Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

December 30th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: The big frontal blast pre Christmas is in a very slow recovery. In addition to producing winds in the 40-50 mph range it upset the barometric pressure norms big time.  Fish do strange things when that  happens and keep those a secret from us angling mortals. We are just beginning to see marginal norms return in early winter fishing patterns here. Clean water is a paramount ingredient, so first off look for clean water (where you can clearly see the bottom layers of your outboard lower unit immersed). Once that is in place check the water temperature and water flow…..should be running in accordance with the day’s tide predictions. With those factors in place you should begin to get action as you feed baits into the water. The forecasts for this week are positive and should help restore faith in the fishing conditions here on the Paradise Coast. The water temperature should slowly diminish which will trigger feeding for the cold water species here for spawn. Look for movement of that temperature into the low sixties by week end. The tides are heading to a new moon and the water flow should be moderate both ways.

BACKWATER: This is where you’ll find the bulk of the residual muddy water. It will show primarily in spots where the water feed is weak…..tends to keep the cleaner water at bay. Should keep moving till clean water is primary. Sheepshead will be the ascending species here as they swarm in for spawn. Will be small a first but stay with a good action spot …..the big ones hold back but the shrimp in the water will eventually draw the bigger ones. Fish up closer to the stern of the boat…’s those shrimp bits their after. Should be fair to good snapper action all along the mangrove edges working a 1/2 oz jig head tipped with shrimp tight to the downed trees and other structure. In the passes (Capri, Hurricane, Caxambas) good chance for pompano action during the first hour of the incoming working tipped jigs close to the bottom on a tidal drift.

NEARSHORE: Will have flattened out here and be more comfortable as the week’s forecast on mind is all mild. Some question as to any continuance of the summer mackerel action out here. Macks are more a warm water species……but still worth a quick try. If you move over a reef and note bait hordes on the fishfinder…..dump a block of chum overboard and drift back over the reef. Get hookups ? Move back and drop the anchor. Play the spot till the action stops or the catch changes to blue runners. Major reefs (Walton / Five Mile) are holding inbound sheepshead, some of take home size, so worth a try. No chum here just a vertical drop of a cut crab or hunk of shrimp right to the bottom. Work with a constant soft lift technique and set when you feel weight. Most of catch yet will be small but the big ones will move in just like in the backwaters. Same reefs have a good chance for late season snapper action. Tease with a good chum effort and then work the area with shrimp tipped weighted jigs just off the bottom.

OFFSHORE: Could well be some left over swells from the past storm that may make the deeper water uncomfortable. Deep the action has been focused on wrecks with migrating kingfish heading to winter grounds in the warmer Keys. Using the Hot Spots Chart select a wreck sitting admidst ledges and changes in bottom topography; get some chum in the water asap and deploy a live blue runner on wire leader and under a float so it is tethered in 10-15’ depth. If kings are there; you’ll have action. While you wait work the bottom (away from the runner) with shrimp on weighted jigs just off the bottom for lane and mangrove snapper and maybe even an occasional yellowtail. And, as mentioned in previous articles, on the trip out and back, set a lookout and keep a eye on the crab pots. Tripletail love to sun there right on the surface. Work them with light tackle with darker color jigs.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

December 23rd 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Christmas week weather is always a bit iffy and this year will be no different. Coming off a rather  menacing weather frontal passage last week, we will be dealing with  the aftermath of pummeled water clarity especially inshore…..near and offshore will be a different peril of rough water as the winds subside. So, best advice will be to focus on the latter part of the week when the water clears inshore and flattens in the Gulf. A plus, however, is the absence of the red t de and algae

laden water which has been a frequent  deterrent to fishing quality  here and up to our north. We will be going through a rather strong full moon cycle over Christmas and as a result some of the morning incoming tides will present a range of water level change in excess of 3.5 feet…..that will present a problem other than at the very beginning and end of the tide cycle. The afternoon  outgoing tides will be meek and very fishable. Would project that the storm conditions late last week with  ferocious winds will tumble our water temperatures  into  the low 60’s and encourage more action by winter  species as described in the sector forecasts.

