Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

September 1 to September 7th 2017 Fishing Report


CONDITIONS: The intensity and duration of this past week’s tropical weather system was unprecedented. That much fresh water deposited in our environs will have a definite impact on the fishing……to what degree is a classic unknown. Just a tad of research developed both positive and negative information on two of our most sought after species this month. Thankfully, snook (whose season opens today ! ) are impervious to changes in salinity levels…..they can even operate in fresh water. On the other hand the mangrove snapper can slow down activity as the salinity levels decline. That gives you a basis for the weather week that you’ll be looking forward to. In stark contrast to what we just experienced, this coming week is almost void of any rain / storm predictions and features single digit winds from variable sectors until late week when we get some predicted gusts in the 20 mph range. The tides will be a moderate factor with a full moon on display this coming Tuesday. As usual the afternoon ebb will be more problematic than the moderate morning incoming. At this writing the water temps have fallen to 80 but will be moving higher as the placid week develops. Expect you’ll see temperatures like 88 by weekend.

BACKWATER: Looking to specifically forecast the fishing this week in the backwaters is, indeed, a journey into uncharted waters. On the negative side you’ll have the impact of all that rain on the mangrove islands which will release torrents of tannic coloration resulting in stained waters; in addition the salinity level throughout the areas will have been negatively influenced ……i.e. lower salt levels which impacts many species as to providing a comfortable environment i.e. they may vacate an area or go lethargic on feeding. So we’ll concentrate on what may work this week. Snook, thankfully are impervious to the lower salinity levels, in fact, they can thrive in fresh water. So as this week’s mornings provide you with a very favorable first light incoming tide which should show good to excellent conditions. Best venues: Kice Island to Cape Romano; both sides with the hot area being the cut at Blind Pass / Henderson Creek area in Rookery Bay; current points on fast incoming / Johnson Bay creeks and cuts. On late morning tide turn shift your working area on draining creeks and waterways with live baits closer to the bottom. There also might be a resurgence of redfish with the suddenly cooler water. The other “good chance”species is mangrove snapper. The snapper were super active before the onslaught and there is some chance they may be receptive to feeding on live baits. Action, most likely, will be on smaller fish, so please use circle hooks to enhance safe release. The larger snapper were there before we experienced the deluge……..your best chance is the slower tides / fresh baits / working structure. And…..bottom line, remember things will improve as the week unfolds.

NEARSHORE: Out here you may find improved conditions compared to backwater. Deeper water will mitigate the challenge of impacted salinity. There will still be the challenge with browned tannic water but not as severe as the inside. Would think the pelagic action will be impacted the most with mackerel / bluefish schools scattering westerly. Best chance might be bottom action on spots like the Walton Reef and the reefs associated with the Five Mile Reef complex. Here you can work the bottom structure trying to entice action, again, on primarily lane and mangrove snapper with a number of small grouper mixed in. Best baits are shrimp on weighted jigs or live bait (sardines / threadfin herring) worked tight to the bottom.

OFFSHORE: Look for conditions here to be closer to normal than the other two domains. Less of tannic water / less salinity loss can translate into close to normal fishing. Should be action on the artificial reefs and wrecks for bottom action – lane and mangrove snapper as well as smaller grouper and grunts. The major deep wrecks should still have bait schools holding and drawing the plentiful number of kingfish in the area as well as some Spanish mackerel and bluefish: Kings on live runner on wire in chum and macks and blues on top water tipped jigs under chum.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 25 to August 31st Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Looks like our change in the weather pattern we mentioned last week is playing out……past week definitely showed signs of reduced storm pattern as well as just a tad cooler morning air temps. That trend should continue this week. Look for morning air temps in the mid 70’s and the afternoon highs tickling the mid 80’s. In addition the winds will hold a moderate pattern with mostly S and SW winds of the single digit variety with weak gusts late week in the mid teen speeds……nothing to be concerned with. Both the lack of rain / storms and the dipping temperatures should bode well for water clarity. All factors favoring better fishing conditions. The tides are also in a positive state with no moon draws and moderate tide speed and ranges forecast both ways. And finally the water temperature is forecast to make it’s first modest decent to the 84-85 range. Bottom line …….lots of positives this week.

