Sunday, November 22, 2015

Last week was a busy one as the “season” appears to be in full swing keeping me on the water with double half day trips.  My anglers kept busy with some good fishing while targeting a wide variety of species successfully.

Trout fishing is turning on with a couple trips catching limits of fish running in the 15 to 18 inch range.  I am finding the trout active along the channel edges adjacent to shallow flats on moving water.  We caught nice trout on jigs as well as live sardines.  There are some hard pulling bluefish mixed in with the trout also.

Pompano are active in the outside channels near the passes.  Jigs bumped along the bottom are taking quite a few of these scrappy fish.  They are a favorite table fish for many.  I have had success on both tides as long as the water is moving.

Snook continue to be just about everywhere we stop along the mangrove points and pockets.  Live baits have been producing plenty of smallish snook running 18 to 23 inches providing fun action on light tackle.  Unseasonably warm weather has continued to keep fish scattered from the beaches to the bays far inland.  Upcoming cool weather should help to bunch the snook up in the bays.  Some hefty jack crevalle have been caught along with the snook in many spots.

Redfish are scattered all over the inland bays.  High tide stages have been most productive along the mangroves, while deeper troughs have held good fish at low water.  Most reds caught have been mid slot “keepers” while my anglers have also released some over slot fish ranging to 31 inches on several outings.

I am looking forward to a busy holiday week coming up.  A welcome cool down in the weather pattern should trigger some good action for inshore anglers.

-Capt. Todd Geroy

Friday, September 4, 2015

We are merging into my absolute favorite time of year to fish the back waters of SW Florida.  The days are getting shorter and soon, the waters will begin to cool off slightly.  These factors will contribute to more of an all day bite as opposed to the early day action of the summer months.

Recent outings have been very productive.  Tarpon, redfish, snook, mangrove snapper and pompano have all been active.  This is a great time of year for anglers to catch the coveted “Grand Slam”, catching a tarpon, snook and redfish in one day.  We have been able to complete this challenge on several recent trips!

Redfish have become particularly active the last two weeks.  I have been finding slot size (18″ – 27″)  reds feeding along flooded mangrove edges and along shallow bars and flats at low tide.  My anglers have encountered schools of fish where they have pulled as many as a dozen fish out of one small mangrove pocket.
Snook have been everywhere, with most being small fish in the 18 – 22 inch range.  They are staged heavily in the passes now as well as scattered all over the back bays just inside of the gulf.  We have encountered a couple of monster snook as well, ranging up to 40 inches!

 One morning on my way to the dock to pick up my anglers,  I stopped to make a cast or two and check out a spot.  I was rewarded with a somewhat rare catch in our waters.  I identified it as the unusual “tarpon snook”.  After a bit of research, I discovered that it might well have been a species named “fat snook”.   It is very difficult to tell at a glance the difference between the two.  Without counting and comparing the number of rays on the fins and a few other differences, I will never know.  A very unique fish however!
My rare tarpon/fat snook
My rare tarpon/fat snook

We are continuing to enjoy action with the juvenile tarpon.  Ranging up to 40 inches, these beautiful minutures of the fabled silver kings give anglers great thrills.  Amazing jumps, strong runs and stubborn standoffs on light tackle make for a challenging quarry.  We have been catching some of them in very tight spaces in remote backcountry creeks, adding to the excitement as these wild fish often jump right into the bushes!
My son Matt with a nice baby tarpon released on 9/3/15.
My son Matt with a nice baby tarpon released on 9/3/15.

Last Saturday, I enjoyed a morning with Rob Harrelton of Naples and his friend Dave Crane, visiting from St. Louis.  We enjoyed some great action throughout the morning.  Dave was treated to some memorable catches.  Dave had a strong strike from a giant snook that proceeded to run 75 yards of line through the mangroves and down the shoreline.  The 15 lb. test line held up as Dave gingerly finessed the fish all the way back through the cover until the big fish finally got entangled around a large cluster of oyster ladenprop roots that extended all the way to the bottom.  Not to be shown up by this fish after such a battle, I went overboard, wading into the mangroves and got hold of the beast.  Dave, Rob and I celebrated this amazing catch of a snook measuring out at just about 40 inches!
Dave Crane released this giant snook along with redfish and tarpon to complete his
Dave Crane released this giant snook along with redfish and tarpon to complete his “Grand Slam” last week! 9/4/15

I decided that we has stirred that shallow stretch of bank up, probably spooking anything else in the area.  I moved into a narrow creek mouth just 50 yards down the shoreline where I though we might find a tarpon to cooperate.  In a narrow space just wide enough to get the boat in, we set up and on the very first cast, Dave came tight again.  This time, a very spunky 40 inch tarpon came airborne.  After multiple jumps against the bushes and running under the boat several times.  Dave managed to subdue this amazing fish and complete step two of a potential “Grand Slam”.

