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MN Mike

Florida Fishing

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Just got my information, looks like I will be in Florida the 2nd week of Jan. we are headed for Ft. Myers.

Does anybody have any information on fishing around there this time of the year, I know we have 1 day lined up for fishing in the gulf.

Thanks,

Mike

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I was there just before Christmas 2 winters ago. Went snapper and grouper fishing. It was super windy for 3 days before I got to go. Fishing was slow to say the least, rough, and my guides were not the best. The fish we caught we're all prety small too. If you like overnight trips, maybe check into going to the Tortuga's from there. Not sure if it the right time of year for those though. Suppose to be lots of nice Tarpon too. I went on "Mac Attack" charters, cant say I'd reccommend them.

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Middle of March through our fishing opener is the best fishing.

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Look for light tackle opportunities from the beaches to the backwaters for good winter fishing. Redfish, speckled trout, snook, small tarpon, and jacks are very accessible at that time of the year, though wind is always an issue. Backcountry fishing can be self service; I fished out of Flamingo down in the Glades--maybe 90 minutes from Ft. Myers, if I remember correctly, rented a boat, went a little ways back into the Thousand Islands, caught some very nice snook (and even a little one is a serious handful0--hit like bass, fight like tarpon.) Mapquest Flamingo, note canal north into Whitewater Bay. Throw tube lures, crankbaits, big white flies. That's very doable even if you're not experienced in FLA. Back of Naples is a complex of bay/river with small snook, small tarpon, reds, ladyfish, all of it. I just cruise along the mangroves on falling tides and toss stuff, very simple. Near Marco, more built up. Looks like you're fishing Minnetonka with palm trees, lots of docks and points, no largemouths but lots of snook. In Naples there are creeks--we fished one in a park downtown you had to take a kind of trolley in on a kind of boardwalk, waded back in this tidal stream and caught a bunch of snook in there, very cool casting up against the cutbanks at dusk. Mosquitoes an issue; don't bring back the West Nile. All the parks and creeks against the ocean are good, and the golf courses are full of monster bass. January is good prespawn, and if you work at it you can catch eight pounders fairly regularly. Plastic worms and spinnerbaits. Also gators. I fished the Sanibel/Captiva area a lot, too. There used to be a cut between the islands (several hurricanes ago) that was good for bigger snook. Once on the islands water access is tough, but the causeway out there offers a lot of good fishing. I caught some jacks off the bridge passes out there, and you ain't lived until you've caught a six pound jack crevalle. You'll swear it's a twenty pound fish. Live shrimp, single hook through the nape, toss it out into the tide, feed it back. You'll catch something. Lots of people fish the bay sides, wade out and throw mirrolures, spoons, live bait on popping corks. The place is lousy with fish. Nothing spectacular, but cheaper too. You'll have a tough time with bones, tarpon, etc. It's an insiders game, and guides are generally very expensive, impolite unto contempt, and in a big freakin hurry. They seem to make a living but most of the marginal ones run gage to make ends meet and somehow manage to take your money and insult you at the same time. I fish with the guys I know or take myself out, but I would rather tag a couple of snook and ladies, maybe a redfish, than stand on a casting deck for six hours with my flyline in my hand for a couple of shots at bones only the guide can see. Offshore or bottom fishing will likely be the same; most of the good groupers and snappers are heavily worked by comms down there, and January's marginal without a long run out and perfect weather anyway. Exceptions are king mackerel/cobia runs, which if you catch them can be a lot of fun though the charters always seem to rig up the heaviest possible gear to put meat in the box and I don't like paying big bucks to operate a winch.

I'm jealous, if you can't tell.

Let us know how it goes for you.

ice

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WOW !!! That's alot of information..... THANKS !

I've never been anywhere near Florida in my life, this will be my first time, now you've got me thinkin'.

I know they were out this summer, don't know exactly where but they were catching just stupid numbers of fish, like 2 - 300 a day, I'm not even sure what they were but that just sounds like fun.

Thanks again......

Mike

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MN Mike,

Here is a thread from last winter. Hope it helps. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Florida MN Fishing Thread

MJ

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Snook and sea trout in the intercoastal waterway is fun with a local guide.

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I'm staying down on siesta key (50 miles north of ft meyers) over xmas week. I'm kind of figuring out the guide situation as well. I've sent a couple emails, and called a couple places and for the most part just getting blown off and no one has returned an email either. I'm just going down with my wife and my 1 yr old so was hoping to find more of a party fishing boat or share a guide since I don't feel like dropping 400 on myself for a guide trip but at this point pretty much scrapped that idea. Where I'm staying is actually more in the backwaters area and has a couple docks so i'll be doing a lot of fishing that week guide or no guide. The only way I've fished in florida before is just with live shrimp and throwing some spoons. Is live shrimp a good way to catch snook and redfish as well? (haven't caught a snook in about 15 years since i used to visit my grandparentsdown in tampa) Plan on fishing the dock and underneath bridges primarily. Can't wait. Even the lady fish I used to catch put up a great fight.

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You can't go wrong with shrimps. If you don't catch a fish you can boil 'em up.

