Bright red morning sunrises are always a great way to get excited for a day on the water. Snook around the Naples and Marco island backcountry have been harder to catch as the gulf waters have dropped into the low 60s. Every winter when our Waters temps drop & we have other species of fish that take priority (redfish /sea trout/sheep head / mackerel/pompano/black drum). I like to target these winter fish with artificial jigs . A go to winter bait is a 3/8oz tube jig light brown in color tipped with a small piece of shrimp . Not frozen shrimp but live shrimp cut into small fingernail pieces.
This time of year can also bring in king mackerel & Bonito . If you happen to see tons of birds diving just off our beaches make sure you go check it out and you could be in a bunch of drag screaming action. Look for the good winter fishing to continue as the cold fronts have been showing up every week now . C u y’all on the water !!!!!
Capt. Tim Daugherty
We are starting to feel some good cold fronts rolling into the Naples and Marco island areas . Weather has been just perfect with highs averaging in the upper 70s and lows in the 50s at night . These cooler night temperatures have kept the gulf temps rt around the upper 60s to the low 70s. As you can see in the pictures, I’m still finding some really good Snook but not seeing the big numbers like I see in the spring and summer.
I am still cast netting live pilchards, that seem to be a crowd pleaser inshore and in the backcountry . On the side of the fishery , these cooler temps are prime time fishing for sea trout. These fish will start to stack up in the deeper cuts in between the outer islands . Look for good rolling current, and a slight drop off in the bottom and you should find action.
Fishing for trout is really easy once you find one your usually find a pile of them . Make sure to fish slow as they will be tight to the bottom . With this said a 3/8 ounce jig head with a DOA paddle tail (3in)or gulp shrimp will most definitely get that Rod bent . I see in the forecast another cold front doing this weekend so make sure to get out this week is that high pressure will get these chew N !!!!! See yah on the water.
Capt. Tim Daugherty
Foggy mornings in the Naples in Marco in Island areas, have the inshore snook chew N !!! Fog usually means no wind so It’s been a nice change From a bright sun rise to misty like feel . Moring incoming tides have been the ticket to getting these big fish to eat . My favorite parts tides right now are , the last hour of the outgoing and in the first hour of the incoming. This seems to be when the currents are less strong & these fish are able to see your bait passing by at a much slower rate . I also think when the tides are ripping fast that these fish tend to hunker down on the deep structure, and are less willing to make an effort to chase your bait. So with this said timing is everything!
I have also been catching some giant Jacks that are mixed amongst the snook. These fish are not structural oriented and are always on the move ,so be ready as fast as they come , they can leave just as fast. When a fish is hooked up It’s always good to throw a handful of baits (chumming) into the water to keep them around feeding . Seatrout have been another target of mine this past week.
We had a big cold front that dropped our gulf temperatures into the upper 50s and this is always a good sign if you enjoy targeting sea trout . One of my go to methods is very simple, it’s a 3/8 ounce jig head with a 3 inch paddle tail & a little bit of pre-cure shrimp sauce for a little extra added flavor. I find working the deeper holes that have a nice rolling current have been producing the most fish.
With trout where you catch one, you will most definitely find more, so make sure to work your fishing area thoroughly! Look for these Northeast winds to keep the gulf gin clear & the good fishing will continue to get better ! See YA on the water!
I wanna start by saying I hope everybody had a great holiday with family and friends. It was one of the coldest Christmas as I can remember which dropped are water temps down into the 50s. Whenever this happens, due to the drastic cold drop , it puts our fishery on lock but thankfully we are back in the 80s and the fishing is back heating up.
The Snook bite in the Naples and Marco island area have just started to pick back up . I am finding good action still on the outside islands but also deeper in the backcountry. When the gulf temps dropped it pushed allot of fish deeper in the backcountry. Our morning low tides have pooled up these fish in the deeper holes. I have been using live baits(pilchards) but also DOA 3in paddle tails with 3/8oz jig head and having great success.
Sea trout , jacks , snapper and snook have all been targets using these artificials. As our weather stabilizes , Look for this weekend fishing to get better each day . Happy new year and hope to see y'all on the water!!!
Capt. Tim Daugherty
The latest Naples inshore, backcountry and Gulf fishing report by Capt. Tim Daugherty.
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