Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

May 25th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: The rain that we all hoped would grow the grass and put out the smoky brush fires just won’t quit……and we have more coming this next week but the forecasts are showing it lets up just a tad by the month end. All that fresh water has an effect on the fishing. The fresh water intrusion not only changes the salinity level in seawater big time but adds to the murkiness of the water quality and and, sadly, helps the growth of algae that fouls your tackle, especially in the backwaters and chases the feeding fish to cleaner climes. So….enough is enough !! Hopefully, we’ll see a more standard June with the standard fare of the east to west late afternoon rather compact T-storms coming our way from the Glades…….cooling us down and then vanishing before sundown. Overarching item continues to be the presence of the red tide bloom in waters. Reports show it is considered “mild” off our coast but gets serious up around Bonita Springs. For this coming week, we have two post weekend days showing some significant rain mixed in with 20 kt winds…..after that we’re clear to the first June weekend. The water temp keeps yo-yoing back and forth with the daily dose of stormwater…..runs mid 70’s to low 80’s depending on your depth. And finally, we will have another moon cycle to deal with…..Full moon late week with stronger PM outgoing tides to add to the tough fishing factors you will face this coming week.

BACKWATER: Many who scheduled fishing charters for the last couple weeks have either postponed or cancelled scheduled trips as you might suspect with the weather and associated T-storms. But from what we could glean it looks like we still have fair to good snook action out along the beaches from Cape Romano north through Caxambas Pass and on up to the north end of Keeywadin Island. Bait is scarce in some places so look for the surface shimmer that is the give-away for pilchards and sardines…….they will draw the snook action. Best action spots seem to be in Bays and waterways with mild tidal flow that staves off the surge of fresh water and hints of red tide. Spots like Johnson Bay and the flats area of Rookery Bay seem to be producing best. Hot species continues to be the mangrove snapper that are feeding all along the mangrove edges that will jump on a shrimp presented on a jig head tight to structure. Spots like the small feeder creeks in Addison Bay are showing good size black drum now occupying the lairs of the vacating big sheepshead and also taking shrimp worked slowly across the bottom.

NEARSHORE: As May ends the tarpon that moved through the Marco waters are heading for the annual gathering at Boca Grande as they move north. We had some tarpon action here along the west edges of the Keeywadin flats reef but comparatively slow as comparison to prior years. Still a chance to get a straggler along the Gulf edges on cut catfish but is a long shot. The pelagics,,,,,,mackerel / bluefish / some little tunny that occupy the slightly less effected (i.e. clarity / salinity) deeper set reefs and wrecks. Work those spots with a good chum effort followed by working fast retrieved flashy jigs just below the surface. The little tunny will fall for a live or fresh cut bait worked on light wire in the slick. And the mangrove snapper are out here as well with the Five Mile Reef one of their favorite hangouts….a tipped weighted jig worked a foot to two off the bottom is the favorite.

OFFSHORE: The water cleans and is less susceptible to taint as you move deeper and west……should have flat water out here this week with the exception being a couple days post weekend. Wrecks in the 20-25 mile range that have working bait schools are havens for migrating pelagics i.e. kingfish, cobia, permit among others. Live bait (blue runners / threadfin herring) worked on clear leader in a good chum effort should garner results. Have a couple reports that the coveted keeper size red grouper are inching east and can be worked with a live pinfish worked tight to hard bottom on a tidal drift. Start your drift in 55-60 feet and work west with the stronger afternoon outgoing tide.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

May 11th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: As we move into the middle of the month, the two dominant weather factors here, effecting our fishing, are heat and water quality. The water temperature, as driven by 90 degree air temperature afternoons, is climbing into the 80-85 degree range consistently. Result: increased potential for storm conditions albeit mostly isolated t-storms but the long range potential for tropical system development here in the SW quadrant of the Gulf is way too early. The water quality issue of red tide presence is most likely enhanced by the abnormally high water temperature. Those red tide levels, as identified by authorities, for our Marco area is LOW along the beaches this week but measured as MODERATE north of the island from the shore and reaching inland to Rookery Bay. In the general weekly weather predictions, the week is generally rain free with just a few brief stormy periods; the wind holds easterly and moderate until mid week with some afternoon gusty periods. The tides are anticipating a new moon early week which will drive some super strong afternoon outgoing water flows.

BACKWATER: Think snook ! First….remember the harvest for snook is CLOSED until September and rightly so. The snook are is spawning mode; love the heated water and this is their nirvana for feeding heavily. And that nice early first light incoming tide along the beaches should show good to excellent action working live bait just west of the surf break. As the morning rolls on, they will be working the current points along the mangrove edges as well as structure (docks, piers). Please use circle hooks exclusively to enhance a safe and quick release. The mangrove snapper, to good size, love these conditions and will be feeding heavily along most all mangrove edges and structure. They will feed on both tides and the larger fish will show in the slower water periods i.e. an hour on either side of the tide change (slack water). Usual bait for the snapper is fresh shrimp but they will jump on all live bait correctly presented as well. Look for deeper backwater action on sea trout and species like black drum in the creeks and cuts in Rookery and Johnson Bay, on either tide, working cut bait along the bottom where there are varying depths and  ample structure.

