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Suggestions for Early March Fishing

My family and I will be heading to Naples the first week of March. I've gone on a few charters over the past few years out of Naples, but this year I'll be renting a boat. I was looking for some pointers on some near shore and inshore fishing opportunities out of Gordon Pass or Naples inshore area.
Thanks

Replies

  • 10kman10kman Posts: 777 Officer
    One,Gordon Pass one of the best places to fish near rocks on left side going out.Hopefully you
    have an elec.motor with rental and depth finder.Up the waterway Dollar Bay and Rookery are
    all good fishing areas.Second,sheepshead should be going strong by then.
  • blewitupsirblewitupsir Posts: 774 Officer
    Don't know much about that area, but as said before, herd the sheep


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  • skiperuskiperu Posts: 9 Greenhorn
    For the rocks, what do you recommend?
  • KittykillerKittykiller Posts: 114 Deckhand
    The best thing for the rocks in that area is 2" - 4" green backs or whitebait whatever you like to call them. You can usually get a net full of them off the marker just outside the pass or down the beach to the north side. If you don't have a heavy cast net shrimp or soft plastics will usually work just as well. If you catch any lady fish cut them in half and toss the head section out on a heavy rod. You will be surprised what cruises through that pass, I have caught tarpon, big snook, sharks, and rays. I posted a photo of a snook I caught just outside the pass, she ate a whole 10" lady fish free lined near the rocks. Hope this helps, Good luck!
  • FLTXhunterFLTXhunter Posts: 516 Officer
    killer's report above is spot on...but i have usually found most of it to be true more of the summer months, unless it is a really mild winter and the water stays warm enough to keep the snook on the outside. Tarpon likely wont show up in big numbers til later in the month or even April. If I were you, i'd try the rocks but i'd bounce live shrimp along the bottom in the current. Reds and sheepshead will be around . Reds have been super plentiful the last few years. Bounce live shrimp or shrimp/jig combos with the current. Also, just offshore you should find endless schools of decent sized and tasty spanish mackerel that will eat just about anything shiny when thrown into their feeding mayhem. Just offshore, scan for flocks of diving birds and you will find craziness going on under them. The spanish will sometimes have kings mixed in and if you throw a live spanish back out on a big rod, you may end up with some great blacktip action. The sharks are sometimes real thick under the mackerel schools. It is fun fishing. Another great option and a favorite of mine is to run the nearshore crabtrap lines looking for tripletail. You can stay on plain, and run parallel to the pots, looking for the tripletail to be laying on their sides just underneath the float. Ease off plain and sneak close enough to toss a big live shrimp or fly right ontop of the trip and then enjoy the awesome fight that follows. They are awesome to eat and will almost never refuse a live shrimp. I have even hooked, fough, and lost one.....re-cast a new live shrimp to it and had it eat again. Best of luck!
  • FLTXhunterFLTXhunter Posts: 516 Officer
    killer's report above is spot on...but i have usually found most of it to be true more of the summer months, unless it is a really mild winter and the water stays warm enough to keep the snook on the outside. Tarpon likely wont show up in big numbers til later in the month or even April. If I were you, i'd try the rocks but i'd bounce live shrimp along the bottom in the current. Reds and sheepshead will be around . Reds have been super plentiful the last few years. Bounce live shrimp or shrimp/jig combos with the current. Also, just offshore you should find endless schools of decent sized and tasty spanish mackerel that will eat just about anything shiny when thrown into their feeding mayhem. Just offshore, scan for flocks of diving birds and you will find craziness going on under them. The spanish will sometimes have kings mixed in and if you throw a live spanish back out on a big rod, you may end up with some great blacktip action. The sharks are sometimes real thick under the mackerel schools. It is fun fishing. Another great option and a favorite of mine is to run the nearshore crabtrap lines looking for tripletail. You can stay on plain, and run parallel to the pots, looking for the tripletail to be laying on their sides just underneath the float. Ease off plain and sneak close enough to toss a big live shrimp or fly right ontop of the trip and then enjoy the awesome fight that follows. They are awesome to eat and will almost never refuse a live shrimp. I have even hooked, fough, and lost one.....re-cast a new live shrimp to it and had it eat again. Best of luck!
  • skiperuskiperu Posts: 9 Greenhorn
    Thanks for the great suggestions. I've also read that sheepies will be around. Is that true? And what is the best bet for them?
  • FLTXhunterFLTXhunter Posts: 516 Officer
    yeah they will be around. I never really targeted them because of my other aformentioned interests. But i did catch em up sometimes. Focus on rock piles and near shore wrecks and also inland canal docks with shrimp. Thats about as scientific as they get. Sometimes you can even see them working dock pilings for goodies and can toss a shrimp their way and watch the take. They are masters at nibbling and missing the hook, so go with smaller offerings and a smaller hook. Hope you get em.
  • blewitupsirblewitupsir Posts: 774 Officer
    Sheephead are a lot of fun and great eating fish to target this time of year. As I write this I am actually laying in a hotel in Mayport Fl getting ready to Prefish and then Saturday fish the worlds largest sheephead tournament up here. The El Cheapo, is a huge deal up this way, 457 boats entered as of today. Here's what I know about sheephead, use a 1/0 or 2/0'circle with your smaller live shrimp, or fiddler crabs. Put the hook on a fish finder rig, or what I like to do is just use a 20lb leader with a split shot, maybe two if I'm deep or in a strong current. Toss to the edge of the piling, rocks or reef and the try to maintain contact with your bait while not pulling to much. It's a very light bite, but once you catch a sheep or two you'll figure it out. Good luck....btw the winner up here will push 12 pounds, ours don't get like that. Biggest on my bait, a customer go a 6 pounder a few weeks ago.


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  • skiperuskiperu Posts: 9 Greenhorn
    When fishing along the rocks, do you drift with the tide or anchor up?
    Thanks
  • FLTXhunterFLTXhunter Posts: 516 Officer
    I'll usually anchor up, cast up current with a weight light enough to allow the bait to move with the tide, kind of bumping along the bottom, parallel to the rocks.
  • skiperuskiperu Posts: 9 Greenhorn
    Thanks for all of your suggestions. Last Tuesday was a beautiful day fishing out of Naples. Living in Michigan, I've never had to position a boat over structure by considering the wind, waves AND tide. We didn't catch any mangroves (probably captain error :cool:) but we did catch some spanish, a lane and an unexpected bonus; a 40 inch King! We were being smiled upon as we caught it without a steel leader and without a gaf.

    In the afternoon, we hit some inshore spots and caught some almost legal sheepheads and a keeper flounder. It was a great day of fishing!! Thanks.
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