The Angler's Outlook: All kinds of fish on the menu

Southwest Florida anglers continue to have some of the best weather for productive fishing on most all fishing fronts as I prepare this report. If it continues our inland, outer shoreline and flats should have a nice list of species out there waiting for you which includes redfish, snook, trout, tarpon, ladyfish, shark and of course, catfish.

While many anglers will be using tipped jigs, don’t rule out trolling lures and spoons near the mangroves for snook. Using popping corks rigged with shrimp or minnows at the flats, nearshore wrecks and fish havens for the trout and Spanish mackerel should also work. Using a heavy monofilament or coffee-colored leader wire will help avoid cutoffs from the mackerel.

It is a good bet there should be some Spanish mackerel working the patches of bait at the passes during the early morning and afternoon hours. Many of the species listed above will be intermingled with mackerel.

There should be increased numbers of cobia and amberjack at the fish havens and wrecks. Marco Island angler Pete Arcidiacone reports Ron Linn caught and released a nice sailfish while fishing aboard Joe Cafferelli’s boat near the California wreck.

Reports of finding some nice gag grouper as close to shore as the fish havens. Anglers are bottom fishing with tipped jigs, live bait and cut mullet and squid. Several have been caught trolling deep running lures over the nearshore fish havens and wrecks. This is the time of year when they seem to be in larger numbers.

Rick Brindisi writes in his e-mail, “My friends and I like to fish the backwaters and sometimes the Everglades wreck. How many hours prior and after the listed high tide do you feel is the best fishing in the back waters? How about the wrecks, does this hold true for them, as well?

Hi Rick, I like to fish the backwaters during the high incoming or the high falling tides. Working your way in during the incoming, fishing your honey holes during the high incoming, and then reversing it by working your way out of the inland waters and hitting some of the outer shoreline spots, is a good game plan.

Fishing the wrecks during a good strong tide with the wind blowing the same direction seems to be best, setting a chum bag and chum tube out, one near the bow the other at the stern of the boat. If the bite is slow, I like to cast a jig tipped with a live bait up current and work it slowly as it sinks. The jig will cover a lot of area and I have caught several kingfish using this method.

I will move the chum tube a little closer to the surface several times if the bite is slow. The fish will sometimes follow the tube up closer to the surface and take a the bait near the surface.

Thanks for the email Rick.

An e-mail just in from Kat McNabb, executive secretary for the Naples Fishing Club, announcing they are hosting a bus to the Miami International Boat Show, Sunday, Feb. 14. They will be leaving from two locations at 8 a,m, at Marketplace at Pelican Bay on the corner of Vanderbilt Road on the North Trail and from the Cracker Barrel rear parking lot at Collier Blvd. at 8:30. Tickets are $60 per person including luxury coach and tickets to all venues. The bus will be hosted by two Naples Fishing Club members to assist with any needs the attendees have.

The Miami show is billed as one of the largest and offers three locations to visit. Buses are running contentiously from the Miami Beach Convention Hall to the other two exhibits. You may contact Kat at (239) 417-5867 for more information. Thanks for the update, Kat.

It is a good bet we will see some changes in the weather before you read this report, with cooler temperatures slowing the bite. Best bet would be to get out there during the midday hours, when it is the warmest. Getting behind the mangroves away from the wind will also help. Fishing the shallow water during the midday hours could find some redfish sunbathing in the sun. Casting a tipped jig or live bait near the fish just might turn it on. Stalking snook under the lights should remain productive even though the bite may be slow. The cooler water has a little to do with it.

Catch you later!

Do you have a fishing adventure to share? Upload your story and/or photos to or send them to Red Stier is a biweekly contributor to the Marco Island Eagle. Questions or comments may be directed to or 172 Trinidad St., Naples, Fla., 34113.

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