Fishing reports from Southwest Florida anglers continue to be few in numbers as I prepare this article. That does not mean that things are slower then they should be on our fishing scene.
It could be a good number of anglers have left our area for vacations or for the summer. Another reason could be some anglers prefer to keep a low key when it comes to how they are doing.
Offshore anglers will pull up to their spot, drop a marker over it, then drift or troll over it. If they see someone coming they quickly pull the marker and move on to another location, only to find out the incoming boat has already found the spot from the easy access to the charts at the marinas and tackle shops and their locations are common knowledge.
I know some anglers fishing the inland, outer shoreline, flats and passes practice total catch and release and keep a low key in order to keep the locations from being fished out, again by not staying at one spot too long.
With all of that in mind, the good news is bait seems to be increasing in their numbers on most all fishing fronts. Permit, cobia and amberjack have been caught at the wrecks and towers. Tripletail should be moving in for the summer and they will also be found at the wrecks, towers and any floating debris you can find. Tipped jigs and live bait should work well.
Large spawning snook and tarpon continue to run the outer shoreline, moving into the passes with some of them settling in the deeper, cooler water during the mid day hours. They should also be moving into the nearshore fish havens and wrecks.
Smaller snook have been very active in our inland, outer shoreline, passes and flats.
It is a good bet we will continue to find some Spanish mackerel working the bait from the outer shoreline out intermingled with several other species including jack, bluerunner, ladyfish, shark, barracuda and just maybe some stray kingfish. The deeper the water the more chance you have on the kingfish as most of them have moved north.
Marco angler Frank Troha was a happy camper when he took his daughter Lexi offshore fishing. Here, in part is his report.
“We were fishing south on the Steel Wreck for grouper and snapper but not having much action when we noticed a lot of bait fish and Spanish mackerel tearing up the water around us and quickly hooked up two storm lures, one a 30-foot diver for Lexi and another a 10-foot diver for me and started to troll in circles around that area. My daughter hooked up with a nice kingfish almost immediately.
“It striped about 50 yards of line off before she was able to stop it and then landed her first ever kingfish.
“We saw tarpon rolling near our boat and a light colored shark cruising the surface that had to be at least 15-feet long and hooked up with two more kings that we released and decided to call it a day.”
Thanks for the report and great picture Frank.
More good news, additional snook should be working the bait under the dock and bridge lights. Fishing the lights with jigs, lures, spoons and live bait that includes minnows, shrimp and pinfish will work.
You should find a bunch of catfish near the surface under the lights and it is a good bet some snook are laying just under the catfish. I like to cast my live bait up current giving it time to drift down current toward the snook.
Additional snook should be cruising the near the surface in the shadows. The catfish seem to be very quiet, slowly swimming in and out of the light. They are scooping up shrimp and very small minnows and crabs. If you are on the dock and have a video camera try zooming in close and you will notice there are more then one species of crab.
While there are several methods for stalking the snook at the lights there is one I love to try every now and then that I call, walking the shrimp. I use a long surf rod rigged with nothing except a 50-pound plus monofilament leader a little longer then the rod. The shrimp is hooked from underneath the head and comes out at the top missing the black spot.
I swing the shrimp out to into the shadows as far as I can while holding the rod straight out to the point the shrimp is about six- to eight-inches under the water. Then I slowly walk it back into the light. Then the fun begins when as it gets closer to the light and you can see it with a nice size snook slowly following it not more then six-inches from the shrimp’s tail and strikes it as they both move into the light.
If you try this, don’t forget to hold on to the rod tightly because all hell breaks loose when the snook strikes.
Don’t forget snook season remains closed until Sept. 1.
Here’s some info just in about the Collier County fish haven program. Environment Specialist Pam Keyes reports there will be two trips with a barge loaded with non-polluting solid waste to Doctor’s Pass this summer. The grant this year was raised to $60,000 allowing for more debris to be moved. The two loads will be staged near the RD 951 boat ramp.
Everything is looking great for the rest of May and June being even better.
Catch you later.
Red Stier is a bi weekly contributor to the Marco Island Eagle. Questions or comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 172 Trinidad St., Naples, Fla., 34113.