Many locals know Wiggins Pass as the best shoreline fishing Naples has to offer. Wiggins Pass gives you a number of options:
Most of the time I fish the pass as do most anglers, but there are times when I surf fish, in particular in the winter and early spring chasing the "Prize Pompano".
Pompano, Naples’s number one prized eating fish prefers sand fleas, prize food of Pompano everywhere.
What are sand Fleas? Sand Fleas are small gray crab like creatures about an inch long and live under the wet sand.
Fishing Naples for Pompano and Snook requires you to arrive early AM a few feet from the shoreline looking for sand fleas, crab or other bait fish.
Cast into the wave tops 2-4 feet from the beach. I know it sounds crazy but there is a trough running to the beach. Look for it.
Each section of beach has a combination of obvious and subtle characteristics that may determine the presence of fish.
The key to reading the beach is being able to locate sections of beach that are most likely to attract fish.
A slough is a deep trough that runs parallel to the beach, bordered by a sand bar on one side and the beach on the other.
You don't have to cast far. This time of the year you want to channel fish. Live shrimp are always a safe bet in Florida but the bait of choice for these buggers are"Sand Fleas", (Discover hidden treasures along the shore)Pompanos favorite food.
With help from the a Sand Flea Rake. Walmart Sand flea Rake $19, catch your own bait.
By the way, you can catchem' with your hands too. Rakes are easier and faster.
You can buyem' in a bait shop for a price of dinner for two, pay the bait shop $40 (Visitor Pricing) or its not difficult to catch your own and take your friend out to dinner instead.
Tide water mark. Best at low tide
Sand flea with hook under lower shell
Sand flea V mark
Close-up Sandflea with hook under lower shell
Sand flea colony fish bait (pompano favorite)
Angler with Sand fleaRake gathing Sand fleas
If you do a lot of surf fishing, you are probably spending a fortune on bait. If you start catching and storing your own sand fleas, you will have bait ready at all ...
To catch the sand fleas, you simply stand at the waters edge and look down the beach to the area where the water is running off the beach.
Click Here! Surf Fishing, quick start guide
* How to read the surf and determine where the fish are.
* How to know when to change what to you're doing and when to do it.
* How and where to get live bait free and easy.
* How to target the best spots on any beach for the best results.
* How to make your own surf rigs for live bait.
* What the best live baits are and how to rig them.
* Casting techniques to get the distance you need.
* And much, much more.
Fishing Naples successful (luck helps) requires attention to detail. Look for birds and bait fish activity. Are there any dolphins in the area? These sightings are good indicators that you’re in a good spot.
Knowledge of the tides, current direction, sea bottom characteristics, water temperature, water column, moon phrase etc go a long way to having a great day of fishing Naples.
Forgot all that if you want. Simply buy 2 doz live shrimp, put them in your kids beach pail trot down to Wiggins Pass in early AM (sunrise) especially if it’s a incoming tide or early evenings, say 1 to 2 hours before sunset (outgoing tide ).
Remember, fish, like people, go with the flow. It’s natural. Follow the tides and currents to find your target fish. “Think like a fish”.
If you’re feeling superior, buy a couple bait fish too. Ouch, bait fish cost $1 a pop. That’s why you always see Charters Boat Captains using cast nets catching bait fish before they head out to the fishing holes.
Renting a Center Console fishing boat or deck boat cost anywhere between $275 - $350.00, Cost are bait $20, gas $30, chum $10.and fishing license /person $18.
Beware many boat rentals do not allowed their boats to enter the Gulf waters (strictly backwater only).
If you don’t mind backwater sightseeing or fishing, then it's a non-issue. If you want to fish the gulf as well, go internet/telophone info and find a boat rental that allows Gulf excursions.
Equal importance's (seems to be a nobrainer) os to rent a boat within a entry point in your area of interest. If you want to fish or sightsee in Marco, rent your boat in Marco. If you want to do the backwater, Naples Pier, Clams Pass, or further down towards Vanderbilt beach, then rent in that area.
Again check the internet or phone book. It’s a big Gulf out there. Don’t waste time and gasoline if you don’t have too.
Check with bait/tackle stores for fishing Naples maps not nautical maps of the area. Fishing maps identify grassy flats, oysters flats, trenches, man made fishing reefs etc. nautical maps do not. Also if you read my site in advance to your trip contact me and I will give you info about fishing spots in South Florida.
Charter Boats on the other hand cost $250 - $350. Private charters can take 2-6 people and provide fishing license, instruction if needed, targeting fish species and bait.. Most guarantee you catch fish. Another reason why Charter Boats are an excellent choice is they have GPS coordinates to there private fishing spots.
You’ll catch fish and have a good time doing it. Charter fishing is a great family event and photo op. Don’t forget to bring food/ beverage, they don’t provide.
If that’s not cheap enough for you, try the larger boat charters (Cattle Boats I call them). Here in Naples, Marco, Ft Myers, 10,000 islands or Sanibel-Captiva. They charge around $65 per person, provide fishing license fees, fishing gear, bait and can even bait your hook (good for kids).
if you want. Bring your own food/ beverages, or you can buy on-board. (Restrooms available). They usually run a $5 fish pool. Catch the largest fish wins the pool. It’s a great time on the water.
P.S. When I go on one of these larger boats I prefer the stern (rear of the boat) Why? (Smooth ride especially in choppy water & swells). Be early, Stern seats are the first to be taken.. Happy Fishing, shelling and enjoying Southwest Florida.
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