September heat and late summer, mid-day rains here in Naples and SW Florida, govern the way to successful Naples fishing. However, if you time your day right, is can also be one of the most productive fishing months. With day time air temperatures averaging around 90 degrees and water temps around 85, September heats up so much by mid day, that the bite will usually drop off by lunch. We often get early day T-storms which will cool things off a little, and produce a good late afternoon, early evening bite.
Typically September 1st for Naples Fishing means the beginning of Snook season, however due to the big freeze and Snook kill here in January 2010, Snook season will remain "Catch and Release" only. Keep up to date and check out current regulations at www.myfwc.com. We are catching some nice Snook right now, so the closure appears to be helping the Snook population to rebound. The big Snook are feeding on a good flowing, out-going tide around the outside islands. Try pilchards, thread herring, and pinfish. Drift them under a cork or just freeline them for best results. Artificials are always a productive and fun way to catch Snook. I really like to using DOA Cal's in the "Stark Naked" and" Arkansa Glow" colors.
A great method for catchin Reds in the back-waters, is to find a mangrove lined bank that has decent water moving through, and skip cut pinfish, threadfin or large cut pilchards up under or along the mangroves and let it just drift along with the current. I have caught lots of big reds this way and even a few really nice snook. Sometimes when the water is as warm as it is this time of year, its just easier for them to gulp a drifting piece of fresh cut bait. Fish for Red-fish on an incoming tide on the outside oyster bars with live shrimp or pilchards under a popping cork. Of course many artificials are equally as good and I really like the "Gulp" baits for those lazy Reds.
The Trout are around the shallow grass flats in decent numbers. Hit your favorite spots the last hour or two of the incoming tide. Most of the action will be in the 3 - 5 ft. depth range. They will hit artificial baits like the DOA Cal just as well, if not better than some live baits, but of course live shrimp under a popping cork is always a good call.
Shark are around in big numbers this time of year. Lots of Bull, Black-tip, Lemon, Bonnet-head and others are all eating. Use 4 - 5 feet of 80 lb. wire leader and cast out a chunk of mullet or ladyfish where the water is moving in a river mouth or channel. Hang on because they usually arrive in short order.
Tarpon are still around out front, and will bite best on an outgoing tide on the outside flats and deep channel cuts. If you have the opportunity to sight fish for them, try a large soft plastic bait like a DOA Bait-Buster. Live baits such as Ladyfish, Thread Herring, and Pilchards are all working well. With the late summer water temps, sometimes they just seem to have lock-jaw, so you might try fishing at first light in the morning or try some sunset or night fishing. We are catching Tarpon in the late afternoon till sunset in some of the back bay cuts. These fish at 40-70lbs. are alot of excitement without an hour long commitment to the battle.
So, the fishing is Hot, Summer lodging rates are affordable, and the crowds are non-existent. So take a break and get on down to Naples and SW Fla. Life is Great, When you get out fishing ,Early or Late! "Tight Lines"