Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 23, 2015 – October 29, 2015

CONDITIONS:

The tough winds are gone but we will have moderate winds from the east through the weekend and into the first part of next week…..and then hang onto your hat for late week as the winds will turn westerly (nasty) and kick back up to the twenty knot level. Those westerly winds here in this shallow domain stir up the muddy bottom and deliver water that rivals the color of Starbucks Cafe Latte and impacts the fishing big time. In addition we have a full moon tide come next Thursday with a morning incoming ranging close to 4′. The afternoon outgoing is much gentler. Water temperature is toying with the 78-80 degree level and starting the piscatorial fall activity.

BACKWATER:

Primary message here is to fish backwater early to mid week. After that, with the westerly winds the water quality will tank and so will the fishing quality. Redfish are staying active as fall moves in. Look for schools of reds….mostly medium size traversing the shallower open Bays (Johnson, Rookery with emphasis on Henderson Creek, Addison to Upper Addison) mid tide working artificials or small tipped jigs on the perimeter of the schools. Later, as the tide crests, move over to the shallower mangrove edges and work a shrimp under a popper up close to the tree overhangs. Even as we’re yet far away from the sheepshead spawning season, there are some take home sheepshead showing on the Keeywadin docks and structure. Also black drum in the early season mix. Both on small pieces of shrimp or fiddler crab tight to the encrusted structure. Pompano are day to day (depending on the water clarity) in both Capri Pass and Hurricane Pass working the first and last hours of either tide with small tipped jigs worked to the bottom.

NEARSHORE :

Conditions good through midweek. Avoid when the west winds kick in. White bait roaming the first reef structures.Moving quickly so stay mobile. Pelagic action following the bait. Stay mobile working small top water tipped jigs to the perimeter of bait eruptions and/or bird action. There you will find the mackerel and bluefish assaulting the bait schools and suckers for going after a small tipped jig worked quickly up near the surface. Of course you will need chum to draw and hold the action. Bottom action here is still pre-fall migration, so you’ll want to work for lane /mangrove snapper and perhaps a gag grouper on the structure you are working for the pelagics. Tipped weighted jigs will do the trick but be sure your rigs are immersed in the flow of the chum. Chance for some really good action.

OFFSHORE:

Sea conditions will tank late week. Still have good red grouper action in state waters ; Feds closed red grouper harvest in federal waters suddenly, with no prior notice two weeks ago. So set up at seven to eight mile hard bottom and work a live pinfish or cut ladyfish tight to the bottom on a drift on either tide. The gag grouper are out a little deeper and can be caught using the same bait and technique. Try a start in 50′ of water and work on a drift. The gag grouper are open to harvest until 12/3/15. Some trickle of the south migration has started. A few cobia have shown on the deeper wrecks and jumping on live runners and threadfins worked sight casting. The kingfish action can’t be far behind. Super deep wrecks still holding amberjack action on live bait dropped vertically into the wreck structure.

 

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 16, 2015 – October 22, 2015

CONDITIONS:

The devil in the weather mix this week will be WIND. A high pressure ridge north of us will send the winds scooting through here starting Sunday into the 20 mph category. Only positive thing about that is they will all be easterly / northeasterly. That will keep the gulf incoming waters clear but have some impact on our shallow backwaters and the outgoing tide will take a murky hit. Tides are moderately strong but no racing full / new moon tides to contend with. Air temperatures will remain warm and that will hold the water temp near stationary at 81-82 degrees. Lastly, expect some patches of rain mixed in when the wind arrives.

BACKWATER:

You would have to rate the backwater fishing quality as “day to day” and dependent on conditions i.e water color, water clarity, tide strength and temperature. On the good days, the redfish are out in droves and schooling in both sides of the lower water tides then sliding off to the mangrove edges on the high water tides. In both situations you can work the Reds with either a shrimp under a popper or plain freelined. We have also seen for the first time some keeper size sheepshead in the deeper holes adjacent to structure. They take the small pieces of shrimp you are using. We’re still a couple months away from seeing the hordes of sheepshead arrive for spawn. Also expect to see some nice size black drum arrive now and be present in some of the deeper holes. The mangrove snapper are still active and still playing the trick of not feeding until a half hour before and after slack water. Be there when the big ones come out to feed and you can limit out in 25-30 minutes.

