Naples to Flamingo
Includes Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City and Chokoloskee
Weather & Tides
With the passing of our first major cold front that saw water temperatures plummet some 15-18 degrees within short order, we are seeing water temps climb back into the mid-60 degree range and it has the fish reinvigorated for sure. With a strong incoming tide each morning this weekend, look for the bite to improve, despite gusty winds on Friday and a drop in air temps on Saturday and Sunday with this minor cold front.
While the blustery conditions from this last major front sidelined a lot of us for the greater part of a week, the fishery has rebounded well. The dips in water temperatures have fired up the speckled trout and brought many tripletail down from the north. In addition, our black drum are here and in good numbers. The barbled-faced cousins of the redfish are on the prowl and are chewing very well in the area passes. A simple egg sinker, swivel and 18” leader with a medium sized shrimp hooked to a 2/0 circle hook on the working end of the rig will get you bit. Focus on those passes with pronounced current, such as Dismal Key Pass and Sandfly.
The trout, both sugar and speckled are here and are eating as well. They finally figured out it was winter as they often due with the passing of the first major cold front of our winter, so ply the deeper holes on the lower tide stages with 3/8 ounce bucktail jigs tipped with a thumbnail sized piece of shrimp. Be sure to get the bait down and work it in a “hop, hop, pause” jigging motion, with nearly every bite coming on the “pause” part of the retrieve.
Tripletail were going bonkers this past week. Did the strong northerly winds blow these fish south to us? Quite possibly, but none the less, some absolute bruisers were caught both by area captains and recreational fishermen. Head to the nearshore crab trap buoys strewn throughout the nearshore waters and run some lines. While most of the bigger fish have been picked over, there are plenty of good ones still out there. Friday is out of the question with the high winds, but if you got out early before the winds start, you may have a shot.
Lots of good reports of amberjack coming in this week from fairly close waters, so find those reefs within 30 miles that have high relief or venture out to the towers and you should find AJ’s in good numbers and good size. The good sized lane and mangrove snapper are also actively taking shrimp, cut threadfins and occasionally cut squid. Take a few chum blocks with you and have them dropped straight on the bottom to accelerate your bite. If you are after red grouper, be sure to have plenty of cut threads and a few pinfish for the bigger ones.
Captain Steve Dall
USCG Licensed Captain- 10K Islands & Estero Bay