BACKWATER: As the wind tails off over the weekend, the muddy I stained water will dissipate. Would think, if the forecasts hold true, we will see cleaner water post Christmas Day. The first  to clean up will be backwater spots well off the main current  flow i.e Addison Bay, Johnson Bay and there along the mangrove edges there should be good action on late season snapper and the arriving  sheepshead. Most of the latter will still be undersized but you can expect at least a few keepers. The snapper fall for a tipped jig worked slowly across the bottom  ; the sheepshead a tad of shrimp on a lindy rig worked ever so slowly on a soft lift technique tight  to the bottom….the sheeps head will frequent  a little deeper water….think bottom  dropoff……than the snapper. You can also begin to target the speckled trout as the winter season progresses. They become very active in the cooler conditions and their “food” of choice are critters that feed in the bottom seagrass. Couple of good spots for seagrass are along the ICW just at the entry by La Penisula on the Isle of Capri known as Calhoun Channel and just south of ICW marker #R28 on the north end of Canon Island. Drift either area with a live shrimp well under a popper.

NEARSHORE: Be a little rough here into the first part of the week as the front makes finalpassage. Forecasts show the wind veering east post Christmas Day and that will help subside the rough water. Probably a good spot to consider late week. When you do make the trip make sure you give the Walton Reef (a marked location on HOT SPOTS CHART available at the marina Ships Store) a try. Good structure there will hold arriving sheepshead with a goodly number of them in “take home” size. They can be worked with a small piece of live shrimp or tad of cut crab dropped vertically  to the bottom and then worked on a verticallift. Other note able action will be on schools of mackerel and bluefish plying the small reefs all along the Marco First and Second Reefs. You’ll pick up location in 20-25′ of water from South Seas complex to south of the Marriott. Look for bait working those spots and set up an action spot with a chum effort followed by working the surface with small tipped jigs on a fast retrieve.

OFFSHORE: Refer to the Nearshore Section as to the expected sea conditions. Will be a increased degree of wave height out here. Reports indicate that best action now is on kingfish (king mackerel) that are slowly moving from the Panhandle waters and heading south for the winter “warmth” of the waters in the Florida Keys. They will stop to feed on our wrecks and reefs in the 30-50′ depth levels and will favor those spots that are holding bait. Best approach is to set up forward in the water flow and get a good chum effort  going first and then with a small blue runner as bait, tether it on wire leader at 15-20′. Another approach is to set the same bait on a slow troll around the wreck/ reef. The kings are tough and toothy… be careful in handling. On the way out and best from your fishing destination, keep an eye out for floating tripletail sunning on top by the crab trap markers. Work them with mid range tackle and a dark colored tipped jig.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

December 15th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Tough to decide as to whether we’re in summer or winter these early winter days. But nobody that has escaped the frigid ravages up north is complaining. This week will be no exception. Starts off with a little rain and mild temperatures and ends with gusty winds and falling air temperatures. Those mildly chillier temperatures is what the anglers are looking for……they will help drive the water temperatures down and enhance the migration cycle of the determined spawners offshore to make their move inside. If the forecast plays out look for the water temperatures to be bouncing between 62 and 65 by week end. We are already seeing some winter fish action here…so this will enhance the action. A side factor of benefit to all here is that the cooler water temperatures will be a deterrent to any further invasion of red tide and fouled algae waters to invade our waters. With light winds through late week the sea conditions, especially offshore, should be very favorable. And lastly the tides will not be a factor this week with a moderate flow both ways that will keep ‘em feeding.

BACKWATER: Noticeable change in seasonal conditions over the past two weeks in the backwaters. Getting stable, steady action now on sheepshead, albeit most still undersized, it bodes well for the weeks and months that lie ahead. We’ve stated in prior weeks reports that there is now solid evidence that the catastrophic water quality along the Gulf edge up north, has “driven” the fish to cleaner water here. We are seeing both species and volume of fish that we haven’t seen here in some years.The cold water species lead the way. As mentioned lots of sheepshead action albeit yet small but that a key the big spawners will soon follow. Also seeing species like porgies and flounder mixed in the backwater edges where there is good current flow and loving those shrimp presented on a lindy rig as well as on the back end of a small jig. Right now the action could well be best out along the Gulf edges (Johnson   Bay……Keeywadin Island…….Kice Island for all these species working that morning incoming tide. All the water temperature drops your action will be further inside (Rookery Bay …..Addison Bay) on the same baits and techniques.

