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NAPLES — Summer patterns are firming up, with afternoon showers popping up more frequently every day. The quantity of rain is still low and not causing dirty water in the bays, and no major swings in salinity are being noted.
Water temperatures are increasing daily, and activity in the bays has slowed down some with the hot water. A lot of the inshore action is happening around the passes, beaches and even near shore.
Lots of bait all around means there is something else looking to chow down. All the summer species are in typical May patterns.
Snook are roaming the beaches and passes, as well as the islands just inside. With fairly decent daytime tides this week, the actions should be good, especially on live bait. Fly fishermen working the beaches early in the morning or just at dusk have a great chance of a hookup, too. At the higher stages of the tides, they will be moving up and down the trough right off the beach. You spin fishermen can toss a soft plastic jerk bait along the trough, too.
Large trout, many filled with eggs, are laying near the bottom in deep channels and cuts, and very willing to eat a bait. The key is to keep it on or very near the bottom in this deeper water. Some smaller trout are up on the grass flats, but the truly large 24-inch and over fish tend to be deep. Redfish action has slowed, with one or two being picked up while working over the snook. Cast a chunk of cut bait up real close to the bushes at the higher tides.
Sharks like to eat, too, and they are well-represented at this time of year. Bulls, blacktips, hammerheads, and others are roaming the waters, both close to the shore and farther out. Look around bait pods just offshore, and try dunking a good-sized cut bait on a circle hook. Just put the rod in a holder and wait for it to double over.
A lot of the tarpon run seems to be over. Warm water early in the season, combined with some fairly fierce winds, may have pushed most of the fish out of our area.
Mackerel are invading near-shore waters, and you also will find them well in the back bays, especially if a lot of bait is flooding into the bay.
Red grouper are still the stars of the offshore action. More large fish are being caught closer to shore as the water warms. These guys will eat live or dead bait. Work over some good bottom, and if the wind and current allow, try drifting to find the keepers. If you get out to the wrecks, you likely will encounter some kings and barracuda. Both species will readily eat a lively pilchard out behind the boat.
Offshore: Onboard the "Capt. Marvel," Capt. Clarence Flech has been finding keepers closer to shore. On a half-day trip on Saturday, they scored several keepers, as well as plentiful shorts. A couple of 10-pound bonita added to the action on that trip.
Prior to that trip, he had a group of anglers that landed 13 keeper red grouper, as well as a 12-pound king mackerel. Clarence said that most of the wrecks are holding kings.
A note from Beth reports that Chris Barrus, a junior at Gulf Coast High, was out with Dad Capt. Paul recently, and really nailed some very large red grouper. They went out about 40 miles to 100 feet of water where they got their fish.
Naples/Estero Bay: Monday regulars John and Nancy fished with Capt. Todd Geroy, and for the first fish Nancy landed an nice ten pound snook. Using live baits, Nancy and John tore them up. Snook and a few reds were chomping up the baits all morning.
John also took several snook using a fly. Todd says they saw several tarpon in the back, but no takers. Large jack crevalle didn't have any problem inhaling a live pilchard, and then trying to run to Cuba. On Friday, Mike Jimenez and son Michael from Miami reconnected with Todd after 15 years. The pair landed lots of snook and reds, including a 29-inch red out of Johnson Bay. Later in the day, Todd put them on a school of jumbo trout in 25 feet of water off Capri Pass.
Ten Thousand Islands: Capt. Stacy Mullendore has been fishing mostly around the outside areas on recent trips. With bay temps on the rise, there has been better action around the beaches and passes, as well as out around Cape Romano.
Bait has been readily available, and both snook and trout have been bending rods for the crew fishing with Stacy. Water conditions are great, and lots of snook in the 18- to 24-inch range are showing up. While the reds have been spotty, the trout action has been great. Lots of trout in the 20- to 24-inch range are being pulled from deeper cuts. When he targets them, Stacy has been finding some nice mangrove snapper up to 15 inches.