The weather has finally cooled after an extended summer. Fishing was great this past summer with plenty of snook, tarpon and redfish. The reds seem to come and go over the years but the’ve been around for the last couple years, most of the ones we’re catching are keepers, in the 18-27″ range, nice fish.
As fall has arrived the fishing will continue to be good and improve as the weather cools. This time of year we have plenty of options from off-shore to deep in the backcountry.
One of my favorite fish to catch is bonita, the typically show in November off the beaches and can be found all winter although not usually on a regular basis. The best way to spot them is to look for birds as the birds congregate over schools of bait, the same food the bonita eat. Spanish Mackerel can also be in the mix. It’s not uncommon to be on a school, then they move and pop up in another spot. Fun fishing and chasing the speedy football shaped fish. There is not a better fighting fish of all the fish we catch in SW Florida. Spoons, jigs and plugs all work well although spoons are the best as you can cast them a mile.
Redfish and snook are in the backcountry. While there are still snook along the beaches and in the passes they also can be found in the backcountry. Flies, plugs, jigs and live bait are all working. Reds are cruising the mangrove shorelines from the outside bays to the back. All nice fish.
Now’s a good time to book for the holidays. Call ahead so we can look at tides to make the most out of your trip.
Cheers, Capt. Mark – 239-450-9230
Some recent pics:
Rudy with a nice snook
A 9′ tiger shark we lost at the boat.
I was fishing on my buddies boat and we caught this 8′ sawfish, a rarity.
Michael M. with a nice backcountry redfish.
Tarpon are starting to show and the fishing in Naples and Southwest Florida has been very good the past few weeks. A very warm balmy February has kept the water in the mid 70’s. During the winter months I tell my clients we don’t typically catch a lot of big fish so our goal is to catch a lot of fish, have good action, and catch a lot of different species which has been the case. Sometimes we’ll set a goal of ten species which makes it challenging but fun. We’ve had a fair amount of ten species days. The other day we caught snook, redfish, pompano, permit, trout, snapper, pork fish, ladyfish and more.
Now that March is here we’re starting to catch bigger snook and reds, tarpon and sharks are starting to show and overall the fishing will just get better as we get closer to summer. Tarpon are showing in the backcountry and although they’re tough to catch they’re a spectacular game fish. In another six to eight weeks they’ll start to show off the beaches migrating north. Snook are starting to migrate from the backcountry to the passes and adjacent bays.
If you’d like to book a trip March and April are our busiest months so call ahead so we can look at tides etc. to make of the most of your fishing adventure. May and June, peak tarpon season is also busy so book ahead.
Below are a few pictures from recent trips. The osprey dive bombed the fish my client was bringing in and after a tussle was released unharmed.
Capt. Mark 239-450-9230
Fishing has been great the past few weeks. There are still some snook sneaking around the passes and adjacent bays, redfish have been prevalent the past two months and pompano, trout, snapper are fishing well plus a few tarpon will be cruising the flats the next few weeks.
Snook fishing has been good, the linesiders are fairly prevalent and we’ve been catching quite a few smaller fish in the 12-20″ range which is good to see and indicates a healthy fishery.
In the last month or so the red fishing has been great. These smaller “rat” reds seem to have appeared out of nowhere which sometimes happens in the fall. This is a good indication that we have a thriving healthy backcountry environment. We’ve probably caught close to 30 in the last couple days and they seem to be on many shorelines. Shrimp, live pilchards and jigs have all been working.
Although I haven’t been pompano fishing too much of late we have caught some nice fish on the outgoing tides in the passes and troughs. As the cooler weather approaches and we use less live bait we’ll be jigging more and catching more pomps and trout.
Snapper seem to be everywhere although they’re not as big as a couple months ago, we’re still catching some keepers, my favorite eating fish.
Although it’s not peak time for tarpon the upcoming fall cold fronts will push them into the passes on the strong full and new moon tides.
Now’s a good time to book for the holidays and I usually get booked up.
Some recent catches
February has been unseasonable warm with zero cold fronts and the forecast is for the warm weather to continue for the rest of the month. The water in the backcountry is in the high 70’s so consequently tarpon and sharks have shown up. The tarpon fishing is not as good as it will be in March and April but it’s nice having the options.