NEARSHORE: Thus far, this has not been a robust tarpon season here. Get reports of some action in the Passes and associated inland waterways but not the “barn burner” we have experienced in past years. But still worth a shot as the season here has historically run through the third week of May. Back half of a cut catfish for bait and no chum (to avoid sharks). The mackerel and companion bluefish and jacks are holding out along the nearshore reef spots and barges and provide good exciting action. Key is locating bait schools and then commence a good chum effort, giving 15-20 minutes for it to work and then get small tipped jigs on light wire leader cast into the current with a rapid retrieve. Stay up in the top layer of water to avoid the legions of blue runners feeding below. Good bottom fish action on snapper, both lane and mangrove, reported on the corners of the Five Mile reef as well the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass with AM incoming best.

OFFSHORE: With virtually no forecast of storms and reasonable wind, good week to head out here. Just one caution……some gusty wind periods in the afternoons will make the mornings the better choice here for action as well as creature comfort. Beginning to see the vanguard of the pelagic migration show up on the deeper reefs and wrecks that are holding bait schools. Expect to see kingfish (king mackerel), cobia, sharks and, on some spots, barracuda. All can be had working live bait (blue runner best) under a good chum effort and the cobia, which will show on the surface, on a deft cast of a live threadfin right at them. The closer in reefs SW of the island are producing nice catches of lane and mangrove snapper working weighted jigs under a good chum effort.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

May 4th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: As we ease into May, arguably our best fishing month here, we will face shifting conditions…..first and foremost there are very few and spotty storm periods for the week. The dominant wind will be out of the more favorable east which will tend to keep the water relatively clean. But there are a couple of days post weekend that might provide a uncomfortable gusty wind. Forecast to be out of the NNW from Monday afternoon through nightfall on Tuesday. Good chance that could gum up the fishing into late week. The tides are off a waning moon and are remarkably weak, both ways, through late Tuesday. All of the tidal predictions on that period show less than a one foot movement in the circa six hour tides. The water temperature continues to climb as we have lots of sum and little fresh water intrusion. Range for water temps this week will go from 80 to 83 depending on the depth of water you’re fishing.

BACKWATER: This month, by far, is the best fishing month for snook. They are in or preparing for their spawning cycle AND THE HARVEST IS CLOSED FOR GOOD REASON. Early morning high water, albeit weak tides, will provide good snook action along the beaches from Cape Romano (Kice Island) all the way to Naples. Working live pilchards / sardines just outside the “breakers” should deliver some good to excellent action. Want to use circle hooks now and handle the release with wetted cloths. The other good news is that the mangrove snapper, which is the summer staple here, are showing up in respectable sizes all along the mangrove edges from Johnson Bay east to Addison Bay and then north to Rookery Bay and the adjacent Hurricane Pass. Whole small shrimp are the best attractant here worked tight to downed tree limbs on either tide. Best timing on faster tides (not this week) is to first the first and last hour of the tides…either way. There is limited tarpon action beginning to show along the Marco River and extending out into the Capri Channel west of Sea Oat Island. Best to work the incoming tide with the aft portion of a cut catfish worked along a drop off. In the deeper backwaters where there is some depth look for black drum working shrimp tight to the bottom in reasonably good current flow – either tide.

NEARSHORE: Action choices here include the good chance for tarpon action along the northern edges of Capri Channel from La Penisula to Marker #R3 working cut catfish in current tight to the drop off. Incoming usually best but that could be a problem until late week with such weak tides. Anchor short with a float at the bitter end…..need to weigh anchor and go with your catch if you’re into action. Bigger sharks will be in the tarpon flow. Recommend you don’t use chum. Action on nice size mackerel schools continue just west of the Sea Buoy and the Capri Barge wrecks. here you’ll want to get some chum in the water and work flashy tipped jigs up on the surface going with the tidal flow. In addition to the macks there is a good chance for both bluefish and little tunny (like bonito) in the action pool.

OFFSHORE: Favorable conditions deep with the exception of late Monday through Wednesday morning……wind will churn up the sea conditions. Inside wrecks and reefs now showing northbound pelagics (kingfish, some cobia and permit) on either tide working bait schools. Kings are the most numerous and aggressive now and can we worked with a live blue runner on wire leader set out at 15’ under a float and surrounded by a good chum effort. The cobia have a much different attack pattern. They will arrive on the surface and hover at shallow depths and jump on a thread herring cast shallow as they cruise the surface. And lastly, the permit will show on or near the surface and go for a small blue claw crab worked up close to the surface.  Smaller wrecks and artificial reefs are holding nice size lane and mangrove snapper. Work with s good chum effort and weighted jigs tipped with cut bait worked a foot or two off structure.