NEARSHORE: Should be comfortable nearshore at least through mid week. The inshore reefs are seeing more of the “take home”sheepsheads because on the way inshore those first and second lines of reefs hold lots of bait and the sheepies are readying for reproduction and need all the energy they can get. Now, if you’re new to this domain, the use the techniques you use back home for walleye and bass… gotta adjust your technique. The sheepshead will approach your bait and start to nibble on it / you won’t feel it / and then after a stretch you’ll retrieve to find your shrimp or crab gone. So….give this a try. Once your bait is on the bottom do repetitive 2-3” lifts very softly…’ll feel a nudge. Do not yank and try to set until you feel weight. Feel weight; a solid 6” strong pull vertically and start the retrieve. Keep the rod at a 45% angle and totally steady – let the rod do the work. If you pump the rod you will slack the line and bye bye sheepie. Try it……bet you’ll land em.

OFFSHORE: Should be a good week at least for the first part of the period. Best is deep deep. If you can make it out due west at least 30 miles where you can work the yellowtail snapper and some hefty mangroves adjacent to the numerous artificial reefs as well as good action on red and gag grouper with live bait worked tight to the bottom outcroppings on a tidal drift. When you start back pick out a wreck or two in the 20 mile that the finder tells you in holding bait and tether a blue runner on wire at circa 20ft in a good chum slick for very active kingfish on their way to the winter “stomping grounds” down in the Keys. On those long trips back and forth set a lookout as you near set crab trap pots and keep an eye open for sunning tripletail. Easy: just double back quietly and work a tipped jig on the surface tight to the pot.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

December 7th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Looks like we could be info a redux of the fouled water dilemma that we suffered through this summer. Multiple reports this week of dead dolphin and bottom feeders prevalent in waters just north of Marco. Personal experience this past week shows water here that tainted color but very little respiratory discomfort for those on the water. We’ll just have to wait and see how the issue plays out this week. My bet as the water temperature dives down in the mid 60’s and beyond is that we see the threat of red tide and algae infected water dissipate. Advice: stay tuned using the MY.FWC.COM web site or the local Naples daily publications. General weather this week is winter typical with a front roaring through early week with some diving air temps and stronger and gustier winds. The latter may foul the water especially in some backwater spots that need to be avoided. The new moon tide will provide a good medium strength morning incoming tide but then dissipate and give you a weak afternoon water flow.

BACKWATER: Expect to see an “early” arrival of the sheepshead spawn cycle in this domain this week and beyond. For reasons only known to them the medium (keeper) size sheepshead have arrived here early. Experience over the past week or so indicates that if you hit a spot with good small sheepshead action…..stay put……it takes a little time but the bigger ones (12-14”) will show as they gravitate toward the bait and action. Work a spot in the 8-10 foot depth range that has good tidal flow with the incoming showing best. Good chance on those same spots for mangrove snapper action with some bigger fish finishing their summer feast. Elsewhere, you might begin the try the waters just off the beaches (think Sandollar Island / Sea Oat Island) for the beginning phases of whiting and silver trout action. Need good relatively clean moderately fast water working tipped gigs tight to the bottom. Last but not least the spec trout are in the process of turning on all along the Calhoun Channel and the island edges up north by Canon Island. Look for moving water in 6-8’ depths and a grass bottom and work a tipped jig under a popper on a drift.

NEARSHORE: Want to stay close to the wind forecasts if your planning to venture anywhere in the Gulf this week. Could get rough early week if those predicted westerly winds show up. Action here is holding pretty steady with good to very good pelagic action on incoming tidal waters on inshore structure like reefs and shallow wrecks. Best here is a early immersion of block chum and allowing a 10-15 minute soak time before beginning to work tipped jigs on a fast retrieve up above the falling chum bits. Be patient…..once they show, they will sustain the action on mackerel, some bluefish, jacks and blue runners. Looking for bottom action for snapper, grouper (possible) then get the coordinates for the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass and the legendary Marco Five Mile Reef. Late summer action is still prevalent in both spots. Will, again, need a chum effort followed by either cut large baits to the bottom or after lifting your chum to the surface work tipped weighted jigs and work just off the bottom.

