from the beach or drifting with the tide in your kayak, bouncing a ¼ ounce white jig with a gold shad tail is a good starting point. Another productive tactic here is cut bait on the bottom. Use enough weight to get down to the bottom yet still allow the bait to swing with the current.
If a northerly wind and incoming tidal flow make it tough to get to the pass, we’ll fish back to the causeway bridge and go north along the shoreline. This area is all sand bottom and we don’t have much luck here. In the north part of this bay is Bird Island with nice grass flats on the north side. You can also opt for fishing the trestle area, east of the causeway, with its pilings, oyster bars and protective mangrove islands. The trestle structure will hold sheepshead and snook most of the year.
Southeast from the launch are shallow grass flats surrounding a sand bar. These grasses always produce trout. The sand bar is a good spot to stake out the kayak and wade on the bar while casting ahead into the surrounding grass. Look south from this area, across Peekins Ranch Cove, and you’ll see a small white beach about a ½ mile away that makes a great lunch spot. The grass areas between the sand bar and this small beach hold lots of trout, but don’t waste much time casting over the sandy areas unless you are after lizard fish. The grass flats east of this beach usually hold some of the larger trout in the area. We also consistently catch small sharks and some snook here. Try the eastern edge of these grasses where they give way to a sandy bottom. Follow the shoreline south past the lunch stop beach and enter a shallow protected bay with some good mangrove shoreline that’s usually home to redfish and snook. If they’re not in the mangroves, try the docks along the western shore. On the way back to the launch, fish the docks on Peekins Ranch Cove.
Boca Grande Fishing Pier launch is on Gasparilla Island at the west end of the Boca Grande Causeway. Pay the toll for the bridge and watch for the inconspicuous sandy drive and small sign on your left on Gasparilla Island. The launch is on the right at the end of the parking area. GPS= 26.803076, -82.274839