Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

March 25, 2016 – March 31, 2016

CONDITIONS:

Think spring ….finally. Still could be a couple of weaker cold fronts zeroing in as we move into April but that now becomes a long shot. Weather for this early week sports a warm, non windy period with winds east and southeast and no precipitation …..that is until Tuesday when we get a weak system with some rain and winds shifting northwest and going 15-20 mph and could foul the water but it dissipates quickly. But check the water quality before you commit to a Wednesday outing. The tides are coming off a full moon and easing as the week progresses. The morning incoming tide will be a bit weaker than the afternoon outgoing. Afternoon air temperatures will border 90 degrees and than will induce an escalation of the water temps. Expect something close to 78 to 80 degrees by late week.

BACKWATER:

The spring / summer species are definitely here. Not that some of the winter species are still hanging around i.e. sheepshead breeders, spec trout. The snook are showing in good numbers and the juveniles are out-feeding the slots. Fast current points on the stronger afternoon ebb tide along exit points in Rookery Bay and Johnson Bay would be a great spot to set up with a freelined pilchard or thread herring for some snook action. The heat usually slows redfish but the because of the late change of water temps this year, you still have a chance of some nice “red” action. Try Henderson Creek east of Rookery Bay or the mangrove shallow points up in Upper Addison Bay at the early afternoon top of the incoming with a shrimp under a popper tight to the mangrove overhangs. As mentioned, there are still some big sheepshead around trying to do their thing after a late start. Most deep holes with some structure are ideal holding points and work them with just a bit of shrimp on a soft lift. Pompano are back and worth the effort of the first part of either tide in Capri, Caxambas and Hurricane Passes with a small jig tipped with shrimp worked close to the bottom. Last but not least, the mangrove snapper are coming on strong and to 12-14″ in those good current spots on shrimp.

NEARSHORE:

Should be a placid week, sea conditions wise, this week except for the weather hiccup on Tuesday / Wednesday. The white bait arrival on the first and second reefs continues to draw the pelagics and some hot action on mackerel, small kings and bluefish. You may have to move to the 30-35′ depths and work some of the highlight spots (Five Mile Reef / Walton Reef / John Dee for the best action. Work top water tipped jigs over a strong chum effort for best results. You might want to keep a live bait freelined in the slick just in case a migrating small king or a cobia show inshore. Bottom action good to very good here on lane and mangrove snapper working tipped weighted jigs in a good chum slick.

OFFSHORE:

Expect stable weather and sea conditions all week except for a brief weather interlude Tuesday and Wednesday. Pelagics are en masse migration north and showing in good numbers on deeper wrecks and reefs. Look for king mackerel as dominant in the parade and falling for a live blue runner strung out on wire under a float surrounded in chum or on a slow troll with a blue runner set at 10-15′ in tow at 4-5 knots. Cobia could well be the other more frequent visitor but they will visit your activity site on the surface looking for a sight cast threadfin herring put right in their face. Once hooked these cobia are a handful both on the fight and the on board submission. Make sure you have the right stout tackle and the right person on the rod. Cobia are one of the best species for excellence on the table.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

March 18, 2016 – March 24, 2016

CONDITIONS:

This is really a crazy year for weather. A few weeks ago we were struggling with wild winds and rain surges and, now, we are literally into spring. The air temperatures are into the mid eighties and the water temps are surging into the mid seventies. Crazy! Such an unusual pattern, I’m absolutely sure the fish are confused. Well, anyway, we are through the transition and moving into spring/summer. Those crazy mid-day winds should abate a bit this week and settle down…..all but for a front predicted for early week that will bring a day of rain, winds and rough water. Look for that this coming Monday or Tuesday. Thankfully the winds associated with the front are north and northeast which will keep the water clarity reasonable. Tides this week are headed to a full moon late and you what that does to the tides……suggest working the morning incoming which will be more docile than the afternoon ebb. Water temp, believe it or not, is working it’s way up to the 76-78 degree range,