I like plastics--the bait shops will have the right one, grubs, jigs, etc. Also try some finesse lures, like zoom flukes, either rigged finnese style or on a jig head. Mirrolures (mullet imitations) are prime for all species there, and your basic walleye or bass shallow running crankbaits in light colors or browns and greens will work. Snook will wail on topwaters, especially after dark and near light pools on the docks. I'm jealous.

ice

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I guess I never gave much thought to crankbaits down there will have to give that and plastics a try. (the only plastic I've used is plastic shrimp)I was down around sanibel a year ago and got out a few times fishing the causeway. Not much luck but caught some nice speckled trout and some saltwater catfish. Amazing how much more of a fight it seems a 16 inch speckled trout puts up compared to a 16 inch walleye. Thanks for the advice will definately give it a try.

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I love fishing for specs. I vacation in NC every summer, that's my go to species. Rig a finesse fish or curly tail grub on a 1/4 ounce jighead, fish it on a long cast so that it falls, rod tip up--you know, rod twitch, follow it down with the rod. They'll pop it on the fall. And they eat well, sure now.

Ice

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I have been fishing South Fla for the past 10 years or so around the Ft. Meyers area. I like to use shrimp, sand fleas, but fiddler crabs really get bit well by the reds and sheepies. I use a med action spinning rod 6 1/2-7' with 10 lb line, 1-3 oz egg sinker and a 18" leader made with the berkley leader material and regular shrimp hooks. Toss it out and wait for the tap tap and set the hook. The reds will set the hook themselves as will the snook and small tarpon the sheepies and blue crabs might steall a few shrimp before you get the feel for them. I like the speckled trout with plastics and clacker bobber rigs. For spanish mackeral, pompano, grevalle ect. a plain white or yellow bucktail jig in 1/4- 1/2 oz with a small piece of shrimp fishes well in some of the pass areas. The key is let it hit bottom and then lift and reel it slowly back keeping it just off bottom. I like to let it fall on occasion just for a brief second then continue with the retrieve. I have fished from the Miss renee and Miss Renee 2 out of Fortmeyers deep sea with alot of fun to be had. We go with 5-7 guys and rent the boat for the day. Have caught king mackeral, jacks, bonita, grouper and all kinds of different snappers(smallish). They are pretty willing to work you onto fish. You have to ask them to go after kings, jacks or bonita as they want you to catch the easy fish like Grouper and snapper.

Tunrevir~

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Ice, you make it sound so easy, wish you were going to be down there when I'm there, I'd pay you just to tag along.....

Talked to a buddy of mine that is lining up the fishing, he says we have a choice of inland fishing or ocean fishing, something about Kings.

What would be your choice, I think I know but I have to ask.

Thanks,

Mike

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Hey ice do you ever fish the outer banks when you go to NC? I grew up in new york and we used to go down to hatteras and rent a house every couple years. Primarily surfcasted with cut bait and live eels for striper and blues. In my opinion can't find a better tasting fish then striper but from what i hear the freshwater ones taste like crap. Was down there 3 years ago over xmas week but all we could catch were sand sharks in the surf

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I spend two weeks a year in NC, usually in Avon or Rodanthe. Paradise. I like to wade the sounds for trout, flounder, redfish. If it's early in the year I'll pier fish too, and hit the beach holes if the surf permits, spanish, bluefish, etc. Caught a few cobia and kings, gone offshore a time or two for tunas and dolphin and wahoo, no billfish yet. Christmas is tough, though if you get the right kind of calm you can have some unbelievable fishing for the big overwintering stripers.

That's a "hit it right" thing, and I've hit it right once in a long while. Used to be the big bluefish blitzes would make November memorable--I took four blues 15-19 pounds one morning in the early nineties on four casts in the surf, that's a 10-weight flyrod, back to back hookups took 90 minutes and I was wrung out. THose days will be back soon--blues are coming back, seeing a lot in Cape Cod summers now.

If you plan another trip drop me a line and I'll give you the spot on the SPOT. Also know a bunch of good light tackle guides down there, though it'll cost ya.

As for FLA you're pretty right--if you are not confident going solo I'd charter up, that boat mentioned sounds good, headboats are always good for fun too. But don't neglect to try it on your own. Ask in the bait shops adn give it a try someplace. It's not so much like MN--you can walk out on a bridge, wade a flat, walk a canal bank, and catch fish. So if you're self reliant grab a rod and go.

I generally release stripes. If you catch them in the sounds in NC there they're smallish, adn in the ocean they tend to be 20# and up cows. Good baking stripes are about 12#, crabmeat and paper is the way to go. IT's good but nothing like walleye. Speckled trout is fine but it won't freeze. Flounder is fabulous, snook is excellent, and pompano is tops. If you go bottom fishing, snapper and groupers are perhaps the best baking or broiling, with king mackerel also. Cudas are inedible, jacks are worse, but they both fight like mad. Tarpon are also inedible, and way too big to mess with which is why it's good they usually jump five or six times then get off, smoke your reel, or blow up your rod. Actually landing a tarpon is too much like work. Redfish are ok, rather coarse, I like blackened redfish but it's an acquired Cajun taste sure now.

