Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

June 24th 2016 – June 30, 2016 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Staying hot with afternoon temperatures tickling 100 degrees real feel. Winds are mild all week expect the blasts that come at you in storm periods. Most from an easterly direction which give the water clarity a chance to clean itself up. Have periods of summer storms moving east to west out of the Everglades on four of our seven days with most all the disruption occurring in the afternoons. Mornings really better to fish this time of year……avoid the scorching heat and the electrically charged downpours. The tides are without a full or new moon pull this week with the morning outgoing just a bit stronger than the afternoon incoming. Both tides should work well especially for the backwater fishing. Water temps that got to 90 degrees last week have faded to the mid eighties but will be inching back up. Expect close to 90 again by this week end.

BACKWATER: Typical hot water fishing back here. Fish will be looking for shade once the sun gets up to a 45 degree angle and holding there feeding on the immense bait schools now evident in most of the backwater edges. Mangrove snapper love the heat (Thankfully) and will be active if you take into account three factors: 1) moving water. The tides moving food across the bottom for them 2) shade. prefer the shade provided by overhanging trees and shrubs where it could well be few degrees cooler and 3) lots of white bait action. Look for those rain like dimples in the water surface that telltale the bait action or the terns and skimmers working the water surface. Work the snapper with a half shrimp (more economical) worked under a 3/4 oz weight on a smaller hook. Remember that snapper school by size – catch a nice 12″ keeper go back to the same area and there could be quite a few more waiting for a bait. The other active fish in this heat in the backwater is the legendary snook. They will jump on most any bait or artificial presented on those faster current points on both tides. Now snook are out of season till 9/1, so please work them with circle hooks which will enhance a safe release. Most of the snook you will see are juveniles and full of pep. With the heat, most of the other species (save sheepshead that are always there) will be occasional. You might see a flounder, or a mutton snapper (16″ minimum take size), or a pompano or a Spanish mackerel….they are all around and selectively feeding.

NEARSHORE: Always a note of caution here……you’re offshore and summer storms move quickly. Keep a eye on the sky or on your smartphone weather app. Water temperatures are a bit more friendly here and you should find some upgraded action. If you’re out early (recommended) keep an eye on the sky for bird action….diving terns, gulls and Pelicans mean an assemblage of bait with a good chance of marauding pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, jacks) beneath that can be had working top water tipped jigs on a fast retrieve over a good chum effort. While there suggest you keep a large cut bait soaking on the bottom on wire leader……we have had an infestation of black tip sharks around this year and the chum just might draw them in. They are OK to keep (careful handling) and make great table fare…..one of the only sharks you can say that about. Bottom action on inshore reef spots offer the same snapper action that you see backwater only the fish may be a tad bigger. Worth a shot on tipped weighted jig heads worked under that pelagic intended chum.

OFFSHORE: Don’t want to repeat but keep an eye on the sky. Storms form and move quickly and you’re usually a long way from home. Getting red grouper now regularly in the 8-11 mile range offshore as the water continues to warm. Need hard bottom which should show up on your bottom machine and the work a live pinfish, if available, or a cut lady fish tight to hard bottom outcroppings with the drag set hard…..grouper, once hooked, will make a b-line right back to their lair. Gag grouper which are now harvestable are a bit deeper (think 60+ ‘) and taking the same bait with the same technique. Note: they upped the harvest size on the gags to 24″. Wrecks continue to draw nice size kings and cobia. Kings on live runners on wire at about 10-20′ depth; cobia will show on the surface (curious) and will take a well presented sight cast threadfin and present you with a heck of a tussle.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

June 17th 2016 – June 23, 2016 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: The fishing issues aside…..watch out for the heat this week. Many of the late mornings and afternoons will have “real feel” temperatures above 100 degrees. Make sure you have shaded areas where you are fishing and plenty of water to keep you hydrated. The water temperature broke through 90 degrees yesterday (6/13). There will be some PM storms this week but most of the weather will be red hot with minimal winds to cool things down. The tides will be full moon strong with a much stronger afternoon outgoing tide than the moderate morning incoming. There will be a few afternoons with late PM t-storms but most of all what you will see is heat……be careful.