OFFSHORE: Ditto on watching the wind forecasts before making a long offshore effort. Deeper wrecks are still experiencing the intermittent action on southbound pelagics (kings, cobia, permit et al) attracted to bait rich wreck sites.You’ll need to acquire some frisky live bait inshore (blue runners, pinfish, thread herring) and deploy it on wire leader and stout tackle tethered under a float at 15-20’ immersed in a strong chum effort. If the targets appear on the surface, rig up a smaller live bait and commence to top water retrieve. Cobia, will most likely, approach your activity right on the surface. This also is the prime season for tripletail and, as previously mentioned, it’s a good idea to assign one of your crews as lookout as to move through the crab trap markers looking for a floating TT sunning , Take with medium weight tackle working a dark color jig right on the surface. Good action with great table fare appeal.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

November 30th 2018 Fishing Report


CONDITIONS: The fishing environment this time of year changes hour by hour. Daily temperature changes……water clarity…….water quality…..and rain and wind all play a symphony of change. Right now the headlines are”scary” with reports of the treasured bottlenose dolphin fatalities being reported from Bonita right down to Marco. Logic tells you if whatever it is causing the demise of the dolphin probably has the same effect on the species your targeting. So it’s tragically, a touch and go environment this week. We see the sudden drop in air temperature which translates into the same effect on water temperature. Air temps this late week in the low 60’s can translate into a drop in water temp from the mid 70’s to the high 60’s and activate the “cold water” species action as winter begins. So the advisory for the week would be to proceed but be ready to change domains and techniques if things aren’t working out. You’ll have some more days of extreme cold (for here) and wind late week as we experience another frontal passage. The tides will our friends this week with low moderate water flow and good day to day timing.

BACKWATER: All of a sudden this past week seeing the sheepshead albeit small to medium size showing up on spots where we were besieged with nice size mangrove snapper a week or so ago. That points to the beginning of the traditional weather change here in SW Florida. We can expect the influx of sheephead and other cold water species (black drum, whiting, silver trout, speckled trout et al) to begin to dominate the water and your catch. Unfortunately, the catch for the first weeks of the annual anomaly will be small and frequent thus doing an excellent job in emptying your bait bucket. You’ll have to move around frequently till you land on a deep, more bait rich spot holding the bigger and more likely take home candidates. As a general rule look for encrusted structure in deeper water and use a technique of smaller baits worked with a frequent soft lift technique. Tads of shrimp or pieces of cut crab should be your bait of choice. Be patient and record the locations of spots that show promise…’ll be revisiting them as the water temperature tanks here in a month or so.

NEARSHORE: Hopefully conditions will be moderate and your trip nearshore won’t be a “Victory at Sea” experience. Forecasts say it will be favorable out here until mid week. Should be good pelagic action on the inshore reefs and wrecks. Mackerel and bluefish are adaptable species and will feed endlessly until conditions literally shut down or the bait disappears. Places like the Capri Channel barges out to the Sea Buoy should stay hot working small tipped jigs on a very fast retrieve right up on the surface over a serious block chum soaking. Could even be some small blacktips in the mix so have some mid-range tackle and wire leaders available if they show. Bottom fishing the reefs in the 2-6 mile range may have a better shot at some sizable sheepshead stopping for a snack and on their way to the backwaters. Work a lindy rig to the bottom with a tad of shrimp vertically using a soft lift technique. Take home sheepshead must be 12” O in length and are excellent table fare but a challenge to clean.

