Fishing in Naples, FL Guide

Fishing in Naples, FL Guide

Written by Lenny Rudow
April 13, 2022

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Boatsetter Team

Fishing in Naples, Florida, holds countless opportunities whether you plan to hire local fishing charters, or rent a boat in Naples and head out on your own. We all know that Florida fishing is famed throughout the world, but Naples holds a special advantage over many other locations thanks to geography and rich waterways literally teeming with fish.

To ensure a great time out on the water with your friends and family, follow our Naples Fishing Guide to help you make the most of your next on-water adventure.

Explore All Available Fishing Boat Rentals in Naples, FL

Where to Fish: Best Naples, FL Fishing Spots

Naples and its surrounding waterways provide nearly endless opportunities for angling because there’s easy access to both Naples Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. 

  • Many inshore anglers will also head south from Naples to fish the waters around Marco Island and the Ten Thousand Island area, with its vast backcountry bays, bayous, passes, and mangrove shorelines. Not only do many of these areas hold fish—lots and lots of fish—but they also provide cover from the wind and no matter which way it’s blowing an angler can always find lee shores to fish behind.
  • Fishing in Naples Bay can be quite productive, although we should note that due to how developed the area is, it isn’t exactly remote or secluded until you head south of town.
  • There are plenty of piers to cast at, some mangrove shorelines, and Gordon’s pass connecting the bay with the Gulf of Mexico; the pass is particularly well known for its snook fishing, but can also be crowded at times.
  • To get away from the crowds and enjoy even more spectacular fishing, many boat anglers will head for the waters of Keewaydin Island, or down to the Ten Thousand Islands (which begin about 15 miles from Naples).
  • Once in the Ten Thousand Islands area, it’s easy to leave civilization behind and fish the mangroves and flats in solitude. This requires a capable boat, but fortunately, if you don’t own one of your own there are plenty of fishing boat rentals available in and around Naples.
  • Fishermen headed out in the Gulf of Mexico in search of the larger species in this area also have lots of options. At times rolling tarpon can be found just off the beach, and the bottom fishing for fish like grouper and snapper can be fantastic over nearshore structure. Those who want to troll or live bait for oceanic species will push farther out, may even fish 60 or more miles from shore, and sometimes stay at sea from dawn to dusk.

Book a Naples, Florida Fishing Charter

Fishing boat in Naples, Florida.

What to Fish for in Naples: Top Species List

In the protected waters of Naples Bay and inshore areas, the top species to fish for include:

  • Black Drum
  • Jack Crevalle
  • Grouper (multiple species)
  • Snapper (multiple species)
  • Permit
  • Pompano
  • Red Drum
  • Sharks (multiple species)
  • Snook
  • Speckles Sea Trout
  • Tarpon

What to Fish for in Naples, Florida

In the Gulf of Mexico, anglers will generally be fishing for:

  • Amberjack
  • Cobia
  • Grouper (multiple species)
  • Jack Crevalle
  • King Mackerel
  • Snapper (multiple species)
  • Sharks (multiple species)
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Tarpon
  • Tripletail

Anglers who travel far out into the Gulf may also target pelagic species, including mahi-mahi and blackfin tuna. This requires hours of cruising offshore, however, so these species aren’t among those most commonly targeted by fishermen located in Naples.

When is the best time to go fishing in Naples, FL?

Naples, Florida fishing is a year-round affair. That said, certain times will be more productive than others especially if you have a specific target species in mind. Some types of fish visit these waters during spring and fall, while others will be caught in and around Naples mostly during the summer months or mostly during the winter months.

  • Spring and fall are usually best for species that migrate, such as cobia, Spanish mackerel, and king mackerel, and spring in particular often provides the best tarpon action of the year.
  • The summer months are commonly good for many different varieties of snappers and some grouper, and often see the peak of the much sought-after permit bite as well.
  • And during the winter months some species that tend to provide lackluster action during the heat of summer, like speckled trout and black drum, become prime targets.

There is, quite literally, no “bad” time of the year to fish in and around Naples. So unless you want to time a trip to target a specific fish or fishery, feel free to pull the trigger at any time. Then just go after the type of fish that are prolific during that particular season and you’ll have an excellent shot at success.

Naples, Florida Fishing Guide

Ready to go fishing in Naples?

The tactics you’ll apply when fishing in Naples hinge on which species you’re hoping to catch:

  • Some, especially structure-oriented fish like snappers and groupers, are usually best targeted by bottom fishing with bait. There are certainly exceptions but especially for beginners, this is often the safest bet to get fish on the end of the line.
  • Anglers fishing the shallows, mangroves, flats, and docks for species like redfish, speckled trout, pompano, and other inshore predators will often favor light-tackle casting. This tactic involves keeping on the move while casting and retrieving soft plastic jigs on leadheads, spoons, plugs, or similar offerings.
  • Some other anglers like to keep things simple and will keep their offerings limited to a simple shrimp on a bare or weighted hook.
  • Fishermen headed into the Gulf for free-swimming species may use live bait as well, like mullet or pilchards. Often chum will be also used to help attract fish into the area. Some other anglers employ trolling, which can include live baits, rigged dead baits, or lures like spoons.

The bottom line? There are nearly endless options when it comes to how to fish in Naples, and much of the decision comes down to your personal preference and what type of gear you may or may not own.

That said, for those who don’t have much experience employing these different tactics, asking about what’s working best at a local tackle shop or hiring a Naples fishing guide will help you stack the odds in your favor.

Browse All Available Fishing Boat Rentals in Naples, FL

Browse by experience

Explore articles