BACKWATER: Winds,although mild, will be westerly early week and may tend to foul the water clarity especially the morning incoming. Try to stay ahead of the stained water where fishing will be more promising. Always a chance of pompano in the early phases of the new tide; worth giving it at least a 15-20 minute try in Capri, Hurricane and Caxambas Passes working a small tipped jig to the bottom on a current induced drift. Could well see mackerel or bluefish here taking the same rigs; if so switch over to wire leader quickly to prevent loss of relatively expensive jigs. Saw a strange anomaly several times last week. One day we got loads of small snook…….almost on every cast in two or three spots; they make great sport and are all catch and release BUT they are considered the #1 game fish hereabouts. Couldn’t wait to get back to those same spots the next day with a new group of customers…..even told them about the snook bonanza (bad move). We worked the same spots; same bait and didn’t get a strike. So be ready for anything but don’t promise anything. However the staple fish now is the mangrove snapper. In the 11-12″ range they deliver a beautiful delicious filet and they give a surprisingly strong fight. Advice: stick with the snapper fishing….anything upscale of that will be your bonus.

NEARSHORE: Sea conditions should be in your favor in the 1-4 mile offshore range at least until late week. Would recommend however that you start your quest early in the day…….a bit cooler for both you and the fish and generally a diminished threat of thunderbangers et al. This week, as mentioned, the morning incoming tide will be moderate (favorable) for spreading your chum over the structure spot you have selected for pelagics up neat the surface and snappers et al below. Can even troll the surface waters when you see bait eruptions or bird action in a specific area. Using a shiny spoon or an interesting surface artificial work an area at about 4-5 knots with a rigs set out 100-150’….criss cross areas where the gulls and terns are working the surface. Securing the troll and setting up on significant structure with a chum effort will draw you both lane and mangrove snapper on weighted jigs worked just a foot or two off the bottom.

OFFSHORE: Ditto on reasonable conditions out here this week. Good news…..some are getting keeper size red grouper now in the 8-10 mile range on hard bottom working a live pinfish or a cut ladyfish tight to the bottom on either tide on stout tackle. Tip: use at least 30/40# test with the drag ratcheted down to prevent the hooked grouper to make a beeline back to it’s lair     and get lodged there. Gag are open now with an upgraded minimum take size of 24″O but will be a bit deeper than the reds in cooler water; they take the same bait and are a somewhat more athletic tussle to land. If you can get out to the deeper wrecks there is lots of action on kingfish and cobia as well as Goliath Grouper. Kings on live blue runners on wire under chum; cobia on sight casted thread herring on the surface and the GG’s on the aforementioned species on the way to the boat. (Not kidding)

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

June 10th 2016 – June 16th 2016 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Hopefully the stormy and windy weather mess from last week is behind us. Torrential rain and associated winds sure do a number on the conditions and the fishing itself. This week we still have some rainy periods but mostly of short duration and in the afternoon. The winds will follow the early summer pattern of placid mornings and mostly southwesterly and westerly winds picking up in the afternoon. The latter could be problematic stirring up the water quality in the afternoon. Both tides are off the prior weeks torrid tides and will be much more compatible especially with backwater fishing. The water temperature should probably hold in the 82-85 range with just a tad cooler in the mornings.

BACKWATER: Hate to say it but the tumult of weather last week probably didn’t help already troubled overall fishing quality here. It remains to be seen how quickly the clarity and salinity levels are restored and at least we get back to an obviously impaired base condition. The tides are outgoing in the mornings and they will probably hold more clean, clear water than the afternoon incoming. So suggest those who are itching to get a rod in hand jump aboard on the early morning. Always a chance that the bait will move inside in the cleaner water, hopefully followed by the pelagics i.e mackerel, bluefish and pompano. A very positive indicator would be sighting significant bird action in any of the passes (your targeted fish would be beneath driving the bait to the surface for the birds). Your gear for the mackerel would be tipped top water jigs that will stay on or near the surface; the best for the pompano would be small jigs, tipped and worked tight to the bottom. Be aware of the water surface; pompano are known to skip the surface behind boat wakes and mackerel will break the water surface on a strike. Other species now that could entertain you would be speckled trout that hide in the morning cool in the deeper holes off the beaches or along the major waterways. A tipped weighted jig or an artificial tout worked a couple feet off the bottom where there is evidence of sea grass is the ideal venue. Good starting point might be just east of ICW Marker #28 on the incoming tide.