Dave Crane was ecstatic after boating this wild juvenile tarpon in close quarters!
Dave Crane was ecstatic after boating this wild juvenile tarpon in close quarters!

Now it was a quest to complete the slam!  We idled across the bay to fish a pocket along the mangroves where I often find redfish on that tide.  It took a few casts to get the bait far enough under the cover as the full moon flood tide closed up the pocket, but Dave was rewarded with his redfish.  We managed several more redfish from that spot.  While it wasn’t the largest of the morning, Dave was again thrilled to have completed his “Grand Slam” catch.

Fish # 3 of the grand slam
Fish # 3 of the grand slam

I have a busy schedule next week and am looking forward to some more great fishing!
-Capt. Todd Geroy

Friday, July 24, 2015

Mid-Summer Backwater Action

July is flying by and while I have still been laid up for the most part recovering from foot surgery, Capt. Ben has been busy most days and finding a good variety of fish for our clients.  The water is hot now running about 89 degrees on the beaches and into the mid 90’s in the back bays. Anglers are finding the mornings to be the time to be on the water before retiring to the air conditioning mid-day.

There are still some tarpon in the area to be caught.  Ben has had success getting hookups in some of the inshore bays near the gulf entrances.  Both live and cut baits are getting bites as well as some action using artifical baits such as traditional hard plugs such as Bagleys finger mullet and Heddon Lucky 13’s as well as soft plastic swim baits.  The tarpon are ranging in size from 30 to 100 lbs.  Action should continue through the next several months for those that want to commit the time for a hookup.

Another nice July tarpon comes to boat side for release on a recent trip with Capt. Ben Geroy

A big tarpon takes to the air for Capt. Ben Geroy's anglers on a recent trip!

There are plenty of lemon and bull sharks patroling the same bays along with the tarpon.  The sharks are running from 4 footers to 7 foot bruisers.  It is not hard right now to get tight with one of these great fighters.  We are offering discounts though the month of August on our popular 1/2 day shark outings.  All sharks are released.

Snook fishing is still decent with the best action first thing in the morning before the sun gets too high. Live sardines (pilchards) are always effective as well as a variety of plugs, soft plastics and flies.  Most of the snook are running on the small side 18 to 23 inches, but there are good numbers of them around to offer fast action.

For those anglers looking for good table fare, mangrove snapper are everywhere right now with many of them running easily into the keeper size.  These tasty fish are easily caught on live pilchards or shrimp.  Docks, rip rap shorelines and blown down trees along mangrove shorelines are holding good numbers of snapper now.

This is a great time of year to be on the water and enjoy minimal boat traffic, beautiful scenery and some decent summer fishing.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

I am taking some needed time off this month to recover from recent foot surgery.  In the mean time, some good fishing has continued without me and my son Capt. Ben has done a fine job getting our clients on some great fish!

Water temperatures are warm with 88 degrees on the beaches and the water in some of the bays heating up to the 90’s.  Heavy thunderstorms most every afternoon have hampered any chances of fishing that time of day.  That said, Ben has been fishing every morning finding most of the action early with the bites tapering off by noon.  Anglers have had good success with large snook, a few tarpon, redfish and big sharks.

Some of the largest snook of the season continue to come aboard for a quick release as they continue their spawning activity in the area.  Some of the fish have been running well over 20 lbs.  Quite a few smaller snook have been “filling in the gaps”  as well as a few redfish and tasty mangrove snapper.  Live pilchards have been the best bait to get action, but well presented hard plugs and soft plastic baits will get attention also.
July snook with Capt. Ben Geroy.

Another whooper snook released recently with Capt. Ben.
Mike Dyer with a monster summer snook released on a recent trip with Capt. Ben Geroy

Nice summer snook with Capt. Ben Geroy
Tarpon continue to show throughout the area both along beaches near baitfish concentrations and in some of the back bays.  On a trip last week, Ben guided this young angler to his first big tarpon catch.  It was hooked in a bay at least a mile inland and ran all the way to the edge of the gulf by the time it was boated.

This nice tarpon was released on a recent trip with Capt. Ben Geroy

July kicks off our annual discounted monster fishing special.  We offer discounted trips for specialized shark fishing trips.  Sharks are in abundance and provide some great battles for those looking for a real work out with big fish.  Common species we catch are bull, lemon and blacktips  that range from 5 to 8 1/2 feet.  All of our shark fishing is done in the shallow protected bays so rough seas are not an issue.  Please contact me for information and a quote on special rates available through August.

A monster lemon shark comes boat side for release.  Summer shark fishing is hot!

Plan your fishing early in the day, beat the heat and enjoy some fine summer fishing!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May is here and although fishing had been very good through April, we have suffered a bit of a set back as slow moving late season front moved through SW Florida last Wednesday.  Heavy rains and prevailing onshore winds forced us to stay off the water for a couple of days.

  Returning to the water on Friday, we encountered muddy water conditions, and water temperatures that had dropped 7 degrees.  All of which made catching live baits nearly impossible and slowing down the bite.  This is only temporary though, and I expect things to rebound by the end of the weekend.  I think the fish will be very hungry by then!

