Naples Inshore & Nearshore Fishing Report

Been mixing it up quite a bit, snook and redfish bite got slow the other morning so we threw jigs for trout and pompano, ended up catching the above as well as lady fish, lizard fish and other non-target species but gave us some action as well as our shark bait.

Snapper are still prevalent although don’t seem quite as big, on average, as they were last month but still catching keepers which are my favorite fish to eat. Red fishing has been good, catching a few in the passes as well as the adjacent bays and some in the creeks. Live bait, pilchards, are working but cut bait and jigs also work.

Sharks are still inhabiting some of the backcountry bays as well as some of the nearshore wrecks. They may well be farther off-shore also but I don’t get out there. There’s been a variety in the backcountry in the past few weeks. We’ve caught bulls, lemons, black tips and nurse sharks.

The black tips are probably the most feisty followed by the bulls, lemons, and nurse sharks. Every time we hook a black tip I think it’s bigger than it is. When we go into a bay and shark fish it usually happens within 20 minutes, if it hasn’t happened by then they’re probably not there and we switch to another bay.

Only took about 10 minutes yesterday for Rachael to hook up an approximately 5’ lemon shark. At first, I thought it was bull shark but then noticed the dorsal fin and the second dorsal fin were about the same size which is indicative of a lemon shark, the second dorsal fin on a bull it quite a bit smaller than the first dorsal.

I’ve always liked the mystic of sharks, their potential danger, their demeanor, their looks, the different species of sharks, and their great fighting ability. Locally we have quite a diverse selection of sharks including bull sharks, lemons, nurse, black tips, tiger and hammerheads. On the smaller size we have bonnet heads and Atlantic sharp nose sharks.

I use anywhere from 30-65lb braid on 6500-8500 spinning reels with 7-8’ long rods. I custom make my own leaders using 135lb Surlon nylon coated stainless steel wire with 8/0 octopus circle hooks. It seems I get more bites using the coated wire.

Bait of choice is cut Spanish mackerel but jacks, ladyfish, catfish all work. Sometimes the skin rips and the bait comes off so I’ve started hooking some of the fish in the cartilage near the tail.

As with most fishing, I like the tide to be running either in or out.

We were fishing a small cut about 50’ wide and 4’ deep for reds and snook a few days ago and I saw a shark cruising the shallows, so I put out a piece of cut bait and within minutes we hooked up, the sharks screamed across the bay and the hook came out. We went back and within minutes the same thing happened, we rubber hooked him also. Back to the spot again, another bait out and again hooked up within minutes. This one we landed, pic below with Josh and his brother Gerald. I can’t imagine the same shark kept coming back but I also wonder how many sharks were inhabiting the small shallow area. The wonders of the backcountry.

Going forward the swell in the gulf from the passing of hurricane Ida should subside and we’ll get back to fishing the beaches for snook and the nearshore wrecks for sharks and goliath grouper. Tides will be fairly weak early this week but will pick up later in the week as we get closer to the new moon on Tuesday, September 7th.

Give me a call to go fishing, or click here to book a trip. September is a great month for fishing. Tarpon start to show as they head south from their early summer migration, snook fishing is good and it’s our best month to catch redfish plus the boat traffic is almost non-existent.

Tight lines

Capt. Mark

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