NEARSHORE:

You can tell the white bait is returning to the first line of reefs et al but watching the number of sea birds surface feeding. That being the case you should spot lots of surface bait eruptions caused by pelagics feeding from beneath……..seeing a few of such events but not enough to prove the mackerel et al are here en masse. So best is to get yourself parked on a major reef (Walton, Five Mile, Capri Barges) where the bait is probably the thickest; set your chum and give it a chance to soak in then work the top water with tipped jigs. Beneath…..if we’re seeing some very early sheepshead in the backwater you may see them on the reefs also working a shrimp rig to the bottom. By product here also might be some nice lane and mangrove

OFFSHORE:

Even though the predicted winds are easterly, sea conditions could get a little dicey out here come Sunday on. Getting out there today or Saturday might be a smart idea. NEWS: the Feds closed the harvest of red grouper slam bang last week in federal waters (9 miles from closest point of land). So, you need to be sure where your location is…..exactly. Red grouper has remained the hands down favorite all summer and now into fall. You can get into the hard bottom where they hang out as close in as 7-8 miles. Look for the bottom surface eruptions which are telltales for the hard bottom and then work a heavy rig with a live pinfish right to the structure. Gag grouper will be out deeper in 55-60′ of water (the Feds did not close gags but their “season” ends 12/3/15 anyhow) and you work then with the same gear and bait. Worth a shot. Last but not least, we’re still a couple weeks away from the pelagics (cobia, Kings, permit) making their southbound fall migration. So keep a watch on fishing reports and be ready to go when the migration starts……it’s light’s out action all around.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 09, 2015 – October 15, 2015

CONDITIONS:

With the winds from the hurricane well out to sea and the tropical T-storms beginning to abate…….maybe this week we can get our fishing conditions back to normal. We have a way to go in cleaning up the tannic stained backwater as well as some of the mud bottom scraped up by those early week winds. The winds this week are moderate especially in the mornings but then some upsurge from late morning until nightfall – all has to do with the differential between the air and water temps. The moon will be fading to new late week but those high tide levels we experienced the last couple weeks are gone.  Tides this week will be livable. Water temp continues to ratchet down from near 90 late summer to 80-82 in most places this week.

BACKWATER:

October has always been the top redfish month and this years performance looks like a repeat. Although the excessive west winds stained the water last week, and slowed the good redfish bite that will change this week for sure as the water conditions stabilize. The reds are schooling in good size groups and move along the oyster bars and structured bottom on the lower half of both tides. You can work these schools by staying mobile and work top water artificials or tipped jigs ahead of their movement. Use mid weight gear especially if you run into one of the over limit size schools. On the top half of either tide move back along the mangrove edges circa Johnson Bay, Rookery Bay, Henderson Creek and Addison here. Here it’s a free lined shrimp worked into the shallow shaded mangrove edges. Shrimp under a popper works here to. Good chance that pompano and permit will show in the main Passes and cuts from Hurricane to Caxambas mainly showing in the first and last hour of either tide. Bottom fishing is interesting: still have the mangrove snapper working the shorelines but now you can add flounder, seatrout, and even some nice size black drum. All on shrimp worked to the  bottom.

NEARSHORE :

Big change here on conditions week to week. Should be flat with very productive tides both ways. Bait schools continue to arrive on major structure and the pelagics are never far behind. Mackerel is the dominant species in this group with bluefish and jacks not far behind. Key to locating the pelagic gang is twofold ……presence of bait on structure and a couple blocks of chum in your cooler. Having both will give you best chance for hot action. Get the chum in the water quickly and give it 15 minutes or so to work drawing the fish…..then go to work with top water tipped jigs worked right into the tide drawn slick. Bottom fishing remains strong on the circuit of reefs out at five miles (aka Five Mile Reef). Weighted jigs worked over chum a foot or so off the bottom will get you the best action.

