Typical of November, several frontal passages have provided a myriad of conditions for both shallow and deep prospect anglers. Although fishing in windy days and weather has been a challenge, getting a placid day in the backwaters or in the gulf has made for ideal scenarios and success.
Complementing the conditions set between the fronts on the inshore grounds has been an ideal combination of water temperature, tide and turbidity that has fueled excellent snapper and snapper action in water depths over 65 feet.
Small profile natural baits rigged with a light leader/hook combination have worked well to fool mangrove snapper, yellowtail and lamb, while live baits such as squirrelfish and pinfish attract grouper catches gag with a heavier material.
Fishermen, remember that two of our offshore bread and butter species, red grouper and red snapper, remain closed to harvest within federal waters beginning 9 nautical miles along the coast of the Gulf of Florida Both fisheries will reopen on January 1.
Therefore, good management should be adopted when reeling, landing and handling red grouper and lane snapper, minimizing deck time and using a venting tool or descent device if the capture has characteristics of barotrauma. Additional release measures work to eliminate dead discards.
Closer to shore and in the shallows, mixed conditions and catches have also dominated. Similar to the difficult situation on the high seas, achieving ideal conditions between fronts has been one of the keys to success. Casting of rigs, flies, lures, and live baits resulted in snook, redfish, pompano, and speckled trout being introduced into the landing net during the reporting period.
While forecasts are subject to change, the week of the Thanksgiving holiday is shaping up to be a mix of sea and wind conditions. So choose your fishing days wisely, hook up, hang on and have fun in Southwest Florida.
Full day charters have been quite active aboard all of our Dalis boats,” said Capt. Gene Luciano. “There have been plenty of snappers and groupers for everyone aboard.”
Sailing from the dock in the city of Naples, Luciano’s fleet has enjoyed a great catch past the 25 mile mark. Using cut baits rigged with light tackle, yellowtail and mangrove snapper have been coming over the rail while deploying cut and live baits with heavy duty conventional rigs, solid numbers of grouper gags have been testing Luciano’s rig and the ‘skill and will of his fisherman.
Luciano prefers to target snapper over and around ledges and limestone debris, but has also been scoring catches in wide open hard bottom areas.
“Fishing has been steady in the waters surrounding Naples and Marco Island,” said Capt. Pat Gould. “We’ve been catching a variety of species using a variety of methods.”
Half-day trips produced grunt and redfish catches for Gould anglers around areas of downed deadwood and swept current points. During the latter stages of the incoming tide, Gould and crew found successful casting tubes of trout and speckled trout and soft plastic jigs in areas of cleaner moving water over shell substrate.
Ten thousand islands
“The low tides made for an excellent week of cruising targeting and brought snook and redfish into the scene,” said Capt. Paul Nocifora, Goodland guide. “Fishing pressure has been light and game fish have been active.”
The first trips have found Nocifora and its reels exploring shallow mangrove shores, oyster bar areas and sheltered coves in search of their quarry. Presenting a sparse DT Special baitfish pattern or a white bulb pattern has kept the fishing rods for beginners bent with redfish, crappie and a scattering of large speckled trout.
Nocifora reports that cooling water temperatures are causing snook to move into back bays and creeks, while redfish are responding by congregating in greater numbers in the mid and back bay systems of the Ten Thousand Islands superiors