Anglers, email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them at www.naplesnews.com/participate and we will compile your images into an online gallery that’s featured each Thursday morning here at www.naplesnews.com.
NAPLES — Summer fishing has returned to normal patterns, and the catching part ranges from OK to really good, depending on where you fish and what you’re targeting.
Offshore, the grouper have been a reliable target and some really big fish have been caught recently. The red snapper season was brief, but very productive for those anglers who ventured out 60 to 70 miles to fish for them.
Inshore, location seems to matter more with some areas seemingly loaded with snook and reds while other places have slim pickings.
Summer bait patterns have schools of very tiny pilchards along the beach, and threads offshore and around structure. For the lucky few who net a well full of good-sized baits there are a lot of snook out there willing to eat. Some seriously large females are cruising the passes and beaches looking for something substantial to eat.
Early morning jerk baits or other surface baits worked close in can produce some wild action. Reds are starting to appear in greater numbers, too. Small tipped jigs have been producing both reds and snook.
According to Ken at Master Bait and Tackle, permit have been taking crabs around the offshore wrecks and other structure. He also added that reds have been eating shrimp in the bays, but that we are in the summer shrimp season and you may have to put a couple of the tiny shrimp on a hook.
Local surgeon Jan Forspaniak reports that in June he caught a potential record bonefish while in the Bahamas. Using a small white bucktail, he caught a 13.5-pound bonefish that is currently waiting approval as a record by the IGFA. On the same day, Jan also landed a 7-, 10-, and 12-pound bone. Quite an accomplishment, congratulations!
Offshore: Capt. Michael Avinon says that while the 40-day red snapper season may be short, the quality and numbers of fish were great. His anglers caught a good many of these great eating fish up to 16 pounds this season.
Capt. Mike says that in future years, we may see these snapper in as close as a 30-mile boat ride instead of the 60 to 70 miles you need to travel today. This fish is making a remarkable recovery, and its future looks bright. Both red grouper and gags have been bending rods and going home for dinner on recent trips.
The trip of the week was a 12-hour trip with John Cheek, his son and friends. Running out to the red snapper, they quickly put a limit in the boat, with the largest hitting the 15-pound mark. They also landed 12 grouper (reds and gags) to 40 pounds, all on just three drops of the anchor.
Onboard the “Captain Marvel,” Capt. Clarence Fleck has run several half-day trips and finding good-sized red grouper on these closer spots.
On Monday, a group of six people from Quebec caught six keeper red grouper and 20 lane snapper on their half day. On a recent two-night trip, Clarence reports a two-day limit of red snapper, and 60 schoolie dolphin, as well as a bunch of nice grouper. Of the 30 grouper, 12 were gags that went to 25 pounds and one huge true black grouper that hit 55 pounds! Great fishing.
Naples/Estero Bay: Capt. Pat Gould says fishing has been pretty good in the Naples area recently, but that bait has been tough.
Lots of real small bait is along the beaches, but most is too small to net. When you do get good-sized bait, the fish are eager to gobble them up.
On a recent three-day charter along with Capt. Bruce Jackmack and Roan Zumfelde, they had plenty of action. Their anglers included the outstanding rod designer Gary Loomis (g. loomis rods) and Rick Pope, who is president of Temple Fork Outfitters. Temple Fork Outfitters has brought together the likes of Loomis, Lefty Kreah, and Skip Pallot to help design top quality tackle. The group enjoyed testing some of their new equipment, and had plenty of action. Along the way, they boated a couple of 40-inch snook and a huge, 37-inch redfish.
Capt. Pat says the water conditions were great, with water ranging from perfectly clear on the beach to just off color inside the bays.
Recently, Capt. Jason Moore has been chasing tarpon and other near shore critters with his anglers. On Tuesday the tarpon were there, but were not too anxious to eat a bait. Large threads have been just offshore and Jason has been filling his well. On Friday he had Lawrence and Mike from Naples onboard and while cruising nearshore waters they saw some Cobia. They quickly got a bait in the water and the result was a 40 inch, 20 pound fish. Jason had been catching a lot of good mangrove snapper, but he says the bite has slowed since the full moon.
Ten Thousand Islands: Near-shore reefs and wrecks have been producing some really big snook for Capt. Jesse Karen recently. He is fishing tipped jigs around these areas, and in the past week his anglers have landed 10 snook over 40 inches.
Jesse says he has also been finding one or two free-swimming triple tail each trip, and on a recent trip, young Tyler McCoy landed a nice, 15-pound triple tail. Capt. Karen says the water is still dirty south of Goodland, and the recent tides have been running extremely high.
Running out of Goodland, Capt. Ken Chambers has been fishing the skinny water and doing real well on snook and reds. Most of his fish have been in the 20- to 28-inch range, and that is for both reds and snook. The fish are eating small jigs in the 85- degree water.
On Sunday, angler Scott Wrak had a great time sight-fishing a nice school of about 40 reds. Ken says he is seeing the reds schooling more recently, and this 40-fish school was the largest. With the water somewhat cleaner, seeing these schooling fish is getting easier.