We have welcomed Spring with open arms! The days are longer and a little windy but we are still managing to have a great time on the water with a variety of species inshore around Naples and Marco Island. As the water temperatures increase we will begin to target the larger tarpon that are migrating along the coast. They will come in from the ocean through passes and channels and "lay up" between feeding in coves or on flats in the back water areas. Clear water is important for the best opportunity so hopefully the south wind will lay low so we can put a few tarpon in the air soon.
The snook are making their annual migration to the passes to spawn. There are plenty chances to target larger fish especially first thing in the morning because once the high sun appears they will want to stay tucked up under the mangrove shorelines or in deeper water. Bait of choice right now to use would be pilchards and finger mullet.
On the grass flats trout out have been consistent in the last month with live shrimp or jigs on popping corks. When the fish hear it, they’ll almost certainly come over to investigate. We typically will make fan casts along the flat looking for that one gator trout to come out of his pocket. Larger fish typically stay outside of a school in general, so a cast into a quieter nearby area can lead to great rewards!
There was a nice school of black drum in the area in the deeper channels and as you can imagine by looking at the photo above - this fish was like fighting a bucket of cement at the bottom of the sea! Black drum have terrible eye sight and an incredible sense of smell. They are almost always bottom feeders and will have no problem eating a chunk of bait, shrimp or half of a blue crab.
In the backwater areas have been full of small schools of jack crevalle. They will eat just about anything that moves in the water. They are more movement and sound driven than smell. If you enjoy fly fishing jack crevalle can be a lot of fun to fight as they are one of the stronger fish to target here in the Naples area.
I look forward to getting your day planned on the water. Give me a call and have a great week.
Capt. Tim Daugherty
The latest Naples inshore, backcountry and Gulf fishing report by Capt. Tim Daugherty.
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