Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 29 2016 – May 6 2016

CONDITIONS: As April slides into the history books,we continue to endure improving conditions but not much of a change in fishing quality. We continue to see inconsistent results. The conditions this week will be more of the same and we’ll have to see if the fishing quality finally takes off. The water should stay clean and green despite some continuing gusty winds which start the week out do the southeast and end up out of the more disruptive northwest. Look for the early mornings to be “wind placid” until mid morning and then churn up as the gusts kick in. The storm / fronts are not forecast until late week so early week fishing should be the preference these coming days. The tides this week will be unusual…..we are heading to a new moon late week and facing what they call “neap” tides (neap means strong); by week end we will see both tides nearing an unprecedented four foot range which you’ll want to avoid as will the fish. Water temps which now are reaching 78-79 degrees should continue.

BACKWATER:  While the effort for action on many of the resident species are tenuous to say the least, we are now in the height of the legendary tarpon season. And hooking into one of these legends of the sea may not be as difficult as you think. Here are some of the points: Stout tackle; Cut catfish for bait; North edges of Marco River or north edges of Capri Channel early AM or first hours either tide. Key point on fighting tarpon…..when the fish jumps don’t pull back on the rod but rather dip it to avoid the hook being tossed. Otherwise, the most desirable fish, the Florida pompano, continues it’s maddening “hide and seek” game. Some days they are thick and feeding in the Capri, Hurricane and Caxambas Passes especially at the first and last hours of either tide taking tipped white jigs. Great action and results which causes anglers to race back there for next three or four days and get nothing but blue runners and catfish. The other “most desirable” species now in the warmer water is the mangrove snapper which thrives in the warmth. But, they, too are hit and miss right now. Working areas like Hurricane Pass or back along the edges of Addison or Johnson Bay’s with whole shrimp into current flow on either moderate tidal flow should get you the best action available. But again, some days their there and some days their not. Give it 15-20 minutes working any spot and if no action…..pick up and move on to another spot.

NEARSHORE: Most days getting started early before the “heat differential” winds kick in should be a goal to achieve relatively good sea conditions. Plus morning action seems to be stronger than the balance of the day. Mackerel are here but seem focused on bait gathered at the major structure spots i.e. Capri Barges, Isaac Walton Reef and the Five Mile Reef complex. Work them with heavy chum effort followed by pulling tipped top water jigs through the resultant slick quickly. Keep the chum going and they should hold the position and continue to feed……hopefully on your jig. There might also be some bluefish in the mix which will present another good fight. Bottom action nearshore is also good holding those same locales. Snapper, both lane and mangrove, will be drawn to your mackerel chum slick and and feeding on it from beneath. Try free lining a piece of the chum into the slick with no weight  and see if a mega snapper will rise to feed

OFFSHORE:   Same suggestion here about timing…..start early to get the best of the days. Red grouper continue to please by staying on an active bite and continue their move inshore. Look for them over hard bottom starting in the 9-12 mile range working live pinfish / sand perch tight to the bottom structure on a drift. Gags still have to be released. Mid to deep wrecks are continuing to produce reasonable catches of migrating pelagics with cobia and kingfish heading the list. Work the kingfish with live bait set out under chum or on a slow troll on artificials or tethered live blue runner. Cobia will come to you….Chum as attractant will draw them on the surface where they will fall for a sight castes live thread herring.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 15, 2016 – April 21, 2016

CONDITIONS:  Things are beginning to change. The winds, are beginning to lie down a bit; the hellacious weather fronts are weakening and the water clarity is improving. Will take a little while yet to make a overall effect but nature is chipping away at winter’s effects here. Expect the fishing to gradually improve. This week we’ll get a little frontal backlash of wind from the east (thankfully) over the weekend which will then ease nicely over the ensuing early week. Water should stay green and clean. The tides are moving to another full moon late period and will be picking up speed during the week. The PM outgoing will be stronger than the morning incoming. The water temperature continue to escalate and this week 75-78 degrees should be the norm.

BACKWATER: Here, the improvement in fishing quality is tortuously gradual. Still have lots of lingering effects of the influx of toxic water from Lake Okeechobee; the strong weather fronts (and wind) descending from the north and overall chilly temperatures. But… patient, things are improving slowly. If the water is clean in the morning and you have a decent tide (either way) you should draw action on mackerel, bluefish or even pompano is any of our three Passes….Capri, Hurricane and Caxambas. Work these species with a small tipped jig that can get to the bottom on a tidal drift. Keep a eye out for bird action which can be a telltale sign as to bait movement. If you work the backwaters of Addison Bay or even north to Rookery Bay you’ll want to work the shallow edges for redfish action by working a nice big shrimp under a popper along the shallow edges. Best action here will be on a rising tide which occurs early morning this week. If you work a fast moving current point you might even run into a great fight with a juvenile snook…..they turn on as the water temp exceeds 70 degrees. Great fight but take care on release. They are a Florida treasure. Anywhere along the mangrove edges you can run into some nice mangrove snapper now. Use whole shrimp and keep some movement in your bait…..just a quick snap will draw a bite. Stay away from open water……therein lies the dreaded catfish. Make sure you have a instrument (sold at the Rose Marina) to release them untouched. Do NOT handle them. Venom can put you in a “hurt locker”

