Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 26 to September 1st 2016 Fishing Report

We want to thank  THE MARCO ISLAND CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS for their continued fishing reports for the Marco Island area!

CONDITIONS:  Like to be able to tell you that the heat is dissipating but that would be a fabrication. Unfortunately, heat will be with us through this last week in August and probably for three or four weeks beyond. Sorry. This coming week we’ll add a little gusty wind to the mixture over the weekend. Probably see some blustery winds with a velocity in the low 20’s throughout coming out of the Southwest. Will mess up the good morning tides and, a good chance, of clouding up the waters. That aberration should clear early week and we’ll be back to faster moving morning tides and back to more settled hot conditions. Those morning tides (outgoing) will be swift right through the week…..which in turn drives you to the late afternoon (somewhat cooler conditions) and a nice southwest breeze. Water stays unseasonably hot with water temps that bounce back and forth from 86 to near 90 these days.

BACKWATER: Capri Pass and Caxambas Pass have been delivering some scarce pompano action working the deeper cuts in the channels on the first hour of either tide working tipped jigs tight to the bottom. For the delight of your kids and grandkids, there will be lots of bonnet head and black tip shark on the same drifts that will brings lots of screams and smiles. Also seeing a few Spanish Mackerel in the mix especially close in to the beaches. Try the macks on a 4-5 mph troll with flashy retrieved in a hurry under a smattering of chum. Snook remain a definite target as they luxuriate in the steaming warmth. Best pickings can be had back in Henderson Creek area of Rookery Bay and the winding creek current points in Johnson Bay. Pilchards or thread herring for the snook with a minimum of weight. Redfish are scattered but may surprise anglers working the fast current in shallow waters. Lastly, your mainstay this time of year in the mangrove snapper. Just about anywhere along mangrove edges …….will be mostly undersize until just before and after slack water on tide changes. Very small pieces of shrimp on the snapper.

NEARSHORE: If you like working the Marco beaches, this is great chance for top-of the-line snook action. With the incoming tide a mid to late afternoon event this week, would suggest an rare late evening try right along the beach edges with live bait (preferred) or shrimp if that’s all that is available. Work the bait just beyond the surf line using stout enough tackle to handle a bigger fish. Elsewhere nearshore, there is top grade shark action on the first / second reefs working a large cut bait to the bottom under a good chum effort. Give the chum a chance to work before you set the bait. Good chance for a take-home black tip for the table. Snapper action stays hot on the Walton Reef as well as the corner reefs on the Five Mile working weighted jigs under chum.

OFFSHORE: Warm / hot water keeps the lane and mangrove snapper in top feeding form out here. Try to zero in on defined structure working weighted jigs into a chum effort that draws the bigger fish. Open water drifts will get you action albeit on minimum size (8″) bait stealers. Grouper action stays hot especially on red grouper. Can start relatively close in at 7-8 mile hard bottom (you can tell you’re on hard bottom when the fishfinder shows a rough and bumpy bottom) working a live pinfish tight to the outcroppings with stout tackle with the drag set tight. Work west on your drift to improve the catch to keep ratio. Gag grouper are also available for harvest now but you’ll need about 60′ of water and again working west. Deep wrecks are laden with bait and thus holding lots of pelagics that provide an other level of action. Kingfish to 20-30# on live blue runners on wire under chum and cobia on live threadfin sight cast as the cobia show on the surface.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 19 to August 25th 2016 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Another week of heat but this time it will partially dissipate come mid week as we get a quasi “cool” front through here. The daytime temperatures will drop a good ten degrees and the winds will soar….looking at base winds around ten mph but gusts twenty to thirty and now the really bad part they will be WSW and that has a tendency to foul the water clarity big time. Should ease off by the following weekend but will take a couple more tide turns to get it back to clean. That should also drop the water temperature down into the lower 80’s  and activate some of species that have been hiding offshore out of the scorching afternoon heat. The tides will be coming off a full moon forming this Friday and then easing quickly. The morning incoming will be a bit stronger than the afternoon outgoing. Bottom line; don’t think the summer is over here and the serious threat of tropical storms. So keep your eye on the forecasts and be ready just in case.