Before the weather, we were doing well with some great catches of snook.  Several large fish were released on my boat along with countless fish averaging 18 to 24 inches.  Live sardines are deadly this time of year, but well presented plugs and flys attract bites also.

This 23 lb. snook was released by Ken last Friday…

Redfishing remains okay, with some nice fish caught, although not in the same abundance as the snook.  Most redfish we have caught have fallen into the keeper slot of 18″ – 27″ with a few larger fish in the 30″ range.  One recent half day was with long-time regular client Bill along with his granddaughters Isabella and Mary Kate.  The trio enjoyed a good morning catching plenty of snook along with some big jack crevalle and redfish.

Here, Bill shows an over slot redfish before release….NCM_0042-1
I have not tarpon fished during the last week.  I believe the tarpon have moved into the near shore gulf waters and it has simply been too rough most days to fish for them comfortably.  I hope to get back into them as soon as things settle down.

-Capt. Todd Geroy

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spring Transition is On in Naples Backwaters!

March is here and so is warmer weather bringing the annual spring transition on the local waterfront.  It is always amazing to me how quickly the fishing can change with just a few degrees difference in the water temperature.  During the last two weeks, the water has gone from as low as 58º to 75º in the back waters.  Seemingly overnight, came the appearance of big tarpon and sharks along with some great catches of snook and nice redfish. 

The tarpon are starting to make their appearance as they are beginning the annual “run”.  These are large fish ranging from 90 to 180 lb. monsters.  They are invading the shallow bays now and can be targeted with a variety of methods.  Live baits, “chunking” with cut bait are very effective as well as sight fishing with fly tackle when conditions warrant and casting with plugs are all common techniques.  I am seeing plenty of free jumpers fish as well as laid up and rolling fish. These fish usually stay in the bays for the next couple of months before heading out to the gulf to begin their spawning migration.

I have also been spotting some very large lemon and bull sharks in the same areas as the tarpon.  They are easy targets that provide long runs and powerful fights for my anglers.  I am looking forward to fishing for both the tarpon and sharks on upcoming trips.

As waters warmed up by the middle of last week, I started having great success using live sardines for snook and redfish.  Several trips enjoyed constant action releasing many snook ranging to 25 inches along with some nice redfish to 27 inches.  When we don’t have a snook or redfish on the line, the jack crevalle have been filling in the gaps with countless numbers of these aggressive fighters being boated.
Steve and Linda had an all out slay fest with big redfish, snook and large jack crevalle on 3/5/2015
Steve and Linda had an all out slay fest with big redfish, snook and large jack crevalle on 3/5/2015

The large sheepshead are still running in the area passes along with a few pompano and sea trout for those looking for a mess of good eating fish.  Pieces of shrimp fished on the bottom are taking loads of sheepshead to 4 lbs. while jigs tipped with shrimp fished in the outside channels with take pompano and trout.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January Fishing in the Naples Backwaters

We have had some real solid days since my last report.  We have again fished in a myriad of conditions with some overcast days, a few chilly mornings and some very windy days. My anglers have caught a long list of different fish using everything from live bait to jigs to fly rods.

Late last week and earlier this week, I had some anglers experience a real blitz of pompano action in the outside passes near Marco Island.  One party caught nearly 40 of these scrappers in a couple of hours on an afternoon trip.  Most were released, but a few did make it back with us for dinner.  That action seemed to die down my mid-week as water temperatures climbed back into the 73 degree range.  All of the pompano were caught on jigs.
My "go to" pompano rig.  10 lb. test line, 25 lb. leader and a 3/8 oz. tube jig.
My “go to” pompano rig. 10 lb. test line, 25 lb. leader and a 3/8 oz. tube jig.

We also have been using shrimp along points with shell bottom to catch a few redfish, sheepshead and mangrove snapper.  An occasional goliath grouper has been taking the bait giving my fisherman a good battle under the mangrove bushes!  Live sardines are bringing a few snook and some larger redfish to the boat along with plenty of jack crevalle.  A bit of a headache has been the numbers of gulls and terns attacking the baits from the air.  Windy days seem to be the worst.
Cornie Morgan with a beautiful upper slot redfish caught on a blustery afternoon trip on 1/23/15.
Cornie Morgan with a beautiful upper slot redfish caught on a blustery afternoon trip on 1/23/15.

A couple of fly fishing trips this week brought a few snook, pompano and bluefish along with loads of jack crevalle and lady fish.  We are using small minnow patterns along the mangroves for the snook action and sinking flies and sink tip fly lines in the channels for the other species.

As I write this today, another cold front is coming through as they seem to each weekend.  Strong southerly winds yesterday have turned NW as the cooler air moves starting us on another cycle for next week.  I expect the fishing pattern to continue for the next several weeks with the cycle of different species all in the lineup!