Tarpon have thinned out along the beaches, snook and snapper are very prevalent along with mackerel, a few reds and some jacks.
Tropical storm Elsa was just a rain event as it was many miles off the coast. The Southwest wind did dirty the water for a couple days but the water is clear again.
As is the usual by mid July tarpon have started to thin out along the beaches. It’s not to say there aren’t any, they’re just not as prevalent as a few weeks ago. We did get into them a couple days ago, fishing with new client Brett Baumunk who booked a full day, eight hour trip, I felt we could spend an hour or two tarpon fishing since we had all day to fish. We pulled up to our spot and saw two big ones roll immediately, I hooked up a crab, casted it out, handed it to Brett and turned to get the second rod ready, Brett says “my float went down!”, I yell “reel”, with that an estimated 130-150# tarpon makes two spectacular jumps and heads west into the gulf. Two hours later and a mile off shore Brett landed the behemoth. We got some great pictures boat side and had a successful release. Pics below. I will never get tired of tarpon fishing, they are a spectacular fish that makes spectacular jumps and fights like no other fish. I’m also seeing baby tarpon in the canals, creeks and backcountry bays as is the norm during the rainy season.
Snook fishing has been very good with lots of smaller fish with a few bigger ones mixed in. There are snook along the beaches, in the passes and the adjacent bays. As always tides are important plus I’ve found the areas with fresher water at low tides aren’t holding as many fish. No big deal, we just find other spots. I do love to sight fish snook along the beaches at higher tides and with the morning east wind it’s been stellar. They do get spooky but it just adds to the challenge.
Snapper seem to be everywhere and many are keepers, 10”. They’re one of my favorite fish to eat. The coastal and backcountry estuary is a nursery for the smaller ones, when they get much bigger than 12” they head off-shore.
Naples Mangrove Jungles
The backcountry estuary exists because of the mangroves jungles. There are three types of mangroves, red, black and white. The reds are the ones with the prop roots that are closest to shore and house a myriad of life including crabs, small fish, shrimp and a myriad of life. Many of our saltwater fish live in, around and near the mangroves. The black mangroves are behind the reds and are identified by a darker trunk but no “prop” roots as the red has. If you look closely at the leaves of the Black Mangrove, you may see crystals of salt on the surface. This is one of the ways the Black Mangrove has adapted to live in a saltwater environment that would kill other plants. They are able to take up saltwater, use the water, and put the salt out onto their leaves.
Black Mangroves have white flowers in spring and summer, followed by green tear-drop shaped seeds. The seeds fall off the plant and float on the surface of the ocean and sprout when they are washed up on a suitable shoreline. Unlike the Red Mangrove, Black Mangrove seeds do not grow in the water, so Black Mangroves are usually found higher up the shore than Red Mangroves. I’m a hobbyist bee keeper and the honey from the black mangrove is absolutely sweet and delicious. We move our hives to some mangrove islands in May and we’re looking forward to the upcoming harvest in a few weeks.
Another way the Black Mangrove has adapted to its environment is by having roots that poke up out of the sediment instead of growing into it. These roots are called pneumatophores, which means “air breathing roots”. All plants need to breathe, so the Black Mangrove has developed these roots that act like snorkels, allowing the tree to get air, even though it is standing in seawater or soggy mud.
Are you ready to plan your Naples fishing trip?
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
View Naples fishing charter rates, click here.