Naples Mid Winter Fishing Report

Mid winter is here and it feels like winter, at least if you live in south Florida. What I like about mid winter is that spring is just around the corner with warmer weather and a return to fishing for nice snook, redfish and tarpon.

We’ve had some days with good action and a variety of species which is always my goal this time of year. Trout, pompano, sheepshead, snapper, goliath grouper, jacks, a few reds and snook are rounding out the days. The trout, snapper, sheepshead and pompano are all good eating which is a plus. Trout have to be 15”, snapper 10”, sheepshead 12” and pompano 11” at the fork to keep.

I use a variety of techniques this time of year including a free lined shrimp, a hook with shrimp and a split shot, a jig head with a shrimp or a jig with a artificial tail such as a gulp or swirl tail and a shrimp on a hook with a float or clacker rig about 2 to 2.5’ above it. We did have a few days of calmer warmer weather last week and I was able to throw the cast net on some pilchards and we had moderate success with them. We did catch a couple of nice goliath grouper on them which are fun on light tackle up in the backcountry creeks.

Naples Backcountry Goliath Grouper
Naples Inshore Fishing Charters | Goliath Grouper

Here’s the upcoming 10 day forecast: https://www.wunderground.com/forecast/us/fl/naples

Tarpon fishing season is fast approaching and I still have dates available. Below are calendars for May & June with dates I’m booked, dates I’m open and dates with good tides. May of my clients stay at the Bayfront Inn and I pick them up behind the hotel in the morning in my boat.

May Tarpon Season Availability

June Tarpon Season Availability

Grouper are very interesting family of fish with 159 species worldwide. The goliath is the largest grouper in the western Atlantic region and ranges from Florida south through the Caribbean into Brazil. It can reach about 800 lbs and over 6 ft total length. The following features can easily distinguish this species: broad head, round tail, small eyes, and short dorsal fin spines. They tend to have a brownish-yellow or greenish-gray mottled pattern and small black spots on their fins. Fish mature at 5 or 6 years of age at about one meter in length. They are relatively long lived, with individuals at least 37 years old found in exploited populations. It is possible, however, that older fish occurred in unfished populations.

Historically, Goliath Grouper, Epinephelus itajara, were found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, both coasts of Florida, and from the Gulf of Mexico down to the coasts of Brazil and the Caribbean. Most adults are found on shallow reefs, the deepest being about 150 feet. They form spawning aggregations of about 100 individuals at consistent sites from July through September. Fish may move up to 100 km from inshore reefs to these spawning sites, which typically occur on rock ledges, isolated patch reefs, and even on shipwrecks.

Goliath grouper have a pelagic larval duration of approximately 6 weeks. They settle in shallow mangrove habitat, first in mangrove leaf litter, and then along mangrove shorelines. The juvenile stage lasts 5 or 6 years in this mangrove habitat, after which fish egress to shallow reefs, eventually joining adult populations offshore.

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

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