NEARSHORE: Sea conditions here, other than over this weekend, should be comfortable. The bait schools are back and that means the mackerel, bluefish et al should be back. Look for bird action which indicates bait schooling and pelagic fish action. Anchor up ……so that you’re bait is heading to the action spot and put chum block in the water. If there mackerel and bluefish et al will attack. Also keep a small (legal) mackerel on wire leader in the water for potential action on big stuff…..shark, cobia, kingfish on stout equipment. Bottom fishing should be passable on most of the reefs on snapper, retreating sheepshead, triggerfish and trout using a weighted tipped jig, again, under chum.

OFFSHORE:  There will be periods this week that deep water fishing is good and the conditions are comfortable. Just watch the forecasts for infrequent heavy wind periods and troubled sea conditions. Warming water conditions have the red grouper starting to move closer inshore. Might want to start your grouper quest now in the 9-10 mile offshore range and drift west over hard bottom working a live pinfish tight to the bottom outcroppings. Your keep to catch ratio should improve as you move west. Can keep two of these red grouper at 20″ overall daily. Deeper wrecks and reefs are now holding good action as the north pelagic migration continues. Expect to see kingfish, cobia and sharks on any of the deeper wrecks and permit on the Towers SW of the island.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 8, 2016 – April 14, 2016


It’s another week of wind. With a lot of variable direction and velocity to keep the water stirred up and you on the search for clean water. Admittedly, the fishing has been tough, especially in the muddy stained flows with some relief when you can find patches of moderately clean water. No serious fronts until the end of the week… storms won’t be a threat until then. But you will be up against a very strong leap tide especially the afternoon outgoings. Over the weekend you will have four foot afternoon outgoing tides to contend with; morning incoming won’t be as bad in the one to two foot range. As has been the case for the past two weeks, it’s the gusty nature of the winds that create a lot of the problem; expect the same this week. Water temperatures will continue to be spring favorable in the 75 -77 degree range……now all we need is for the wind to lay down and help us get the water back to emerald green.


Been a tough go especially back here for all of us these last couple weeks. Primary culprit is dirty (muddy) water stirred  up by the constant hellacious wind velocity. Expect that to continue this week with just a tad of relief over the weekend. You can separate your fishing expectations into two categories…..muddy water and semi-clean water. If you work in the muddy stuff expect catfish and lots of them;in the semi clean….you got a chance and we’ll concentrate our forecasting there this week. Better water patches will produce some nice mangrove snapper action now with the water temperatures moving into their favorite range. Work spots with good water flow tight to most any structure (a downed tree…..a limb in the water…..a underwater obstruction) working a bottom lindy rig or a tipped jig into the current flow. Use a larger bait for the bigger snapper. Good chance there will be sheepshead to barely keeper size on the same spots; again on lindy rigs with just a tad of bait.

If in the unlikely event this week that the water in the Passes (Capri, Hurricane and Caxambas) cleans up get those jigs out and work the top waters for mackerel and possibly some bluefish…keeping you rigs off the bottom and away from the dreaded catfish.


If the wind switches east and the waters lie down a bit, you’ll get a chance at some mackerel / bluefish action here close into the shore in the lee of the island. Telltale signs are either birds diving on the water or bait eruptions frothing the surface. Anchor up current and get some block chum in the water letting it soak for 10-15 minutes before you  start your casts with tipped small top water jigs. Best action will be in the top 10′ feet with dreaded blue runners lurking below. AND always a chance that a lurking major pelagic (cobia, kingfish) may be lurking below and attracted to your chum effort….so keep a live bait (even a legal small mackerel) suspended under a float on a major rig in the chum. Bottom action here should get you some nice mangrove snapper.


There will be periods this week that deep water fishing is good and the conditions are comfortable. Just watch the forecasts for infrequent light wind periods and good sea conditions. Two good probables: red grouper and pelagics. Red grouper has been the staple catch here for the last couple years….usually in as close as 7-9 miles they now are more frequent in the 12-14 miles range. Get hard bottom indications on the fishfinder and set up a drift working a live pinfish with drag set tight right into the bottom structure. Keeper size is 20″ O and your limit per day is two fish. The pelagics (cobia, kingfish) are in their migration north and can show up on most any deep wreck or reef. The kings go for live bait soaking under chum; the cobia will show on the surface and go for a sight cast pinfish or thread herring.