OFFSHORE: The weekend and early week will present the best opportunity for success out here……could get tumbling rough thereafter. We are in the fading days of the reverse migration where pelagics that streamed up here in the warming spring are heading back to the Keys as the chilling water directs. They stop along the way for a snack or two on the way. Look for mid range wrecks that show a gaggle of bait working and set up live bait tethered at 15-20ft on wire leader in a good chum effort and stand by……good chance ravenous kingfish will find you and provide you an exciting catch and some excellent take home filets. Nearby there may be some surface action signaling that the yellowtail snapper are schooled and feeding on extensive bait schools. Here anchor up in current and get a block chum in the water. Peel off a handful of chum bits and impale them on #6 small hooks and freeline that right into the current fed slick with the bail open. The yellowtail will slam the bait and run but holding off from “taking” the bait for a short period and that’s when you close the bail and Hang on. These snapper are beyond delicious table fare and will make your trip.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

November 23rd 2018 Fishing Report


CONDITIONS:As we close in on the final chapter of 2018, you will some rapid changes in weather cycles. Forget the sudden violent showers; they will be replaced with cold fronts emanating from the Upper US. In those fronts will be lots of wind that will stop our fishing in it’s tracks; dirty water inside and raucous rough water offshore. So the encouragement for this week is to take advantage of the “nice days”. Can do that by being flexible in your activity scheduling……save some stuff to do at home or at the shopping malls for those BAD days. Unfortunately, we’ll see the first of those fronts this coming week. We’ll see a moderate front here late weekend that will do exactly as predicted. Chilly with rough and dirty water. The singular good that will come from that event is a decline in the water temperature thus moving us closer to those “sheepshead and black drum days”. The current water temp of 75 will probably tumble 3 or 4 degrees by week end. And to top that off we’ll be coming off a full moon on Saturday and face some racing incoming morning tides all week. Winter fishing is fun here but you gotta be careful in picking your days.

BACKWATER: If the forecasted conditions noted above pan out you will be working with some tough water clarity conditions starting early week. The areas that will carry the “sandy mud” will be those that have fast moving tidal water; the areas, least effected will be those that are distant from those tidal waters i.e. small bays / hidden creeks etc. There will be normal action prior to the arrival of the front and you will most likely see snapper….most undersized but some keepers; there are lots of small redfish (15-17”) along the mangrove edges that will jump on a shrimp bait moved slowly across the bottom. Try place like Addison Bay and the area know as Upper Addison when the tide is sufficient to allow transit. In the Passes (Capri, Hurricane, Caxambas) there has been fair to good action on Florida Pompano in the first and last hours of the tide (if water is clean). Work pomps with a tipped small white or pink/white jig worked just off the bottom.

NEARSHORE: Conditions permitting, good chance the pelagics (mackerel, bluefish and jacks) will be feeding in the fast water circa Capri Barges and along the First and Second Reefs. Look for schools of the bait on your finder before you decide to set up. Then start up current with a good block chum effort set on the surface……give it ten minutes or so before you get the tipped jigs being pulled back quickly through the descending slick. Chance you may run into a hungry blacktip shark being tempted by the chum that will come up off the bottom and either take your catch or, in reality, anything he wants. The southeast corner of the Five Mile Reef has been producing nice catches of both lane and mangrove snapper working weighted tipped jigs just a foot or two off the bottom under a generous chum effort. You can get surprised out here with some small red grouper that must be carefully released.

OFFSHORE: With west winds in the forecast early week……please be careful on your (questionable) trip offshore. First of all, if your searching for the annual red grouper harvest, the only reports that we have received indicate that you’ll need 80’ water depth to chance a run at take home grouper. 80’ means close to 40 miles offshore. Would recommend giving that passion a hold……as the air temperature drops we will see a correspondent drop in water temperature which will drive the red grouper closer inshore…….much more convenient to make a hour trip to a 60’ depth than a dangerous trip for an additional hour. But at those inside right now that are holding bait you can find good action on lane, mangrove and yellowtail snapper that can be worked with light tackle set up over a serious chum effort.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

November16th 2018 Fishing Report


CONDITIONS: This is a Holiday Week and the first caution is that it will be super busy on the water (with some dependency on the weather). The general fall chill down will continue and you will need that light jacket to fend off the mid 50’s to the low 60’s temperatures early morning. That will tend to dip the now 80 degrees water temperatures and think you’ll be looking at the low 70’s come late week…..especially in the mornings. These fluctuating water temperature changes are not radical enough to switch on the “cold water species invasion”. Now along with those substantive drops in temperature will come the gusty winds that coming late weekend will be doing twenty knots out of the east. That will upset the holiday week fishing applecart for those planning some nearshore or offshore trips. Could well get bouncy. To round out the fishing conditions you will face, the tides even though heading to a full moon late week will be moderate both ways and should enhance opportunity especially the backwater creeks and bays.

