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Redfish and the Jerk Shad

Posted on by John

This week redfish and the jerk shad is the topic. I like using these soft baits when the water is a bit murky. I like the contrast of a darker color in murky water. Redfish on the jerk shad is the way to find reds along with other species. The Zman product is used by savvy anglers as the durability can sustain the lure after many bites from other critters.

Lady fish are notorious lure destroyers. Their sand paper mouth and wild antics rip up your presentation. Always check your leader after lady fish.

Using the jerk shad for redfish gives you the search ability you need. Since the water color does not always allow sight casting using a search bait gives you an advantage additionally I look for mangrove shorelines with structure. Oyster clumps and points are a good bet. Deeper bottom adjacent to flats and oyster bars are other areas. Redfish patrol. They are not an ambush predator like snook or sea trout. They roam these areas for baitfish, small crabs, shrimp, sea worms or anything that moves.

Make the move

Let’s get to the presentation. Just like anything that breaths, colder condition slow the organism down. Redfish are the same. Colder water you slow down. Easy slow retrieve with smooth tip action. Just small pops of the tip and don’t stop the motion. I have found this to be very productive but it’s ok to experiment and in a bit deeper water let it drop for 1 second. Remember first day after a cold front may not be best fishing. Either wait a day or postpone to later in the day especially if sun is out. It’s ok. Go have breakfast but leave at 10 or 11 if the tide works.

Don’t be afraid of changing colors. Firstly, the old adage about color selection is not always true.I like a purple color especially in off color water. The profile will stand out and the dented Zman jerk shad adds that little edge.

Capt. John

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Marco Island Inshore Fishing Report

Posted on by John

Ok let’s get started on the Marco Island Inshore Fishing Report from Marco Island south to Everglades City. The cooler water temperatures and windy conditions has made a change in habits but that’s not all bad. The red fishing has still been productive and the snook fishing has been good on the sunny days. Speckled Seatrout fishing continues strong. Seatrout have taken up residence in their usual areas. The larger Seatrout can be found on sunny days out on the grass flats 1 to 3 foot deep. These darker areas will warm up a bit and attract activity. Take your time approaching these areas. Long casts are important. I use Zman jerk shads or Gulp swimming mullet and they will search well for you but don’t forget a jig tipped with a small piece of shrimp. You’ll find larger ladyfish and jacks there too to keep the action going. When fish with Snookhookerfishing.com we like the action.

When you start your trip for Marco Island inshore fishing be aware of the tides and wind direction. Blow out tides are normal during winter. Also wind will increase duration of the flood or ebb and amount of water on each tidal flow. I recommend going out on those negative tides just to put in memory where deeper water is adjacent to flats or mangrove points.

when I have a day to go myself I take advantage of this time. I search out new areas and I try new presentations, lures and leader size. Don’t spend all your time in areas you a familiar with. I like finding areas keeping different wind scenarios and conditions in mind. We all want to catch but you must put in time and be flexible. Don’t get stuck in that rut of same places every trip.

During winter month it is fishing the tides and using the warmth of the sun to your advantage. Focus on the hour bite and you’ll find the frustration level will decrease.

My next post will be about when to make that hard decision to go or not. There is times when you just have to say you are weathered out.

Capt. John

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Marco Island Inshore Fishing

Posted on by John

This time of year Marco Island Inshore fishing has many advantages. With the usual winter weather comes wind but fishing Marco Island inshore around the mangrove islands you can find protection. When the cold fronts come through seek calmer water out of the wind. First the water will be a degree or 2 warmer there. This is due to less heat transfer. Wave create more surface area allowing the water to cool quicker.

Marco Island has great inshore opportunities and moving south from there to Everglades City is the direction you want to head. Snook fishing and red fishing opportunities increase as you get further back in the mangroves. Use Windy.com to see wind predictions. Go to my journal page at snookhookerfishing.com for updates.

so now to what you should be presenting. Using small plastics like Zman Jerk Shads or Gulp swimming mullet is an effective way to test each area. Sun and dark bottom create a warmer environment but don’t over look Sandy bottom with grass patches.

let’s talk about time. Well in winter the savvy angler leave later in the morning when it’s 46 degrees at 7 am. Yeah let the sun warm up the water. 1 or 2 degrees can spark a bite. Low and slow retrieve is best. Marco Island and south has some nice dark bottom flats. These warm up quicker than white sand bottom. Also oyster bars and grass. Snook fushing can be tough during prolonged fronts but they are there. Red fishing and sea trout are always there. Just keep the faith.

so it’s good to keep in touch with your favorite guide, me, to give updates. Marco Island charter fishing guides ii always here to help. Even if you just need info on shore fishing and what you should bring. I’m happy to help. Naples Fishing Guide and Marco Island Inshore fishing and Capt. John Pfeiffer are always here.