BACKWATER: 

Best example of what’s happening with the weather is the cold water spawn with the sheepshead this year. Usually the species wait until the water temp drops into the low sixties and then make the run inshore to release and enrich spawn …..well it never got to the low sixties but they waited offshore and waited……now they are here too late and doing their thing anyhow. Seeing BIG sheepshead all along the deep structure full of roe and taking bits of shrimp or cut crab. Bite won’t last long, as the lucky ones will be heading west and cooler waters again. Spring resurgence of pompano and mackerel are showing in the Capri, Caxambas and Hurricane Passes with best on incoming water working tipped jigs or lindy rigs into the moving current. Spec trout action is waning but still some good activity up along Hurricane Pass grass bottom patches working shrimp under a popper on a slow drift. Mangrove snapper go hot in warmer water……all along the mangrove edges on shrimp worked right into the structure

NEARSHORE:

Water temps out here this morning an amazing 77 degrees…what happened to the frigid mornings and assailing winds ? Amazingly, big sheepshead and snapper are super active on first and second reef structure …side by side.Taking whatever size shrimp you toss into the drink and fighting like crazy. Still nice size sheepshead around, mostly the breeders, that many times will exceed 13-14″ and mostly small mangroves yet but enough 12-14″ to make you smile. On top the mackerel have shown up (finally) and put on quite a show for everyone. Enough size there too to take a couple home. Plus always a chance here that some of the forward vanguard of the pelagics could show on the major spots. A chance for small kings and cobia along those same reefs….keep a live bait in the water and refresh the chum every so often. You never know.

OFFSHORE:

Stable weather conditions here except for that weak front (rain) forecast for early week. Keep an eye on sea conditions. Migration action has started. Kingfish are showing on even the intermediate reefs and wrecks and going after live blue runners and thread herring set out under chum; also might latch onto a cobia on the same reefs but showing almost on the surface and going after a nice thread herring that you cast in front of their nose. Reef structure can also provide good action on mangrove and lane snapper as well as retreating sheepshead working simple lindy rigs tight to the structure. Red grouper action, our old winter standby, is also reheating up. Get out to the hard bottom in the 9-11 mile range and have at is on a  drift with a live pinfish worked tight to the outcroppings. Reds need to be 20″ and you can take two of these delectable table fare daily.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

March 11, 2016 – March 17, 2016

CONDITIONS:

The real March has finally arrived. Warming temperatures immersed in harrowing winds. This week we’ll have those winds early and late with nice mild weather in between. You’ll have to pick your day for backwater vs. offshore. Most all of the wind is south and east, so that is a positive for keeping the water reasonably clean. The air temperature continues to climb especially in the afternoon and is taking the water temperature with it….look for 69-71 degree temperatures this week. The tide also, will have to be managed this week. Coming off a new moon early week and then changing 3.0 foot tides ranges to less than six inches by late week. You don’t want either extreme. Check App “Buoyweather” for real time tide estimates.

BACKWATER:

Been a strange year. The warm water through our early months kept the bigger breeding sheepshead offshore and deeper in cooler water. The conditions really never changed but finally “nature called” and the sheepshead had to do their thing…..this week we have numerous reports of big (13-15″) roe laden sheepshead being caught in all those spots along the docks and bottom structure inshore. Work them with small pieces of shrimp or cut crabs tight to the bottom using a soft lift technique. Speckled trout remain active and are a great action catch and excellent table fare. Best spots are shallow (4-6′) that have underlying sea grass and good water flow……west Johnson Bay up along Calhoun Pass is one of the best venues as is the areas between the docks up along Keeywadin Channel. Work a shrimp to the bottom or hang one under a popping cork and work on drift over those areas. Mangrove snapper are beginning to show on bottom structure. Lots of small guys now taking shrimp but the activity level bodes well for some great spring/summer expectations. Juvenile snook are waking up from winter hibernation and jumping on shrimp or white bait presented on spots with structure and good water movement. Fun to catch but need to be released right now.

