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NAPLES — This week has been very different than last week. Winds have been mild and the waters of the Gulf and bays have cleared up substantially. Water temperatures dropped a few degrees, too, which helps, especially in the bays and backcountry.
An announcement was made by FWC concerning snook. They have decided to keep the snook season closed until next September, and while that may be a disappointment to some it is probably the correct decision.
If we had an open season this fall and then had a bad (cold) winter we could seriously harm the recovering stocks of fish. Another year will allow snook to continue their resurgence and provide a great species to catch. And you can continue to catch them, just be sure to carefully release all snook.
Capt. Michael Avinon sends in a reminder about releasing fish offshore. With calmer weather more anglers are venturing further offshore in search of large gag grouper and red snapper on deep ledges. Extra care must be taken to ensure a good release of a fish back to the deep. Make sure to have the proper venting tool and revive a tired fish before releasing.
Inshore, the fishing has rebounded after the storms. Water is ranging from crystal clear to slightly off color depending on the area. Bait is returning to the beaches and offshore as well. Snook are eagerly grabbing baits around the beaches and passes. Early morning and just before dark try surface plugs and plastic jerk baits. Don’t be completely shocked if some large silver thing grabs your offering. I have had big tarpon come out of the water with my little surface bait dangling from their mouth, and while it lasts it doesn’t fail to raise one’s blood pressure.
Offshore: Capt. Tommy Robinson fished a couple of half day trips recently. On Friday he took the “Sea Legs” out and fished for lane snapper and porgies with fair action reported in the slightly dirty water.
By Monday when he took Karen Jackson and her group out the water had cleared up significantly. They ventured out about 14 miles and were rewarded with a lot of grouper action and ended up with eight keeper red grouper for their efforts. Capt. Tom says that there are still some kings around and the mackerel schools were feeding on top. He used cut bait on both trips.
Naples/Estero Bay: Capt. Tim Daugherty fished in Estero Bay on Tuesday and Naples over the weekend. Both areas have recovered nicely from the windy weather. Water along the beach is crystal clear and in the bays normal coloration is to be found in most areas.
Tim says the snook bite is hot, perhaps because the fish were without much to eat when the bait got blown out. He was able to get both pilchards and threads to put in the well, and the fish responded eagerly to his offerings. Snook in the 22- to 26-inch range were found at every stop. Slot sized reds also were in the mix. Early in the morning Capt. Daugherty has been throwing topwaters to rolling tarpon in the bay.
Ten Thousand Islands: The waters south of Goodland are still somewhat dirty according to Capt. Aron Blaisdale.
Bait has been tough down in the Islands, but Aron was able to net some medium sized threads. His best action has been around Caxambas Pass and the Cape Romano area where the water conditions are better.
Snook and reds have been succumbing to the threads with most of the snook being in the 22- to 27-inch range and some slot reds. Catch of the week was made by the captain himself, a huge 40-inch snook that fell for a nice thread. Capt. Blaisdale, too, is having some decent early morning action throwing topwater lures around the bars and bushes.