Naples Late Fall Fishing Report

The weather the last couple weeks has been exceptional with consistent warm temperatures. Our daytime highs have been around 80 with the lows around 60, everyday for almost two weeks. Perfect weather.

The water is azure blue in the gulf and and the incoming high tides bring that gin clear water into the adjacent bays making for nice clear conditions. Sight fishing snook on the beach which is not something we typically do in December has been good although they can get very spooky and sometimes tough to catch. There’s also some snook in the backcountry, live bait works best although we have been throwing some artificials such as zara puppies, hard plastics and jigs.  

Trout are around as they should this time of year. I like the lower tides which tend to concentrate the fish in the deeper troughs and cuts. Shrimp suspended under floats have been working as well as white swirl tail 1/4 oz. jigs. Trout must be 15” to keep, there’s plenty shorts around which make for good action and when we find keepers they tend to all be keepers. 

Pompano are also targets in the winter. They move around a lot but they tend to school so once you find them sometimes you can catch a bunch. Pink jigs is the classic pompano jig but root beer swirl tails work as well as shrimp under floats. They’re great fighters and good eating. The classic way to cook them is to bake them in a bag, as the french say, en papillote, julian of vegetables, capers, lemon and butter make a nice meal. 

The few redfish we’re catching are all nice size as you can tell by the picture below. Higher tides are always best for reds as they like to forage along the shorelines searching for shrimp, crabs and minnows. It’s always a challenge as they like higher tides but… it makes it more difficult to cast baits up under the mangroves when the tide is high. Fun but challenging. 

Naples Backcountry Fishing Charters

We don’t typically pursue sharks this time of year but the other day I had a client say when I asked what she wanted to catch say “sharks”. So I just had a feeling with the recent warm weather and the good incoming tide we had that day to check out a certain bay I catch sharks in in the warmer months. Sure enough they were there and it didn’t take 15 minutes and Bethany landed a nice estimated 65 lb black tip.

Shark Fishing in Naples, Florida

Big tarpon also tend to show up in the winter months when the conditions are right meaning warm calm weather which brings the warm water and consequently the sharks and tarpon show up in the backcountry bays. For a long time we thought the bigger tarpon always migrated south in the winter but over the years we’ve caught them as late as Thanksgiving and as early as Jan. 3. I believe there are resident fish that go somewhat dormant when it’s cool or cold and become active when it’s warm. I’ve found when the water hits 73 degrees the sharks and tarpon get active. 

Going forward the six day forecast call for the same weather we’re having now which bodes well for fishing. Tides are good this week leading up to the full moon next Saturday. We’ll have nice incoming tides in the morning especially later in the week and next week falling tides in the mornings.

I wouldn’t be surprised if tarpon show up this week along with the sharks. Backcountry as well as the coastal and near coastal fishing should be good. We’re over due for a few days of good bonita fishing. I’m always looking and will keep you posted.

Only a few slots left for Christmas week. I’m still booking tarpon trips for next spring and summer.

Give ma a call to book a trip or talk fishing.

Capt. Mark

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Experience the backcountry saltwater mangrove estuaries of Naples, Marco Island, the 10,000 Islands and Everglades National Park. Light tackle sport fishing for snook, redfish, tarpon, trout, pompano, bonita, sharks and other saltwater species. Contact Capt. Mark to plan your Naples fishing charter, call: (239) 450-9230

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