Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 27th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Trend looks like we’re finally moving away from the water damaging west winds this week. That will present a significant improvement in water clarity in all three fishing sectors. Winds this week are dominant E and NE albeit with still some afternoon gusty periods but nothing like what we faced in late March and early April. The water temperatures continue to creep up with stable air temperatures and the absence of deluge cooling rains with have an immediate  “cooling” effect on the necessary warm temperatures to draw and hold our spring and early summer species here. Look for the water to hover in the high seventies all week. In fact, we should be devoid of rain of the forecast of one late morning period of rain on Saturday is accurate.Tides both ways will be charged up just a bit as we experience a full moon on Sunday. Both ebb and flood tide strengths will be about the same and definitely fishable.

BACKWATER: This domain will have the most appreciable benefit from the anticipated clean water…….and just in time as we welcome one of the prime fishing months here. Snook will be one of the prime attractions as they feed up pre-spawn BUT their limited harvest season ends of May 1 and is closed until September 1. Look for them along the beaches from Kice Island northward. Primary bait are pilchards worked just beyond the surf line. They will also be active all along the backwater spots like Rookery and Johnson Bay holding on shallower current edges with best on incoming. The clean water will also present an opportunity for the seasonal pelagics (mackerel / bluefish / little tunny) to invade the three Passes on the stronger morning incoming tides and taking tipped jigs. Keep and eye open for bird action which is the giveaway of their presence and location. While in that domain, don’t neglect the fact that the pompano also thrive in these conditions. Every once in awhile, while on your drift switch over to weighted bottom rigs bounced just off the bottom. In the deeper backwaters, it will be the month that the snapper size kicks in and you should see some 11-13” mangrove snapper along most of the mangrove edges…….worked with small whole shrimp.

NEARSHORE: We’ll focus here on both backwater and coastal tarpon action here. This is their month ! They will be transiting up from the Keys and invading through the Coon Key Pass and Marco River and up around Cape Romano and then northbound along the inshore waters heading north. Two most used spots for tarpon action are, first, the north edges of the Marco River between the entrance to Tarpon Bay and the La Penisula complex and, secondly, the south edges of the Capri Channel out to #R3 marker. Most successful bait on the tarpon has been the back end of a cut catfish. Try not to use chum as it will attract the big sharks that accompany the tarpon herd north. Best times are the first part of the incoming tide in early morning (exactly the conditions this week). Elsewhere in the nearshore, you have mackerel et al action on the Capri Pass barges. Improving bottom action on snapper along the first and second reef spots and some migrating pelagic action (kings) on the Five Reef corners.

OFFSHORE: Should be one of the better weeks out here. Winds aren’t shut down but are of lighter velocity and out of the east quadrant which should keep the sea conditions and water quality top notch out here. The inside reefs (8-12 miles) have good snapper, both lane and mangrove varieties providing good action in harvestable sizes working tipped weighted jigs just off the bottom under a moderate chum effort. The activity and chum will usually draw concurrent action on mackerel and bluefish in the top waters. The deep wrecks are seeing the first of pelagic migration action on kingfish and some cobia and sharks working live runners on wire leader set out under a float set and 10-15’ under chum. Deep / deep action on the 70+ feet water hard bottom is still producing a reasonable activity level on red grouper working a live pinfish on a drift tight to the bottom.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 20th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: First week in awhile that we show periodic rain events…..shows that spring is really here. Should not influence the fishing opportunity as the they are forecast to be scattered showers. The overall air temperatures continue to climb and afternoons will be on the  toasty high eighties. The water temperatures follow and will show in the mid seventies and rising. Problem issue this past week was the muddy water churned up by that strong west wind post weekend. Will take some time for that episode to totally clear but should improve quickly with the placid winds forecast this week. The tides are favorable this week with a mild early morning outgoing followed up by a bit stronger afternoon incoming. And that movement will also help clear the cloudy tidal conditions.

BACKWATER: Look for water clarity conditions to clear rapidly as things settle down after the weekend “blow”. As the water clears you’ll want to explore the possibility of the pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, little tunny) re-entering the Passes and feeding especially on the late morning incoming tides. Working them with tipped flashy jigs pulled quickly should provide some exciting action. Off the faster moving water in the first and last hours of that same incoming tide might find some pompano feeding in the shallower regions. Pomps will take a tipped jig worked off the bottom. In the more remote backwaters, there is good snook action as the water warms, in venues like Johnson and Rookery Bays working pilchards, post shower, right into the shallower current flow edges on the early morning incoming tide. Most of the snook yet are the smaller juveniles so take care on release. The bigger snook will show more actively as the water warms in the months ahead. Best target now will be the improving size of the mangrove snapper showing along most of the mangrove edges and jumping on fresh shrimp baits worked into and under mangrove edge structure.