BACKWATER: Snook love the heat and are staying super active all along the inshore mangrove edges and outside along the shallowest beach edges. And the bait schools are as thick as most of us have ever seen here. So get that cast net in gear and scoop up a couple dozen both for snook bait as well as chum when used in a pre-casting shower. Some good snook spots…the docks along Keeywadin……Henderson Creek in. Rookery Bay……the entry creeks by Johnson Bay. Either tide; look for a shallow spot just off fast moving current. Chance now with the water temperature dipping that we may see some redfish swing back into action. They’ll show first in small schools working the Bay’s (Johnson , Rookery, Addison) and be most active in the last couple hours of the incoming tight to the shaded mangrove overhangs in shallow water. Best here are larger shrimp freelined tight to the target areas. With redfish, you don’t get a strike “per se, your line just takes off with a vengeance. Keep ’em away from structure an and don’t allow them any slack. Seeing some big pompano now in both Capri and Hurricane Passes just in the last and first hours of either tide.  Be patient and keep a little motion in your bait (tipped small jig) and they strike with a vengeance… be ready.

NEARSHORE: Hopefully, things will pick up here also with the hiccup in the weather expected. Look for the pelagics first thing. In the first 20-30′ of water off the beaches you should see terns and gulls working the surface bait eruptions which are bait schools being surfaced by pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, jacks etc). You can work them by staying mobile and working the perimeter of those eruptions with top water tipped jigs either cast into the edge of the fray or trolled at 4-5 knots, again, out on the perimeter so you don’t spook the school and have it scatter. Snook, as well as being accessible along the passes are thick in the shallow water just off the beaches worked with pilchards or sardines. All are released now as the snook fishery is closed until 9/1

OFFSHORE: It’s still grouper heaven out here on both red grouper and their cousins the gags. It’s been a solid action here for a well over a year. Best keep to catch ration now on the Reds begins in about 7-8 feet of water and works west over hard bottom working live bait (pinfish, sand perch or grunt) tight to the bottom structure on a tide induced drift. The gags are a bit deeper and would recommend a start in 55-60′, again with a drift over hard bottom with the aforementioned baits. Deeper wrecks are still drawing the pelagics hanging around here with the massive bait schools. Look for kingfish and cobia in in particular on most of the major wreck structure. Kings will jump on a live blue runner soaking at about 15′ depth hooked up on wire and soaking in a good chum effort. The cobia, with their curiosity will come to visit you and show right on the surface and be a sucker for a threadfin herring sight cast right to it’s nose. Great fight.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 12 to August 18th 2016 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Morning showers just enough to have you alter your outdoor plans; then two hours of scorching heat wrapped in “Florida Sunshine”; then, batten down the hatches for the late afternoon thunderbangers ! Some routine…..huh? So if you love to fish, what do you do? You don that lightweight rain jacket and go as close to sunrise as you can. You can endure those scattered showers, peeling the rain jacket as the heat takes over……and staying hydrated to stave off the effects of that heat. AND take off for home at the first afternoon rattle of thunder. Otherwise, this week you will have a little wind turning gusty but mainly out of the east which, thankfully, will be kind to the already lessened water clarity and kind to you in cooling you off just a tad. The tides will be heading toward a full moon late week and that means some racing current especially on the afternoon outgoing that will dramatically effect the fishing (see backwater section below). The deluge of rain water has lowered the water temp….now hovering around 85 and turned the outgoing water to a slightly pale yellow hue which is off the mark for top quality.

