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Angler's Outlook: Weather, bait lure more, bigger catches (Scroll to bottom for Reef Ball stuff)

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

By RED STIER, Special to the Eagle

The fishing and catching is improving along the nearshore waters, beach, passes and inland, as I prepare this article.

There has been some increase in the numbers of white bait, in turn attracting larger species that include snook, red fish, pompano, mangrove snapper, year-round resident tarpon, shark, jack, bluerunner, small permit and tripletail.

Marco anglers Marty Martin, from left rear, Candice Jolly and Capt. Ted Naftal Jr. hold some of the many dolphin caught in the Keys while drifting with chum using jigs. Justin Young front, and Amber Martin hold some smaller dolphin. Submitted

Our daily rain seems to be arriving back to one-a-day mode, and if this scenario stays so will the catching. The early morning and late afternoon hours should remain the most productive times with live bait best for successful fishing.

While snook season is closed until September 1, they along with some resident tarpon are waiting for you at the bridge and dock lights. Live shrimp, minnows, mullet, crabs and small ladyfish will work well.

The list of lures is a long one.

My best advice is try your favorite one, but have two or three other lures in the box with different colors if that one doesn't work.

Our local tides should stay strong for the next two or three days then slow until about August 5. Get a tide chart and remember fast tides calls for good fishing. August is always a challenge to anglers with very warm water and high humidity.

Again, early morning or late afternoon is the best time to fish.

Our offshore fishing remains in a productive mode with mangrove and lane snapper and red and gag grouper lurking near the bottom looking for your cut squid, cigar minnows and mullet. Sending them down a grommet meal of live bait placed on a jig will excite the larger members of the family. The live bait menu includes pinfish, grunt, crabs, minnows, small bluerunner and jack. Setting the same baits near the surface just might nail a nice size cobia, shark, barracuda or amberjack.

Good news from the Keys: Marco angler Marty Martin has been finding large cow and schoolie dolphin.

Martin fishes for them every year and nailed them about the same time last year with the help of Candice Jolly, Bud Martin and Captain Ted Naftal Jr. If you are interested in chartering their boat, you can call Marty Martin at 941 825-2070, or Captain Ted at 394-2238.

An excited Bob Prestyly of Marco was one of several calls I received last week about sighting a group of Pilot whales near Cape Romano. Prestyly flies about every week and was looking for a school of sharks he had heard about. To his surprise, he found the whales instead. Some of the whales were also seen off Tigertail Beach.

He asked me if I had ever seen any around here. Yes, several years ago some of them came up Marco River and even entered Marco River Marina basin. They swam around so closely to the dock one person lay on the dock and a whale allowed him to pet it for about five minutes. Most of them managed to find their way out to sea with the exception of one or two that went aground up in the back waters and died.

News from Marco Rod & Gun Club that there will be 14 Eternal Reef balls dropped at an artificial fishing reef site off Marco Island. The event is set to start at 7 a.m. Tuesday, August 6, at either the ST RD 951 boat ramp or the northern side of the Judge Jolley Bridge.

Each concrete ball will have an inflated harness around it and will be towed to the site. When it reaches the location, the harness will be slowly deflated allowing it to sink to the bottom guided by divers. Eight of the balls are being donated by Eternal Reef so this operation will require several boats to do the towing.

At the time of this writing, the MRGC believed they had enough boats, but if you are interested in standing by with your boat you may call Gene Stillwell at 393-2424.

If you would like more information about the Eternal Reef you can visit their Web site at or call them at 1 (888) 423-7333.

The Eternal Reef Company manufacturers and markets them by offering to place the cremated remains of a loved one inside one of the balls, or purchase one as a memorial for the loved one with no remains inside.

Other special occasions used for a reef ball could include birthdays, outstanding citizen awards and weddings the list is endless. The balls are environmentally approved and begin to produce marine life almost instantly.

Don't forget, it is not too late to enter the 10th Annual Collier County YMCA Red/Snook Fishing Tournament set for Aug. 9 through 11. Divisions include General/Bait, Spin/Plug, Fly and several miscellaneous divisions such as Top Female Angler and Fred Gartz Memorial Grand Slam Champion.

As always, Naples Sunshine Ace Hardware will host the rules meeting for charter captains and tournament anglers at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7. The Naples Beach Hotel Resort will host registration for anglers and guides and a silent auction also open to the public in their River of Grass Ballroom, Saturday evening.

Tournament fishing will take place Saturday and Sunday.

The angler registration fee is $525 until July 31, beginning Aug. 1 it will be $575. Fees include two days of fishing with a licensed charter captain and all the weekend activities for the captains, anglers and their families.

Call Gretchen Nelson or Palm Cole at 597-3148 or visit

Have a great week!

Red Stier is a weekly contributor to the Marco Eagle. He also produces and host Anglers Outlook TV show at 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturdays. Questions or comments may be directed to, or 172 Trinidad St., Naples, Fla. 34113.



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