Offshore (deep sea) fishing in Naples, FL is a sport that residents as well as visitors can enjoy year round due to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This is what makes Naples a popular fishing destination and brings people in from all over the country. Most fish can be caught within a few miles (~15) but the true beasts lie further out in the much deeper water. If you are unfamiliar with the local waters, hiring a guide would be your best bet in having a successful day out on the water.
There are a few different types of fish that you will encounter when fishing offshore. First you have pelagic fish. These fish inhabit the water column in open water and can usually be found near the surface. Types of fish included are: Mahi, King Mackerel, billfish, Crevalle Jack and Cobia to just name a few. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have bottom dwellers. These fish live in the cracks and crevices of the ocean bottom and within reefs, shipwrecks or other structure. Fish in this category include: snapper, grouper and Amberjack. Fishing techniques will vary depending on what types of fish you are targeting.
When targeting these fish, you will want to locate structure. Since the Gulf of Mexico is relatively flat and sandy, this could prove to be difficult for the inexperienced angler. Structure can come in many different forms. Some include rock piles, reefs, sunken ships, towers and artificial reefs. These areas give bottom dwellers an area to hide. They also attract baitfish which will also bring in the pelagics for feeding. Naples is located within Collier County which has an artificial reef program. This program uses a variety of ways to provide structure to provide habitat to our finned friends. It also helps aid in improving and sustaining the local fishery. All artificial reefs are accessible to the public by providing GPS coordinates and a description of each reef.
When fishing for these heavy hitters, it is important to have the proper equipment or you will find yourself in a world of hurt. When fishing the bottom, it is important to be able to wrestle those bottom fish out and away from the reef in which they reside. If not, you will end up with a cut line due to the sharp edges of the structure. A heavy rod with 60 to 80lb test will suffice in getting the job done. Dead, frozen cut bait works well like squid or herring, but there is nothing like fishing with live bait. Most people will catch live pilchard or pinfish on their way to the fishing grounds. This can be done in a variety of ways. Throwing a cast net is a great way to get a lot of bait quickly. You can also use a sabiki rig tipped with small pieces of squid or shrimp in order to fill the live well. Using live bait will be your best bet in filing the cooler.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into planning a successful offshore fishing trip. But that’s not all. Getting to these fishy areas require the proper watercraft. It takes more than a jon boat to get to the holes. Think 28 foot (or bigger) v-hull in order to conquer the big water. You will want something to push that big boat as well. Think twin 300s to get you where you are going or to outrun those summer time thunderstorms. Owning a watercraft like this isn’t feasible for everyone, not to mention all of the high tech electronics needed to safely navigate the open water, so that’s where hiring a guide makes more sense.
Naples, FL has its fair share of offshore fishing guides, but Captain Hunter Robinson of Naples Fishing Boat has the guides and expertise to effectively put you on the fish. Capt. Robinson specializes in nearshore (within 15 miles from shore) fishing for snapper, grouper, kingfish, cobia and more as well as offshore (15-40 miles) for the chance at some real monsters. Be sure to also check out his specialty charters where you will target Goliath Grouper, sharks, Permit and more!