Fishing the Waters off Naples

Guide Tyler Hawes takes us out for an afternoon on the water.

BY July 25, 2016


The line tugged, and I started to reel in. The pole bent; I leveraged the great beast out of the water to reveal—a catfish. Those bottom feeders. We took a quick look and threw him back.

For the August issue of Gulfshore Life, I was assigned to write a story about fishing in Southwest Florida (I know, tough job). The problem: I haven't fished in years.

Luckily, Tyler Hawes was willing to help me out. He's a young guide out of Naples, knowledgeable of the local waters and well-liked within the fishing community. In addition to helping me out with my feature story in the magazine, he volunteered to take me and my boss out one afternoon.

We ventured out of Bayview Boat Landing on his 2014 Morada Bay 24 on a cloudy afternoon, just avoiding a storm that had brewed off shore. He had a chartered trip later that day, so he took us out for his usual pre-trip ritual—gathering by cast-net dozens of bait fish (right). 

Then, it was off for a couple hours fishing. We snuck into the canals of Venetian Bay, setting anchor around a few choice spots (under docks tend to be where the fish congregate). Aside from the catfish, I also caught a decent-sized tree branch that didn't put up too much of a fight. My boss, a much more experienced angler than I, caught a few snook.

We sped back in before another storm started to swell with promises from Tyler that my next time would be a bit more successful now that I've got a better handle on casting. Hey, I guess a catfish is better than nothing. 

A couple helpful links about fishing in Southwest Florida:

We've run stories in the past about fishing our Gulf waters. Our most comprehensive is called Hooked, a guide on what to bring, where to go and what you'll find.

Also, in our "Fun on the Water" section last year, we ran a guide to the top fishing spots locally. It will at least help you get your bearings if you've never been out in Southwest Florida before. 




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