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!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Grand Slam Time in SW Florida!

Great fishing continued for my clients last week. Fishing morning trips daily, we continued to have success on large tarpon,  loads of snook and and ever growing number of redfish showing up.

The tarpon action has been strictly at first light.  Arriving to the fishing area in the dark, we have been having many shots at tarpon in the 80 to 150 lb. range.  As the fish begin feeding at first light, we have been casting to rolling and feeding fish with soft plastic swim baits such as DOA Baitbusters and the new Spooltek baits.  Live baits such as crabs, ladyfish and sardines also get their attention.  I am finding that we are actually having more bites on the lures as they give us the ability to make long casts directly to fish and cover a lot of water.  Most of the action is over by 8:00 or so in the morning.

Snook have been schooled up heavily near area passes with plenty of fish in the 20 to 25 inch class providing non-stop action.  There have been snook in the 30 inch + range in the mix as well.  Live sardines are the ticket to fast action, however we also had a successful morning with fly tackle using small white baitfish imitations.

Redfish are now common catches along the flooded mangrove edges and along shallow flats at low tide.  The reds have been nice mid-slot fish averaging 25 inches.  They have seemingly appeared out of nowhere, after being practically non exsistant for the last couple of months.  Live sardines, shrimp, jigs, spoons and topwater plugs will all catch the redfish this time of year.

Last Wednesday, I fished with repeat client Justin Harper who was in town from Texas for a business conference.  He had contacted me regarding catching a big tarpon which was a “bucket list” fish for him.  His timing was good and we headed out in the dark to get the best shots at catching the silver king.  Justin hooked into three large fish and after battling for over an hour, brought a big tarpon boat side.  We estimate the fish was around 130 lbs.

Exhausted and with some time left to fish, we decided to switch gears and pursue the opportunity to produce a “Grand Slam” which is releasing a tarpon, snook and redfish in the same day.  The snook and redfish cooperated, and within the next hour Justin’s slam was complete!  Here are some shots of Justin with his catches.  A great morning with another happy angler!
Releasing this 130 lb. tarpon was the first leg of Justin Harper's grand slam catch last week!
Releasing this 130 lb. tarpon was the first leg of Justin Harper’s grand slam catch last week!
One of several snook released by Justin.  #2 of the Grand Slam.
One of several snook released by Justin. #2 of the Grand Slam.
A nice redfish comes aboard to complete a SW Florida inshore slam!
A nice redfish comes aboard to complete a SW Florida inshore slam!

I am really looking forward to the next several weeks as September is one of my very favorite months to fish.  Redfishing should really pick up along with more great snook action.  Tarpon should remain in the area making this the best time of year for anglers to catch all three species.
- Capt. Todd Geroy

Friday, August 15, 2014

Big August Tarpon in Naples

Fishing has really picked up during the last couple of weeks in the Naples area. Some of the best tarpon action of the summer and multitudes of snook have been keeping us busy on recent trips. Redfish are starting to show in the area along with lots of mangrove snapper. Sharks have been easy targets also.

During the last week, I ran several early morning trips to get shots at sunrise tarpon off area beaches. The tarpon have been congregating just offshore amongst huge concentrations of bait fish. An early arrival each morning virtually guaranteed fast action with the silver kings. It has been important to be ready for the "magic hour". They fed heavily each morning as the sun rose to the east and the full moon set over the gulf. We have managed to hook tarpon on each trip with one morning getting 5 hookups in just a couple hours with two fish boated.

I have been having success on a variety of baits, including live crabs and ladyfish as well as DOA Baitbusters in a silver and black color.

A noteworthy catch was Tuesday morning when I guided Volker and Kristy Pennino along with their nephew Malek who is visiting all the way from Casablanca. On Kristy's bucket list was catching a big tarpon and within a couple minutes of her first cast with a crab, she was tight on the tarpon of a lifetime! The fish put on a great show with numerous jumps before taking us on a SW Florida sleigh ride towing us nearly two miles into the gulf. Kristy hung on and eventually the giant fish was brought boat side and released after a few photos were taken. I estimate that this fish was somewhere just shy of the 150 lbs. Here is Kristy along with her giant tarpon...
Click to Enlarge Photo
We then headed inside to try for some of the many snook that have been lining schooling up just inside the passes. The snook did not disappoint either as the three anglers released fish after fish using live sardines for bait.

Snook action has been fantastic throughout the last full moon phase. Fish have been stacking up on banks with good tide flow and deep water nearby. Water temperatures have been as high as 94 making them a bit lethargic, but a little live chumming gets them going. Most of the fish are in the 20 to 24 inch size, but a few larger fish have also made it to the boat.

Redfish are now starting to show in the area in better numbers. I had success with mid-slot fish with live pilchards along edges of shallow flats and bars on the morning falling tides the last few days. They should become the main focus here in the next few weeks