BACKWATER: Perhaps with all the environmental factors going positive that we’ll see an upturn in fishing quality action this week. Would be a significant reward for those that have endured a summer of tough going. A big factor would be a great addition to the opening of the snook season this coming Friday (9/1). You can look to fishing activity around here really accelerating with the long awaited fall snook season to open. Best locations for a chance at a keeper (28 – 33”) can be had at spots like Blind Pass down on the east side of Kice Island; the Henderson Creek environs in Rookery Bay; the winding creeks in Johnson Bay and the creeks and cuts in Upper Addison Bay. If conditions continually improve inside look for nice size live bait schools all along major waterways and there for the taking with a little work with cast nets. The pilchards that you will collect, are the absolute prime bait for the snook. Best of luck to all on your chances at a snook. Other activity stays centered on mangrove snapper which continue to thrive in the heated summer conditions. Lots of small snapper almost everywhere. To latch onto the big “take homes”….a couple of tips; 1) start early; the bite ceases as the sun reached mid height 2) play the tides and work the snapper in the slower water that happens a hour on either side of slack water both ways 3)fish spots where you can spot surface bait (water dimples up).

NEARSHORE: Conditions should be even better out here with the deeper cooler water and the infusion of more bait schools. Reports of smaller tinker mackerel showing on the areas stretching between the last of the Capri Channel markers and the sea buoy. Attracted by chum efforts they are falling for tipped top water jigs pulled over the chum. And would assume that the same action should stretch into the first and second reefs as the bait schools continue their infusion. And then the bottom action heats up as the general conditions improve. Best venues for that action is the Walton Reef just SW of Caxambas Pass working weighted jigs loaded with bits of shrimp tight to the bottom. Another location that works the same way would be the corners of the Five Mile Reef. There, you also want to keep a cut bait on the bottom for the meandering back tips that are feeding out here.

OFFSHORE: Sea conditions should be excellent out here all week. Continue to get the influx of king mackerel on the major reefs that are loaded with bait. A live blue runner on a wire leader set at 10 -15’ under a float should get you some strong action. Another good bet is working some of the closer in reefs that show great bait collections for delicious yellowtail snapper. You work them by freelining a tad of the chum itself on a small (#6 hook) right into the chum slick with the bail set as open. One the yellowtail hits and runs…count to five and drop the bait. Great fight and even better on the table.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 18th to August 24th Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Good chance we got “a change in the weather comin”. Forecasts for the first time in months shows morning temperatures dropping into the mid seventies and afternoon highs skirting the mid eighties……..still hot but this info is predicting the beginning of a change that is hopefully a sign to come for the balance of the summer here. Also, there is a distinct absence of rain / storm predictions. Hopefully it’s not just wishful thinking. We’ll see……but all can’t be positive. Right? So in the latter part of the period the wind, virtually dormant for so long, kicks up and we’ll see a couple days with gusts to plus 20mph for several afternoons. The tides are cruising through a week with a new moon and, as usual pick up speed. Look for the morning incoming to be moderate (favorable) but the afternoon outgoing to run close to a 4’ drop in six hours. That’s fast !……..providing good reason to make that early start and hang in the hacienda in the afternoon. Lastly, even with the slight decline in air temperatures it probably won’t effect the 86-89 water temps very much.

BACKWATER: This week it’s possible with the halt of the rain that we will finally see a significant change if the water clarity. With little to no downpours, we will see a significant decrease in the mangrove tannic run off and, hopefully, will be replaced by the traditional emerald clean water. AND….will help restore the normal salinity level thus heightening the water oxygen level. That’s a lot to hope for but it could be a beginning of the “righting” of fishing conditions we’ve been living with here since our warm winter. With all of that, we still have some great action in place on both juvenile and slot snook…..the snook defy conditions as this as the plus 80 degree water drives them. Want to try them early before the sun’s rays go vertical (pre 10:30 AM) with a baitwell of pilchards working those shallow current points in places like Johnson Bay / Henderson Creek / Blind Pass at Kice Island / Upper Addison Bay on the very favorable incoming tide. Use circle hooks to enhance release. The other species that thrives in the heat, thankfully, is the mangrove snapper. And, of you play your cards right, you’ll have a chance to take nice catch of 11-12” keepers home. Limit your venue for action to waterways with downed trees and work those spots only from an hour before slack tide to an hour after. Bait is a simple small piece of fresh shrimp worked to the bottom with just a little motion. Hate to say it but……….putting in a ton of effort for pompano / redfish / trout right now is pretty much a waste of time. Can get back to that a couple weeks from now.

