Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

July 22 to July 29 2016 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Get friendly with mid-day heat indexes well over 100 degrees…..looks like their going to be commonplace right through these summer months. Heat is tough on the anglers and equally unpleasant to the fish. Repeating again….as in past week reports,  that the best approach to try and deal with the scorching heat is to move your trip earlier in the day and take an early exit just after noon. In four or five hours you’ll have different tide directions and strengths that will give you plenty of fishing opportunity. Other than the heat, the weather this week is unremarkable…….lots of the usual afternoon thunder-bangers but with a little less of the gusty winds we saw last week. We start the period coming off a full moon and racing tides that will ease in both directions during the week. The water temperatures have periodically pierced the 90 degree threshold but then fall back to the high 80’s in the evening.

BACKWATER:  Best we can say is “day to day” that relate to unfathomable reasons that we will never understand. But…when you hit a good day or a good tide it’s fantastic and well worth the effort…. even enduring the bad days. With the heated conditions, the mainstay in the backwaters, by far, is the desirable mangrove snapper; most of them “miraculously” show at exactly a half inch under harvest size but there are most always a few “lunker size” that slip through and make it to your cooler. You’ll find most anywhere where you see the black skimmers and terns working the immense schools of white bait just about everywhere. They will jump on the smallest pieces of fresh bait……striking veraciously and give a significant fight. The other hot water fish is the legendary snook who also love the summer heat. Most snook are juveniles but every so often you’ll hit a spot holding lunkers feeding on a fast moving current holding lots of bait. Snook are always fun on the take with their slashing surface fight. Best spots to look for them now would be the back current points in Johnson, Rookery and Addison Bay…….on shallow current points on the incoming and the deeper exit creeks and channels on the outgoing. Preferred bait is pilchards or small thread herring.

NEARSHORE: If there were any rough water situations last week they will vanish this and provide a nice placid clean water environment. Look for mackerel to continue their prowling the inshore waters for schools of pilchards and threadfin. Look for bird action first…..swooping terns, diving pelicans and frantic gulls all signal pelagic action beneath. Keep the fishfinder engaged and fine tuned as you move over structure and lay target to the schools of white bait holding beneath. Set up …..up-current from the structure and get that chum going early. Tossing a couple bags of frozen shrimp bits into the action pool will also help. Work top water jigs tipped with shrimp on a fast retrieve right over the decending chum bits for the best action. Also good chance  for all the attraction activity to draw snapper beneath the that can be had working heavier tipped jigs right into the slick. You can expect lane and mangrove snapper here as well as occasional action from the larger yellowtail snapper.

OFFSHORE: Expect some continued hot action out here particularly on grouper……both reds and gags. The red grouper are particularly active and continue to move inshore…..now a good start point would be in 40-45′ of water and work west drifting a live pinfish or cut ladyfish tight to the bottom. The gags will be deeper and bigger….work those guys starting in 60′ of water and again work west with the same baits. Gags are harvestable but minimum take size now is 24″. Also some nice action reported on cobia on an early summer surge as they head north. Look for them on most any wreck or reef and showing on the surface right up top (their curiosity gets the best of them) and will take a live thread herring tossed right to their nose. Hang on…….great fight.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

July 15 to July 21 2016 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: No change in the heat index, especially the afternoons, this coming week. Air temperatures will soar into the upper nineties; then couple that with humidity and your “real feel temperatures” will range from 103 to 107. Repeating last week’s word to the wise…….start early and end early.  In addition there will a surprise this coming week…….WIND! Forecasts show wind kicking up Sunday and then into the week. Unusual pattern however…… the base winds will be moderate but the gusts will borderline on the 20mph range. That could stir the great water clarity up in a hurry and create another fishing impact. Adding to that we have another one of those weeks with screaming fast tides heading for a full moon at week end. The morning incoming will more likely carry more of the muddy water into the backwaters and the afternoon outgoing will probably be a bit clearer. Which could mean a switch in fishing timing….from the cool of the morning to the cool down as evening sunset approaches. Last word…….stay flexible.