BACKWATER: The state of the water (fouled or clear) has become a dominant factor back here after we dealt with the devastating red tide and algae intrusions. So….happy to report that the water will be clean and fishable in most all backwater venues. Save the open water shallow spots where the gusty wind late week may stir up the clarity. Most all reports indicate that the “summer” fish are still quite active and thankfully more sizable than we experienced during those scorching summer days. Look for continued action on mangrove snapper on most all waterway edges with good tidal current flow working shrimp tight to bottom structure. Ditto on pompano in the Passes (all three) on the early incoming and late outgoing working tipped jigs tight to bottom on a tidal drift. Also might see some keeper size (12”O) sheepshead beginning to show along the Marco River docks and pilings and then along the connecting waterways. Trick here is shrimp to bottom on soft lift technique.

NEARSHORE: Positive point here….will get bouncy with the gusty winds in the Gulf proper late week but with the winds out of the east the first and second reefs will be in the lee and enjoy a little less vigorous sea conditions. There you will have a good chance on both lane and mangrove snapper working tipped weighted jigs just off the bottom post a good block chum effort. The chum will also draw pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, jacks etc) on the surface for some exciting action on flashy jigs on wire leader tipped with shrimp on a fast retrieve. If you can make it out to the Five Mile Reef area you could add the possibility of red and gag grouper action with most undersized and an exciting chance at a barracuda to the top water that will chase a artificial vinyl eel trolled quickly over the artificial reef mounts.

OFFSHORE: Caution to all on afternoon sea conditions…..could get rough. With colder water now dominant north of us (think Panhandle of Florida) the pelagic migration to wintering grounds in the Keys will pick up speed and we will see visits of kingfish, cobia, permit, tarpon and sharks to the deep wrecks and reefs that are holding bait. So this is the time to take the risk of fishing deep with live bait tethered in a good chum slick tight to a wreck or reef showing bait action on the finder. Insure you have the major rigs and ground tackle aboard for BIG action. On the way out and back, good idea to set a lookout visually scanning the area around the crab pots looking for what looks like a floating piece of paper in the water…..that’s likely a tripletail sunning. Double back and toss some tipped dark color jigs for some great action and delicious tablefare.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           tger

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

November 2nd 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: The continuing aspects of the welcome “changing of seasons” these last two weeks keeps the expectations of improved fishing results alive and well. This week we’ll experience our first fall cold front passage that will rile the weather up a tad but give us the first decline in water temperature so vastly needed to resurrect sustained good fishing here. The drop in water temperature is showing a low temperature in the mid 70’s as compared to circa 90 degrees some weeks back. That makes a major difference both in water quality and the feeding aggressiveness of the various species. Hopefully, we won’t experience the red tide and algae intrusion for some time to come. This week is also the change week for DST as we return to Standard Time with light filled mornings. Make sure you double check your tide predictions as the times double up over the weekend. The weather post frontal passage should be favorable with easterly winds and just a tad of rain intrusion over the weekend. All in all……would have to say that things are “looking up”.

BACKWATER: As the weather changes this week it will bring a different look and feel to the action. In the ranging backwaters here the summer favorites of mackerel, pompano, snapper and snook will be joined or replaced by the cold water piscatorial favorites of black drum, redfish, speckled sea trout and, of course, the legendary sheepshead. Although we have change in conditions, if the last 3/4 year pattern is repeated, it will take 4-6 weeks to reach stabilized low winter temperatures (Low 60’s). In the meantime should focus on the prolific redfish and the black drum now showing in good numbers all along the edges of Rookery Bay, Addison Bay (especially the section known as Upper Addison) and the creeks and shallows of Johnson Bay. Best for redfish is tight to the shallow mangrove overhangs with a whole shrimp on 4’ gossamer leader under a popper. The black drum (cousin of the redfish aka red drum) will be feeding on a 5-7’ location just off a deep cut in the current flow and take a small shrimp bait slowly mooched across the bottom on either tide.

