Skip to main content
Home Southwest General Fishing & The Outdoors

Night fishing nearshore

ScottZeiterScottZeiter SE Cape Coral Posts: 2 Greenhorn
I finally bought a boat after 5 years of living in Cape Coral. Looking for a good night fishing spots, nearshore.  Not yet comfortable going much farther than 5 or 6 miles out. As I'm relatively new to saltwater fishing, looking for any advice on where to go, and how to fish these areas. 

Replies

  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Senior Member Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,167 Officer
    Any particular reason for doing night fishing specifically? I'd recommend running a few trips during the daylight to get used to the area and riding offshore before going out after dark, even if you only plan on going a few miles.

    Best way to find good new spots offshore is to use publicly available coordinates as a starting point. Google a list of GPS coordinates for artificial reefs and other public fishing spots (wrecks, etc) in your area, or buy a map with those spots included. There should be plenty of stuff near shore. When you're headed to those spots, go slow enough that you can get a good reading from your bottom machine/fishfinder. Trolling can be a good way to do this if you've got the time to go that slow, especially if you're only going a few miles, but up to you. There's lots of small patches of broken hard bottom, swiss cheese bottom (hard limestone with small holes in it), ledges, and other good structure that can hold fish that you might find. Save those coordinates when you find the spots and try fishing them with some baits on the bottom. If you don't find anything on the way to those public spots, then try motoring around the area to keep looking.

    It will really help to read the instructions on your bottom machine thoroughly so you have a good idea of what hard bottom, ledges, etc. will look like when you come across them. Can't write much more in detail at the moment but if you have more questions I can respond later.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • ScottZeiterScottZeiter SE Cape Coral Posts: 2 Greenhorn
    Thank you bigfinn35. Great advice. Trolling while on way out to spots/reefs, sounds great.  What would you recommend using for bait? I'm assuming artificial while trolling, but there are a lot of options: spoons, Rapala, etc. I've been a freshwater fisherman my whole life, so salt life is new, and exciting, to me. 
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Senior Member Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,167 Officer
    For now, troll some lipped diving plugs. Rapala Magnums or Mann Stretch plugs are great, but there are plenty of options. Trolling spoons/jigs/skirts can be good in specific situations, but big lipped plugs are a great all-around choice that can get you kingfish, spanish mackerel, bonita, gag grouper (though maybe not in summer), and a bunch of other stuff. Dunno how many rods will be in your spread, but having mostly deep lipped plugs that dive 25-30 feet with one or two smaller ones to run closer to the surface might be good. If you catch a grouper or another bottom fish while doing this, go back and look around where you hooked them since they were almost certainly on top of the kind of spot you want to be finding. Fishing the bottom with fishfinder or knocker rigs (google for pictures if the terms aren't familiar) of various sizes with circle hooks is the best way to test out a new spot. Plenty of small snapper/grunts that attack your smaller baits is a good sign as it means bigger predators likely make their home there, even if they don't bite right away. Keeping a constant stream of chum going with frozen chum blocks, a homemade mix, or just small pieces of frozen bait will always help.

    That said, I usually don't give a spot that isn't producing keeper fish or plenty of action too long before I move on. If you aren't getting any bites, it's probably not worth waiting to see if fish show up for very long in my experience (though there's plenty of people more experienced than I on here, so if they chime in with some different advice then take this with a grain of salt).

    Best of luck. If you want more specific info on anything, shoot me a PM and I'll respond when I have the chance.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • TarponatorTarponator Senior Member Under a BridgePosts: 19,741 AG
    edited May 2020 #5
    Any dock with lights and good tidal movement.  You shouldn't have to go far, and the techniques that work aren't all that different from bass fishing.
  • BigGuyinaLittleBoatBigGuyinaLittleBoat Member Posts: 111 Deckhand
    Clear the breadcrumbs on your GPS and make your run out in the daylight staying in the middle of the channels. You should have a safe ride back.

    We were coming in one night using a spotlight to light up the markers on the way in. Found out too late the red can we were heading for on the South side of Pine Island had broke loose and was up on a sandbar. 
  • CaptainBlyCaptainBly Senior Member St. PetersburgPosts: 2,690 Captain
    Clear the breadcrumbs on your GPS and make your run out in the daylight staying in the middle of the channels. You should have a safe ride back.

    We were coming in one night using a spotlight to light up the markers on the way in. Found out too late the red can we were heading for on the South side of Pine Island had broke loose and was up on a sandbar. 
    Flashlight worked though...Ouch...  I did something similar.  Saw what I THOUGHT was the next green marker but it was actually a different channel across a sandbar...OOPS...It happens...
    In Loving Memory of James Zielske, January 19, 1957-July 5, 2013
  • fullyewrecked33fullyewrecked33 OrlandoPosts: 15 Deckhand
    There are a plethora of great fishing videos on YouTube where reputable captains will explain in detail what they’re using and how they’re fishing it. I learn a lot there when I’m new to a certain area or type of fishing. 
  • luckyduck2luckyduck2 Senior Member wachapreague means little city by the sea,on my 31 jupiter,21 seaproPosts: 219 Deckhand
    nothing better than a good flounder day
    pick your fishing buddies careful your life my depend on it.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Advertisement

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now