Great release of redfish. Light tackle fun.

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Speckled Trout And Redfish Winter Targets

Posted on by John

During the winter we target Speckled Trout and Redfish along with laid up snook. When a cold front is a day or two out, prefrontal fishing can be very active. Savvy anglers learn that watching the weather this time of year is just as important as knowing tide movement and moon phase. With winds at higher velocity this time of year you must learn the affect it has on tide length, the flood and Eb tide and what that means. Here are some insights.

Winds affect the turn and duration of the tide. With an east wind and falling tide in the Glades and Ten Thousand Islands we can have a longer duration falling tide and as much as a foot or more less water than your chart says for that day. The wind will add time to the falling tide and will delay the turn to begin the flood cycle. Another factor is atmospheric pressure. High pressure will ad surface pressure and can affect both tides enhance the wind affect more. Where the inverse, low pressure allows more water to stay and give you a higher flood tide.

Use the Knowledge

Taking in those factors, Speckled Trout and Redfish targeting in winter has some science and planning involved. Along with snook they will be searching those flats on flood tide. Search the mangrove shore line, oyster bars and deep edges on the falling tide for a morsel or two. Take your time approaching a flat or target area. Don’t run full speed instead stop a few hundred feet away and work a search bait like a Zman Jerk Shad or paddle tail. Once you get to your area give it 10-15 minutes. If you’re not at least catching ladyfish or other critters, move on. Have a plan to follow the tide. Don’t just go to areas you have had success before.
In the next blog I will talk about post front. Know when the temps drop and the cold wind is cranking.

Capt. John Pfeiffer

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Redfish And The Tides

Posted on by John

Redfish and the tides are like peanut butter and jelly. The importance is to recognize that these fish love the tide especially the falling tide. It is the conveyor belt of a buffet as the water falls out on the estuaries, mangrove shoreline, bars and flats. But you must learn your area taking time on negative tides to note where these areas are. A negative tide can be an opportunity for fishing but your observation of staging areas is worth the time. I’ve alway said it’s best to totally learn area well. Keep them close to home and you will produce the results you wish.

Now what should you use in your lure or bait presentation? Well there are many options. Once you have discovered the areas you think will hold fish you have decisions. My gig is all artificial. So that is hair jigs, Zman jerk shads, Gulp swimming mullet or shrimp patterns. For sticky areas such as very grassy or lots of oysters try a weedless type hook with 1/8 oz such as Mustad twist lock. If you want to go a bait route a good hair jig with a wide gap hook tipped with a small piece of shrimp can be deadly. Make sure your piece of shrimp is small enough so your jig does not spin. Small tips are best. You don’t need much. Buy of course a live whole shrimp on a circle hook is always a presentation that fish can’t resist. Remember it’s a circle hook. You get a bite you just wind down until tight. 30 lb leader is normal but if it’s clear 20lb will produce more bite but remember it 20 so no horsing the fish.

Don’t forget redfish, snook, speckled trout and sheep head all are in the same area. Don’t be surprised if after some good recon you catch a slam.



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Winter Negative Tides

Posted on by John

Winter negative tides can be some of the best fishing. Low clean water, cooler temps all make sight fishing more exciting. Snook and redfish look for the darker bottom where the sun warms up the water a bit more. The savvy angler understands even a one degree difference from surrounding water will hold fish. They seek it and will stay there until the adjacent area warms up. Take your time. If it chilly leave a bit later in the morning. Snook and redfish can be a little spooky in the skinny water so stop well before the flat and start long casts.
Low and slow presentation is essential to success. And don’t be afraid to drop down to lighter leader. I’ll drop from 30lb to 20lb during winter negative tides. But don’t be concerned. You will be on a flat and you will control the line just fine.

Remember to search the area slowly during winter negative tides. 10 ft forward at a time and you can cover the area by broad casting in an 180 degree arch. I like using Zman jerk baits or other small baitfish or shrimp presentations. No more than 1/8 oz as you need to be quite and just off the bottom. The tendency during negative tides is to move fast but truly you need to move slow and be methodical. Speckled trout especially upper slot and over love sitting right on the edge of these darker bottom areas and attack just as your presentation move over lighter bottom.