BACKWATER: Will be an interesting warm water week back here. You’ll have the continuing threatening storm pattern to contend with as well as a full moon tide late week. You can work around the storm pattern but the full moon racing afternoon tide will be something you’d rather not contend with. Often ignored fact: Fish, especially BIG fish, don’t like to deal with fully racing tidal water. They pull off the feed and honker down until the tide slows….and when it does they are ravenous especially the bigger fish. So this week, in the backwaters, you’ll want to work all the morning incoming tides and absolutely avoid those racing waters of the afternoon outgoing. At periods that tide will be moving at a speed of three knots. As far as available species go, the medium size snook are red hot along the beaches as far south as Kice Island’s Blind Pass and inland along the Keeywadin docks taking most any bait…..white bait or whole shrimp best bet. The other warm water fighter is the mangrove snapper which are growing at about a half inch a month. They can be had on just a tiny piece of shrimp worked in the moving water on defined structure like downed brush.

NEARSHORE: If you’d have a hankering to land a slashing, angry shark for a long time……you’re wait may be over right here in “River City”. The warmth and the multitude of bait on the near shore reefs have them looking at SW Florida like the Promised Land. Best venues for shark action close inshore would be the Five Mile Reef; the Capri Barges and the South Keeywaden Reefs. You’ll need an official shark rig with a huge hook rigged up on wire line (think store bought at Rose Marina) tied onto at least 80# test on a rod and reel that you can hardly lift. Take the time to get a few smaller blue runners or jacks inshore as the bait and keep them alive in the live well or bubbler. Chum is another essential. Block chum works best but melts fast in the hot water. Buy a couple. Then it’s chum first followed by hooking those runners / jacks in the dorsal fin area to keep them alive and get them soaking. The strength of a 4-5′ shark will amaze you as you struggle to land. With all the shark species struggling against the outrageous slaughter by foreign entities, encourage you to be thrilled, take a shark selfie and release them.

OFFSHORE: The heat has kept hugh bait schools working the mid range to deeper wrecks and reefs which is turn creates a panacea for the voracious pelagics who stop and feed on their summer migration north. Primarily kingfish and cobia are in the closer in spots; permit are deep out around the USAF towers SW of the island. Kings will devour a well presented blue runner and then be yours if you’ve done everything right in rigging your tackle; Cobia, on the other hand, are a relative of “Curious George”, who can’t wait to see what’s happening and swim up to the boat of the surface and are suckers to jump on a well presented surface pinfish on threadfin herring. The permit are deeper enjoying the small crabs that are swept offshore especially in the faster tidal currents. This could well be a top notch week out here also.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 5th to August 11th 2016 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Staying hot and wet typical (or maybe a little more intense) summer weather here….this week will be no different with daily rain but will see some wind go gusty late week. That could rile the waters a tad and make near and offshore trips a challenge. But, hey, that’s summer here. Air temp real feel which is what sends the anglers home early, is forecast to reach 110 degrees by late week. The oft repeated tip is GO EARLY AND COME BACK EARLY and STAY HYDRATED. The tides come off a weak new moon early week and then decline in strength during the week; the afternoon outgoing will be the weaker of the two daytime tides. There will be rain most every afternoon which at some points will be quite heavy. The water temperature will continue to hover between 86 and 88 with higher in the shallower backwaters.

BACKWATER: Fishing back here this coming week could be a bit mundane but could well be punctuated with hot fishing sessions……of course that means being at the right place at the right time. Have experienced those special times being just before and after the slack tides when the water slows and the big guys come out to feed. That experience really shows itself in Capri and Hurricane Pass on the sought-after Florida pompano. Suddenly they will show in school form and attack every bait in the water and then for reason that only they know about the vamoose and scatter. Gotta be there at the right time working a small jig to the bottom on the current drift….either in or out. Snook LOVE the warm water and have been active all along the mangrove edges especially up close in Johnson and Rookery Bays; need fast moving water; either tide.

NEARSHORE: Expect good action early all along the first and second reef lines on pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, jacks et al) working those tipped flashy jigs under a good chum effort. Both surface eruptions of bait and gulls and terns working the surface will tell you that you’re in the right spot. As the chum bits decend, they will attract the bottom dwellers which are dominantly snapper, both lane and mangrove at the moment. Try hooking a tad of the chum itself on a #6 small hook and freelining it into the slick… it drops the bigger snapper will rise in the water column and smack you’re offering. Recommend keeping the bail open to keep the hit from shearing your light line. Walton and Five Mile Reef for some bottom action blacktip sharks on large cut bait soaking on the bottom under the chum. Need stout tackle and wire leader here. Careful handing the shark……sharp teeth.

