Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 28, 2017 to May 4th Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: Fairly stable weather conditions forecast for us this coming week. With the consistently warmer air temperatures driving the water temperatures higher (week end water temps in the Marco River were recorded at a steady 76 to 77 degrees). That bodes well for settling the fishing action down to early summer fishing once and for all. We need the pelagic mackerel / bluefish action in the cuts and passes and the big mangrove snapper action along all the shorelines and mangrove edges. There are but one or two predicted times for showers early week with some associated wind gusts but that fades quickly and we get back to a week of manageable winds ; very little precipitation and improved fishing expectations. Even the tides are “Going Our Way” with moderate and workable tides all week ; both ways. Keep your fingers crossed….this coming week could be our breakthrough !

BACKWATER: Results back here during this past week you’d have to classify as “inching forward”. There was some improved action on speckled trout up along the edges of the ICW’s Calhoun Channel working shrimp or live bait just off the shoreline edges in 4-5′ on the incoming tide. Using the current to produce a slow drift seemed to work best.  Could foresee a repeat of that action again this week……especially with the end of the “season” boat traffic in it’s final stages. Snook, especially, the juveniles are ravenous and will lurch out of the shadows all along the mangrove edges to snatch a well presented pilchard or small pinfish. Best venues for the snook are Upper Addison (at high tide) and Henderson Creek in Rookery Bay. Both are great spots to work a snook in the shallower faster moving water. There are some redfish around now even in the heat. Look for them on the high water early afternoon working the shallow far reach mangrove areas where the current is moving and the water is clean. But mangrove snapper have to show up “in size” for us to make this a memorable late spring and summer. Hopefully the warm water breakthrough will make a difference and you’re ratio of catch / keep mangroves will improve dramatically as the summer moves in.

NEARSHORE: Reports and rumors have the fishing out here working a tad better than inshore. Even with some gusty wind afternoons, the generally more stable water out here will deliver both pelagic we well as bottom action. Pelagics will likely be hanging out around the Capri Pass barges that line the route west in 20+ feet of water feeding of surging bait schools. Best approach is work the faster water of the late morning incoming tide with tipper top water jigs pulled over a serious chum slick. Once action starts don’t let the chum effort dissipate ……an second block of chum often saves the day. Generally the high activity catch is Spanish Mackerel with some nice size bluefish in the mix along with assorted other pelagics…….jacks, ladyfish and the blue runners. For reef action you’ll need a little more of a ride to the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass or the Five Mile Reef a little further SW. Again chum is the ticket for good and sustained action off the bottom. Main attraction will be both lane and mangrove snapper taking shrimp on lindy rigs or weighted jigs played a foot or two off the bottom. Here you’ll also want to keep a mega fresh cut bait on wire soaking on the bottom on major gear…..hello to a gag grouper / a Goliath grouper / a blacktip shark.

OFFSHORE: Should be a fairly placid week out here as far as sea conditions go. Some afternoon westerly winds early week that yo should be able to work around. Good action awaits you on the deeper wrecks with the pelagic migration in full swing. Reports of top action particularly on kingfish with cobia and permit running a close second. Kings will be harbored on the wreck itself or in the surrounding waters for at least a quarter mile. Technique can run from anchored with live bait on wire  under chum to trolling a kingfish plug at 10-15′ depth at 4-5 its. Great action !. Cobia will show on the surface especially if you’re anchored up feeding chum into the current. Their curiosity will get the best if them when they jump on a live bait cast right in front of them. Another species with a great fight that continues after you bait them. Be careful. Finally, the permit that will give you a run for your money jumping on a small crab freelined into the swirling current on structure.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 21, 2017 to April 27 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: Weather pattern begins to show the beginning of the ‘rainy season” with afternoon and evening showers showing several times per week. More of that on the way here this week with showers and a mild front due through here over the weekend. Impact on fishing should be minimal with most of the associated winds out of the east. The winds in general have gentle sustained wind speeds but get riled up with strong gusts…..that really churns the water and frequently dislodges anchors. Try to anchor up in the lee of some tree line or structure to present that problem. Water temperatures are holding circa 73-75 degrees and beginning to draw the late spring/ summer species into the fishing arena. However, the tides this week will be a major factor. We begin the period with moderate tides and as we head to the new moon late week the afternoon outgoing tide is predicted to exceed a 4′ range. You’ll want to avoid your fishing efforts then……the fish will do the same.

