Fishing in the Naples and Marco Island Island area has been great the past couple weeks. The highlight are the tarpon migrating off the beaches. I like to get out early as they tend to bite best from first light to sunrise. Live crabs, big white baits and sometimes cut bait are all productive. As the sun gets up in the sky sight-fishing is an option. The tarpon look like torpedoes cruising in 4′- 6′ of water over white sand bottom in gin clear water.
Snook have also been prevalent along the beaches, passes and adjacent bays. They can also be sight fished along the beaches as they hug the sandy shorelines at higher tides.
Keeper snapper, sharks, redfish and big jacks are also being caught in the surrounding area.
The tarpon migration will taper down in the next few weeks so let’s get out fishin’!
Fishing in the Naples Marco Island has been great this week following the full moon on Tuesday. The water in the gulf has cleared and returned to an emerald blue green color after last weeks cold front and associated west winds dirtied the water for a spell.
Had the pleasure of fishing Michael and his son Bronson from St. Louis a couple times this week. I’ve always loved fishing kids and showing them the unique backcountry mangrove estuaries and the wonders of saltwater fishing and the variety of species that can be caught. We had a great couple days on the good morning incoming tides using scaled sardines or white bait. Snook, redfish, jack crevalle, speckled sea trout, spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper and more were caught. We mixed it up and fish the backcountry then as the tide came in we slowly transitioned to the bays adjacent to the passes, the passes then sight fished snook along the beaches.
The afternoons have also been good fishing on the hard falling tide with tarpon and sharks the highlights. The big afternoons hard falling tides seem to light up the fish and make them active and hungry. Tuesday afternoon fishing with friend Jennie Futch we went one for two on tarpon. We rubber hooked the first one then the second one we thought was a shark because it didn’t jump for over 15 minutes but once it did we knew. Not uncommon for the bigger 100 pound plus fish to not jump much. After 1.5 hours we landed the fish almost a mile from where we hooked it. Estimated at 150 lbs.
Jennie Futch with a estimated 150lb tarpon!
Bronson, nice jack
Bronson with a trout
Bronson with a redfish
Had a ball the other day catching bonita off the beaches. The water in the gulf has been warm, clear and a blue green color. We were snook fishing in Gordon Pass and I noticed some fish busting off-shore. We headed out to the calm gulf and drifted some baits behind the boats and boom, ended up going five for six on bonita and the one we lost spooled us! The bonita is a pelagic predatory fish and is by far the fastest fish in our waters. Below is longtime client and friend Bob Bishop with a nice 10 pounder and his friend Charlie.
Fishing turned on this past week like it’s April. Bonita showed off the beaches, bull sharks and tarpon showed in the backcountry and bigger snook are being caught. The warm weather combined with clear gulf water plus good tides all added to the great fishing.
Charlie Nordahl with his first shark, a nice bull.
Fishing in the Naples Marco Island area is starting to turn on. Typically mid winter my goal is to catch lots of fish and lots of species telling my clients not to expect to catch big fish like we do in the warmer months, well, with the unseasonably warm weather we’re having this February signs of spring are here and we’re starting to catch bigger fish.
The other day I saw a flock of white pelicans circling over Rookery Bay. It was probably the biggest flock I’ve seen with over 100 birds. It’s quite a site watching them slowly circle as they drift and migrate north. I’ve also started to see sting rays and spotted eagle rays breach the water as they do in the spring plus I’ve seen bluebirds and swallow tailed kites which are a sure sign spring is in the air.
Had a good week with lots of species and some nice catches. The highlight was caught by my good friend and client Jan Vangorder with a 33″ snook weighing in at 13 lbs.
Sharks are also showing in the backcountry as they do when the water hits 73 degrees and tarpon will show anyday now.
It’s a busy time of year so give me a call to book a trip
Capt. Mark 239-450-9230
Fishing in Naples and the Marco Island area has been typical for mid winter. I’m catching good numbers of fish and a wide variety of species. Snook, redfish, pompano, speckled sea trout are the main targets with many other species mixed in, some odd including mangrove snapper, bluefish, mackerel, sheepshead, bonita, triple tail, jacks, batfish, toadfish, lizard fish, whiting, ladyfish and the occasional backcountry permit and more.
Had a fun trip with the Steel family recently, we caught seven species including trout, sheepshead, snapper, redfish, whiting and more. Fun was had by all in lieu of the weak tides.
Going forward we have good tides this coming week, with the full moon Saturday we’ll have strong incoming tides next week in the mornings.
Spring is right around the corner and tarpon and sharks will show up in the backcountry as soon as the water hits 73 degrees. By late April the tarpon will move out of the backcountry and we’ll start fishing for them off the beaches. This is a busy and exciting time of year so book ahead.
Capt. Mark 239-450-9230
Love the smiles on Ben & Barbi Steel
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.