OFFSHORE: Thankfully red and gag grouper remain as the prime target out here. With these guys you not only get a great fight but a delicious couple of filets that will delight the home folk. Process in “hooking ’em up” is quite simple. You’ll need a live pinfish set out on stout tackle with enough weight to hold the bottom and then work hard bottom on a drift. Target area for the red grouper starts 7-9 miles due west of Marco working that bait tight to the bottom on a drift. Gag grouper, which are usually a bit bigger (with a 24″ minimum harvest size) are a bit deeper using the same techniques in 60′ of water and working west. The really deep wrecks are stocking sizable (35-40#) amberjack which are a great and tough catch working most any live bait on a vertical drop right into the wreck structure.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

July 29 to August 4th 2016 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Wish we could report something different but it’s just staying very hot and wet. Those heat indexes which compile air temperature, humidity and wind into a comfort number are all forecast above 103 degrees every day this week. So as we’ve said before “start your fishing day early and quit early”. Good chance there will be some unfavorable impact from all the fresh rain water being dumped into our salt this past week. Salinity is an important factor for our piscatorial friends and will repel various species and send them scattering to deep water. Thankfully, the winds will not be a factor this week as they will stay sub-double digit all week. That adds to the heat factor but keeps the sea conditions flat. The tides are heading to a new moon pull late week and will be picking up strength all week. Look for a 4′ afternoon incoming late week.

BACKWATER: With the heat conditions and the very strong tides this week would recommend working specific times in that tide cycle for best results. If you can get going early, the first light morning incoming tide should give you best chance for action in any of the Passes for snook working live bait along the shore edges as the current picks up speed. Pilchards are usually the best draw for the snook……most will be juveniles but you may run into a slot snook or two. All must be released as the season is closed until 9/1. Pompano are active in the heat but are sensitive to water clarity. If the rains ease off a bit, we should have the best pompano conditions on the morning incoming working either Hurricane or Capri Passes early on a drift with tipped jigs bounced off the bottom. Try to be in action during the first hour of the incoming…..the pomps scatter inshore after that. Top action however continues to be on the mangrove snapper. They are feeding heavily even in the hot conditions and will jump on the smallest tad of shrimp. Most of your catch will be undersize but there are usually enough snappers in the 10-12″ class to put a nice meal on the table. Again, the best action on the bigger fish will be just before and after both tide turns.  

NEARSHORE: Stormy weather pattern permitting, there should be some good morning action along the first and second reefs for mackerel et al either staying mobile and working spots where the birds are working the surface or at anchor on structure using chum to draw the action. If you stay mobile you can work the perimeter of surface action spots with tipped jigs or set up a 4-5 kt troll of using same. Anchored it’s getting the chum in the water and working jigs quickly on the surface just over the chum. Inshore reef spots like the Walton Reef just off Caxambas Pass or the Five Mile Reef hold bottom action on both lane and mangrove snapper working weighted tipped jigs under chum. Good method to draw the bigger fish is to bait up with just a bit of the chum freelined on a small hook right into the descending chum flow……the bigger snapper will come up to engulf the morsel.

OFFSHORE: We should be thankful here that we have such a great shallow water grouper fishery. The red grouper action is enhanced with the heat as the fish continue to move east over hard bottom spots. Don’t need to go much further than 7-8 miles offshore to find the hard bottom that is home for huge numbers of fish. Working a live pinfish or cut ladyfish tight to the bottom outcroppings on a tide induced drift will get you all the action you’re looking for…… grouper have a 20″ harvest size. Gag grouper are also active and hold a bit deeper this time of year. You’ll need to be working in 60-70′ of water to get sustained action. Gags are a bit larger than the reds and have a 24″ minimum harvest size. Other deep action is on the wrecks where pelagics hover feeding on the immense bait schools. You’ll need live bait worked over a good chum effort here for kingfish, cobia and permit.