NEARSHORE: Action is still focused on the summer residents….i.e. lane and mangrove snapper; mackerel and bluefish; occasionally, triggerfish, porgies and seatrout; seldom keeper grouper. The geographic channel just west of the Capri Channel is a top drawer location for the macks and blues working a flashy jig on a rapid retrieve tipped with shrimp in the top water over chum. Another spot for action on these pelagics is the John Dee wreck whose coordinates can be found on the “HOT SPOTS CHART” available at the marina and most tackle shops. The lane and mangrove snapper can be found most anywhere along the first and second reef artificial structure just off the beaches. Need chum again but set it deep to get to the bottom and then work the area with tipped weighed jigs just off the bottom.

OFFSHORE: Inquiries to several stone crabbers came back with…..” still seeing some dead floaters but better than two weeks ago”… a hopeful sign that the fouled water is dissipating. Deep wrecks that hold active bait should be seeing the retreating pelagics heading south to the Keys. Kingfish, cobia, permit, tarpon and sharks could show most any day and anywhere. For all you need livebait (blue runners, jacks, threadfin,  and pinfish) set out on heavy tackle in waters with a good chum slick going. This would be a good week for that action with the Panhandle water temps dipping into the low 60’s already. Other dominant action will be on tripletail energized to feed with all the crab pots now flooding the offshore waters. If sighted, throttle down and crawl back then work a simple shrimp rig or jig right to the pot. Good action and great table fare.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 26th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: We can dismiss all the chatter this week about hurricanes, red tide and green algae and direct our “conditions” attention to what will obviously be the first vestiges of our late fall arrival. Following the front that is passing through the southern part of the Paradise Coast as I put this article together, we will have the arrival of sixty degree mornings come early next week. That, folks, will tumble the water temperature, which is the key determinant as to what species of fish you’ll see hanging on your line very soon and then, for all the winter months ahead. We’ll spell the species changes and techniques out for you in the sector paragraphs that follow……weather change like this is A BIG EVENT here after we sweltered and ducked t-storms for the past five months. Associated with the change in air temperature, next week some final t-storms (hopefully) early weekend as the front finalizes and then the temp drop will kick in. Expect morning air temps of 60-62 late week. That will tumble the water temps to 72-74. The tides will be coming off a full moon, so hang on for some fast moving water especially in the incoming tide mornings. Lastly, you’ll face some gusty west winds before the weekend and then it will settle back easterly, but stay gusty for the balance of the week.

BACKWATER: Even at the beginning of the fall-winter cycle, you should see different action starting in these next two weeks and continuing through mid March. The most dominant change is the arrival and ultimately the dominance of the sheepshead feeding to prepare for the annual spawning cycle triggered by the falling water temperatures. At first the sheepshead will be small to medium size with a seldom few keepers (minimum size 12”) and that will morph to lots of BIG sheepshead as the spawning cycle matures. Quickly now, with more detailed catch techniques in later weeks……it’s a piece of shrimp, cut crab, or a morsel of shellfish on a lindy rig dropped to the bottom on structure (dock, piling, bottom structure) and with a repeated soft lift technique. The other winter favorite is the black drum which can be sizable at 18-23” it’s casting over soft bottom beside a drop off using the same baits but moving the bait ever so slowly across the bottom. Medium weight tackle is recommended. And you’ll also begin to see a pair of favorites in the deeper holes along the ICW and off the beaches where there is good current; the pair feed together i.e. the whiting and the silver trout. Both are fun to catch with the same lindy rig; are great on the table and there is no size limit. So, stay tuned in future weeks, we’ll be giving you more info on these three species along with other developments

NEARSHORE: As reported backwater, the water temperature dip will not only influence the activity nearshore but also the species showing up in the population. The species that invade this sector of the waters have been existing out deep for the summer months and with the reproduction urge awakened will transit from west to east thus passing through the area we label nearshore enroute. Look for sheepshead action in the nearshore reefs first as the vanguard moves to it’s spawning “ground”. Those same techniques sketchily explained in “backwater” will work out here also. Add that to the continuation of the good topwater pelagic fishing (mackerel, bluefish et al) and you see how your potential for a “good day” have been enhanced. All of that should advance this week and the weeks following in November.

