CONDITIONS: Wish I could predict better weather news BUT it looks like the exhausting red tide is going to be with us for just a little while longer. The FWC (Florida Wildlife Commission ….my fwc.com) presents a weekly update of water samples taken from Cape Romano all the way to Northern Lee County. That now regularly shows a red tide presence on Marco in the LOW category. Contrastingly North Naples is MODERATE and Estero to Sanibel is MODERATE to HIGH…….so be glad we’re are the bottom of the Red Totum Pole. This RT event has been hanging on much longer than usual. Probable cause: the pesticide / fertilizer outflow continuing from the BIG SUGAR releases from Lake O. We’ll have to wait it out: Technique: work the outgoing tides which seem to send the red spores back to the Gulf: Stay away from domains that are void of surface bait; and keep moving. Otherwise in the weather domain looks like a superheated week (again) with three digit real feels; light winds and only late day t-storms. Of note however is the “raging” mid-day outgoing tide off the recent new moon that will drive ebb tides over the 4’ range early week. Check your tide tables. Will be a tough time to shoot for anything in currents of that speed. Lastly, look for water temps now holding to a storm dangerous level of 87 to 89 most every day.
BACKWATER. Been personally experiencing and getting reports on action emanating much better on the faster moving outgoing waters this week. Seems as if the fish are waiting for the of scooting and cleansing outgoing tide and then feeding. Good places to look would be the Johnson Bay creeks and the main channel pouring out of Rookery Bay. There work a weighted jog head with shrimp attached into the outgoing tide points……getting to the bottom for snapper and in the upper half current flow for pelagics (Mackerel, jacks, small permit and pompano. Then there is the edge fishery that continues to provide seasonal larger mangrove snapper. Places like Hurricane Pass and the Keeywadin docks continue to provide nice “take home” results on snapper now in the 11-12” category working a simple 1/2oz jig head tipped with the back end of a shrimp. Lastly, always a chance of a pompano invasion on the first hour of incoming tide with clear water in Capri, Hurricane and Caxambas Passes working a tad of shrimp on a feathered jig tight to the bottom on a drift
NEARSHORE: Just off the beaches, still have the probability that the red tide spore is at work. Examine the water surface coloration carefully…….exit any areas that show the irregular water coloration and hone in on cleaner water spots…….your nearshore targets should be doing the exact same thing. Cleaner water will draw and hold bait and the target fish nearshore will quickly follow. Most days the pelagics (mackerel and bluefish et al) are chowing down on displaced bait schools thus your quest is to find these action areas. On the First and Second Reefs the giveaway culprit will be the gulls and pelicans hovering and diving on bait. Set up on the show with a good chum slick and them draw the action to weighted tipped jigs worked into a mild chum effort. On the same locales, you will now find drawable bottom action on 3-4’ blacktip sharks by working a fresh cut bait tight to the bottom under a moderate chum effort. Make sure everything you put out for slaughter is rigged on wire…..sharks are toothy.
OFFSHORE: Surface conditions out here this week should be marvelous camera targets. Flat and clear to say the least. The long run out past the enduring home of the undersized red grouper would be in play. Try the super-long run to 70-75’ foot depths due west the Island and deploy a live threadfin or pinfish tight to the hard bottom on a good tidal period, either in or out on a tidal drift. Move west till you see sizes north of the 20” capturable size. A little closer in and working the many deep water wrecks and reefs will provide good sustained action of yellowtail snapper working a reef with loads of bait with freelined tad pieces of chum into a slick of the same. Unique action where you leave the bail open and post strike and yellowtail runoff, you set the strike with closing the bail with bail closure. For many, yellowtail, are the filet mignon of the seafood world.