NEARSHORE: This should be a banner week for pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, jacks and little tunny) nearshore with cleaner water and no storms. Good starting points would be the barges just off the Capri Channel out to the Sea Buoy and the reefs off the Marco hotels known as the “First Reef”.Both of these locales will have bait schools that draw and hold the predators . Set up with a chum effort flowing into the structure and working tipped jigs up near the surface with a fast retrieve. Once action starts it will be consistent as long as the chum lasts. If the little tinny show, might want to upgrade the tackle and switch over to cut bait. Fresh mackerel will do just fine. Bottom action for snapper awaits at both the Walton Reef located off Caxambas Pass and the Marco Five Mile Reef. Here, you’ll want to work weighted jigs tipped with shrimp just off the bottom under a deep set chum effort.  Chances now are excellent for a nice take of both lane and mangrove snapper as the water warms and bait schools hold in these spots.

OFFSHORE: Wind and sea conditions are favorable if you want to chance that long run for red grouper. Long haul to the hard bottom 30+ miles west but well worth the effort for a crew that can get into harvestable red grouper. Need a bait well with live pinfish, some stout tackle and a good tide …….and all of that should be available this week. Elsewhere out here, the closer in wrecks that are holding bait are excellent spots to work for yellowtail snapper. Unique method of catching these delectable fish……..set up with serious chum effort and then freeline pieces of the chum itself with no weight into the slick with the bail open on your reel. The snapper will take the bit and run like the devil, swallowing as they go,……..count to ten and close the bail and hang on. Great fight and even better on the table.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 13th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Interesting weather week ahead. Air temperatures stay about the same with 64 to 75 degree morning temperatures escalating to steamy mid 80 afternoons. That will continue to drive the water temperatures northward and they will hover in the mid 70’s all week. But, the interesting part of the weather week is the burst of predicted windy periods over the weekend into early week. The event will start on Saturday emanating out of the E/SE and range from 12 to 21 knots and then switch W/NW from 13-18 knots. I’m sure that activity will churn up the water clarity and impact, especially, the backwater fishing quality. In addition the tides do through a new moon phase on Monday and the PM outgoing will be particularly strong through the balance of the week. The morning incoming is average and is fading late week. And to top it all off, we still have some “fading” vestiges of the red tide in our midst that effects anglers as well as their targets.

BACKWATER:  As mentioned in the Conditions section above, there will be a downturn in backwater conditions starting over the weekend, basically from deteriorating water quality with the accelerating wind periods. Might want to focus your activity away from the Passes and major current flows as you fish this weekend…..at best, water should be murky. The mackerel action that has been heating up very nicely this past week will most probably move west and be confined to the 20-30’ ranges nearshore. Backwater action will be centered in the Bays and creeks off the main Marco River waterflow. Look for Addison Bay and it’s associated creeks and cuts to have decidedly cleaner water and producing action on the mangrove snapper, sea trout and, hopefully, black drum. There are still a few sheepshead lunkers around but most of that species action is in the smaller and hungry midgets. Also good chance now to catch some early spring snook and redfish action in the cleaner creeks and bays with good water flow like Johnson Bay, Rookery Bay, Henderson flats and along the northern edges and creeks of the ICW north of Marker #G33.