NEARSHORE:

With conditions back and forth out here this week you’ll want the most recent forecast before you rev up the engines. Spanish mackerel are definitely back and feeding all along the First and Second reef spots working the white bait schools that have recently arrived. Get into the torrid action working a tipped top water jig over a serious chum effort on a reef that you’ve marked the schools of white bait. Be careful; the mackerel can be mixed in with small kingfish and they have divergent harvest sizes….mackerel 12″ …kings 24″. Bottom action on the reefs presents good chance for late season sheepshead and some early season snapper along with triggerfish and seatrout. All on shrimp worked tight to the bottom structure.

OFFSHORE:

Mostly snapper action out here now. Some signs that red grouper will kick back in as the water quality and temperature range return to normal. And…..the pelagic march from the Keys north to the Panhandle has begun. The snapper are hot on mid-range structure spots that show holding bait and best worked with weighted tipped jigs worked under chum. Expect good size lane and mangrove snapper to 15-16″. Expect the excellent red grouper action to kick back in as the water quality and Gulf warmth to return. Worth a try now, anyway, working a live pinfish tight to the bottom on a tide induced drift…..you never know.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

March 4, 2016 – March 11, 2016

CONDITIONS:

Nothing weather wise seems to be consistent this time of year around here. We keep flipping back and forth from generally mild conditions to tumultuous frontal conditions and dealing with the after maths. We’ll see a little more of that this week as we have a predicted cold front to make it’s way through mid week. Look for some resurgent wind come mid-week, thankfully out of the east, stirring up the water but leaving the overall water quality generally clear. Although, think we are feeling some residual effect of the “leakage” of that tainted water from Lake Okachobee, especially in our backwater fishing. The tides for the week are strengthening to a new moon late week with faster tides both ways. With all of that, the water temperature is creeping back up to the 70 degree spring threshold and, hopefully, stability in fishing weather conditions.

BACKWATER:

Expect that this week things will be stabilizing here. Finally seeing some bigger breeding sheepshead showing in expected spots which speaks to them being tired of waiting to do their “thing” in the non-existent cold water this winter. Some great action on bigger fish worked with shrimp or cut crabs even in shallow water structure. Speckled trout are staying active on seagrass bottoms all along the Hurricane Pass docks and actively feeding on simple shrimp rigs worked tight to the bottom. Great top water action on the trout. Still waiting for the late winter/ early spring pompano surge but beginning to see undersized pomps in Capri and Caxambas Passes which is a positive sign for what lies ahead. Chillier water keeps action on silver trout and whiting strong both off the beaches and in those deeper holes all along the ICW. Work with shrimp rigs or tipped smaller jigs. Both species are great table fare and have no size limit or bag limit.

NEARSHORE:

Nice conditions out here at least till mid week. Both spawning and retreating sheepshead are available out here working vertically dropped shrimp rigs into structure with a shrimp or crab bit aboard and worked with a soft lift technique. Usually, both lane and mangrove snapper will go for the same offering……but might want to get a chum slick going to really activate these chunky snapper. With the stone crab trap markers in place, good chance for an ugly but delectable triple tail. Look for them side floating on the surface tight to the trap markers and taken on a tipped shrimp rig or a dark colored tipped jig. Last point here……Spanish mackerel should show here any day now. Key will be either surface bait eruptions or serious bird action. Keep a lookout !

OFFSHORE:

Red grouper action remains slowed. Causal factors probably a combination of fouled water intrusions and unstable temperatures. Reports show a few still being caught in 60′ hard bottom with small pinfish as bait. Seems better action on small reefs and structure closer inshore for more available lane and mangrove snapper using chum to draw and weighted jigs to catch. Many reports show fish to 15” being caught. Deep water action is great right now on amberjacks to 30# plus on deep wrecks using live blue runners as live bait dropped vertically into wreck structure.