BACKWATER: Not much change in the expectations here. Just can’t seem to get the warm water fishing cycle in place just yet. The big sheepshead are “done gone” for the most part and in their place are the “runts” that are ravenous and undersized. Trust me; if you get into them they will empty your bait bucket in a hurry. The mangrove snapper of size are the expected summer staple bite around here but, they too, are showing as a small undersized catch with an unsuspecting one to keeper size every once in awhile. Good news on snook…..the stable water temp has the smaller size snook on the prowl and providing good action all along the local waterways. They will jump on a pilchard or other live bait especially after being teased with a bait shower. Most are in the 28-22″ range and provide a good fight. Please be careful in hook extraction and release. They are future table fare extraordinaire. Redfish are moderately active in the far reach backwater shallows. Places like the Muddies just north of Marco River marker #R24 at high tide and the shallows just off Henderson Creek in Rookery Bay are two excellent spots to work for your red. High tide timing is optimum. Capri Pass and Hurricane Pass in the first hour of the incoming tide are a good locale for finding some nice pompano as long as the water is clear. Drift or anchor up in current and work a shrimp rig or small tipper jig to the bottom for some great action.

NEARSHORE: Still getting reports of good fishing action just offshore south of Cape Romano. Would think the bait schools are holding there and drawing mainly pelagic action (think mackerel, bluefish, little tunny, jacks and ladyfish). However, have a couple reports of mackerel beginning to show on the Capri barges……drawn by a good chum effort and worked with tipped jigs retrieved fast. So hopes for a robust late spring nearshore is still in place. Bottom fishing for snapper is best targeted at two of the major reef spots here. The Walton Reef just off Caxambas Pass and the corners of the Marco Five Mile Reef are two of the premier action spots worth trying. Setting a chum block in a good strong tide will initiate action with mangrove and lane snapper rising on the slick to jump on your bait either on weighted lindy rig or weighted jig. Also get ready for a surprise from Goliath Grouper that have proliferated so extensively and are ravenous for anything….remember they are protected……don’t take them out of the water and release carefully.

OFFSHORE:. Out here is probably the best fishing domain these days. Nice clean water / stable temperature / lots of bait schools. Super deep wrecks have all the pelagics now (kings, cobia, permit, sharks) and easy to induce action with live bait (blue runners, thread herring, small jacks) worked under a good chum effort. Closer inshore the small reefs and wrecks have good action on lane and mangrove snapper as well some sought after yellowtail snapper. All worked on weighted jigs presented under a good chum effort. Last and certainly not least is the red grouper action in the 50-60′ water working a live pinfish or cut ladyfish tight to the hard bottom outcroppings on a tide powered drift. Tip: Keep the drag ratcheted down to prevent the red to duck back in his lair.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 14, 2017 to April 20 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: April showers ? You bet ! We’ll start to see them as this week unfolds. Not serious all-day downpours but just those that get in your face for a few hours. Won’t do much to effect the fishing except briefly change salinity levels and be a nuisance. Otherwise, the week looks like fair conditions with a couple late week afternoons with notable gusty winds BUT all from the east that won’t recreate the muddy water conditions faced this last week. But, the water is still a bit murky especially on the afternoon incoming tides……especially in the Marco River and it’s outflows. The tides are coming off the full moon and weaken considerably during the week. They will be feeble both ways just after Easter and then pick up speed late week. The water temperature is bouncing around in the low 70’s and will probably stay there through the coming week.

BACKWATER: Still inconsistent results back here. The abnormal warm winter temperatures set the stage for fragmented conditions….and now the windy spring has augmented the issue. Best description would be discordant (not yet in alignment). The poor result winter season has passed into history and the spring fishing surge has yet to happen. It’s day to day……..acceptable results one day and on the same spots the following day it tanks. The waters are crawling with juvenile sheepshead that are intent on emptying your bait bucket…..there might be a lunker or two around that didn’t get the message to move offshore but they are few and far between. Mangrove snapper in the keeper class are beginning to show but again working their “spots” is showing lots of juveniles….that may change quickly once the late spring / early summer weather kicks in. On the other hand quite a show of juvenile snook showing up in the warm conditions everywhere. They are right on the snapper spots and will attack anything from a shrimp to a well presented live bait. Redfish too are schooling and moving around along the bait rich waterway edges. Best chance for a red is on late incoming tide working tight to shallow edges with current. The usual mackerel / bluefish fest that we expect in the Passes every spring has yet to happen and the expected pompano blitz in the same venues is likewise in a holding pattern. Best advise……pick the stronger tides; start early and work your spots for 10-15 minutes and keep moving.

NEARSHORE: Better action, especially on pelagics, could be on the way. Several credible reports of great action on mackerel / bluefish just south / southwest of Cape Romano. Anticipate that will move north and show up on Marco within the next week or so……all depends on the bait school movement. So get ready! Watch for bird action as well as bait fish eruptions on the surface…..these are the best telltale signs that pelagics are in action mode. Get chum in the water if anchored up on a nearshore reef spot and work small tipped jigs tight to the surface on a fast retrieve. An alternate approach is to set up a 4-5 knot troll along the perimeters of the bait eruptions towing a flashy spoon or jig 50-75 yards astern. Might also try working the bottom structure at the Walton Reef (off Caxambas Pass) or the Five Mile Reef with tipped weighted jigs worked under chum for mangrove and lane snapper.

