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NAPLES — It is really warming up out on the water, and I am not just talking about the air temperature. Our warm-water species, like snook and tarpon, are making it feel like summer because they have come out of the winter hideaways and started to create havoc on the end of fishing lines.
With the tides improving through the weekend, this only will help things. The east wind of the past few days has helped clean up the water, but not so clear that the fish are spooky.
Live bait, which had gotten scarce for a few days, is back on the beaches, and the snook are starting to show up there, too. Look for cruising fish in the trough right off the beach at high tide. These fish are keying in on live bait, so if you can’t get the real thing, make sure to use something that mimics a live pilchard.
Large trout continue to be cooperative, and fish over five pounds are not that uncommon. Remember that trout don’t freeze well, so only take what you will eat in the next day or two. Reds are eating live and cut bait, especially at the higher end of the tide.
Offshore, the red grouper have been the target of the folks looking for dinner. They are being caught on live bait and squid. Most of the larger fish are being caught well offshore in the 28-to 30-mile range. While out there, boaters are checking out the wrecks and finding cobia and kings, too.
Ten Thousand Islands: Capt. Rob Walczak had customers land tarpon on both Monday and Tuesday. Dorothy Stauer landed a whopper that was estimated at about 150 pounds on Monday.
Stauer also did real well on reds and snook. Dorothy put seven reds to 26 1/2 inches in the boat AND she landed two large snook, one at 32 inches and another at 40 inches. Way to go, girl!
Rob said the water has cleared up some in the last few days, and the water temperature as of Tuesday had hit 82. He has been using cut ladyfish and live bait for the tarpon and pilchards for the snook.
Naples/Estero Bay: Capt. Jason Moore has been doing real well on speckled sea trout again this week. Fish range from a low of 18 inches to fish around seven pounds, and his anglers are catching a lot of them.
Snook finally have started to pop in a big way, and they are everywhere from the beaches to inside the bay. In a contrast to last week, Jason said that bait has been all over the place and easy to get.
The water is clearing nicely with the east winds. Capt. Moore ran out to 18 to 20 feet of water looking for tarpon, and while he did see 30 to 40 fish, none were eating. That should change real quick.
Offshore: Big red grouper, up to 30 inches, have been hitting baits offered by the anglers aboard “The Findictive.” Capt. Michael Avinon has been catching fish anywhere from 10 to 30 miles offshore, but as usual he is getting the better fish well offshore.
Like any kind of fishing, Capt. Mike says that on some days the fish have been picky. He says that on those days he hits the wrecks, and is seeing quite a few cobia and kings, which can provide some great action. The water is good and the temperature approaching 80.
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