Naples to Flamingo
Includes Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City and Chokoloskee
Just when the spring had appeared to be sprung, we get another front. The forecasted arrival of late week fronts makes for tough conditions for the weekend anglers. This weekend expect dropping temps and higher winds with moderate tides.
Late season cold fronts tend to stir up the inshore waters to a cloudy mess. Already dingy from a predominantly southern wind direction, things can get downright nasty. A good rule of thumb is to seek out the cleanest water you can find and start your search there.
Tarpon that are arriving in ever increasing numbers may be a stretch this weekend but if you can spot them rolling ion the deeper passes like West Pass or Indian Key Pass, a hunk of mullet or ladyfish may get them to bite. There may also be a few tarpon prior to the water cooling down in the bigger back bays where they will also take cut bait off the bottom.
Redfish are always the most reluctant to be influenced by passing fronts and they should be your best bet this weekend. Reds will likely be cruising shorelines on the lower tide stages and will be easy to catch for those throwing scented soft plastics and jigs tipped with shrimp. Likely areas will be those shorelines with a heavy presence of oysters and good current flow. Back bays like Upper Addison, First National and Pumpkin Bay will hold reds on the rising tide.
Snook have pulled a bit of a disappearing act for the first week of the shortened snook season. Your best bet for finding slot sized snook this weekend will be to ply the deeper cuts through the islands and bays south of Marco. Dismal Key Pass and the myriad of cuts through Fakahatchee Bay will become hot spots as snook seek refuge from the front in deeper waters. Lower tide stages will concentrate the fish. A live shrimp on a jig head dragged slowly across the current will entice some of the bigger snook.
Offshore anglers are going to need to pay close attention to wind and wave forecasts as it looks as though things may be a bit nasty. If you must go, try the shallower hard bottom areas off shore of Cape Romano approximately 25 miles. Here you will be able to score big on red grouper and snapper. Tipped jigs will allow you to cover more water.
The near shore wrecks should provide a bit of cover and some decent action on mangrove snapper if you are willing to chum. Set up ahead of the wreck and allow the fish to come closer to the surface where they will drop their guard.