Sea-ing Spots! 5 Steps to Finding the Best Fishing Holes!

By Capt. Neal Skove, Cruise Naples

It takes years to truly master the sport of angling. One of the most remarkable talents of a true angler is the ability to find the best “spots”! Here at Cruise Naples, we have several Captains that have mastered the Southwest Florida waters. In this entry, Capt. Neal Skove shares a few pointers from his years out on the water, to help you find the best spots!

Know your fish.

The first step of catching a particular kind of fish is to learn everything you can (or are willing to) about it. It doesn’t exactly sound exciting, but this step can save you a lot of frustration. Fish look for places that fit their biological needs: to live, feed and reproduce. Beyond that, different fish have different preferences in habitat. Snook, for example, thrive in backwater estuaries and lagoons, whereas Red Grouper habituate in shallow seas, and can be found near areas with a hard bottom structure, such as coral reefs.

Keep the elements in mind.

Mother nature can have a huge impact on your day out on the water. This is especially true when on our calm bay cruises or “backwater” fishing. When bay fishing, everything comes into play, from the winds, to the tide, even the moon phase! The elements play a huge role in bay fishing, making it a scientific process of sorts. The weather can affect deep sea fishing as well. For example, water temperature can make a huge difference in finding a certain species of fish. You will need to travel much farther offshore during the winter months to fish for Red Grouper than in the summer months.

Feel free to experiment and try different things.

Cruise Naples
Here's an example of a fishfinder. The different colors represent different types of underwater terrain.

Don’t be afraid to try different types of live bait and lures. If you’re not getting any bites, this is a great place to start. Another way to experiment is by making adjustments to your fish finder (also called a fathometer or sonar machine). Many people simply use the preset settings on their machines, however, it’s really important to set the machine to your preferences so that it can best serve you.

Take notes!

It makes a huge difference, really! Keep a detailed log with the date, tide, moon phase, time of day, GPS coordinates and the kinds of fish you caught. By taking notes, you will be able to monitor which spots you are fishing and identify trends to figure out the WHY behind your outcomes. Why did you catch so many fish last weekend? Why didn’t you have the same “luck” this weekend?

Cruise Naples - Fish Log Example
Here's an example of a Fishing Log

Don’t overfish your spots!

Switch it up! If you fish the exact same spot too often, you will disturb their natural habitat. This will put stress on the wildlife and the fish you used to catch wont congregate there anymore. Try not to go to same spot more than two times per month. The same area is fine, just not the exact-same spot. A good rule of thumb is to stay at least a quarter mile away from areas that you have fished recently.

Of course, if you’d like to sit back and simply enjoy the fishing, or if you want to ask one of our captains a question of your own, come out and see us! Call (239) 263-4949 or visit our website – to book your next cruise!