CONDITIONS: Been a nerve wracking news week for anyone here to partake in ocean water activity. Local news articles have painted a bleak picture as to the harmful effects of the green algae infusion being caused by fouled water release from Lake Okeechobee. Although most of the news of “bad water” is confined to the Caloosahatchee River and it’s environs, there is always the threat that the condition could leach south. But for it to confront the Naples / Marco Island area is a long shot and will be the subject of careful monitoring here. Interestingly, the condition we face here is the red tide, which is far less serious malady producing respiratory irritation in humans but having some impact on wildlife. Been on the water three times this week and see a diminishing effect here. Hopefully that will continue and sportfishing will recover from the minor impact. To the other CONDITIONS……Will be another hot week but with very little sustained rain…..just some short severe t-storms widely spread. The winds will hold generally easterly in the mornings and gust up a bit and tend out of the southeast especially around storm cells. That overbearing mid-day heat will drive the water temperature to 90 degrees this week. And finally, the tides will be driven by a mid-week full moon resulting in some strong PM outgoing tides through early week.
BACKWATER. Same major advice as last week…….go early / quit before noon / work the brisk moderate tides. The “summer size” mangrove snapper are beginning to be seen quite regularly now. A 12” mangrove will produce two nice size dinner filets. If you’re lucky enough to land a couple of these prize size fish…..stay on the spot. Snapper school by size. Work half shrimp or whole smaller shrimp on a 1/4 oz jig head into moving bottom structure and keep motion in the offering (not a retrieve). Good venues are Rookery Bay, Addison and Upper Addison Bays, Johnson Bay and Hurricane Pass. In some of the deeper cuts on either tide, where the water is clean and moving, working the same bait on long cast and slow retrieve can draw pompano, small permit and Spanish mackerel as well as jacks.
NEARSHORE: Sea conditions nearshore could be touch and go for most of the week with the exception of the weekend afternoons with a super strong outgoing current. Mackerel are still the primary target with best activity showing along the sunken barges lining Capri Pass 2 miles out. Chum will draw the mackerel as well as other pelagics on “the feed” in that area. A tipped jig on wire with a half shrimp bait should do the trick in producing fast, fun action. Good chance that you’ll see some small sharks in the slick and, if so, hook up a weighted fresh bait and get it down close to the bottom admidst the chum slick. Blacktip sharks are fun to catch and are great table fare. Elsewhere there is good varied species action on the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass. Work the surface for mackerel et al and drop some bottom rigs a couple feet above the reef structure for lane and mangrove snapper.
OFFSHORE: Ditto on flat sea conditions. Although there almost no rain in the forecast and this is summer in the sub-tropics and anything can pop up most anytime. Hopefully you have access to weather info on board. Deep runs to the wrecks that hold bait are delivering nice kingfish action as well as scattered cobia surface action. Look for wrecks that are holding bait and work a thread herring or blue runner on wire under a float in a good tide chum slick for the kings. The cobia will find you as they seek out the source of the slick and commotion. You’ll need to have a thread herring all rigged and ready to go as the cobia will show on the surface. And although a bit of a long haul, the USAF towers SW of the island are magnets for permit action. Ticket is small live crabs worked freelined in a serious chum slick. Have a rig with fast retrieve as you’ll have to beat the Goliaths that covet your catch.