NEARSHORE: If you can get past the choppy conditions here come weekend to early week should have cleaner water than back inside and some sustaining mackerel / bluefish action. Spots like the Capri barges, the first and second reefs and the Walton and Five Mile Reef should be positioned to provide good action. Primary now is the snapper action, both lane and mangrove, working weighted jig heads tipped with shrimp just off the bottom under a good chum effort. Mackerel and bluefish could very well show up in the top waters on the same venues…..if so lighten up the rigs and work the surface with quickly moving baits. Also a chance as the weather warms to see some migrating pelagics show up on the inside reefs searching for food (bait schools)……recommend you keep a live bait (pinfish, thread or small blue runner) on wire 10-15’ depth in the chum …….you never know what might show. Make sure you have the bait on a major rod with good strength line.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            OFFSHORE: Ditto on sea conditions out here. Water will be cleaner and you could have good to excellent action on wrecks and reefs from ten miles on out. Reports on bottom action here on snapper, primarily, have been excellent. Good size mangrove and lane action starts on structure as close in as ten miles. Need a good chum slick and weighted tipped jigs or jig heads worked just a foot or two off the bottom. And always a chance here for grouper action but recognize, at these depths, most grouper action will be reds and underside. Always fun to catch but nothing for dinner!. Last call for tripletail……if the stone crab marker buoys haven’t already been pulled they will be this week. If you happen across an unpulled trap line, set a lookout and look for the floating TT on the surface sunning. Cut power, double back and work with a tipped dark colored jig right up on the surface.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 6th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Coming week holds pleasant weather……a pattern of 65-70 degree morning wake ups and mid eighty late afternoons. No rain predicted. Winds predominately out of the SE ……calm mornings and afternoons with typical late day gusty periods. And all of that NICE is setting in the middle of a worsening red tide event here. Evidence is apparent in the choking / tickling cough that erupts when you are near to spraying gulf water (boat wake, aerator,). However the severity level seemingly has not elevated or we would see floating dead fish just about everywhere.But definitely an irritant…..and we don’t know what effect this has on the fishing quality! Back to the conditions……the tide will definitely be a factor this period….the morning outgoing tides through Monday are virtually non-existant and the afternoon incomings are not much better. The water temperature continues to inch up and expect it to hold in the range of 72 to 74.

BACKWATER: Spring is beginning to show fairly well in the backwaters as evidenced by the steady activity of the Spanish Mackerel. Pattern of activity is consistent; in the Passes they will show as the incoming tides take hold and feed ferociously both deep and chasing bait schools up to the surface. Work them with tipped flashy jigs rigged on wire leader on a very fast jigging motion as you retrieve. Alternatively, you can troll with those jigs or flashy spoons at about 4 knots on a perimeter of the bait eruption sites. Elsewhere, we are beginning to see other signs of piscatorial spring…… flounder are showing up is shallow water areas that have a sandy base and are easily catchable with shrimp or cut crab bounced along the bottom on a drift. Also, beginning to see the bigger mangrove snapper showing on shallower current points and will be active on either tide. Snapper will be super active on a shrimp tail worked on a jig head with the optimum period for the bigger snapper will be an hour before and after slack water…….when the faster tides slow down. The snook activity is also accelerating with lots of juveniles working the faster current points in spots like Rookery Bay flats and Johnson Bay creeks. The snook are almost exclusively taking live pilchards after being teased with a shower of same.

NEARSHORE: With winds and storms well under control this period nearshore will be comfortably accessible. Look for the same mackerel as described for the backwater to be taking place on both the first reef spots as well as the “barges” that line Capri Pass. Birds activity will be the key to the mackerel (and bluefish) presence. Can work with working chum anchored up current of structure with tipped jigs on wire or on a troll towing a flashy artificial on the perimeters of the numerous bait eruptions. Snook will be showing late period in the afternoons along the beaches on that faster incoming and taking live bait worked just outside the surf line. Look for lane and mangrove snapper on the Walton Reef and the Five Mile on both tides where there is good water flow. Best here is working weighted tipped jigs under a good chum effort.

OFFSHORE: Ditto on conditions out here. Great chance for a comfortable and safe long run deep for the treasured red grouper. Need 70+ feet of water minimum showing a hard bottom and working a live pinfish, sand perch or cut ladyfish tight to the bottom outcroppings on a tidal drift. Need to ratchet down the drag of the major tackle to keep the hooked and fleeting grouper from reaching his lair…….for his survival and your disappointment. You can catch red grouper from 45-50’ going west but you’re chances on landing a 20” keeper are almost impossible. There are gag grouper on either spots but the species is closed for retention until June 1 this year. The mid range wrecks (10-20 miles) that hold bait are seeing the arrival of smaller kings and even a few cobia as the migration from the Keys to the Upper Gulf begins. Set up with small runners on wire leader under chum for the kings and be ready with live bait at the ready for casting to surface cruising cobia. Last point: stone crab traps will all be pulled by 4/15 and there goes your target points for tripletail……take advantage of the good weather this week and get out there.