Naples & Marco Island Spring Fishing Report

Spring is here in SW Florida. Sharks and tarpon have showed in the backcountry, snook are showing in the passes and adjacent bays, mackerel and sharks are off the beaches mixed in with a few tarpon and there are some reds lurking about. 

When the water hits 75 degrees in the spring, usually mid-March, sharks & tarpon show up and this year didn’t disappoint. As usual, the temperature wavered but if things remain fairly constant the sharks and tarpon should be here for the duration. Soaking cut bait on the bottom is the norm, not my favorite way to fish but productive when fishing for backcountry sharks and tarpon. Mackerel and bluefish are the best but catfish, ladyfish and jacks work well also. 

Most spots where the sharks and tarpon frequent are less than five feet deep and sometimes we catch big fish in just 2 1/2’ – 3’ of water. The type of sharks varies but I’ve caught lemons, bulls, nurse, black tips and hammerheads all in the backcountry. The sharks and tarpon seem to frequent the same bays year after year.

Tarpon will start to show off the beaches soon. I’ve seen a few but the bigger concentrations will start end of April into May.

Snook have been getting more active with some bigger fish being caught of late. We’re still catching snook in the backcountry but also starting to see them in the passes, adjacent bays and even along the beaches. We’ve been using live pilchards along with spoons and jigs. I look for spots where water is pushing up against or along a mangrove island or bank. Overhanging branches are good but make fishing more difficult. 

Beach snook fishing is one of my favorites. Many times this time of year the water gets very clear along the beaches and we can sight fish the snook cruising within 5’ of the beach.  Challenging but loads of fun. I’ve purchased certain St. Croix rods specifically for this fishing and that cast far and easy.

I’ve been transitioning towards the gulf more as we move through spring and towards summer. Mackerel have showed along with schools of jacks, sharks and a few tarpon. Spoons work well as they cast far and cover a lot of territories. Cut bait near a wreck could produce a shark or a goliath grouper. 

Going forward tides are at a weaker phase with the quarter moon on April 12 then going forward we’ll have high tides around sunrise then getting about 50 minutes later every day until we hit the mid-day high tide on the new moon on April 20th. I really like the mid to late morning high tides which are moving good but not too strong then the tide switches and were have falling water during mid-day, the best of both worlds. 

Fishing will continue to improve as the water warms, the cool fronts diminish and we head toward May & June.

Tarpon season is just around the corner and I’m now booking tarpon trips. Trips are a minimum 6 hours and typically leave the dock around 6am. We usually start fishing off the beach using live blue crabs under floats but may head into the backcountry. Below are calendars with best tides and availability.  Call me to book a trip or to talk about fishing in the area!

Capt. Mark


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *