Naples Fishing September 2011

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Mark Goddard landed this blacktip shark while fishing with mullet off Big Carlos Pass

Season opens for gag grouper

The recreational harvest of gag grouper in all Gulf of Mexico waters off Florida, except Monroe County, reopened on Sept. 16 and will run for two months. This season will allow anglers in both federal and state gulf waters an opportunity to harvest gag grouper. The gag grouper season has been closed in state waters since June 1 and in federal waters since Jan. 1.

During the open season, through Nov. 15, recreational anglers may keep two gag grouper within the four-grouper aggregate daily limit in all gulf waters off Florida except Monroe County state waters. The minimum size limit for gag grouper in these waters is 22 inches total length.

These harvest dates for gag grouper apply in 2011 only. More information on grouper management is available online at MyFWC.com/Fishing. ¦

gag grouper apply in 2011 only

Fishing Report: Redfish are getting red hot

By LARRY REGIENCZUK Posted September 28, 2011

NAPLES — Our community can be proud of the warm welcome given to the soldiers and their families that participated in the second annual "Take A Soldier Fishing" weekend.

Seventy soldiers from McDill Air Force Base in Tampa (home to Central Command and Special Ops forces) and their families were taken care of, from soup to nuts, by generous contributions by many different organizations and individuals. Calusa Marina, Stock Development (Players Club at Lely), Dolphin Transportation, Quality Inn, Coastal Beverage, Tamiami Ford and the Collier County Sheriffs Office all played a part in this successful event.

Forty boats and 46 captains also volunteered to take this group out for a day of inshore fishing. Everyone who participated was a winner, but for the weigh-in, the rankings were: 1. Mike Wieczonek and James Stafford (Capt. Troy Pruitt), 2. Chad Cothron and James Stafford (Capt. Chris Turner and Tom Mahoney), 3. Leona Mckoy and Mike Mckoy (Capt. Robert Soto and Jesse Karen). A special thank you to Steve and Jamie Lloyd for their countless hours.

* * *


Last year, at this time the big fishing story was the arrival of schools of small redfish. These fish were in the 15- to 16-inch range at the time, and it was not uncommon to land 20 or more in a single outing.

Well, they are back and starting to school up around the islands and bars, willing to eat pretty much anything you throw their way. Most of those fish are in the 18- to 23-inch range now, and the good news is that we have another year class mixed in with them. With a second year of smaller fish, our population of reds is better than anytime in recent history.

That the reds are here doesn't mean that the snook have taken a vacation. Snook are still very much a strong part of the inshore fishery, from way down in the Ten Thousands Islands up through Estero Bay.

Down in the Islands, the snook population is still recovering from the kill off in 2010, but the good news is that snook are being caught and released up and down the coast. Especially gratifying are the 12- to 14-inch little guys that are setting up home down in the upper Ten Thousand Islands.

Some really large trout are being picked off by anglers while fishing for other species. Also, some small schools are appearing, which is amazing considering the temperature of the water. Some good catches are around deeper water off points and near passes, as well as on outside grass flats. Picking up a flounder or two while trout fishing is quite common.

For those of you who like to hit the mackerel schools, they are here. Reports of Spanish mackerel running up to five pounds are not unusual. They will eat a live bait or attack a fast-moving artificial. For those of you new to mackerel fishing, watch out for the teeth!

Farther offshore, red grouper continue to fill ice chests of those anglers willing to venture out to a little deeper water. It seems that if you work some good bottom in wate 50 feet or better, your chances of a keeper are better. The gags are not appearing in large numbers, and most anglers feel that is because the water is still too warm. Gags used to be legal in the winter when they venture closer to shore.

Ten Thousand Islands: Capt. Pete Rapps says the fishing is awesome for reds and trout south of Everglades City. He has been doing real well on slot reds, trout up to 22 inches, and even a number of flounder.

Snook have been active on the outside edges, but as the water temperature starts to drop, they will begin the annual migration to the backcountry. On a recent trip with Rick Ladermann and his dad, Capt. Rapps put them on the reds and trout. At the end of the day, there was plenty of filets in the cooler.

Jim Davidson fished with Capt. Glen Puopolo for three days recently, and they worked over the reds pretty good. Fish ranged from 18 inches to a huge, 33-inch, 15-pound monster. They also caught and released snook in the 25-inch range. Glen says that the trout are showing up on the grass flats in good numbers. For bait, he is mostly using shrimp and finger mullet.

Naples/Estero Bay: On Monday, I had the pleasure of fishing with Dave Cassidy, his daughter Wylie, and John Preeg.

While the weather was miserable, the fishing was great. After chumming for bait and filling the well, we went in search of fish. Our first spot resulted in several nice reds, a 22-inch trout, and one snook. Several large fish broke off.

As we moved down the bank, we continued to get more reds and a jack crevalle. The fish were eating just about any bait we threw out. We used shrimp, pilchards, pinfish, and cut bait. By 1 p.m., we were run off the water again, and called it a day. After fishing only about three hours, we had boated over 30 reds up to about 25 inches, a half-dozen snook, and other assorted critters of the sea.

Capt. Steve Nagy had a great time with large Spanish mackerel and good-sized trout. He said the macks were running four to five pounds, while the trout were all over 15 inches. He was using live menhaden, and when he tossed a bait out, if it made it to the bottom, he caught a trout. If it didn't, he caught mackerel. Not a bad situation.

Offshore: Onboard the "Cuda," on Sunday, Capt. Mike Lucas took angler Mike and his family out for a three-quarter day offshore.

Running out to 56 feet of water, they caught a bunch of red grouper, including a limit of eight to 26 inches using cut bait. The water was at 85 degrees and nice. After the grouper, they targeted a school of mackerel and landed many up to three pounds.

Capt. Tom Robinson went out on Friday for a half day with Jason and friends from Savannah, Ga.

Running out about 10 miles , they hit some short gags and reds to start off, and then Capt. Tom got the guys something bigger to play with. First off was a 27-pound king mackerel that took a half pinfish on the bottom. Then it was goliath time, and three were hooked, caught and released at the same time. The three fish ranged from 30 to 80 pounds. Tom says the water was greenish, but that didn't seem to bother the fish.

If you have a report to share, send it to captsnookus@hotmail.com

Fishing Report: Cooler water, more bait good start to fall feeding

By LARRY REGIENCZUK Posted September 21, 2011

NAPLES — Temperatures are trending slightly lower, and the winds have been much lighter than a week or so ago when the surfers were out on the beach.

More schools of bait are showing up, and that brings the mackerel, bonita, sharks, and other species to our near-shore waters once again. The cooler water has also been good for the inshore species as they start the fall "feed-a-thon." Snook, reds, and trout are bending poles up and down the coast. Typically, the fall is when we get some of our biggest fish. And unlike in the spring when spawning is a priority, eating is the only priority at this time of year.

Some real nices catches of trout are being reported, with fish up to 28 inches making it into the boat. It looks like we may be able to keep trout year round if the current recommendations are made final before the normal November closure date. Along with the trout, we are still seeing more flounder this year than most longtime anglers can remember.

The tarpon are still chasing the schools of mullet that are ranging from right on the beach to maybe a half mile offshore. If you are lucky enough to have a few live mullet before the sun is up, make sure to poke around the passes. I spoke to one person who had repeated hookups over the weekend well before the sun started to rise.

Don't forget to come out to Calusa Marina in Goodland on Saturday to show support for the Wounded Warrior "Take a Soldier Fishing" day. About 40 captains will be taking about 80 Warriors out for a day of fishing. Weigh-in is at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Ten Thousand Islands: Capt. Shane Miller has been doing well on snook this past week. He is averaging about 12 snook per trip, and they are ranging up to 30 inches, with most of the fish in the 24- to 26-inch range.

Shane is using live bait for the snook, and he is catching some trout on the bait, too. His trout are eating shrimp on a jig, and the fish are running 17 to 22 inches. Lots of big jacks are on the move, and are providing some wrist-breaking action as they go after the live bait. Water temperatures have ranged from 83 to 86 degrees recently, and the water is fairly clean.

Reds -- and lots of them -- are making for happy anglers on Capt. Stacy Mullendore's trips. He is using small live bait or finger mullet most of the time, but a shrimp under a popping cork works, too.

Along with the reds, a number of flounder are being hauled in, as well as a few smaller snook. The reds are from two different year groups. Last year's little guys are now in the 22- to 23-inch range, and the new group is running around 15 inches. Stacy also has been doing well on trout. His fish have been in the 14- to 17-inch range, and there are plenty in the slot.

Naples/Estero Bay: In Estero Bay, Capt. Neil Eisner has been doing real well with both snook and reds. He has been favoring the outgoing tides for the better bites and has been hitting spots where the wind and tide are moving in the same direction.

He recently found a new spot in Hellpeckney Bay where on a recent trip they landed 15 slot reds up to a 29-inch monster, and a bunch of shorts, too. Big snook also are eating baits, and many of these are mid- to upper-slot fish. Snapper are all over the place and very aggressive.

Capt. Seth Hayes has been seeing a lot of fish on most of his trips. He has started off using topwater plugs for the first hour. On one morning, his angler was rewarded with a huge, 28-inch trout that inhaled a plug. Seth has been nailing trout in the 17- to 24-inch range on a regular basis using bait that he has chummed up on the grass flats. The water has cleared up a lot since the big winds of a week or so ago.

Offshore: Ken Strasson ran out 25 miles the other day looking for a keeper gag or two, but the water was a little to rough to proceed to his "spot," which was another 10 miles.

Fishing structure and hard bottom, Ken and crew managed to catch upward of 50 red grouper and one gag. However, none made legal size, and were all returned to the water.

Most of the released fish didn't make it back to the bottom. Several dolphin hounded the boat and ate virtually every released fish. For those of you who have experienced this, it is very frustrating. You are trying to properly release your fish so that it might grow to legal size, and these freeloaders just eat them. And you can't always just move and hope they will not follow. I have had them follow me for a mile or so in the past.

Running out of Naples, Capt. Tom Robinson fished three days recently, and did well on all.

On Friday, he took Mitch Mason and his group out for a full day of fishing. By 11 a.m., the group had limited out on big red grouper, and then went looking for other species. While trolling, they found some very willing bonita that provided some quick action. A few of the bonita were then used to coax bites from some three-and-a-half to four-foot long barracuda. The catch of the day was made after a big cobia wandered by, and was hooked and lost several times before he stayed on the line all the way in. It was a nice 45- pounder.

Saturday, Mike D'Armon and group also limited out on red grouper, and put two keeper gags in the boat as well. They also got into some nice yellowtail snapper and mangroves, too. Of course, they had to wrestle with a few goliaths in the 30- to 80-pound range before heading in.

If you have a report to share, send it to captsnookus@hotmail.com

Fishing Report: Snook better up north; reds down south

By LARRY REGIENCZUK Posted September 14, 2011

NAPLES — Well, September is kicking off the start of our fall fishing season, and hopefully we are past the strong winds that dirtied up the water for part of last week. As the seas calm back down, the water will continue its process of clearing back up, and the forecast for the next week seems to give us a break on the rains.

On the inshore front, both snook and reds continue to show up on hooks on a regular basis. It seems that farther south, down in the islands, the redfish bite is the best, while the farther north you go, the more the bite is from snook. That is not to dismiss the redfish bite up in the North Naples/Estero Bay area. If you stick to cut bait or shrimp around the bushes, your odds of a redfish dinner will greatly improve.

Another interesting phenomenon this time of year is the big balls of mullet that are running along the beaches. If you are willing to get out early and are lucky enough to put a few mullet in the well quickly, you might be in line for a tarpon encounter. Check around all the major passes.

This bite is quick, starting about a half hour before sunrise to shortly after the big red ball climbs above the horizon. They are really chasing the mullet balls, and if you toss a live one in their path, you could hook up with a fish ranging from a small, 30-pounder to a fish well over 100 pounds.

Grouper are still willing to eat either a live pin or a piece of cut bait, and the grouper at the end of the line is just as likely to be a gag as it is a red. Remember to put the gags back in the water until the 16th, and then if you get one 22 inches or better, get the frying pan ready.

Remember that on Sept. 24 at Calusa Marina there will be the second annual “Take a Soldier Fishing” event. Weigh in is at 2 p.m. Come and join in the fun and support our troops.

Offshore: Capt. Bob Fisher fished all three days of this past weekend, and while Friday’s fishing wasn’t the best, Saturday and Sunday were pretty good.

Bob ran out to about 58 to 60 feet of water, where his anglers quickly started to hook up on nice-sized red grouper. Saturday, he had a group of five onboard, and they caught a bunch of red grouper, and put 10 in the cooler. These fish were well over the minimum size, with a 25- and 27-incher at the top of the list.

Sunday, with a smaller group on board, they put eight keepers in the cooler. They did this using a combination of live bait and cut squid. Capt. Fisher says that the water conditions on Friday were not that great, but by Saturday the water quality had improved.

Onboard the “Sea Legs,” Capt. Tom Robinson fished a half day on Friday, and a three-quarter on Saturday. Both trips were successful. Four keeper reds made it into the cooler on Friday, and on Saturday they landed five keeper up to a nice, 27-inch fish.

Tom also hit a wreck that gave the anglers a chance at a battle with a couple of huge goliath grouper estimated at 150 pounds or better. A couple of small sharks and a barracuda rounded out the trip. On a previous trip Tom ran into a load of small mangrove snapper, which is a good indicator of future snapper fishing.

On Monday, Capt. Mike Avinon, on his new boat ”Findictive,” ran out about 35 miles where his anglers clobbered the grouper. In addition to limits of red grouper to 26 inches, they also caught and released a bunch of gags over 30 inches. He is open this coming weekend and has the numbers. Tuesday was a half day, and Mike put anglers on the reds once again. They put six keepers to 24 inches in the boat, and also tangled with some goliaths.

Ten Thousand Islands: Capt. Andy Werner has been running down to the rivers south of Everglades City and doing real well on the redfish. Using cut mullet as bait, they have been hammering the reds.

On a recent trip, they not only put 25 reds in the boat up to 35 inches, they had a 10-foot alligator wondering whether he could get in the boat too. Andy says that the mullet are thick off the beach, and that finger mullet are all over the place as well. Andy is also catching smaller snook in the back bays.

Fishing out of Goodland, Capt. Aron Blaisdale had been doing real well on reds, too. Using finger mullet, his anglers have been pulling in lots of reds in the 18- to 23-inch range, as well as the occasional oversized fish. The reds are all over the place, and Aron is doing best on the incoming tides on the outsides points, and fishing the outgoing tide in the back bays. The water is mostly dirty and still warm.

Naples/Estero Bay: Ryan Clase and Bill Hickman fished this weekend in Estero Bay using live pilchards. The pilchards are decent sized, and are being chummed up on the grass flats.

Using those baits, they landed about 30 snook and five reds. All the reds were slot sized and the snook were in the 18- to 24-inch range. A few snapper were in the mix, but the surprise of the day was a huge, 27-inch Spanish mackerel that took a bait in about 12 inches of water.

The full moon has been a good thing for Capt. Tim Daugherty the past few days. He has been lucky enough to be out near the passes early in the morning, and having a few live mullet in the well. The result has been a number of tarpon encounters, with fish ranging from 30 to over 100 pounds.

Snook seem to have been turned on by the moon, too. On a recent trip, Reed Soady jumped tarpon, and landed a bunch of reds and snook using live bait.

If you have a report to share, send it to captsnookus@hotmail.com

Fishing Report: Gag grouper season opening soon; Rumors of a full sea trout season

By LARRY REGIENCZUK Posted September 7, 2011

NAPLES — Well, if you managed to get out fishing before this wet and windy weather moved in, you probably had a good time.

On the other hand, if you tried to fish from Sunday on, you might have considered taking up bridge. We went from reasonably good quality water to real dirty in the exposed areas. Shallow areas fared the worst as the wind just piled up the waves. The weather man is calling for more of the same until about Friday.

A quick reminder that the gag season will open on Sept. 16, and the minimum size for a keeper is 22 inches for a gag and 20 inches for a red grouper. According to Ken Strassen at Master Bait and Tackle, he is hearing lots of reports of keeper-sized fish within three to six miles of the beach. Don't forget to use circle hooks.

In just a couple of weeks the second annual "Take a Soldier Fishing" outing will be held out of Calusa Marina in Goodland. If you want to help in any way, call Steve at 239- 304-4424.

Another potential change to regulations concerns sea trout. For many years now, our area has experienced a closed season in November and December, which made no sense to most fishermen. If you were going to impose a closure, you might think about doing it during the spawning months, but that was not the case. Rumor has it that the two-month closed season might be done away with, and we would have all 12 months of open fishing.

Inshore, the snook and reds continue to provide a decent amount of action. Live bait can be had, but mostly by chumming the grass flats. Shrimp are working well, especially on the redfish. The extremely high water we have had recently has increased the many places for them to hide, so a falling tide tends to work better.

Many of the offshore trips have been canceled for the last few days due to conditions. Before the big blow, action was good on grouper, both red and gags. They are willing to eat a variety of offerings, everything from a live pinfish to a chunk of squid. One positive effect of this windy weather is that, once it stops, the offshore snapper bite could get hot.

Naples/Estero Bay: Capt. Pat Gould has been out four days recently, and he describes the bite as good.

Most days he has been able to net live bait, and those baits have worked well on the reds and snook. He has been averaging 8-10 snook and 8-10 reds on a half-day trip. Add to that a bunch of aggressive snapper and a few mean jack crevalle, and you have a successful day on the water.

Pat describes the water as dirty and very high, which has provides additional challenges for fishermen. He suggests finding a deep pocket along a mangrove bank, and then work it thoroughly. On a recent half day with Bill, grandson Nick and daughter Eliane, the group landed eight each of snook and reds, as well as a fair number of snapper. The reds were mostly in the slot, with one oversized. A couple were invited home for dinner.

Over at Master Bait and Tackle, Strassen says he is getting more reports of flounder than he has had in 11 years.

Jeff, who works at Dolly's restaurant, picked off four that went a huge 24 inches on a recent outing. Another customer has been working the water around Big Carlos, and on Monday jumped two "very large" tarpon. Also on Monday, Dr. George Miguel landed a 17-pound tarpon on light tackle. Reds seem to be congregating on the east wall in Estero Bay, and are very willing to eat a jig tipped with a shrimp.

Ten Thousand Islands: Capt. Rob Walczak had continued to work the snook and reds. Fishing south of Goodland, he has been using mostly finger mullet or shrimp, since the bait has been tough the last week.

A good sign of recovery for the Islands is the more consistent catches of snook. Walczak has been getting them up to about 26 inches, but most are in the 18- to 22-inch range. It is not unusual for his anglers to land 12 to 15 of the linesiders in an outing. And then there are the reds. They continue to lurk from the front to the back country, and will eat a variety of baits, with the most common being a shrimp-tipped jig. Water is very dirty.

Farther south, Capt. Jesse Karen has been working the reds around Rabbit Key. Most of the ones caught have been on the smaller side, ranging from 16 to 20 inches, but he has seen a number of big cruisers in the shallows. Using root beer colored CAL baits, Jesse has been nailing 10 to 12 snook per trip, too. These are nice fish in the 24- to 28-inch range. Of course, he also reports that the water is not only dirty, but with all the rain it is fairly fresh.

Offshore: Only one report this week, and it is from Capt. Mike Lucas of the charter boat "Cuda."

On Saturday, Mike ran a half-day trip with two anglers from Germany -- Tomas and son Timmy, 8. Running out to about 36 feet of water, they saw consistent action on short grouper, lanes, grunts, and some mangrove snapper. Using cut bait, the catch of the day was made by Timmy. He hooked and landed a nice keeper red grouper for dinner. Water on Saturday was two- to three-feet waves, and it got much worse Sunday through Tuesday.

If you have a report to share, send it to captsnookus@hotmail.com

Fishing Report: Redfish action widespread

By LARRY REGIENCZUK Posted August 31, 2011

NAPLES — According to the weather forecast, this current pattern of mostly showers should move out by the weekend and give all the soggy anglers out there a break.

Tides, at least for Thursday through Friday, are halfway decent, and with the winds being light and out of the east, fishing should be good. Inshore, that means that the reds and snook catches will continue strong, and that getting beach baits will be a tad easier.

Redfish are being reported all over the place. And remember some months ago when I said that the 17- to 18-inch fish we were catching should all be in the slot come the fall? Well, it seems as though the fish are a little ahead of schedule, and numerous fish in the 22-to 25-inch range are being caught from the Ten Thousand Islands up to Estero Bay.

A lot of these fish are being taken on shrimp, either under a cork or on a jig. Live bait and Gulp baits are also accounting for their share of hooked fish. Another interesting thing about the reds is that we are seeing signs of a second-year class of small fish right behind last year's. Talking to a lot of fishermen that have been around for a long time, the consensus of opinion is that we haven't seen this many reds in a long time. Great!

Let's not forget snook and the other inshore guys. Snook are very much around and willing to eat. Many of the fish seem to be running smaller, but that may be due to anglers using the small baits that are prevalent right now.

Big baits for big fish is more than just words on paper, it does work. Lots of snook are on the beaches up and down the coast. They can be seen trailing the dark pods of bait that are right off the sand. They can show up in ones and twos, or you could see a dozen or more in a group.

Inshore, don't forget the snapper. There are a lot of them, and they can provide a lot of action and maybe some dinner. As the bait situation improves, we will also start seeing a lot more Spanish mackerel.

Offshore, the snapper are gathering in schools around the ledges and reefs. Drop a light line down with a shrimp or small live pilchard and it won't take long for the rod to bend. Red grouper are still the premier offshore target, but don't forget that we have a two-month gag grouper season starting Sept. 16 through Nov. 15. We will see what next year brings as far as a gag season, but as of now we will have a July 1 through Oct. 31 recreational season in 2012.

Naples/Estero Bay: Capt. Neil Eisner fished Estero Bay in high winds this weekend and reported great fishing. Looking for points where the water and the wind were moving in the same direction was the key.

Once a spot was selected, his anglers were throwing small jigs tipped with shrimp up to the bushes, and the reds were all over them. In four hours of fishing, his group landed 30 reds in the 20- to 24-inch range, and numerous snapper. A couple of snook also fell for the jigs, as well as a few bonnet head sharks.

Fishing with Joe Ball and Mark Outterbrigte, Capt. Chick Burke went out for a few hours the other day, and did well on a variety of species. Five slot-sized reds were caught using a shrimp under a popping cork around the bushes. Numerous snapper and five trout also made it to the boat. Chick says the water was somewhat off color, but that isn't hurting the redfish bite.

Ten Thousand Islands: Saturday, Melissa and Greg Lavin from Jupiter went out for a half day with Capt. Matt Hoover.

Running south out of Goodland, Matt fished on the inside to get out of the wind. He had netted some small pilchards earlier, and they were pitching these baits into the bushes. The result was a catch of 10 slot-sized reds, and about eight snook. To mix things up, about a half dozen five- to seven-pound jack crevalle put a serious bend in the rods. "Tons of snapper were grabbing baits, too," Matt said.

On Sunday, he and wife P.J. took the dogs out for a boat ride, and on the way back stopped along one bank to fish for a short while. Six snook and three reds later, they headed for home after a nice day on the water.

Capt. Peter Babb ran well south of Everglades City on a recent trip. He has been finding schools of reds on falling water, and they are gobbling up Gulp jerk baits. They landed 12 fish, all in the slot, and a few of those fish were picked off in the middle of a school of mullet. As the water got thinner, they got out the fly rods and sight-fished some snook. Most of the snook recently have been on the small side, but they are a blast on a fly.

Offshore: Newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Anthony celebrated by going out fishing with Capt. Tom Robinson on the "Sea Legs" on Tuesday.

Dodging rain on the way out, their first drop was in the 10-mile range. Using cut squid, they quickly were bringing up grouper in the 17- to 20-inch range on light tackle. The mangrove snapper were on a bite, too, with a few larger mangs brought to the boat. Another drop resulted in a 25-inch red grouper and two more at 22 inches. Of course, there was the required run-in with a large goliath, and in this test, the fish won.

Capt. Kevin Condon went out on Tuesday later in the day with Cody and friends from England. Running out less than 10 miles, they found the short grouper very willing to bite and provide great action.

Snapper were also hot, and the group limited out on keepers. The catch of the day was a 30-plus-pound king mackerel that ate a cut bait and took off for the horizon before being brought to the boat.

If you have a report to share, send it to captsnookus@hotmail.com

How to Find a Guide

Shorten the Learning Curve - Save Money & Time -
More Productive Fishing - all good reasons. Here's one more....

(excerpt from Secrets from Florida's Master Anglers)

Do a little research before booking a guide.

Friends and acquaintances are good sources for recommendations, but if none are available for your intended destination, use the internet.

Most professional guides maintain web sites that can be found by Googling the location you want to fish. Organizations such as the Florida Guides Association (florida-guides.com) are also good sources.

"These organizations," says Capt. Tom Van Horn, "hold their members to high standards. Members are required to provide their legitimacy annually."

Proof of a Coast Guard captain’s license, a state issued vessel license that covers all anglers on the boat, marine insurance that includes liability coverage and adherence to a stated code of ethics are some of the things to look for in a qualified guide.

You can email the captain and ask questions before you book.
Why Hire a Guide?

Now here's your part.

These are just a few of the responses given to Ron when he asked top guides "What do you expect from a client on a charter fishing trip?"

Guide #1: Guests should recognize that not every day will be full of fish and aim to share a fun day on the water.

Guide #2: I value clients who discuss their experience and level of fishing skills before the trip. Let me know if inexperienced anglers, small children or special needs persons will be accompanying them. This assists me in planning the strategy for the day.

Guide #3: Patience and willingness to listen is the best virtue of a prospective client. I want to accommodate them in every way. Their willingness to trust me and follow instructions will normally improve the day’s productivity.

Guide #4: I really appreciate it when my clients show up on time and are prepared to deal with the weather and willing to listen and learn.

I expect them to stay sober...
Read 'the rest of the story,
' in "Secrets from Florida's Master Anglers."


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