Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

January 12th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: As we slide into this second weekend of the New Year and it gets a tad warmer, don’t be dissuaded with the token weather respite…..we have more cold and wind headed our way post weekend that will chill us back down and slow the lunge to the water by our anglers. Weekend will be pleasant then cold temperatures and riled water forecast for three days. As you probably guessed the steady dose of cold has plummeted the water temp. At early morning a couple of days back, we recorded a water temp that varied between 58 and 60. That’s in contrast a couple weeks back when we were in the balmy high 60’s that stretched to just over 70. Winds will be an issue also as we chill down post weekend……look for NE winds in the teens with gusts well into the 20’s. The tides are heading to a new moon late week and have moderately strong morning incoming and a weak early afternoon outgoing.

BACKWATER: We talked last week about the possibility that those 50 degree water temperatures could trigger the spawning migration of the mature sheepshead…….well, sorry to say that didn’t happen. On two trips this past week, it was the same old, same old aggressive sheepshead runts. Good way to empty your bait well but not much heading to the table. But that’s fishing………we did see some nice take home spec trout up along the Keeywadin docks and the edges of Sea Oat island on the eastern edges of Hurricane Pass. They fell for touts tipped with shrimp and worked in the 4-6’ bottom creases where they is some remaining seagrass bottom. And while trying some of those deeper depressions for sheepshead we did latch on to a couple smaller black drum that jumped on the cut shrimp intended for the absentee sheepshead. Your other cold water opportunity will be on silver trout and whiting…….just off the beaches where there is good water flow….. the outgoing tide seems to top the incoming for action on these two specie

NEARSHORE: Watch the wind early week, it will kick up some strenuous sea conditions. Morning incoming late week should be ideal for set up at the Walton Reef just off Caxambas working the bottom for (hopefully) sheepshead of size not ready to take the plunge inshore just yet. This reef LARGE and holds all kinds of bait which in turn draw your targets…..lane and mangrove snapper / sheepshead (again, hopefully) gag grouper (live bait worked 10-15’ above the bottom structure as well as triggerfish, trout and an occasional whiting and sea trout. The morning incoming tide will be the stronger of the two and that should line up with fairly reasonable sea conditions. Don’t neglect those large reefs off the Marriott that can hold action even in poor conditions.

OFFSHORE: Ditto on keeping an eye out on developing conditions early week. Need a fairly long run (20+ miles) due west and honing in on hard bottom patches for potential red grouper action. And you may need to inch a little further west to get sustained big grouper action. For reds, the technique is to soak a live pinfish or cut ladyfish tight to the bottom outcroppings on a tidal propelled drift. Keep the drag tight to prevent the red from nailing your bait and then heading back into their lair and cut you off. Closer in wrecks and some reefs for nice size yellowtail snapper that will school up in a nicely maintained chum effort. Slip a tad of the chum on a #6 small hook and freeline the offering right into the slick. Yellowtail hit like a ton of bricks and run before swallowing the bait. So keep the bail open for 15-20 seconds then flip it down and hang on.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

January 5th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: While the midsection of the country froze to death over the New Year it was rather pleasant here until NOW. That front that passed through a couple of afternoons back it going to have us playing make up COLD here this week. Expect to see morning temperatures this week in the low 40’s and then inching up late afternoons to the low 60’s….and then as the cold spell passes on, look out for gusty winds that will rock and roll waters through late week. Will be, overall, a tough week of fishing conditions that will take some effort and precise scheduling to hit the water at the right time. You can look for the water temperature to tank late week and gradually recover in the remainder of the week. At it’s low point the water temp should drop to the low 60’s and then gradually inch back up to the upper 60’s by week end. But watch out for water clarity issues…those late afternoon westerly winds will quickly turn the water to Starbucks caffe latte.

BACKWATER: But in all this cold water mayhem this week there may be a silver lining…….in some years past, the sudden drop in the water temperature (as expected this week) will suddenly trigger the pent-up spawning sheepshead action to take action and they will stream inshore to do their thing. So, hope springs eternal, and just maybe we’ll get a late Christmas gift. If so, work those deeper spots along the Marco River / Collier Creek and onward along the northbound ICW for sheepshead action, that may now include a parcel of these good eating fish that you can take home. Technique (as repeated) is with a small tad of fresh shrimp on a small hook work a bait vertically on a soft lift technique…..feel the nudge and lift, setting the hook on the lift and crank ‘em aboard. Other action has been showing increasing activity on spec trout along the edges of the ICW’s Calhoun Channel in 4-6’ of water over seagrass with best on incoming tide working a small tipped jig or a whole medium size shrimp under a popper on a drift over seagrass beds. Trout have to be a minimum of 15” O for harvest and with a upper limit of 20”. Black drum also are starting to show in more frequency. Looks like the sheepshead with silver and black vertical stripes but with no teeth and a distinctively different dorsal fin. Great fight and size / cousin of the redfish (red drum) / great table fare blackened. They will show in the same waters and conditions as the sheepshead.

NEARSHORE: Watch mid to late week sea conditions. If viable, working those first and second reef lines off the beaches can produce some of those size desireable sheepshead making the move inshore but holding on cool water reefs nearshore. Work them with the vertical lift technique with a tad of shrimp or cut crab as their enticement. Hopefully there will be size there this “cool down” coming week. Other activity in this venue will be early morning action on pelagics racing through the near offshore bait lines of sardines/ threadfins and falling for your well presented tipped top water jig worked in chum. Good shot here for some mackerel and bluefish early morning.

OFFSHORE: Just keep an eye on conditions this week. Rough seas aren’t the answer for good fishing. Early or late week should be the targets when the the tough conditions abate. Deep (65-70’) hard bottom should be a productive arena for red and some gag grouper. Reds will be tight to the bottom structure and jumping on a live pinfish or cut ladyfish strips worked close to the bottom outcroppings on a tide inducted western drift. Need stout tackle with drags set tight to prevent the reds from ducking back into their favorite lair after being hooked. Gag grouper will off off the bottom by 10-15’ and working the higher reef surfaces. Can use the same bait bit keep them moving in the higher current flow. A little closer in, on the wrecks and artificial reefs, there has been some significant yellowtail snapper action even as the water chills down. Set up on wreck / reef and work chum first and then deploy small tads of chum freelined on #6 hooks into the slick with the bail open. Yellowtail will take bait and run…..wait and close the bait and set. Great fight and better table fare.