Posted on by Captain John

Redfish dominate the bite in the Ten Thousand Islands. Marco Island and Goodland have been some of the best redfish fishing so far this year. Many slot fish in the 24 to 27 inch range have been eager to strike our offerings. The slightly warmer than usual water because of the lack of cold fronts has kept us in the first bays. Fishing the islands and oyster bars on the moving tide has been the best. Jigs tipped with shrimp have been producing bites as soon as your offering hits the water.

Snook have been around the same areas therefore you just never know which will get to the bait first. Jigs and soft plastics have been working just great and there is no reason to think it will not continue. We have had some action early in the morning on Rapala Skitterwalks and Subwalks. Nothing better than a top water bite.

Speckled Sea Trout have been also biting on the flood tide on the grass flats and outside darker water points. Jigs and popping corks with a shrimp under it have been taking some large specimens over 20 inches. There are also all the other usual suspects such as jacks and big ladyfish that take up the slack in between the tides.

We have also found that some juvenile grouper have taken up the areas of deep undercut channels along with some decent mangrove snappers.

Bookings are strong right now. So if you are looking for a certain date the next few months, get in touch ASAP. My holiday schedule is tight but there are a few slots still available. Let me tailor a trip to the Ten Thousand Islands for you.


Capt. John Pfeiffer

Tight Lines

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Posted on by Captain John

Just this week there have been 2 slams fishing the Ten Thousand Islands on the skiff. That is a snook, a redfish and a speckled sea trout caught by one angler. The cooler water has the fish moving into their usual haunts.

We have been catching at least 6 reds per trip because of the cooler water. The reds are all over the oyster bars and mangrove shore lines. Jigs tipped with shrimp and 3 inch gulps in the shrimp pattern have received eager bites. These fish are not shy on the take. Great fun on light tackle.

Snook are in the back bays and ready to pounce on jigs and soft plastic presentations. There have been a ton of 18 to 20 inch snook with the occasional 25-30 inch. Moving tide is the key as these guys are ambush predators. Lots of fun on the light tackle.

Speckled sea trout have just come alive because of the drop in water temps. Shrimp on a jig head or a spiked jig has been the ticket. We have been catching tons of slot fish and we had several in the 24 inch range just this week.

Lets get those reservations in soon. Bookings are beginning to really fly in. I don’t want you to miss out on our spectacular winter fishery here in The Ten Thousand Islands. We begin our trip at Calusa Island Marina in Goodland Florida, the gateway to the Ten Thousand Islands. Let me guide you to a great day on the water.

The photo above is Cameron holding a snook just before releasing. Cameron caught his first slam, a snook, a sea trout and a redfish. Congrats Cameron!


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Light Tackle Redfish

Posted on by Captain John

This past week the light tackle redfish bite has been off the chain. My clients are averaging 12 releases a day. I have been using light 7ft St. Croix rods with 2000 Penn Battle 2 reels. The reels are loaded with 10lb Sufix braid and 20lb leaders. Low and slow has been the presentation style so that is the reason the hook up ratio has been high.

Water temps have dropped a bit and that is making the fish more active. I have been starting to move back into the Ten Thousand Islands into the 2nd and 3rd bays. Fishing the falling tide has produced not just redfish but snook, seatrout and some large jacks.

I have been using tripped jigs and Gulp shrimp rigged weedless but you have to slow down the presentation. These reds are foraging on little crabs and shrimp so crawling your offering on the bottom has been the ticket.

I still have some days open in December. With the holidays coming those days will get booked quickly. I am anticipating a great season as proven by the past month of great activity. So lets go fishing! Give me a call and I will tailor a trip just for you. Its a great time to bond with your son, daughter or grandkids as this is personalized fishing since my limit is 3 clients on board. I can dedicate a great deal of time with the kids to make it a memorable experience.


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Posted on by Captain John

Well folks the snook and redfish season is off and running. Multiple double digit days this past week. Its been unseasonably warm and the water is still in the 80’s. We do have a cool front coming and I hope it just gets the water temps dropping a bit.

Redfish and snook have been hitting top waters like skitterwalks by Rapala early. We have been leaving first light to beat the heat as a result the fish have been appreciative.

Sea Trout should be showing up at the first cold front. We have been hooking up on a few but the cold front should get them chewing. Also we have been seeing some pompano and big jacks to just round out the day.

Lets go fishing. Get your reservations in now especially for around the holidays. I still have some days around Thanks Giving and Christmas. I will tailor a trip for you and give you the best tides. Don’t forget gift certificates for holiday gifts. They have no expiration date. Good forever.