BACKWATER:  Overall, you’ll be pleased to hear that the overall fishing quality has been improving. Know there has been inquiry and concern that the media has been covering bad news of the discharges from Lake  Okeechobee and what’s it’s been doing to local fishing…..in fact two counties have been named as effected…….Collier County and Marco Island have not been included……neither has Naples or Everglades City areas. So…not to worry if you’re planning to do some fishing hereabouts. Been getting nice action on mangrove snapper almost everywhere working just some small pieces of shrimp worked into current points along any of the mangrove edges. You need current, either way, of moderate speed to land the “take homes”…if you try in the faster currents you’ll confront lots and lots of shorts…..frustrating and quick to empty your bait bucket. In amongst the snapper at the top of the fishing pyramid, you have a chance at some good action on snook……almost all are juvenile in size (20 – 25″) that are a great, thrilling fight but must be carefully released. All snook harvest is on hold until the beginning of Septermber. You’ll also confront lots of undersized sheepshead that will give you a tussle and maybe even a pelagic mackerel or Jack Crevelle. A top target, the Florida Pompano, is a little tougher to time and figure out. Your best chance will be working Hurricane Pass at specific times which are the first and last hour of either tide with small jigs worked to the bottom……after that the pomps scatter to and fro. Not worth the chase.

NEARSHORE: Good action in clean water with docile sea conditions has been the case out here for the last few week……that may change this coming week if the wind forecasts materialize. Keep an eye of the local news forecasts. Has been good action for mackerel early in the day during periods of faster tides (coming this week) working top water jigs over reef structure after you flood the area with chum. Look to areas like the Walton Reef off Caxambas, the legendary Five Mile Reefs and the barges off Capri Pass as best venues. Those areas are also excellent for bottom fishing. The chum not nailed by the mackerel will drop to the bottom and draw sizeable mangrove and lane snapper that will bend your rod for sure. Try putting a small bit of the chum on a freelined rig and feed it into the slick; the mega snapper will rise in the slick and take it with a bang.

OFFSHORE: Still good things going on out here. Grouper remains the top target and the red grouper have continued to move closer and closer to the inshore warm water. Start looking for them in the 7-9 mile range over hard bottom and working with a live pinfish or a slab of cut ladyfish tight to the bottom on a tide induced drift. Gag grouper, their sidekick, will be deeper since that like the chilled down water……so will need to go deeper. Recommend a start at +10 miles and work west. The gags can be harvested now but the authorities just raised the allowable harvests size now at 24″. The deeper wrecks are still seeing good action on kingfish working live bait on a tethered wire leader under chum…..and always a curious cobia will come wondering by and snap up a live threadfin that you cast right in front of it’s nose.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

July 8th to July 14th 2016 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Summer is well in place quite early this year. Hallmark is the heat……both air and water. The water temp hit 90 degrees earlier this week and the air temp “real feel” ranges from 105 to 109 come mid days. Recommend you advance the timing of your fishing trip to EARLY MORNING and quit early afternoon. That appears to be what the fish are doing anyway. The water clarity takes a hit when we get into the T-storm downpours but, in general, it is staying quite clear with the incoming tide a tad cleaner than the outgoing which picks up a lot of storm debris. The winds that we saw last month are long gone replaced with light hot breezes. We are off the new moon cycle and the tidal currents will be modest this week. The late morning incoming tide will be the stronger of the two all week. Just a word of caution…..make sure you and your crew are drinking water; staying hydrated in this heat is super important and that goes double important for the kids.

BACKWATER: As mentioned…..fishing action will be better in the relatively cool mornings and before the sun gets enough altitude to strike direct rays penetrating the water depth. There are tons of bait visible now in the water especially along the waterway edges that are targets for both the fish and the seabirds. This creates a panacea for aggressive species like Jack crevelle, blue runners etc that are fun to catch but not targeted as table fare. They can be caught on most any bait presented in their midst. Your best target now is mangrove snapper that can be found on most any mangrove edge where there is structure (tree limbs, downed branches etc) working a small whole shrimp tight to the bottom. Find that getting a good cast and then minutely “twitching” the bait on the bottom will draw strikes from the bigger fish. You can also chum the water a bit to get them started. A couple bags of frozen shrimp (available at the Marina) cut into tiny bits and fed into the current may help the action. The other warm (hot) water species that is active is the snook. While the harvest is closed until September, you can still have some great action and photo shoot if you hook up with any size snook. Please use circle hooks if you are targeting snook and be super careful on release. But there are other species that seem to take action as the various tides slow down.  You might see speckled trout, flounder, pompano or mackerel just about anywhere where there is evidence of bait in the water and you’re in the right spot.

NEARSHORE: Water will be cleaner here and with tons of bait swarming about and the mild winds will have kept the sea conditions quite comfortable. Have reports that red grouper have moved into the 7-9 mile offshore territory but most of those are “shorts”. Need a little more distance offshore for the take-homes. However, there are mackerel schools marauding in the 30-35′ depths hovering around structure that are there for the taking. Can work these schools by first setting chum as a attractant followed by giving it about 15- 20 minutes for the that to work and then going at the mackerel with tipped top water jigs worked quickly through the mix. Can also be bluefish, jacks and the outlandish blue runners in the mix……but focus on the mackerel. Great table fare if the mid-filet blood line is removed. But before you leave with a bucket of mackerel, drop deep under the same slick for some nice mangrove snapper snacking on the decending chum bits.

