Naples to Flamingo
Includes Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City and Chokoloskee
Weather and Tides
We are coming off a new moon earlier in the week and tides are a bit strong this week and should follow suit for the weekend. Look for a strong morning incoming tide throughout the region, but be mindful of the weather as the tropical depression that is brewing could bring some heavier sustained rains, winds and nasty weather aside from the typical afternoon thunderstorms.
With the barrage of storms throughout this summer, the water temps have been slightly lower than usual and with this week’s passing of drier weather, we didn’t really notice a spike in water temps. This all spells out a more consistent bite as the fish simply aren’t battling the scorching water temperatures. I would still work early and late this weekend, focusing on the lower light conditions to maximize your time on the water. Even if the tropical depression doesn’t have an immediate impact on our region, the barometer will be moving like crazy, so the bite should be on point this weekend.
The snook fishing continues to be great with a plethora of lower 20 inch class fish with some down-right tanks being occasionally landed. We are definitely seeing the fish migrate off the beaches and into the backcountry and that should last a few more weeks. Look to intercept these fish at major passes and their corresponding points that have some deeper water on them as these areas act as proverbial highways for these linesiders to migrate. Live bait is readily available, albeit slightly on the smaller side, but there is plenty of hand sized white bait on the markers and traditional nearshore haunts.
Redfish are also setting up on the outside points the last few weeks with some upper slot and over slot fishing being caught on pilchards free-lined on a 2/0 or 3/0 circle hook or under a popping cork. Cut bait is also doing the trick and ladyfish chunks seem to be out-fishing mullet chunks recently. You should set up a milk run of sorts on every major point on the outside islands from Whitehorse Key south until you are tired or run out of daylight.
Be on the lookout for tarpon this week as good reports are coming in from area captains and savvy tarpon hunters. Fish are being caught on live mullet and the new Hogy Pro Tail Paddle Swimbaits in the 2 ounce size in the UV Bone and UV Black & Purple colors. With the good outgoing tide in the morning on Friday and Saturday, get out early, set up in your favorite pass and look for rolling fish while you fan cast the swimbaits and run a live mullet off the back of the boat.
Lots of red grouper are being caught right now in a wide range of depths with the larger fish coming deeper in that 55-70 mile mark west and southwest out of Naples. For starters, start dropping baits in the 45-60 foot depths on hard bottom, wrecks, ledges and reefs and then work your way out deeper to get the larger fish. A healthy assortment of jigs and knocker rigs tipped with cut herring and squid will take the action sized fish and it’s hard to beat a live pinfish when plying the depths for larger fish. In addition, if table fare is the objective, there are lane snapper everywhere and they are of decent size, so fire up the grill for some fish tacos.
Captain Steve Dall
USCG Licensed Captain- 10K Islands & Estero Bay