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Fishing Tips: Marco Island, Florida with Tarpon Fishing Video

Updated on December 24, 2012

Marco Island, Florida, is slap dab in the middle of some of the most productive waters in the fish world. Numerous fishermen flock to the 10,000 Islands each year in hopes of landing a trophy game fish. The area provides several different types of fishing and fishing locations, each with its own targeted species. With or without a boat, you’ll find some exciting angling action, and maybe put supper on the table.

Surf Fishing – While the kids are playing in the sand or the waves, have them use their sand pails to collect some sand fleas – mole crabs that burrow in the wet sand as the waves retreat. Use a square of hardware cloth to sift the sand fleas from the sand. This is a great bait for sheepshead, pompano, permit, spadefish, reds, and black drum. Using cut bait, live or dead shrimp, or jigs will produce catches of snook, trout, whiting, and reds. Live shrimp, minnows, and jigs will hook flounder. Some of the best times to fish in the surf are at dawn and dusk.

Piers – Marco Island has two fishing piers – one under the Goodland Bridge and one under the Judge Jolley Bridge. Drop a line around the pilings for sheepshead, black drum, and spadefish, using the sand fleas for bait. Fish just off the bottom, bobbing the bait around until you feel a tug. Or fish right on the bottom with a live shrimp or minnow to hook a flounder. Piers attract many structure-seeking fish like cobia, trout, snook, reds, and snappers, too, so you’ll likely catch one of these species while pier fishing, too.

Backwater – Marco Island is famous for its great backwaters – the mangrove-lined canals and creeks on the island. These canals are practically filled with spotted seatrout, mangrove snapper, sheepshead, whiting, redfish, snook, small sharks, and even tarpon. A variety of live baits, cut baits, jigs, plugs, and spoons will prove deadly when the fish are feeding. But if you want some real heart-pounding thrills, try fly fishing for tarpon! Local guides in the area provide backwater fishing trips into the canals. Fishing the backwater is very popular, not only for the availability of fish species, but also because the trip is short, the water is calm, and the scenery is awesome.

Deepsea and Offshore Fishing– Many species of fish are found in deeper water. Trolling and casting near the surface will produce king mackerel, bonito, ling, and barracuda. Fishing around the reefs and wrecks, on or near the bottom, will entice black grouper, red grouper, huge permit, snapper, gigantic jewfish, and tripletail. Book a fishing trip with a knowledgeable guide who’s familiar with the area and knows where the “hot spots” are.

Fresh Water – Marco Island also has several fresh water lakes. Many of these are located on golf courses, so you’ll need permission to fish them. The rewards, however, can be great: Largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie. Some of the manmade canals on the island have fresh water and are home to largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, and sunfish. If you’re serious about landing a real trophy bass, drive to Lake Trafford in Immokalee.

If you love fishing, Marco Island will not disappoint you. The angling is great year round, no matter the season. You’ll have a huge range of options and will find one to fit your schedule and your budget. One thing’s for sure – with 10,000 islands of fish, it’s almost impossible to leave empty handed!


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