Tarpon Capital, Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, Welcomes Anglers All Summer Long


PUNTA GORDA/ENGLEWOOD BEACH, Fla. (May 13, 2022) – The Charlotte Harbor Gulf Coast, named #1 on the list of “The World’s Best Tarpon Fishing Spots” by Sport Fishing Magazine, welcomes anglers and lady anglers to Charlotte Harbor and Boca Grande in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach. The area is an angler's paradise anchored by naturally prosperous waters and unique conditions where tarpon thrives. It is also a fantastic location for a summer fishing excursion.

Tarpon appear in Charlotte Harbor in April and congregate for an extended season due to ecological advantages including warmer water temperature and the fusion of three rivers and the Gulf of Mexico.  Charlotte Harbor boasts more than 270 miles of canals and the state's deepest natural pass, Boca Grande Pass, as its only outlet. This makes the destination a hot spot all summer long for recreational fishing enthusiasts and sport fishing pros, alike.

Annually, “The World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament” kicks off the area’s high season of abundant tarpon. This year, The World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament (WRTT) takes place on May 18 and 19 from 3:30 to 7:30pm. Teams of four will compete for the heftiest tarpon catch, a rigorous undertaking.  Also known as the “silver king,” tarpon is a catch-and-release game fish famous for putting up a hearty fight. Entry is $5000 and includes WRTT and Columbia fishing gear, private captain’s party tickets and two days of competition. Register now through May 16 at Boca Grande Chamber WRTT.

On record as the largest tarpon caught and released is a 217-pound silver king landed during a 2009 Professional Tarpon Tournament Series. Local legend also claims that a 276-pound tarpon was caught in Boca Grande Pass in 2004.

Ready for a “World’s Best” fishing getaway?

Below are the tarpon fishing basics:

  • An average tarpon weighs between 90 and 130 pounds
  • A saltwater fishing license is required to fish within Charlotte Harbor. Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to purchase an annual, 3-day, or 7-day license by phone or online. 
  • In Florida, tarpon is a catch-and-release-only species. The only exception involves the pursuit of an International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record. To keep a tarpon and submit it for world record consideration, you must pre-purchase a tarpon tag before fishing. Note: one tag per person/per year/per boat is issued.
  • It is illegal to possess more than one tarpon on a vessel and there must be a tarpon tag affixed.
  • During the months of April, May, and June, seasonal tarpon fishing regulations take effect in Boca Grande Pass. These include:
    • A maximum of three fishing lines in the water from one boat at a time while fishing for all species
    • Breakaway gear, such as bob, float, weight, lure, or spoon affixed to a fishing line or hook with wire, line, rubber bands, plastic ties, or other fasteners designed to break off when a fish is caught are prohibited. (Source: https://myfwc.com/)

Pro Fishing Guides

With abundant waters comes the guarantee of professional fishing guides year-round. Beyond tarpon, this natural estuary is home to 250 species of salt- and freshwater fish.  Advantages of hiring a professional fishing guide include:

  • No need to purchase a saltwater fishing license: a professional fishing guide has a valid vessel license, so you don’t need an individual one.
  • Guides will have the appropriate tackle and will know which bait to use to land a silver king (or your preferred catch) so you don’t have to lug your own equipment.
  • Guides know the best spots, which means more time angling and less time searching for fish.
  • Florida fishing regulations change periodically, and a professional guide will be up to date on current regulations, which prevents you from fishing illegally.
  • Local guides have been certified by Florida Sea Grant as Florida Friendly Fishing Guides, a rigorous certification process to prove their commitment to preserving the future of Florida’s fisheries through sustainable boating and fishing techniques.

Last, while fishing is one of the area’s most famous activities, Punta Gorda-Englewood Beach includes multiple opportunities to enjoy the outdoors on water or land thanks to 830 miles of shoreline, two dozen marinas, 12 miles of beach, four barrier islands and vast hiking, biking and sports terrain. Sailboats, SUP, rentals, cruises and charters of all varieties provide access to quaint Boca Grande, secluded Don Pedro Island, the accessible-only-by-ferry Palm Island and the alluring Little Gasparilla Island including exciting opportunities for overnight excursions.

In addition, count on a bounty of hook-and-cook and dockside dining establishments and great bars and pubs with music and entertainment to celebrate the day’s catch.

For more information on fishing, visiting and relaxing in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, visit pureflorida.com

Image courtesy of Captain Jay Withers