Quality Time

by Capt. Brent Bensmiller

The winter bite has been great so far and we expect things to continue improving as the water starts to warm up over the next few weeks.  Windy days and low winter tides will subside soon, but it’s still a good idea to keep a close watch on them.

Redfish and sheepshead have been cooperating lately and consistently biting.  Live shrimp has been the bait of choice for these guys, although a freshly dead shrimp will get the job done too.  You can find these fish near any structure on an incoming tide.  Docks are a good starting point, as there are plenty of barnacles attached to them which keep the sheepshead around.  Any dock with deeper water will hold the bigger reds and other gamefish as well.  I prefer to target these species after the middle of the incoming tide until high tide.  Using light tackle always keeps the fight exciting and make sure to back off the drag a bit and let the fish make some runs. A 1/0 hook, 30# fluorocarbon leader, and a 3/4 ounce weight is the go to setup that will easily handle the majority of these fish.

We will start to catch a mixed bag of species later in the month, which keeps things exciting.  More and more bait will be showing up and many species of gamefish will follow.  As the water continues to warm and clear up, the views at your local spot will be amazing enough and catching fish will be the bonus.  I encourage you guys to get out and take advantage of this beautiful weather and get some quality time on the water with those closest to you.  Good luck and tight lines!

Brent Bensmiller, the owner of Paddle Naples, is an expert at kayak fishing the
local waters. He is available for kayak fishing charters and lessons, as well as
guided kayak and paddleboard tours. You can reach Brent by email at [email protected]
paddlenaples.com or by phone at 239-301-8888. Check out www.PaddleNaples.com and our FB page: https://www.facebook.com/paddlenaples/ for more