Boca Grande Pass is located at the south end of Gasparilla Island and the community of Boca Grande. The Pass is the deepest natural inlet on the Gulf of Mexico, reaching depths to approximately 80 feet. Tens of thousands of tarpon congregate in the area from April through August, feeding day and night, as they prepare for their offshore spawning ritual.
The moving tides of the Pass flush a steady food supply of shrimp, crabs and various baitfish to the tarpon. The strongest tides of the full and new moons trigger a crab hatch and are known locally as ”Hill Tides”. This conveyer belt of easy available food has kept the tarpon coming back each spring and summer for generations.
The geography of the Pass is broken down into to several key areas by local fishermen.
“The Lighthouse Hole”
The largest hole with the deepest water, centrally located in the Pass. Often spoken of simply as, “the hole”.
“The Coast Guard Hole”
A smaller deep hole closest to the beach and the lighthouse. Was named after an old Coast Guard station that once stood beside the lighthouse and no longer exist.
The area east of the old phosphate dock.
The large flat area west of the offshore ledge of the Lighthouse Hole.
The shifting sand bars to the south of the Pass, or the northwest end of Cayo Costa island.
The Pass is also home to great Mangrove Snapper fishing in late summer, and in season, some monster King Mackerel. The old phosphate dock at the east entrance of the Pass can hold Goliath Grouper over 300 pounds, along with big Redfish and Snook.