Naples to Flamingo
Includes Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City and Chokoloskee
Weather & Tides
With the passing of the full moon on Thursday, expect negative low tides in the morning giving way to screaming incomings the balance of the day. Water temps plummeted to the mid to high 50 degree range throughout much of the region after last weekend’s cold front, but they are gradually climbing back to the low 60 degree mark. Outlook for the weekend looks good weather-wise with moderate easterly winds and dry conditions.
Snook generally are quite lethargic when fronts pass through and drop the water temperatures, but for some reason this week, they cooperated, albeit they were in the warmest waters in the area, so continue finding water temps in the mid 60 degree range and the snook should cooperate. The early morning lows should give sight fishermen in the region a field day as area linesiders and redfish will find the dark bottomed muddy bays to sun themselves. As the tides rise, they’ll set up on the nearest oyster bars, mangrove lined shorelines and undercut banks within adjacent passes. This is a great opportunity to find some fairly large laid up fish in the backcountry, but as always, approach them with stealth or you will be staring at mud clouds in the water all morning.
Trout continue to shine with some really nice sized fish being caught. Remember, you are only allowed one fish over 20” in your four per person daily limit. The speckled, yellow mouths are setting up in the deeper holes and in the eddies behind points as the winter time patterns settle in. The tried and true 3/8 ounce bucktail is the ticket in brown or natural colored hues. Play with color as trout are notorious for being color selective and always tip these jigs with a thumbnail sized piece of shrimp. Anything larger will alter the action and the rig will cartwheel upon retrieval.
With the forecasted weather this weekend, the nearshore bite up to 20 miles should have favorable sea conditions with the easterly winds. Get out early while they are in the single digits as long runs back to the dock in the afternoon against easterly winds in the low to mid teen range can be rough and take considerably more time to get back to port. It sounds like a broken record, but concentrate on the stellar red grouper bite pretty much anywhere from 55 to 85 feet using cut threadfins and live pinfish. The pinfish are taking the larger fish along with some bonus gag grouper, albeit the gag grouper season in now closed, so no harvest is allowed. In addition, closer to shore in the 30-55 foot range, the lane snappers are running quite large this month, so take advantage of these tasty critters. Be on the lookout for tripletail when running spot to spot as the full on barrage of fishing pressure they received sent them to the deepest crab trap buoys and floating debris. Also be on the lookout for roaming cobia and free floating tripletail when making your runs.
Until next week, tight lines and screamin’ drags….
Captain Steve Dall
USCG Licensed Captain- 10K Islands & Estero Bay