Naples to Flamingo
Includes Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City and Chokoloskee
Weather and Tides
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! We have a full moon actually falling on Father’s Day which will have tides a bit on the higher and lower than normal, but will also have the tide velocities at a higher rate. More current always helps the bite, so just be sure to fish when the tides are not peaked out and the shallows get “flooded”, Weather should be typical for mid June….hot, muggy and a chance of thunderstorms, so heed caution and get out early.
The area is calming a bit as fish are running to their summertime haunts and if you can handle the no-see-ums, a pre-dawn start is to your advantage as water temps will be their coolest. One key thing a lot of us forget in the summer is to really spend some time reviving your fish after a fight. There is very little dissolved oxygen in the water when water temps hit that upper 80 degree range and a simple fight back to the boat, can absolutely be taxing on a fish if you don’t take the time to revive it. If you are struggling with a fish and is of legal size and in season, try putting the fish in your livewell for a bit to revive itself. Keep in mind this constitutes possession even though your intent is to release it after a few minutes, so I repeat, make sure the fish is in season and legal before putting him in the livewell. The extra oxygen from your aerator can work wonders on reviving a struggling fish.
The good news is that snook are on the beaches up the entire west coast into Ft Myers Beach…..the bad news is that it isn’t a secret, so early starts are a must and sharing water is inevitable, but the fish are there and some big ones at that. Walk the dog style topwaters in chrome, bone and baitfish patterns are taking fish at first light and pilchards are the key when the sun comes up. Look for laydowns and timber in the water with some tidal flow and you’ll find the snook.
Mangrove snapper seem to be on every stretch of shoreline lately and there are a few decent keepers in the mix as well. Seems the deeper and steeper the bank, the bigger the snapper, so be sure to give that a look. Dismal Key pass is a great start as there are some deeper stretches there and don’t be surprised if you hook a small goliath grouper, big snook or black drum while seeking the mangrove snapper. Live shrimp is the ticket and use enough weight to keep it down in the current. Once you find them, they wont stop biting.
Tarpon are still around, but not in the numbers we saw earlier in the year, so keep your eyes peeled on the water and your ears open at the boat ramp. A friendly conversation with a fellow tarpon angler at the boat ramp can make a good day a great day and remember to share information if you expect to receive information.
Well it’s the first weekend that red snapper are open so expect the offshore boats to be running out early this weekend. Remember a few things before you go. For starters, those interested in participating in this year’s Gulf red snapper season, fishing from private vessels must get the Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation on their license. In addition, fish must be 16” in total length and you can have 2 per person included in the 10 per harvester, per day state aggregate bag limit.
The first few weeks of gag grouper season has done pretty well with good reports of fish in the 40-65 mile mark. That’s a big span and I would certainly start farther as the bigger fish tend to hand a little deeper and then work your way in. That way if the thunderstorms fire up you will have a shorter run in. Remember that circle hooks and dehooking tools are required per FWC regulations. In addition, in order to harvest a gag grouper, they must be 24” or larger in total length and you may have 2 per person within each of that person’s 4 fish grouper aggregate. If you are still fuzzy on what all that means, check the FWC website before you head out so that you have a clear understanding of the regulations. Live pinfish, grunts, big greenbacks and cut threadfin herring will all take gags, but you may have to weed through some bi-catch of grunts, assorted snappers and some red grouper.
Until next week, tight lines and screamin’ drags….
Captain Steve Dall
USCG Licensed Captain- 10K Islands & Estero Bay