Fished long time client Ransom and his son Pratt yesterday, we fished around the backcountry catching a couple snook and a bunch of jacks as we waited for the tide to come in and bring the nice clear gulf water into some of the backcountry bays. We managed to hook and fight a scrappy 5′ black tip shark which was the highlight of the morning.
As we move into March the snook fishing will improve as the backcountry snook start to migrate to the passes and adjacent bays. The tarpon and shark fishing will also improve until peak tarpon time in May and June. I do get booked that time of year so if you want to tarpon fish better book soon.
Overall, in lieu of the warm weather the fishing is pretty much like winter fish. A few nice fish, a shark or tarpon thrown in and good action.
A few pictures of some catches.
A rare “fat” snook, first one I’ve ever caught.
Spring is hear in Southwest Florida. Signs include the arrival of the Swallow Tailed Kites and Purple Martins which I’ve spotted both this week, I’m sure exhausted from their long flight from Brazil. Manatees are becoming more prevalent and…tarpon and sharks have started to show in the backcountry!
Fishing has been hot and cold which is not uncommon this time of year. The last two days it’s been blowin’ about 20 knots out of the NE which doesn’t help things but better than blowing out of the west.
Jacks have been everywhere, snook, redfish, snapper and sheepshead have been the most prevalent species with a few pompano mixed in along with a few rare backcountry permit.
Looking forward we have a full moon next Sunday which will give us strong spring time tides with high water mid day and low water around sunrise and sunset. The new moon is March 27th with similar tides.
Tides play an important role when fishing. Almost every spot I fish is because of the height and or direction of the tide. Call ahead when booking a trip so we can optimize the day and the tide.
Sharks and tarpon will continue to frequent the backcountry into late through April. Tarpon will thin out in the backcountry by early May and will start to show off the beaches as the spring migration begins!
Some bigger snook are being caught as they have started to move out of the backcountry towards the passes for their early summer spawn.
Call me to talk fishing or book a trip. Capt. Mark – 239-450-9239
The winter solstice arrived early this morning, at 5:44am, EST. The winter solstice is the exact moment that the Northern Hemisphere is tilted the farthest it ever gets from the sun during the year. This lowers the amount of the sun’s warming energy that reaches Earth, hence, winter!
What does all this mean? It means the days are getting longer as time marches on towards summer and the longest day of the year June, 21.
This also means winter is here and we’ve adjusted our fishing techniques. In the winter we use more jigs, fish more open water and bays and catch typically a wider variety of fish. Although, with the extended period of 80 degree weather we’re having and are forecast to have warm 80 degree days for the next 10 days, I’m not using jigs as much as I usually do for this time of year and the live bait fishing is still good.
For example yesterday I fished good client and friend Jan Vangorder and his wife Linda, we only fished two spots but caught six species including nice jack crevalle, mackerel, ladyfish, snapper, bluefish and lots of snook. We had non stop action in the backcountry and rarely saw any other boats.
They’re are also lots of bait fish off the beaches and plenty of mackerel. The bonita which I anxiously wait for every fall have not shown in the numbers they should so they should show soon. Maybe when the weather cools a little more.
Recent fishing pics below.
I still have openings for the week after Christmas so give me a call if you want to get on the water fishing with your kids, grandkids or wife or significant other.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
November into December could be a couple of the best months for fishing and the weather in Naples and Southwest Florida is superb. Beautiful puffy white clouds silhouetted against blue skies with temps around 80 in the day and 60 at nite.
We’re catching quite the variety of fish including Snook, Redfish, lots of jacks, snapper and the Kingfish and Bonita are starting to show off the beaches. Tides are good this weekend into next week with incoming water all morning. Thanksgiving week the tides get better as the week progresses. I do still have openings that week so give me a call to book a trip. It’s a nice way to spend four or six hours with a son or daughter or grandkid or friend.
Also Christmas will be here before we know it so book ahead as it’s one of the busiest times of the year.
A couple pics from a recent trip. Sam always out fishes her dad.