So closing I want to thank all my old and new clients. I have clients that have been with me 15 years and more. Their kids and grandkids are now new clients and I love that. Kids are the future.

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Posted on by Captain John

Lets talk about taking kids fishing. I am especially fond of showing kids how fun fishing is. Because I run a small boat and only take 2 to 3 people I provide a very personalized trip. This allows me to spend time with your child. Its not just a fishing trip. I explain the whole ecosystem of the Everglades and why we fish in certain areas.

There is nothing better than the smile and excitement of your kid catching a fish. They just light up. In the photo above Lilly’s smile tells it all. She went on to catch sea trout and snook. Because of her experience, she and her parents have been back 3 years in a row now. She is hooked! I love that. So lets give your child a memory you will both enjoy forever.

So a short report. Marco Island and the Ten Thousand Islands are just alive right now. The days are getting shorter, therefore, the fish are on the move and starting to stage up in there usual haunts.

Snook are still on the outside points and are very eager to attack top water such as Rapala Skitterwalks and later in the morning suspended lures. Redfish are everywhere. We are finding them on all the hard bottom areas and shore lines. Soft plastic and Gulps are getting smashing strikes and live shrimp have also taken many reds.

So with the holidays coming, its a good time to book a trip as a gift. I have gift certificates available. Give me a call and I can fill you in. Also if you want a trip during the holidays you will need to book as soon as you have dates you will be in Marco Island or Naples, Florida. Choice dates are still available. Remember I “FISH THE TIDES NOT THE CLOCK”.

I hope to hear from you soon.


Capt. John Pfeiffer

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Light Tackle Snook And Reds

Posted on by Captain John

Its time for light tackle snook and reds! At we will use extreme light tackle. Penn Battle 2000 reels spooled with 10lb Sufix Braid and light action St. Croix Premier Rods. Most importantly, this type fishing is for everyone, novice to very experienced anglers. Because this is so popular with my new and returning clients, I will continue to stay the course with light tackle.

On another note. There is no RED TIDE in the Ten Thousand Islands. We have clean, clear water, therefore get your bookings in soon. I always suggest the best tides and days so the earlier the better for choice times. Remember ” FISH THE TIDES NOT THE CLOCK”.

Snook, redfish and seatrout are here in good numbers but there is always a tarpon around, so you never know. I always carry a medium rod for the silverkings.

My next post on the journal I will be talking about inserting small rattles in soft plastics. It amazing on those days when the water is a bit dark or murky how a small rattle with increase strikes. They are a small glass capsule and easily are pushed into the soft plastics.

So, lets get out and fish. The Ten Thousand Islands are waiting for you. We will fish anywhere between Marco Island and Everglades City departing from Calusa Island Marina in Goodland Florida. Give me a shout and Ill set up a trip you will always remember.

Tight Lines

Capt. John

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Snook and Redfish

Posted on by Captain John

The Ten Thousand Islands are full of Snook and Redfish. The bite has been very consistent therefore its time to start booking your trips for the upcoming season. I am already getting booked for the Holidays so don’t wait.

Snook have be very active in the mornings and evenings easily crashing top waters like Rapala Skitterwalks and later in the morning crushing suspended lures. As the water cools we will see more action on the flats and dark bottom.

Redfish have been active all day when there is good tide movement. The belly crawlers have been cruising the hard bottom island edges and just cant resist a well placed offering. The oyster bars have also been very productive for redfish using soft plastic with rattles embedded in them. I will have a short video showing how to rig your soft baits using a rattle. We will use very light tackle for the reds.

We will be also on the lookout for big jacks. Changing tackle we will be ready with a little stiffer rod for these guys. You will be surprised when a jack crushes the top water. Be ready for a 20 minute fight on light tackle.

Seatrout have jst started showing up. Jigs tipped with shrimp and suspended Rapalas with bet an eager strike. These fish have been ranging from 15 to 25 inches and are great fun on the 10lb light tackle.

I specialize in light tackle and fly so lets get a trip booked now before choice dates and tides are booked up.

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Posted on by Captain John

Cold front red fish, yup that’s is what these past 2 weeks have been. Danny here hooked up on a nice slot. The cold fronts have piled on us so fishing the right time of day and the tide has been the ticket. Leaving at 7 am when it is 46 degrees is futile. Waiting until after 10 am is the prudent move.