OFFSHORE: Note on conditions here first…….be cautious over the weekend. We will have some residual west winds that can be gusty making the sea conditions bouncy and uncomfortable. That should ease nicely as we enter the week. The temperature drop out here has a tendency to move the cold water dwellers i.e. gag and red grouper closer inshore as that is the temperature progression. Those trips deep for grouper may be replaced with one’s a few miles closer inshore over hard bottom. Action on the wrecks and reefs will also show increased activity as the pelagics that summered in the Panhandle will be heading back to the warmer water south of us here……i.e. the reverse migration. And, finally, remember those thousands of stone crab pots that have floating markers that can attract those tripletail. Keep a lookout in transit and double back for some good action and some delicious eating.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 19th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Have to feel extremely sorry for the folks in those towns lining the Panhandle Coast. MICHAEL ended up as a “right angle hurricane” when the 140 mph winds roared directly in at them. Much different than the glancing blow we got from IRMA. Donate if you can to the organizations hard at work trying to help put lives back together. There was some question here as to what effect MICHAEL might have on our water quality and fishing here. I think NONE…..the distance is far too great and the forward speed too great which had it battering Georgia and Alabama within hours. We did have some spotty heavy rain here for periods that late week, but am told it did not trigger a massive release from Lake O……we’ll see ??? Our outlook this week looks promising with a gentle cool down in air temperatures which should start the early fall water temperature cool down……could see water temps dip below 80 this week. Elsewhere, we are forecasted to see a week of infrequent afternoon rain and winds dominant from the NE and SE with moderate speeds until the very end of the period. Tides will be passing through a full moon late week and have fairly balanced ebb and flood tides that should be productive both ways.

BACKWATER: Conditions should drive some good to very good fishing in the backwaters in and around Marco this week. As previously stated in prior week’s issues, there is mounting evidence that the red tide and algae intrusion up around Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach has driven the fish and the bait south along the coast. At least thus far in the run out of actual experiences, folks here are seeing a big difference in fishing action and, surprisingly, the addition of some rarely seen species showing up here in significant size and numbers. Best example of that is that we are seeing BIG flounder showing along the waterways (Rookery Bay, Hurricane Pass, Johnson Bay) mainly on the stronger periods of the incoming tide and taking a hunk of shrimp worked and bounced across the bottom. Had two reports of “flatties” in excess of 25”. In another anomaly …….there must be thousands of suspected hatchery produced undersized redfish working in large schools over shallower Bays along the ICW……several reports of catching (and releasing) 15” reds one after the other when you luck into a feeding school. All of that plus reported very good action on pompano in Hurricane and Capri Pass that has sustained bites over multiple hours. So where ever your favorite “honey hole” is don’t waste any time getting there this week……..who knows how along the bonanza will last.

NEARSHORE: First comment is that sea conditions, both sea surface and tidal flow should be excellent this week. The fishing here can be classified as good here but somewhat diminished as to what we’ve shared with you regarding the backwater. Still lots of topwater bait schools out here that are quick to attract pelagics i.e. mackerel, bluefish, a few little Tunney and scads of jacks and blue runners. With working tipped flashy jigs on wire leader into a chum slick can wear you out. Will be some take homes but most will be releasable jacks and runners. Deep action on the named reefs will be the best chance for a full “stringer”. Look to find snapper, some wandering mackerel and maybe even a small kingfish up top and the, old favorite, lane and mangrove snapper deep on weighted jigs under chum. Could even see some “big stuff” here i.e. grouper, small sharks taking larger cut baits.

OFFSHORE: Reports this week on the first harvest of stone crabs is quite disappointing with one major commercial boat harvesting just 30 lbs of claws after working 450 traps. Kind of suspect that there is still an “issue with re tide and algae deep caused by the dominant east wind pattern and the outflow from MICHAEL. But, there are still some interesting reports of fair to good reef and wreck fishing where there are schools of bait resident with good tidal flow. And this is the time the southbound migration of pelagics kicks in as the water chills……so all could turn around in an instant…….be ready.