Naples & Marco Island Fishing Report

Fishing in the Naples Marco Island area has continued to improve with sharks continuing to be very active as well as snook, redfish, jacks, mackerel, snapper and tarpon are showing.

Naples, FL Redfish Charters
Barracuda Fishing in Naples, FL

Sharks were the highlight last week with numerous caught including two hammerheads, black tips and spinners. I hadn’t caught a hammerhead for many years. Jack Tazewell in from England wanted to honor his father who I had fished some years ago and caught a large shark and tarpon with. His father had since passed and Jack Jr. hadn’t fished since then but he wanted to catch something big. We left the dock early and headed down the beach in search of Spanish mackerel to use as bait. We found the macks so I decided to put a chunk out on the bottom as we continued to mackerel fish. It didn’t take long and the reel was screaming and an hour later we landed, tagged and released a 84” hammerhead. Hammerheads are such impressive sharks with their huge heads plus they have big dorsal and tail fins compared to other sharks.

Shark Fishing Naples, FL
Hammerhead Shark Fishing in Naples, FL
Hammerhead Shark Release

The spring winds have subsided and consequently, the gulf water is a beautiful greenish-blue. Snook are cruising the beach but can get very spooky and selective but and a challenge to catch. I recently purchased a couple 7’ St. Croix rods specifically for fishing the beach snook. They’re a medium light flex which will give us the ability to cast a long distance accurately. St. Croix really makes great rods with a variety of flex’s.

There have also been nice size schools of jacks (jack crevalle) cruising the beach in the 10-15# range, reels screamers on light tackle. The cruise real slow, sometimes circling and wandering along the shallows. Live bait, artificials and flies can all work.

Tarpon have been cruising along the beaches as well but not as consistent as they will in a couple more weeks. Live crabs work well as well as pinfish, threadfins and big eye shiners. There are also large tarpon in the backcountry but they seem to only eat cut bait back there and tough to get a hook into. Sharks seem to always be in the same places and bays the tarpon are in.

Tarpon Fishing Charters in Naples, FL

Going forward the tides will ease after the new moon on Saturday the 30th. Quite sure the fronts are done and fishing should be great as we go into my favorite two months of the year to fish, May & June.

Here’s some hammerhead shark biology.

Description & Behavior

Great hammerhead sharks, Sphyrna mokarran (Rüppell, 1837), can easily be confused with the smooth hammerhead, Sphyrna zygaena (Linnaeus, 1758), because of their similar size. The great hammerhead, however, is the largest of the 9 species of hammerhead sharks and is reported to reach up to 6.1 m in length and weigh up to at least 581 kg. These sharks have a flat hammer-shaped head with a notch at the center located along the front edge. Juveniles have slightly curved heads at the front margin that becomes nearly straight as they reach adulthood. This species can be identified by its nearly rectangular head. The first dorsal fin is very high and curved; the second dorsal and pelvic fins are high with deeply concave rear margins. They are light gray or gray-brown on the dorsal side, white on the ventral side and fins lack conspicuous markings.

Their “hammer-shaped” head is thought to have evolved to maximize the area of sensory organs such as the Ampullae of Lorenzini (special sensors in sharks’ skin used to detect chemical, physical and thermal changes as well as the electrical fields of prey species, including those buried in the ocean bottom—certain fishes, rays, crustaceans, etc.). Their hammer shape also allows hammerheads to scan significantly larger areas of the bottom when hunting than other shark species.

World Range & Habitat

Their “hammer-shaped” head is thought to have evolved to maximize the area of sensory organs such as the Ampullae of Lorenzini (special sensors in sharks’ skin used to detect chemical, physical and thermal changes as well as the electrical fields of prey species, including those buried in the ocean bottom—certain fishes, rays, crustaceans, etc.). Their hammer shape also allows hammerheads to scan significantly larger areas of the bottom when hunting than other shark species.

Life History

Great hammerheads are a viviparous species producing 13-56 pups per litter that measure between 56-70 cm. Viviparity means that the eggs hatch inside the female’s body and the babies are fed by a placenta which transfers nourishment from the mother via an umbilical cord connected to the pup between the pectoral fins. The placenta transfers nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s bloodstream and transfers waste products from the baby to the mother for elimination. Viviparous sharks give birth to live young. Hammerhead shark eggs are fertilized inside the female’s body. Like other shark species, males have claspers, or extensions of the pelvic fins, that are used to transfer sperm to the female through her cloaca to fertilize the eggs.