Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

July 27th 2018 Fishing Report

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.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

July 20th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Looks like we have a fading red tide….. still some evidence around especially when you have a spray from a boat wake or from an aerator. Hopefully we’ll have it totally gone as soon as possible. Otherwise the water is generally clear but hot……recorded 90 degree surface temperatures in the backwaters earlier this week. That is an unusually high temperature in mid-July. Could be an issue later this summer when the tropical storm system gets full bore. In the day-to-day measurements, the conditions are rather stable with predictable tide patterns and standard summer tropical weather i.e. everyday approaching storm weather from the east with lots of black sky and thunder. Sometimes it makes it here to the coast but most days it fades as it approaches the scorching hot water. This week we have a full moon late week and the tides will be accentuating strength with tides at week end in the 2-3 foot range both ways. The winds, thankfully stay placid with weak morning breezes and and mild westerly winds come early afternoon. The water temperature is well above what we’re used to here with the boat thermometer yesterday registering a 90 degree reading early afternoon. Bottom line: another hot week……get out early and quit early…….fish are doing the same thing.

BACKWATER. Major recommendation now is to 1) start early and 2) work the tides. You’ll have a nice strong outgoing early morning that will hold promise of action where there is moving water i.e. Rookery Bay, Johnson Bay, Hurricane Pass, Capri Pass. Look for the pelagics i.e. pompano, permit, mackerel, jacks to be working those waters early. Either jigs tipped or simple lindy rigs worked with good movement in the water flow should draw some strong action. But the dominant species during these hot months is the mangrove snapper. Unfortunately most will be undersized to keeper standards BUT if you work the first and last hour of either tide as the water is at milder speeds the bigger fish will show on the same offerings. To put the axiom mildly……the bigger fish are more experienced and don’t like to fight fast tidal conditions to feed. Best baits lately for the snapper are shrimp tails strung on a jig head and worked with some movement close to the bottom

NEARSHORE: Snook are “heat lovers” and are staying active all along the beaches from Cape Romano to Keeywadin. Best times this week is super early……before sunrise on the last of the incoming tide working live pilchards or sardines tight to the beach edges. Suggest using circle hooks to enhance release and survival of the catch. The reefs are holding bait and continue to draw fair to good action from mackerel and associated pelagics (jacks, ladyfish and blue runners). You might even find a bluefish or a little tunny (like bonito) in the mix. The major reefs are also active.Have two reports this past week of big barracuda showing on the Five Mile Reefs and going after anything moving fast on the top water.  Best seems to be the artificial vinyl eel with multiple hooks pulled in the topwater at 5-6 knots. Bottom action on those Five Mile Reef spots is also providing good action on mangrove and lane snapper working weighted tipped jigs under chum.

OFFSHORE: Conditions for the long haul should be just fine this week. The afternoon “rumbles” will be with us but not much forecast of thunderbangers. Mid range deep wrecks are still producing nice action on Yellowtail snappers……but before you commit, make sure you are seeing bait balls on the fishfinder……they draw and hold the yellowtail. Work a tad of chum on a #6 hook freelined into a serious chum slick with the bail open. Yellowtail will hit and not swallow in their initial hit and run……give them 30 seconds or so to “take” the bait and then close the bail and set the hook. Deep water hard bottom with intermediate structure should hold some nice gag grouper. Need 50-60th depth with mid range structure and then freeline a live threadfin or pinfish to mid range depth on stout gear. Gags will give a great tussle and are super tablefare.

July 13th 2018 Fishing Report

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.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

July 6th Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Unfortunately, the red tide dilemma is hanging around the entire SW Florida coast with some locales north of us suffering to a greater extent than the Collier County gulf edges. Overall, the condition not only effects the fish (disturbing scene to walk the beach with scattered fish carcasses) but effects folks exposed to surface water spray with some respiratory distress (coughing etc). Bottom line……you can still catch fish but the volume of action has definitely been effected. News reports online however are indicating that the “bloom” may be fading with the light winds that are mostly from the south and southeast. We’ll see……hope springs eternal. Otherwise, this holiday week, we should see good weather with some abatement of the constant thunder and drizzle. Unfortunately the 4th evening (think fireworks) may deliver some showers. The winds will surge a bit especially in the gust category and be dominant out of the South and Southeast……and that’s good as it tends to push the tainted water north. For anglers, the primary issue will be the tides as they head towards a new moon late week. Predictions show morning outgoing tides late week in the 4-5’ range which is highly unusual. Check your charts and avoid those racing water periods late morning during the latter part of the week.

BACKWATER: It’s really a return to normalcy here, as the Spanish Mackerel bite continues to be outstanding. There are, literally legions of those “macks” just about everywhere, even in the deeper backwaters. Spots like Rookery Bay and Addison Bay are producing nice size mackerel when you are working the deeper water cuts when the current is moving swiftly. And the macks will jump on most any bait bait…..from a hunk of shrimp to a well engineered flashy jig rig. All of that is welcome here early summer and has been missing (for whatever reason) for the past three or four years. The other dominant backwater action is on the “Old Mainstay” here in the summer…..the mangrove snapper. They are just about everywhere along the mangrove edges and all over docks and other structure. But, you will find that most of the action is on fish that are undersized. You can empty your bait bucket quite quickly with that action. Experience has shown that the BIG snapper don’t like to work hard fighting a fast tide and will hold back on the chow until the water slows. Try holding off on the snapper effort until 30-45 minutes on either side of slack water……working the same spots with the same bait. Good chance the “big guys” will show. As a final passage on backwater action…the snook are still very active early incoming on current points all through the backwater and love pilchards. The action dims when the superheated sun’s rays begin to vertically penetrate the waters…..so go early for the best action.

NEARSHORE: Chances are that the conditions out here will be positive this coming week with fewer storm periods and lighter winds. The same snook that we write about being active backwater early will be be in the same mode early all along the beach edges from Kice Island all the way to Keeywadin. First light incoming will be the key period to soak your baits just off the wave action working live bait (pilchards best) after you rouse them up with a shower of same. Have a couple reports of keeper size gag grouper showing in the inside reefs including the Marco Five Mile. A live pinfish with just a tad of weight freelined just over structure may get you some pleasant surprises. Bottom action on the same spots, post some chum effort, will be on some dinner size mangrove and lane snapper working tipped weighted jigs, again under chum.

OFFSHORE: Conditions out here this week should be a carbon copy of what we discussed regarding the nearshore……..nice and flat and little to no storm activity. The long runs deep have a better chance of producing as the bait seems to be holding on the deep wrecks that are holding bait. Look for pelagics (kings, cobia, sharks, cuda) to be active and feeding on the deeper wrecks that show resident bait schools. Live runners on wire set at 15’ under chum should do the number for you on the kings and sharks. The curious cobia will show on the surface in the slick and are suckers for a live pinfish sight casted in their direction. The cuda will lie in wait in the shadow of the boat and take anything you’re trying to land. Go get ‘em with a heavy duty vinyl eel towed or retrieved quickly over the reef / wreck.  HAVE A HAPPY 4TH…GOD BLESS AMERICA