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Perched on the Gulf of Mexico along Florida’s sunny Southwest coastline, Naples is the perfect place for nature lovers. While some prefer exploring the Paradise Coast’s beautiful beaches and sophisticated dining, others count the days until they can taste its angling opportunities. If your goal is tight lines and a lot of action, check what deep sea fishing Naples, FL has to offer. 

In this guide, we’ll talk about the offshore fishing opportunities in this memory-making heaven. We’ll talk about the top catches of the deep sea scene, as well as how to catch them and when. 

Curious to learn more about Naples’s inshore and nearshore fishing scene, the top spots, targets, and seasonality? Check out our full guide here. To find out what makes deep sea fishing so special here, read on…

Top Naples Deep Sea Fishing Catches

Wondering what the answer to the question ‘What can I catch while deep sea fishing in Naples?’ is? Well, anything big, tasty, and feisty. Naples’s offshore fishing grounds are home to a myriad of fish species. In fact, we’d need a separate article if we were to create a full list! But here’s our pick of the top species you can find along the reef bottoms, wrecks, and deep water grounds.

An infographic with fish icons and 'What can I catch deep sea fishing in Naples?' against a blue background

Snapper

Deep sea fishing in Naples deserves a full-day trip at least, first of all because of all the Snapper you can catch. Mutton, Lane, Mangrove, Yellowtail, and, of course, Red Snapper are available off the coast in abundance. 

You can start looking for Snapper from 9 miles out, on your way to the deeper waters. Larger fish, such as Lane Snapper, hang out around 40 miles offshore in the deeper reefs. Meanwhile, you can find smaller Yellowtail and Mangrove Snapper within 20 miles of the coast. 

Two anglers holding a large Mutton Snapper on a boat

When’s the best time to fish for Snapper? Well, it depends on which one you’re after. As you might already know, Red Snapper is a heavily regulated species. There’s a strict season that varies each year. We actually have a dedicated article, which you can check out and bookmark here

Lane Snapper is available in state waters year-round. However, if you decide to target them further offshore, make sure to consult the local rules and regulations before you hit the water.

Mutton Snapper bite best from June to September, while the peak of the Yellowtail season is slightly shorter – from May until June.

Grouper

Anyone who’s planning a deep sea fishing trip in Florida can expect a nice selection of Grouper. And Naples doesn’t disappoint, either! Here, you can target Red, Gag, Black, Goliath, and Scamp Grouper. Yep, all of them! Although you might not be able to score all 5 in one trip.

A winter Naples deep sea fishing trip might result in both tough battles and a rewarding meal. Red, Black, and Gag Grouper hang out in the offshore reefs during the cooler months. 

A smiling angler on a boat holding a freshly caught Grouper with the Gulf of Mexico behind him

Whenever you go, there’s always a Grouper in season. Goliath Grouper, for example, bite best from April until October. For Gag Grouper, you may want to plan a trip from October until the end of the year, keeping in mind that the season is closed from January until March. 

As the Gag season comes to an end, you can switch your focus to Red Grouper in January. Alternatively, Reds’ bite is strong from April until September. 

While you can always look for Grouper in the nearshore waters, the further you go, the bigger your catch may be. Why? Groupers tend to head out to the deep waters as they mature, which means they get to pretty impressive sizes offshore. 

Amberjack & Cobia

It’s understandable why deep sea fishing in Naples, FL should be a full-day extravaganza. There are so many species you can get your hands on. However exciting Snapper and Grouper fishing might be, it’s not always all about them.

Out there in the Gulf of Mexico, various ledges, reefs, wrecks, and towers teem with other species. Amberjack and Cobia are among them. With big fish, you can expect a big fight. Amberjack, also known as “reef donkeys,” usually hang out around deep structures and reefs, although anglers can sometimes spot them closer to the surface. 

Two anglers holding an Amberjack caught while fishing offshore in Naples, FL

The best time to go for Amberjack is during the winter months, so you can plan your trip from November through March.