OFFSHORE: Good conditions should prevail out here as well but keep your eye on the sky. Storms form fast and you’re a journey from home. Here the red grouper should be a much better catch to keep ratio. Work those live pinfish or sand perch tight to the hard bottom on a tide induced drift with the drag tight to avoid the hooked red or gag grouper running back into it’s liar. Other action continues on pelagics that are holding on bait laden wrecks and reef structure. Look for kingfish showing on the the bigger wrecks and taking live bait strung out on wire under chum. Cobia are around too, but will visit your site on the surface and jump on a well presented threadfin tossed right to their noses. Great fight will ensue followed by a delectable repast for you and the family.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

July 1st to July 7th Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Not much is going to change this week involving the weather. Look for super hot days…..with the heat accelerating with a very light southerly (hot) wind and brief showers associated with random storm formations through the late afternoons. Forecasts from Accuweather show the Real Feel temperatures here mid afternoons in the 103 to 106 range. If you’re out there with rod in hand make sure you’re staying hydrated and take a break every once in a while to duck into the shade and take it easy. As indicated, this coming week will have very light winds (good for sea conditions) but perilous for fishing conditions come late morning and thereafter. So start you’re venture as bit earlier and head for your favorite shoreside lunch spot come noon. Tide activity won’t help this week either…….we will have new moon tides racing through here early week with PM outgoing tides……some of which finish off at over 4.3 feet. You’ll want to avoid those. And finally the water temp is hovering around 86/87. Remember those two items….Hydrate and take a shade break every once in awhile.

BACKWATER:   Back here this week……hot water fish will win. Think mangrove snapper primarily and then add in a possibility for pompano, flounder and maybe even some feisty Spanish Mackerel……and last but not least some very active snook. All in all, you can make a day of it back here this week. Mangrove snapper, by far, will be the most numerous, active and feeding species in this early summer heat. Most will be a bit undersized, as far as take home goes, but will provide an active strike and nice tussle to boat side. The ratio of catch to keep will improve as the tides slow to slack in both directions and you’ll want to totally avoid those early week PM outgoing tides that will slam out of here at over a 4′ range in six hours. Incoming tides will be best with moderate tide strength on this great table fare. Snook are also very active in the summer heat. They are post spawn and still feeding. Look for them on shallow current points in the major Bays like Johnson, Rookery and Addison Bays on both tides feeding on pilchards (best) or whole shrimp (next best) worked into moving water. All snook are out of harvest until 9/1, but are still a great fight. Recommend full use of circle hooks to enhance safe relief. The waters are gin clear and there is always a chance at some pompano working the Passes at the end or beginning of each tide. A great catch and even better on the table; work them with shrimp worked into the mid depth moving water. Flounder may show at any time on the snapper spots and Mackerel may be your visitor when you’re working for those pompano.

NEARSHORE: The water out here will be cleaner and a tad cooler. Look for pelagics (bluefish, mackerel, jacks and blue runners) showing here in relatively strong numbers. Bird and surface bait eruptions are another telltale signs that pelagic action is in the vicinity.  Best technique will be to set some chum as early in your trip as possible and then give it a chance to permeate the current fed waters and then work the surface waters with fast moving tipped jigs. Beneath that pelagic action there could well be nice size mangrove and lane snapper holding on the reefs and feeding on the decending bits of chum. Working a weighted jig to the bottom with bits of chum or shrimp could get you into some nice bottom take-home action. Lastly, nearshore, keep a large cut bait out there under the chum for potential action on blacktop sharks that continue to be prevalent in the nearshore waters. Keep that bait on a wire leader and on major tackle…..could be a major event.

OFFSHORE: Nice fat grouper remain the name of the game out here as summer rolls on. Now in the 7-10 mile range offshore you have a shot at some nice keeper red grouper that are moving towards inshore as the weather continues to warm. You’ll need to be on hard bottom working either live pinfish or cut ladyfish tight to the bottom outcroppings on a tide driven drift. Your catch to keep ratio will improve as you drift deeper. And so will the presence of gag grouper begin to show as you get deeper using the same baits and technique. Grouper are one of the most sought after species out here and you should be rewarded after a show of patience and persistence.

Have a great week and enjoy our American Independence Birthday. God Bless this Great Country !!……Marco Charter Captains Association.