ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS
CONDITIONS: Well a great weather start for the New Year…..a little chilly the last two mornings but that promises to pass and the balance of the period will have cool mornings giving way to nice toasty / sunny afternoons. Should bode well for the fishing and continue to stabilize the conditions. No fronts this period…..just warmer than usual conditions and acceptable wind. Water should continue to clear and hold it’s temperature level in the 72-74 range. That won’t do much to push the cold water migration (think sheepshead) upon us but will stabilize the conditions for the species that are feeding in the unusually warm start of winter here. The tides are going to be impacted by an early week new moon which will drive a fast morning incoming tide in the three foot range and a fairly moderate afternoon ebb. No surprises there. Winds will stay East and Southeast with calm mornings and then some breezes starting late morning into late afternoon. All in all…..a great weather start to our new year.
BACKWATER: Look for a continuance of the fishing quality experienced in the last couple weeks. The bite is there but it takes patience and good “tide” timing to put a good fishing trip together. Backwater tides will be very strong during the middle four hours of their cycle….the bigger feeder fish will duck out of the current and lay low until the water speed slows down. Pick the first hour and the last hour of each tide to get the better bite on your favorite spots. As the warm weather cycle continues you should continue to see good sheepshead activity albeit mostly juvenile fish but the 12-14″ take homes will show in the slower tide hours. Also the warmer water has kept the mangrove snapper bite very active on most of their spots….and a better than even chance that you’ll see a goodly number of keepers. Shrimp is always the best bait for the snapper but encourage you to use smaller pieces….avoid mega baits hanging off the hook. Also expect to see both speckled trout over spots with seagrass bottom (Upper Addison Bay; West Johnson Bay; N end Canon Island) working shrimp on a jig head just off the bottom. Incoming tide best. Also could run into a formidable black drum in the deeper holes along the ICW edges between Marco and Naples…..they too will jump on a shrimp.
NEARSHORE: Good weather conditions out here on the first and second reefs this week. Should be a better chance (slightly cooler water) for some reasonable sheepshead action working a tad of shrimp on a lindy rig on a vertical drop into structure. Other bottom action could show on flounder, snapper and triggerfish (season closed of the triggers). If the bait schools continue to hang around on the first reefs, keep an eye open for surface action from terns / gulls working bait schools….that’s a sure signal that there well might be pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, jacks et al) working beneath. Time then to get the chum in the water and work the slick with quickly retrieved tipped top water jigs. Bottom fishing with live bait will provide a good chance for grouper action. But after 1/1/the gag grouper harvest is closed for six months and, as always, you have to return the Goliath Grouper without removing them from the water
OFFSHORE: Nice conditions continue for a run deep. Red grouper continues to be the top target and they are staying very active on the feed. It’s a rather lengthy run to the 50-60′ hard bottom depths …..20-23 miles due west of Capri Pass. Load up with some “gold hooked” pinfish from the first reefs for bait and then get the offering tight to the hard bottom structure. Can take two red grouper 20″ and above per person daily. On the way out, set a lookout to scan the waters around the stone crab trap markers for sunning tripletail. They look like a piece of paper floating on the surface and can be taken on light tackle with a tipped dark color jig. Great eating !
Have a Happy 2017!