We have been experiencing something I love to see. Many under slot red fish. This is a good sign. These juveniles will be slot fish next year. They are very healthy and you would think that 17 inch red you just caught was 24 inch fish. These fish are eager and we have caught them pretty regularly. Shrimp tiped jigs and gold spoons have produced good bites when fishing the outgoing lower part of the tide. Usual haunts like bar edges, deeper points and oyster bars have all had these guys on them sometime during the day.


Snook are around but you have to fish the dark bottom in the second bays and with the moon tides you better time it right or you will be eating lunch for 4 or 5 hours. The tides have been very low due to three factors; moon tides, east wind and high pressure. This combination creates negative tides up to 2 feet. So lots of dry flats. Be careful.

Sea Trout

So the sea trout have been almost a given every trip. Fishing the lower half of either tide will produce plenty of action with some trout in the 22 inch plus range. Shrimp, jigs, gold spoons and jerk baits have produced. Again finding the darker bottom and pot holes is your best bet.

Other Critters

Of course there is the by catch that keeps the day active. We have encountered some huge ladyfish and boy do they bend the rod big time. Many ladies over 20 inches. They don’t call them poor man’s tarpon for nothing. These guys on light tackle will take you around the boat a couple times.

I have some days left in February and March. Lets go fishing.



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Redfish And Sea Trout

Posted on by Captain John

Redfish and sea trout have been the target the past few weeks. Its been a good bite when the tide is moving and the wind is lower. We have had a few cold fronts and the water dropped for 71 to 65 degrees. The fish are moving with the tide over dark bottom. This dark bottom allows redfish and sea trout to warm up a bit. The dark bottom attracts the sun and can be 2 or 3 degrees warmer.

The best bite has been on the low and slow method. Jig tipped with shrimp in either brown or brown with gold have been most productive. There have been a few very warm days when a jerk bait like Rapala get some good strikes from larger sea trout. We have been seeing some 20-24 inch trout on the flat edge on outgoing tide.

There have been some snook around. We have found them on the dark bottom and edges of the oyster bars in the second bays back. Live shrimp or jigs have been productive. Careful accurate casting is needed to cast to these laid up snook. They spook easily. Snook have been pretty receptive to a properly presents fly. Baitfish pattern or shrimp pattern with do the trick. Make sure you don’t shoot over them or they will blow right out of there.

I want to just touch on one subject, RED TIDE. We do not have any red tide in the Ten Thousand Islands. Most of the red tide is north of Marco Island and has dissipated with the cooler water. So get on down to the water.

So to sum it up its been a good winter season this year and I see it sustaining through the spring. I still have a few days open in Feb and 10 day open in March. Come fish in one of the most beautiful spots in Florida. The Ten Thousand Islands is waiting for you.

Steve and his two sons had a banner day!!

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Speckled Sea Trout

Posted on by Captain John

Speckled sea trout are here in good numbers now in the Ten Thousand Islands south of Marco Island. The water is clean and no RED TIDE down south. We have been fishing the moving tides over dark bottom. The water temps are still in the 70’s. The moon tides have made the clarity a bit turbid due to the larger tide change but fishing at the right tide has produced good numbers of sea trout with some 22 inch plus fish mixed in.

I have clients using soft plastics and Rapala Jerk Baits to find the sea trout. Using these search baits allows you to cover large areas until you find a school of fish. You can then switch to shrimp tipped jigs and popping corks rigged with a 1/8oz jig head and a shrimp threaded on the hook. Small flies resembling shrimp or crab also gets plenty of action.

Redfish are also in the mix. It seems most are just under or just over slot but its good to see many of these smaller fish. They are the future. Jigs tipped with shrimp and soft plastics like Gulps have been effective. Once the water cools a bit we should see some larger slot reds move into their usual haunts are oyster bars and mangrove shore lines. We had a couple days last week when we saw some larger fish but they had lock jaw. It happens.

Snook are here. we have released several in the 30inch range past couple weeks. Top waters in the morning around ambush points has produced strikes. After sun gets up about 10 go to suspended jerk bait like Rapalas.

I have been fishing the 10k islands for 30 years. It still excites me every day. Even when the fishing is tough there is always something unique to see. Getting surprised by a flock of Rosette Spoonbills or a manatee right under the bow is a thrill for any angler.

The holidays are coming quick and open days are getting tight. Let me know if you would like me to tailor a trip for you. It is theĀ  perfect trip for bringing you son, daughter or grandkid as I keep the anglers to 2 or 3. This way I can give my full attention to an enjoyable and memorable day.

Capt. John




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