So in closing Winter Negative Tides can be to you advantage if you just follow the low and slow method.

Capt. John

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Marco Island Snook Fishing

Posted on by John

Marco Island snook fishing continues to be strong. Despite a few cold fronts the water temps continues to recover quickly. Searching for slight temperature changes in the backwater bays has been the ticket to finding eager snook to bite properly presented offerings. Snook are ambush predators. They don’t venture far from their ambush area. In winter sunny shore lines, dark bottom flats and oyster bars near deeper water are good place to look. Marco Island snook fishing takes patience. There are many islands and cuts around Marco Island to explore. Going with a professional fishing guide will be very helpful. Don’t pay attention to the actual spots but instead absorb the surroundings. Tide, structure, direct sun play into the game but that is just part of it.

Let’s talk about presentation when snook fishing Marco Island. Quiet and gingerly placed soft plastic such as Zman Jerk Shad on 1/8th ounce jighead allow stealthy presentation. Light tackle 7 foot rods with 30 lb leader gives you an edge that is necessary. 10 or 15 lb braid give you the distance you need.

Let’s talk about calendars. We all know weekends have more traffic. Don’t be afraid of negative low tides. Most anglers are afraid of that low water but embracing it gives you a major advantage. Take it. Remember to take note of where structure is exposed as this will come in handy on flood tides as you will know what is covered.

I’ll be happy to tailor a trip for you. I’ll give you best tides and time available. You’ll be using the best tackle and the newest proven lures by Zman and Nomad Designs. If you have a child I will personally fish with them and show them how to become a great angler. Teaching kids is very satisfying for me.

Send an email to captbigjohn@yahoo.com or call at 908-675-6700.


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Fishing Negative Tides

Posted on by John

Fishing negative tides in winter is something you must do. Taking in account for wind and high pressure fishing negative tides can be your friend. If you look at some of my captain’s journal you will see low tide features in the background. Negative tides exposes shoreline, structure, drop offs and oyster bars. These are all features to take note of for flood tide conditions. In essence this fish have no where to go except along the depressions and deeper sides.

Working these areas slow and methodically. using search baits such as Zman.com jerk shads or paddle tails will give you a good idea where the fish are staging. Work your way to your target area working the area 180 degrees every 10 feet. You are searching but slow and methodically.
Consider leaving the dock mid morning instead of early. Allow the sun ti warm the water up. Even 2 degrees makes a big difference. slso fishing the calmer areas during cool sesther is helpful. The wind adds more surface area and exposure to the cold air. Fishing negative tides will open up another world for you.

Naples, Marco Island and the Ten Thousand Islands present many opportunities no matter how low the tide is. You just have to take the time to learn.
snookhookerfishing.com is your resource and I will answer your questions and advise you. Give me a call. A few dates in Jan and Feb are available.

Capt John

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Fishing The Tides

Posted on by John

Fishing the tides is essential during the winter months. Snook, Redfish and Seatrout all like moving water. The time of day is only signifficant when a cold front comes through the area. It is then you mustb try to coordinate your time on the water with tide and sun. I have found if you are in the back like in the third bay back fishing the falling tide is best. Fishing the outside I like flood tide.

When the water cools look for darker bottom as that will absorb some heat from the sun. Even 2 degrees makes a huge difference in activity. Remember that low and slow is the ticket when temps drop. Fish are slower and presentaation is everything, Search baits like Zman Jerk Shads work best to find the fish. Then you can change up your presentation.

I have some dates left in january and February. Lets go fishing.

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Snook, Redfish, Seatrout

Posted on by John

Snook, redfish and seatrout all react differently to cold fronts. Fishing cold fronts you have to slow down when water temp drops and be patient as the bite will not be aggressive. Look for darker bottom. Dark bottom warms up fast than light bottom. 2 degrees can make a huge difference. wait until 10 am to depart as the sun is higher and will radiate the water faster. Slow down your presentation and use search baits. The bite has been pretty consistent. The spotted seatrout have been very active as well as some redfish and snook. The other suspect like ladyfish and jacks keep the action good. Zman and Nomads have worked well. Let’s get you on the schedule. Snookhookerfishing.com or call me 908-675-6700

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