OFFSHORE: General weather temperatures / conditions have been more stable out here the past few months which renders the offshore fishing much more stable than those east. Deep water wrecks are holding good populations of king mackerel as well as goodly numbers of arriving cobia and permit. Hang a frisky blue runner on a wire leader and soak him in a serious chum slick and the kings will be all over you. Cobia are curious creatures and will show on the surface lured by the chum and the activity. Go after them sight casting a live thread herring right to their nose and then hang on……cobia don’t surrender easily. Elsewhere the red grouper are still dealing a hot ticket. Will need a long run to 50-55′ due west of Marco and work a live pinfish on stout tackle worked tight to the hard bottom. Red grouper has a 20″ minimum size for capture and you can keep two fish per day.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 7, 2017 to April 13 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: This week should be a bit kinder to anglers. After we dismiss a moderately weak front that will visit late week delivering the rain and following westerly wind, it will clear rapidly and stability in conditions will arrive. Although we probably will have to endure some fouled water through the weekend. The balance of the week will see afternoon temperatures climb to the high eighties and continue to drive the water temperature even into the eighties. That could be the catalyst that triggers the spring / winter species to action……we’ll see. The winds, after the frontal passage, will be very mild in the mornings and then kick up, mildly gusty in the afternoons. Primary directions will be southerly. The tides will be dealing with a new moon next Tuesday and will provide some robust water movement both ways. The average water movement will be in the 2.5′ range both ways. Which also should be a plus for good spring fishing.

BACKWATER: The expectation of landing a lunker sheepshead now is waning quickly. Maybe a few stragglers inside but most survivors have headed back to deeper cooler water way offshore. What remains of that species inshore are ravenous “runts” that, if allowed, will empty your bait bucket. The quickly rising air temperatures should turn on the spring specie mainstays i.e. mangrove snapper, the pelagics – Spanish mackerel and bluefish – speckled trout – pompano – and black drum. The mangroves will quickly be the dominant catch and, hopefully, will show some size (11-13″) early on. The will dominate the backwater shoreline edges as well as populating the deeper cuts / drop offs / depressions all along the waterways. A well delivered small shrimp with minimum sinker weight usually does just great. The mackerel and bluefish usually show together working bait schools in all the Passes in moving water on both tides. The giveaway for their activity is bird action as they chase the bait schools. T Best approach is working a flashy tipped jig on a wire leader with a fast retrieve on a tide induced drift. Spec trout will be in deep cuts early and worked with bottom rigs and as the day warms be moving to seagrass flats in Johnson, Addison and Rookery Bays. In that latter stage they are best worked with a shrimp worked under a popper drifting over the 4-6′ depths of seagrass. The pompano should show in clean water tides – both ways in all the Passes with best action in the first and last hours of the water flow. Work for them with small tipped jigs worked tight to the bottom on drifts either way. Black drum will show as replacements to the sheepshead working their vacated habitats of deeper structure and moving water. They will fall for the same baits of shrimp and cut crabs.

NEARSHORE: Spring action should be kicking in here late this coming. Will be a bit rough as the front passes through but settling down mid week. Just as in the backwaters, should begin to see some stronger pelagic action here on mackerel, bluefish, little tunny and their fun companions of jacks, blu runners and ladyfish. All will be tight to the surface and jumping on anything flashy and moving quickly……best chance on tipped jigs on wire pulled over chum. Bottom fishing will be oriented towards the multitude of reefs lining the 20-30′ depths along the shoreline. Expect mangrove and lane snapper, as well as some smaller grouper, a few triggerfish (all to be released) and smaller (3-4′) sharks. All on shrimp or cut bait and moving to good chum action.

OFFSHORE: Ditto on early week conditions here if the forecast is accurate. Stay tuned. This will be the last week or so for the stone crab pots and markers offshore thus last good shot at a prize tripletail out here. On the journey out and back set a lookout to examine the trap markers on the “fly by”…..tripletail will be floating on the surface just off the marker. If sighted worth a shot by drifting back quietly and working some tipped dark color jigs in the “TT’s” direction. Great fight and better on the table. Deep wrecks now receiving the late crowd of pelagics moving north. Good chance for cobia, kings and sharks on the deep wrecks and permit moving in on the Towers. Live bait and a good chum effort will get you some serious action. The permit will be looking for action deeper out on the towers and taking small crabs worked in a serious chum slick. In all these deep spots we aware that Goliath Grouper await your arrival bent of taking your catch. Be prepared to use heavier tackle to deliver as fast retrieve as you can muster.