Next, you have Cobia. These beautiful fish are pretty good pals with Amberjacks. In fact, you don’t even have to switch techniques if you spot a Cobia while fishing for AJs. Look for them near structure, buoys, and reefs. Cobia bite best during the winter months, although you can target them year-round.

Kingfish 

If you’re looking to taste the offshore waters and make it past the 25th mile, chances are you’ll spot a school of King Mackerel – or Kingfish, as they’re royally known. These are perfect targets for trolling without having to go too far out. Some anglers look for Kingfish when targeting Gag Grouper – a saltwater game fish combination we don’t mind!

A group of anglers holding two Kingfish caught in Naples, FL

When’s the best time to go for Kingfish? Anytime, but especially from September all the way through to May. At this point, we guess you’re not surprised to hear that deep sea fishing in Naples, Fl is a year-round pleasure!

And More!

You may associate Permit with inshore fishing, but in Naples, they live offshore too. And, they grow to incredible sizes here come summer.

From spring until late fall, deep sea anglers in Naples can be rewarded with beautiful Mahi Mahi and Wahoo. You only need to venture past the 40-mile mark to get to their hunting grounds. As soon as you do, get ready for some tough fights and big catches. And, if you go just a bit further, you may even come across Tuna.

A smiling angler with a cap and sunglasses holding a very big Permit fish

If that’s not enough, and you’re willing to look for even more serious battles, you’ll have to go even further out. By that, we mean heading over 100 miles out to get to the Billfish grounds. If that sounds like your thing, we recommend booking an extended full-day charter and aiming for over 10 hours on the water.

Where to go deep sea fishing in Naples, FL?

With every Naples deep sea fishing trip, your playground will be the mighty Gulf of Mexico. Unlike the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf is much more shallow. Because of this, you sometimes need to travel further out to reach deeper waters. And that, of course, means bigger fish.

There are various spots throughout Naples that you can use as your starting point, from the historic Tin City Docks to various marinas and boat launches. From here, you can stay within 9-20 miles from shore and target the majority of the species we’ve talked about earlier. However, if you’re after bigger fish, the sky’s the limit.

The sun sets on a fishing pier in Naples along the US Gulf Coast

Think of all the species you can land 20 miles offshore, but much bigger. In fact, you can come across big fish even within 40 miles, but a deep sea trip 100 miles offshore might result in Tuna and even Billfish. 

You can head to the beautiful deep water wrecks and coral reefs of the Dry Tortugas, which is a couple of hundred miles from Naples. This is a remote island with an amazing fishing menu. From Mahi Mahi and Mutton Snapper to Golden Tilefish and Sailfish – it’s all possible. 

A group of anglers on the dock holding freshly caught Groupers and a Shark following a deep sea fishing trip in Naples, FL

Wherever you decide to fish, it’s always a good idea to book a charter with a licensed captain. There are many experienced guides in Naples that specialize in deep sea fishing. No one knows the area better than local captains, and a Naples deep sea fishing charter is the best way to experience it. A lot of them have been sunburned and beaten up by storms for decades to find the perfect deep sea fishing spots in Naples!

How to Go Deep Sea Fishing in Naples

Now that you know what you can catch on a Naples deep sea fishing charter and where to go, it’s time to talk about techniques. In this section, we’ll go through the most popular methods to land the most prized offshore species. Let’s start with the technique that can help you catch Snappers and Groupers, first and foremost.

Bottom Fishing

An angler in the water beside a large Goliath Grouper in Naples, Florida
Goliath Grouper

When you’re bottom fishing in Naples, you’re trying to hook fish that live close to the ocean floor. Depending on your target, you may be fishing near structure, be it a reef a wreck in the heart of the Gulf. Bottom fishing is the most productive technique out there, allowing you to entice fish onto the end of your line.

You’ll drop your line to the ocean bed or structure and try to mimic the action of the bait fish by dragging your line. When you hook a fish, it will try to get back into the structure and hide there. Rest assured it will try to break your line by rubbing it against the structure. To avoid losing your line, your captain will most likely position the boat to help you. 

