Naples to Flamingo
Includes Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City and Chokoloskee
Weather & Tides
With the full moon in our rear view mirror, tides will return to normal velocities and height, but finding clear water still remains a top priority. Find the clean water, find the forage, find the predators. Late summer weather patterns are steady, with mild easterly winds in the mornings, turning westerly in the afternoons with the threat of thunderstorms. Be mindful of those thunderheads building off in the distance as they can form rather quickly and can have isolated, violent weather with them.
Beat the heat. That is the key. Fish the mornings before it gets too balmy or the late afternoons and evenings after the showers have passed. Snook continue to do well with many fish in the mid to upper 20 inch range eating live pilchards, soft plastic jerkbaits and small paddle tail swimbaits in the 3-4 inch size. Look for structure, combined with current and fish with the current, not against it and you’ll find fish. Areas such as the southern end of Whitehorse Key has a great trough in front of the timber that lines the bank as current flows by. Try and duplicate this spot elsewhere and you’ll have a handful of good snook spots.
Spanish mackeral and a few bonita have popped up offshore. Simply look for the bait balls and diving birds and you’ll find the fish. You may run into certain pods of bait that are being blasted by smaller jacks and ladyfish, but take advantage of the opportunity to box some fresh ladyfish for bait. Just about any fast moving bait will get any of the aforementioned fish chewing, but a small, heavier spoon with a larger single hook will get you a ton of casting distance and allow you not to spook the schools. Concentrate your efforts in the nearshore Gulf waters from Cape Romano to Wiggins Pass.
Redfish are still biting with lower to mid slot sized fish dominating the catches, before the drove of overslots invades us this fall when the temperatures cool down a bit. Cut ladyfish and cut pinfish are still doing very well due to the off colored water. If you are in areas that have clean water, a pilchard is tough to beat up against the bushes on a higher tide stage.
Continued good reports of red and gag grouper are still coming in, but fish are certainly pushing deeper to beat the heat. Start your search in 65-80 feet of water sending cut threadfin herring and squid chunks on chicken or knocker rigs to the bottom. Live pinfish, pilchards or live threadfins are taking the bigger fish for sure. Be on the lookout for any pass crabs floating as you are bottom fishing, Quite a few have been showing up this summer out in the Gulf and are great opportunities to scoot them up and use them for that occasional permit or cobia that you may stumble upon.
With the calm mornings upon us, take advantage of the red snapper season that will be ending in a few weeks. As a reminder, the 39-day season in Gulf state and federal waters is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Friday, June 16, through Monday, Sept. 4. Also included are Monday and Tuesday, July 3 and 4, and Monday, Sept. 4. This is the longest Gulf federal red snapper season since 2013. State waters will also remain open June 15 and beginning Monday, June 19, will close Mondays through Thursdays through Sept. 3, except July 3 and 4 and Sept. 4.
Until next week, tight lines and screamin’ drags….
Captain Steve Dall
USCG Licensed Captain- 10K Islands & Estero Bay