OFFSHORE:

Flat conditions out here also this week. There has been some activity on the pelagic migration but most is occurring north of us north of Ft Myers. Probably best use of time and effort to concentrate on the great grouper action we continue to enjoy down here in SW Florida. Easy to do……….red grouper are as close in as eight miles due west of our Passes over hard bottom and can be fished with live bait worked tight to the bottom outcroppings. Best live bait is small pinfish or if not available, some ladyfish. You can work anchored up or a drift where the tide or wind gives you some nice motion. Gag grouper are out a little deeper and are still available for harvest……they too are well worth the effort. Suggest keeping a close watch on the local fishing reports and when you see cobia and kingfish beginning to show get the big gear out and go for the deep wrecks.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 02, 2015 – October 08, 2015

CONDITIONS:

Hang on this week…..thankfully no Tropical Storms or Hurricanes coming our way but the counterclockwise winds surrounding Hurricane Joaquin headed up the eastern seaboard will kick up some northwest winds here at least through the middle part of the week. Look for northwest / west winds fouling water clarity here through mid week. We’ll have less rainy, storm conditions here as the hurricane sucks the moisture into it’s cone heading northwest. But those west and northwest winds will most likely foul the water especially inshore. If that comes to pass the outgoing tides should be favored over the incoming tainted and stained water. Travail should be waning by midweek as the tides ease. So, bottom line plan on some fishing later in the week. Tides are moderate while all this is going on and the water temperature moves towards a fall temperature in the high seventies.

BACKWATER:

Other than the continued presence and action on mangrove snapper and small snook in the backwaters is the big news is the invasion of the favorite redfish. They have shown most anywhere along the backwater shoreline edges this last week in unparalleled numbers and from yearlings all the way to mega reds. Triggered by the steep quick decline in water temperature they showed hereabouts en masse. They then were feeding veraciously through the end of last week and hopefully will continue into our new week. In these conditions, capturing a nice red for the dinner table is not that difficult. A good size frisky shrimp may well be the key……..work a nice size shrimp in the shallower mangrove edges tight to the shadows and let it slide along the natural shoreline….sooner or later a ravenous red will jump on the offering. There has been some infrequent pompano action in both Hurricane and Capri Passes this week but the bite has been so very brief. Best would be to work the Passes in the first or last hour of both tides deploying a small white tipped jig worked tight to the bottom.

NEARSHORE : 

The predicted westerly winds here early this week will put a damper on action out here…….may be some rough sea conditions. But, if you can……the pelagic action on mackerel and bluefish seems to be kicking back in as the bait schools reassemble nearshore. Even along the first line of reefs in 20-25′ of water there is bird action with terns and gulls which signals there are pods of macks / blues driving the bait to the surface. You’ll want to get a block of chum in the water first and then work the top water with small jigs tipped with shrimp on a fast retrieve. Bottom fishing is picking up also. That chum that falls to the bottom structure on the same spot will attract and draw mangrove snapper, flounder, triggerfish and even some very early season sheepshead. So you may want to have someone working the bottom with a tipped jig as you work the surface for the pelagics.

OFFSHORE:

Ditto here on watching sea conditions especially over the weekend and early week. The grouper bite here stays hot with the red grouper the main attraction. Get out about eight miles in 40-45′ of water due west of Capri Pass and you’ll be over hard bottom and that’s where you get the live pinfish or cut lady fish right to the bottom on a drift for your action. You’ll want to keep the drag on the reel tightened down to prevent your grouper from taking you back into it’s bottom crevice hiding place. Should continue to do well here. But also now, as the water cools faster up around the Florida Panhandle, we should see the first signs of the fall migration of the pelagic fish i.e. cobia, kingfish, permit that will heading south to warmth. Worth a shot to set up on a wreck with some chum in the water and work live bait (blue runners or thread herring) freelined into this week’s fast moving current. You never know…….