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Northern Fort Myers in January

braymzbraymz Janesville, WIPosts: 5 Greenhorn
I am new to saltwater (residing in wisconsin), but myself and a few friends will be down in the North Fort Myers area in a few weeks, staying near the "Marsh Point" on Google maps. Are there any good areas to shore/kayak fish in that area? If not, how close to the gulf would we need to go for fish like snapper, sheepshead, snook, redfish, and shark?  Also, do the area freshwater canals hold many fish? Thanks in advance for any information, because we are going in somewhat blind!

Replies

  • lavishbicyclelavishbicycle Cape CoralPosts: 3 Greenhorn
    Not really any good shore fishing in that area, but you can take the kayaks to the nearby canals and target the docks for snook, should be lots of them there this time of year.  Also, its probably like a mile or so paddle, but the railroad trestle crossing the river is usually a hotspot for snook, especially during the winter.
  • braymzbraymz Janesville, WIPosts: 5 Greenhorn
    edited January 7 #3
    Thank you for the info! As for the railroad bridge, would it be a better bet to try the two sections near Russell Park or the main river. Also, would baits like live pinfish, small mullet, and shrimp work well for river/canal snook?
  • lavishbicyclelavishbicycle Cape CoralPosts: 3 Greenhorn
    I've had success on both sides.  Not sure one is better, though depending on the day you go, towards the park (away from the channel) will have less boat traffic, which is good in a kayak.  Free lined shrimp would work great and I prefer to pinfish and mullet (will likely be hard to find).  Artificials like paddle tails on a jig head, gulp shrimp, and flairhawk jigs will also work.
  • braymzbraymz Janesville, WIPosts: 5 Greenhorn
    Awesome, thanks again for all the information, I will definitely put it to use!
  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Southwest FloridaPosts: 343 Deckhand
    braymz said:
    Also, would baits like live pinfish, small mullet, and shrimp work well for river/canal snook?
    All depends on what size snook you’re fishing for. If you don’t care about size, all those will work well. For big snook 36” and up, a larger finger mullet is always a good bait in the canals and rivers. Even better is a live ladyfish. Chunks of larger mullet also work great too. And chunks of either mullet or ladyfish have been working great for tarpon so far this winter in case you see any around. The ones I caught last week were even eating frozen baits I caught the night before.
  • braymzbraymz Janesville, WIPosts: 5 Greenhorn
    edited January 7 #7
    Interesting note on the frozen mullet/ladyfish, my friend had said before that they only yielded catfish, rays, and the occasional redfish/shark, even though there are big tarpon around. Any tips on how to rig cutbait for the tarpon?
  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Southwest FloridaPosts: 343 Deckhand
    braymz said:
    Interesting note on the frozen mullet/ladyfish, my friend had said before that they only yielded catfish, rays, and the occasional redfish/shark, even though there are big tarpon around. Any tips on how to rig cutbait for the tarpon?
    That’s part of the game, sometimes you gotta weed through the less desirable catches especially when fishing from land where I do 100% of my fishing. It’s easily worth it I think. Plus I’ve caught huge snook up to about 35 lbs, giant black drum, massive Goliath grouper, sawfish from 7’-13’, and more while using this method. And of course catfish. The vast majority of the tarpon I have hooked were on cut pieces of bait, or dead whole baitfish.  Granted that 99.9% of the time it isn’t frozen and caught the same day I use it, but frozen baits have worked when I don’t have a fresh one on hand. It isn’t just big ones that will eat the cut baits, the ones I’ve caught this month were from 20 to about 50 lbs, you’re more likely to have success with smaller to mid size tarpon in winter. 

    As for the rig for cut pieces of bait in canals and rivers I just use about a 6’-7’ length of leader tied straight to the mainline, a circle hook, and a loop knot. For smaller to midsize tarpon I use 50 lb mono leader and a 1/0 hook, for bigger ones a 7/0 triple strength and 130 lb mono leader. I never use a weight in the canals or rivers because the currents at my spots aren’t very strong, so no need. If it’s a head I’m using I run the hook through the top and bottom jaw but very shallow, you need maximum hook exposure. If it’s a midsection piece I run the hook in through a top corner where I cut the bait then exit the point out through the top, going sort of diagonally across the whitish colored tissue in the middle of the fish if you know what I mean. With tail ends I cut the fins off and run the hook through the bottom corner. You want maximum hook exposure no matter what if using a circle hook and you want the bait to tear  off in the fish’s throat. 

    Yes there will be times you see them and get no pickups, just because you see them around doesn’t mean they are interested in feeding. And just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t around and willing to pick up an easy meal. One of my best early spring time spots, I’ve seen exactly 1 tarpon roll there in well over a decade of fishing there. And that was in the summer time where I don’t have much success at that particular place. 
  • stc1993stc1993 Albany, GA Carrabelle, FLPosts: 7,541 Admiral
    Ive had good luck with fresh cut ladyfish with tarpon.
  • braymzbraymz Janesville, WIPosts: 5 Greenhorn
    I'll definitely allocate some time for bottom fishing now. It's also good to know that snook will be around, but will fish like snapper, redfish, tarpon, and Jack crevalle be as far up the river as we are staying and up by the railroad bridge, or would we need to head closer to the gulf to target target them for the most part?
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