Another tip--night on the beach--good odds to catch snooks and other fish, and the turtles come in. I've seen that a couple times and it is a mindblower.

ice

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Ice: I'm in Plymouth too, we should do coffee at Caribou some time. I spend my winters in the Fort Lauderdale area and from your posts you seem to know your way around the salt fishing... Send me an Email at (Contact US Regarding This Word).. You have peaked my interust... Kaz smile.gif

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Kaz--your e-mail got bleeped. Here's mine:

motes1135@msn.com

ice

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I havent read all the post's so Im not sure if this has been suggested yet to you. I would drive down to Naples from Ft Meyers and you can take a charter out of Tin City. You can google "Tin City Naples" also. You can fish in the bay and watch the dolphins if its overly windy or take it out into the Gulf. Good Luck. We did this and it was great. Never caught a crap load of fish but it was a good fun.

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You caqn get 1/2 day or full day charters in Naples. There is some good fishing in the pass areas for speckled trout, pompano and spanish mackerel to name a few. I took a 1/2 day last year and learned the area a bit. Good fun, a great way to learn how to fish for certain species.

Tunrevir~

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Ice, next time you catch a striped bass try just skin side down on the grill, little olive oil and some fresh dill and lemon. Awfully tasty. Sizewise though most of the one's I have eaten have been off the long island sound and are over 28 inches to about 35. (28 inch is the minimum size there) I imagine over 35 inches would lose something in the flavor department. Might end up looking into some of the charter options people listed above as well. Waking up to 0 degree temps the past couple days has me even more excited to get down there

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Oh, I like striper fine--your recipe is good, and next time you have a chance try it in paper, garlic or onion or shallots on top, little butter or (my pref) good olive oil, bake it hot. My hometown Chesapeake Bay preference too is a baked split filet stuffed with crabcake or--if you do your own crabbing, maybe--straight blue crabmeat. Thanksgiving special is a big fish--I used to look for a 38 incher, since that was what my oven could handle diagonally--baked whole with herbs and a crab based stuff. You think a turkey makes a stir...try serving a 25 pound fish. My point about the fish was sizewise, as you point out, and that I don't like eating the fish in anadromous mode--Potomac River or Roanoke River fish, the ones in NC especially since the state has permitted itself to be turned into one huge open air hog-manure lagoon. When in the OB I sometimes turn to fishing stripes, since they are so reliable and accessible in the Mann's Harbor and back areas of Albemarle Sound, though small. Every year I fish Cape Cod for a week and we eat a lot of stripes there. The fish makes a good component to a clambake too, steamed on top of a kettle full of clams and lobstah. Can't go wrong.

ice

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sorry double post

dang--things are slow.

not complaining.

ice

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Got back from florida a couple days ago. Made it out a couple times, once in a kayak by mangroves looking for reds, and another time fishing by a bridge (thought i would get out a lot more but vacationing with a 9 mth old is more work then i thought) Only got a couple of sheephead and a lady fish. Was just nice being back fishing open water but with the weather we've been having maybe i'll be doing that soon here wink.gif

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Made it back on Monday evening from the Florida trip.

After going back and reading some of the posts here things made alot more sense than just reading them and trying to imagine what your were talking about.

We had some great weather, 80's all week until Sat. when a cold front came in and lowered it to the 50's and the wind blew about 40 mph. Luckily we had our trip planed for Friday, turned out to be a great day to be on the gulf. Guide took us about 25 miles SSW of Bonita Springs. Caught about 15 different varities of fish, I can't remember them all but there were alot of snapper, grouper, lots of spot tails and some I'm not quite sure on but I think he said sea perch, pin fish, hog minnow, blue runner, mora mora and others. If a person didn't have a bite within 10 seconds you knew something was up with your bait, we must have landed about 200 fish or more, all be it not big fish but it definetly kept up entertained. He did quite a bit of runnin' and gunnin' to get us on bigger fish but we pretty much found the same stuff no matter how far we moved, sometime 10 miles or more. He also tried to get us on some barracuda and kings but after about 1 hour of trolling he gave up on that.

For the money, I was pretty happy with what we got although I don't know if I ever go back, I will want the same results, would be nice to get into some really nice sized fish but when you don't live there I guess you have to take what mother nature gives you.

On Thrus. we took a ride in a ' friend of a friend's ' boat, brand new Jupiter, powered by a couple of 4 stroke, 250 hp. Yamaha's. That was probably the nicest fishing boat I have ever been on but it better be for 200 big ones. He took us from Naples down to Marco Island in the back water then back up to Naples then up towards Ft. Myers on the gulf, again, another great day to be on the gulf and watch the sunset. Seen a few people fishing the mangroves but didn't hang around long enough to see if they were having any luck.

I can't imagine how many fish are down there, like I said ealier, if you didn't have a bite within 10 seconds, something was wrong. Actually got tired of setting the hook and it was tough to hook some of those fish.

Thanks for the info you guys provided, hopefully a person will get down there again in the future and try another angle to the fishing there.

Mike

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It is truly amazing how fast the fishing is in the gulf, isn't it? Glad to hear you had a good time. I'm getting a serious itch to hit the saltwater again soon.

MJ

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