There are different types of bottom fishing, and the one you’ll try will depend on what you’re hoping to catch. For example, dead and live bait, such as squid, herring, and bonito, work well with power drifting and anchoring up. On the other hand, a long leader with a sinker works well to catch large Grouper, Snapper, and even Amberjacks.

Deep Dropping

A side view of a deep sea sportfishing boat with two anglers bottom fishing near Naples, Fl

Now that you’re ready for a bottom fishing trip, what if you decide to go really far out and target something really big? You’ll most likely be interested in deep dropping. 

This is essentially bottom fishing, but deeper and heavier. In some spots, regular lines are just not enough. Deepwater Groupers, along with other large trophies like Tilefish and Swordfish, can be caught with electric reels. Of course, you can reel them in manually, but nobody can guarantee that you can handle the fight. 

Apart from electric reels, your captain might also use braided fishing lines, which are strong enough to cut right through the Gulf’s currents.

Trolling

Two anglers fishing on a boat offshore in Naples, FL

Last but not least, trolling is arguably the most popular way of deep sea fishing in Naples, FL. It gives you flexibility as you move in the open waters, dragging the bait along. This method usually includes trailing your bait of choice alongside or behind the boat, sometimes using so-called trolling spreads. 

Your captain might set a mix of bait and lures with different sizes and colors that will mimic your target’s prey. Once you see a rod bend and hear the reels screech, it’s fish on. 

How and where you’ll be trolling will depend on what you’re after. Cobia, for example, mainly feed near structure. You might fish around reefs, dropping the bait—live bait or artificialjust above the fish if you manage to spot it.

F.A.Qs

  1. Do I need a fishing license to go deep sea fishing in Naples?

    The answer is no, as long as you're fishing on a saltwater fishing charter. If you're planning to head out yourself, you'll need to obtain a valid fishing license. This can be done directly from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, by phone, from various agents, or online. Feel free to learn more about Florida fishing licenses in our blog here

  2. Is deep sea fishing in Naples kids-friendly?

    The short answer is yes. Naples deep sea fishing charters are often tailored to families, but you might want to stick to waters closer to shore. 

  3. Are there any deep sea fishing tournaments in Naples?

    Inshore Offshore Wars is a sort of all-hands tournament that allows anglers to show off their skills. The offshore fish species in the tournament are Red Grouper and Mangrove Snapper. 

  4. What is the best month for deep sea fishing in Naples?

    It's always good for deep sea fishing in Naples. However, winter is considered to be the hottest season due to the amount of fish that are actively biting in the offshore waters. Note that if you're after a certain species, you might want to check the local rules and regulations before hitting the waters to avoid closed seasons. 

  5. Can I keep everything I catch on a Naples deep sea fishing charter?

    There are various regulations set forth by the FWC, and it's important to consult with your captain before the trip. Bag limits apply, along with the size regulations. A lot of captains encourage their anglers to take only what they intend to eat. 

  6. Should I prepare my own equipment if I plan to go deep sea fishing?

    If you're fishing with a licensed charter, they'll almost always provide their own gear. In fact, it's recommended that you use their rods, reels, lines, bait, and hooks. Local captains know what works best in the deep waters. However, if you're a pro angler and want to use your own gear, let your captain know in advance.

Deep Sea Fishing in Naples – Florida at its finest

An aerial view of Naples, Florida, looking from Gordon's Pass towards the city, with the sea on the left

Now you know that when it comes to deep sea fishing, Naples, FL is the place to be. Perhaps, there’s already a clear picture in your head of what you want to catch and when you want to go. But you might not understand how great deep sea fishing in Naples is until you bring the first Snapper or Grouper to the boat. Come and try it out!

We’ve done our best to describe the local fishing scene, now it’s over to you. Have you ever been deep sea fishing in Naples, FL? What did you catch? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Your Guide to Deep Sea Fishing Naples, FL appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Lisa
Title: Your Guide to Deep Sea Fishing Naples, FL
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/deep-sea-fishing-naples-fl/
Published Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2022 09:56:00 +0000

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