NEARSHORE: Water should have stayed cleaner here but some uncertainty as to the presented sea conditions especially early this week. The 30-35 for depths out around the Capri Pass barges should be holding tons of white bait and in turn drawing scads of mackerel and bluefish action up top and blacktip sharks down below. Of course chum is a must on the effort; needed to draw and hold the feeding fish. Worked tipped top water jigs on wire leader up on the surface and cut bait, again on wire, for the ravenous sharks feeding below. Sharks could always be sizable here so use a fairly heavy duty stick and reel on the deeper bait. Have a couple reports of finding triple tail on some of the inside stone crab pot markers…so set a lookout and come in close to the markers on your way from spot to spot. The TT will be sunning on their side right beside the pot; cut the engine and drift back. A surface darker jig souled definitely get you some action.

OFFSHORE: Cardinal rule here, being a long distance from shore in dicey weather is: Don’t take chances, you can’t outrun these thunderbangers. Fishing overall has been better here than inshore….lots more water to disappate whatever the fishing quality seems to be. Anyhow, good snapper action is holding strong on the closer in reefs 8-12 miles SW of Capri Pass working weighted tipped jigs into the tidal current under a good chum effort. Targets have been both mangrove and lane snapper as well an occasional flounder or triggerfish. For the grouper aficionados, both species are now open; red grouper remains a top target starting in 60+’ of water and working west over hard bottom with either a Iive pinfish    or a cut lady fish. Gag grouper that just reopened on 6/1 have a 24″ minimum now and are fished with the exact same technique as the redfish. Both species are delectable table fare.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

June 3rd 2016 – June 9th 2016 Fishing Report

 

CONDITIONS: Summer conditions lock in this week. Forecast has a windy / stormy period starting Sunday and running through Tuesday morning. Will certainly impact the water clarity which is super important in this period of spring fishing. Suspect water will stay murky until the afternoon outgoing on Wednesday. On top of that we have a doozy of a tide this week surrounding the new moon starting Sunday. The morning incoming will be moderate but the afternoon outgoing will have periods where the tide will fall a foot in an hour (seldom seen around here). The water temp will probably drop a degree or two with the expected incursion of fresh rain water. Look for temps middle to late week to be back in the low eighties.

BACKWATER: Troubled weather will probably stretch from sometime mid-Sunday till Tuesday PM, so need to plan this week’s fishing trips accordingly. Early pre-weekend might have a chance at some straggler tarpon still feeding on the north edges of the Marco River with a first light start on the incoming tide working a cut catfish to the bottom. (No chum unless you want some distracting shark action). Water will be clear early weekend and with a falling barometer you could see some action on pompano and mackerel in the three Passes. If bait schools surge inside now, they will follow. Morning incoming will be best working small tipped jigs to the bottom on a drift for the pompano and working flashy top water tipped jigs for the mackerel (with possibly bluefish mixed in). Try to avoid using chum here unless you want the nuisance of small shark action. The sustained warmer water temps are drawing the bigger mangrove snapper to their feeding areas. Look for improved sizes especially in the hour on either side of the tide turns when the water slows down. Speaking of tides, you’ll want to avoid the screaming outgoing afternoon tides over the weekend and into early week. Last, but certainly not least, the snook action all along the edges of Rookery and Johnson Bay have been producing good to excellent snook action on live bait on either “reasonable” tide.

NEARSHORE: Ditto on watching conditions out here as we experience some stormy weather over the weekend till mid week. With the bait schools reassembled along the structure of the first and second reefs, you should see some decent pelagic action this coming week before and after the storms / wind / rough sea conditions. The Capri Pass barges have been a magnet for pelagic action in the top water and shark action beneath. Chum here is a necessary ingredient to draw both actions. The mackerel / bluefish with jump on a tipped jig run very quickly in the top water and the blacktop sharks will be interested in a cut or live bait soaking near the bottom. If it’s bottom action on snapper, flounder, triggerfish et al that you’re after try the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass or the storied Five Mile Reef working tipped weighted jigs just a foot or two above the reef structure under a good chum effort.

OFFSHORE: Obviously, eye on the weather, as you go deep. Red grouper remain the top target in our offshore waters. You need water depth this time of year as the shallower water superheats past the red grouper comfort range. Suggest a start in at least 60′ over hard bottom and work west to even deeper water. A dozen or so live pinfish that you “gold hooked” at the inside reefs will give you a primo chance for a take home grouper. Gag grouper harvest has opened this past week with an increase in harvest size from 22″ to 24″. You’ll have a good chance at the increased size since the gag fishery has been closed for five months here in the Gulf. Want some really monster fish…..try running a bit deeper to the wrecks and work one of those pinfish vertically right into the structure and stand by for a tough tussle with a mega amberjack.