Fishing the Waters of Naples, Florida: A Captain’s Memoir

By Captain Jason Gilbert

Fishing here in Naples, Florida seems to get better and better as the years go by. I have fished this area since I was about 6 years old. The catches may differ slightly from outing to outing, but there is truly no better pastime than fishing. I must say that even the regulations Florida Fish And Wildlife (FWC) has created make for a better fishing experience these days. As a Charter Boat Captain, I’m pleased to see that fishing now and for our future will be great.

Deep-sea fishing tours, like the ones we offer on the M/V Lady Brett, along with our charter options, are what got me ‘hooked’. I have now been fishing for a living for around 8 years, and when I first started, we were lucky to see 1 or 2 “keeper” grouper in a week (the fish that are large enough to keep and eat). This past summer, the big keepers moved in. Our captains at Pure Naples were reporting keeper red grouper up to 30 inches, compared to the legal size in Florida, which is 20 inches. On occasion, our guests would even reel in so many fish that we would limit out on a full-day charter!

Offshore or “Deep Sea” fishing in Naples around this time of year consists of many different species; red grouper, goliath grouper, king mackerel, spanish mackerel, cobia, bonito, triggerfish, mangrove snapper, lane snapper, hogfish and many sharks.

Backwater fishing also has many different species to fish now. Depending on the tides and time of day, but you just never know what you might catch or see. These include sharks, stingrays, red drum, black drum, snook, tarpon, spotted sea trout, sand trout, jack crevalle, ladyfish, sheep head, mangrove snapper, spanish mackerel, pompano, whiting.

Whether on the way out to fishing holes or on the way back, the sights are spectacular: from natural mangrove forests, to beautiful Naples, Flroida homes, to the wonderful variety of sea bird life. Chances are favorable for close encounters with wildlife that share the waters with us. We were spotting more manatees during summer, but now still seeing dolphins in their natural environment, sea turtles, American bald eagles, pelicans, ospreys, and great number of other types of birds.

This is the time when a lot of people are heading back to Southwest Florida, and it is also family the time when the fish are plentiful and the wildlife is seen to be active. So – if you’re looking for some fun and adventure on the water, be sure to visit us at Pure Naples! Call us anytime – we are happy to answer your questions. Or, if you’re ready to cast your lines, cruise on over to our reservations page!

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