NEARSHORE: No rain / light winds until late week may make action possibilities out here worth an solid effort. And in addition may see some cleaner greener water. Why not give a try if you’re heading deep. You’ll pass right by the Capri barges just west of the sea buoy. Lats and Lon’s are on the FWC web site of the four sunken barges all within a mile of one another. Comin’ in watch the Fathometer for signs of schooled bait; if there put a chum block over and start with a tide powered drift working a  flashy top water jig on a fast retrieve……if you hit a mack or a bluefish or two, set the hook, centralizing the attractant and have it. Bottom action is probably best on those corners of the Five Mile Reef. Think you’ll surely see mangrove and lane snapper here along with an occasional triggerfish, porgy or sea trout. Work the bottom with tipped weighted jigs, again, under chum.

OFFSHORE: Ditto on sea conditions out here especially on the morning incoming. Just a tad of caution if you stay late and the possible tunderbangers could get in your way. For a change of pace from mangrove / lane snapper and grouper chasing………try for yellowtail snapper. Bigger snapper species……..great fight and even better on the table. Make sure the wreck you set up on has plenty of bait showing on the scope and then plant the hook and get a serious chum slick in place. Give the slick a chance to spread and then freeline a #6 (small) hook with a piece of the chum right into the slick. The yellowtail will rise in the water column to feed and engulf your tad of chum…….let them run counting to fifteen and then drop the bail. Great fight and even better on the barbie!

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 4th to August 10th Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Know you’ve been hoping that the deluging weather that has beset SW Florida over these past week has quit…..but, after running through a couple of this week’s forecasts, I sadly report that it’s not going to happen. More of the same (storms / intermittent showers / flooding /) are on the way. This week ahead shows just two of the seven days to be clear of stormy weather; the balance is more of the same. We can also add tropical storms as the next added weather threat. As we put this week’s report together, Tropical Storm Emily, crosses the peninsula and heads out into the Atlantic. More of those will follow as we reach into later August and the prime tropical storm month of September. Bottom line: Conditions are not going to enhance your fishing opportunities especially short term. Moving on to other “fishing conditions” the winds are generally favorable all week with some accelerating winds late afternoons. They will impact water quality as it can rile up the bottom sand and mud and muddy up the water. The tides are coming through a full moon cycle that will show up as some stronger afternoon outgoing tides with more modest morning incoming. Better to be on the water during the morning than the afternoon with the rather racing tides. And finally the water temps will be tickling 90 degrees most late morning and afternoons.

BACKWATER: The fishing quadrant most effected with the water and weather quality is back here in the bushes…….the backwaters. So those period so severe fresh water intrusion in the salt impacts big time back here. Best reports this past week has been on the uptick of mangrove snapper action all along the shoreline edges……those snapper as one of the most active “hot” water species, are a small but positive sign that all is not lost. But you need to take some disciplined action to maximize results. First and foremost, the oft repeated axiom of “START EARLY” is paramount. The noon to afternoon heat deflates the piscatorial appetite as well as the strength and comfort of you anglers. The most frequent morning sun’s rays, once they reach the zenith, when the rays pierce the surface of the water vertically, the fishing takes a major hit…….that time usually will range from 10:30 to 11:30 AM.  Next in the chain of importance is working the tides……..avoid racing tides…….work moderate tides and emphasize working the first and last hours of both tides when the water is at moderate strength. And finally, try adding some moderate amounts of chum to “salt” the water where you are focusing which will draw some of the bigger fish into your operational domain.

NEARSHORE: Should be cleaner water out here and could well be a spot where inshore species seek that clarity and lower water temperature differential…….so you might be pleasantly surprised with results to your efforts out here. Good chance for solid bottom action on the first and second reefs on lane and mangrove snapper as well as spec trout, whiting and (hopefully) some pelagic action up top on pelagics i.e mackerel and bluefish with a mix in of jacks, blue runners and ladyfish. On the major reefs i.e. Walton Reef Complex and the Five Mile Reef for good to excellent shark action on blacktip and spinner sharks taking cut bait soaking on the bottom strung out on wire leaders under stout tackle.

OFFSHORE: Gotta keep an eye on the sky out here these days……those storms move a lot quicker than you do. Mid range the smaller wrecks and reefs are a good bet for some good lane and mangrove snapper worked off the bottom with weighted jigs and an additional good chance of pelagic action up top on mackerel and bluefish et al. Close in is not a bad choice these days as it keeps you closer to home when the sky turns black. Further off shore on those deeper wrecks the opportunity for major pelagics remains intact. Kingfish are probably the most active and worked the perimeter of the wrecks. Best attractant for them is a live blue runner string out on wire and soaking under chum. Cobia are probably the next most attractant target and will show up in your chum slick and be right on the surface a sucker for a well placed threadfin herring placed right in front of it’s nose.