I chatted with my father today...an old time lake and stream fisherman who turned to Gulf waters at retirement...and he talked about the friction between the trendy "Jig Captains" and the traditional "live bait" fisherman down at the Boca Grande Pass. Of course I'm speaking about Tarpon Fishing again because it's all the rage now through most of the summer.
Anyway, this heated dual gets a lot of attention this time of year. Here's the conflict:
Traditional live bait captains fish at night, depending on tide conditions, anywhere from midnight to 6:00am. Freelining shrimp, crab, and different types of live bait fish are useful methods. This restricted fishing time is partly due to fish preference, and partly due to the massive influx of the popular jig fishing that starts at the crack of dawn.
Jig fishing, according to the traditional Captains, is borderline unethical and possibly dangerous to the Tarpon. Their point of view is that when you hook up while short drifting the captain must maintain control of the fish (meaning keeping the fish straight down below the boat) and that adds maximum pressure to the fish, ultimately leading to strain and fatigue. Many times this can result in death of the fish either by exhaustion or by shark attack.
Traditional live bait charter captains contend that they aim to hook up and then move off of the drift pattern in the pass. This accomplishes a couple things:
1. Increased water safety (reduced pass traffic)
2. Better angles (rod - fish relationship)
3. Less chance of harming the fish via the methods mentioned above
4. No chance of snagging a fish as with jigging.
Of course not everything is one sided. Jig fishing, many argue, has made access to one of the worlds greatest sport fishing more accessible to people. If for no other reason than the time of day we see people flocking to try their hand at tarpon fishing. Also it is relatively simple for the non-fisherman to try, given a good captain guiding the way.
The friction between the two different styles remains both camps have something to offer. Can there ever be a mutual respect between jig fisherman and live bait fisherman? Anything is possible but from what I hear ...it's highly unlikely.
Labels: boating, boca grande pass, charter boats, gulf coast fishing, tarpon fishing