Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 26th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: We can dismiss all the chatter this week about hurricanes, red tide and green algae and direct our “conditions” attention to what will obviously be the first vestiges of our late fall arrival. Following the front that is passing through the southern part of the Paradise Coast as I put this article together, we will have the arrival of sixty degree mornings come early next week. That, folks, will tumble the water temperature, which is the key determinant as to what species of fish you’ll see hanging on your line very soon and then, for all the winter months ahead. We’ll spell the species changes and techniques out for you in the sector paragraphs that follow……weather change like this is A BIG EVENT here after we sweltered and ducked t-storms for the past five months. Associated with the change in air temperature, next week some final t-storms (hopefully) early weekend as the front finalizes and then the temp drop will kick in. Expect morning air temps of 60-62 late week. That will tumble the water temps to 72-74. The tides will be coming off a full moon, so hang on for some fast moving water especially in the incoming tide mornings. Lastly, you’ll face some gusty west winds before the weekend and then it will settle back easterly, but stay gusty for the balance of the week.

BACKWATER: Even at the beginning of the fall-winter cycle, you should see different action starting in these next two weeks and continuing through mid March. The most dominant change is the arrival and ultimately the dominance of the sheepshead feeding to prepare for the annual spawning cycle triggered by the falling water temperatures. At first the sheepshead will be small to medium size with a seldom few keepers (minimum size 12”) and that will morph to lots of BIG sheepshead as the spawning cycle matures. Quickly now, with more detailed catch techniques in later weeks……it’s a piece of shrimp, cut crab, or a morsel of shellfish on a lindy rig dropped to the bottom on structure (dock, piling, bottom structure) and with a repeated soft lift technique. The other winter favorite is the black drum which can be sizable at 18-23” it’s casting over soft bottom beside a drop off using the same baits but moving the bait ever so slowly across the bottom. Medium weight tackle is recommended. And you’ll also begin to see a pair of favorites in the deeper holes along the ICW and off the beaches where there is good current; the pair feed together i.e. the whiting and the silver trout. Both are fun to catch with the same lindy rig; are great on the table and there is no size limit. So, stay tuned in future weeks, we’ll be giving you more info on these three species along with other developments

NEARSHORE: As reported backwater, the water temperature dip will not only influence the activity nearshore but also the species showing up in the population. The species that invade this sector of the waters have been existing out deep for the summer months and with the reproduction urge awakened will transit from west to east thus passing through the area we label nearshore enroute. Look for sheepshead action in the nearshore reefs first as the vanguard moves to it’s spawning “ground”. Those same techniques sketchily explained in “backwater” will work out here also. Add that to the continuation of the good topwater pelagic fishing (mackerel, bluefish et al) and you see how your potential for a “good day” have been enhanced. All of that should advance this week and the weeks following in November.

OFFSHORE: Note on conditions here first…….be cautious over the weekend. We will have some residual west winds that can be gusty making the sea conditions bouncy and uncomfortable. That should ease nicely as we enter the week. The temperature drop out here has a tendency to move the cold water dwellers i.e. gag and red grouper closer inshore as that is the temperature progression. Those trips deep for grouper may be replaced with one’s a few miles closer inshore over hard bottom. Action on the wrecks and reefs will also show increased activity as the pelagics that summered in the Panhandle will be heading back to the warmer water south of us here……i.e. the reverse migration. And, finally, remember those thousands of stone crab pots that have floating markers that can attract those tripletail. Keep a lookout in transit and double back for some good action and some delicious eating.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 19th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Have to feel extremely sorry for the folks in those towns lining the Panhandle Coast. MICHAEL ended up as a “right angle hurricane” when the 140 mph winds roared directly in at them. Much different than the glancing blow we got from IRMA. Donate if you can to the organizations hard at work trying to help put lives back together. There was some question here as to what effect MICHAEL might have on our water quality and fishing here. I think NONE…..the distance is far too great and the forward speed too great which had it battering Georgia and Alabama within hours. We did have some spotty heavy rain here for periods that late week, but am told it did not trigger a massive release from Lake O……we’ll see ??? Our outlook this week looks promising with a gentle cool down in air temperatures which should start the early fall water temperature cool down……could see water temps dip below 80 this week. Elsewhere, we are forecasted to see a week of infrequent afternoon rain and winds dominant from the NE and SE with moderate speeds until the very end of the period. Tides will be passing through a full moon late week and have fairly balanced ebb and flood tides that should be productive both ways.

BACKWATER: Conditions should drive some good to very good fishing in the backwaters in and around Marco this week. As previously stated in prior week’s issues, there is mounting evidence that the red tide and algae intrusion up around Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach has driven the fish and the bait south along the coast. At least thus far in the run out of actual experiences, folks here are seeing a big difference in fishing action and, surprisingly, the addition of some rarely seen species showing up here in significant size and numbers. Best example of that is that we are seeing BIG flounder showing along the waterways (Rookery Bay, Hurricane Pass, Johnson Bay) mainly on the stronger periods of the incoming tide and taking a hunk of shrimp worked and bounced across the bottom. Had two reports of “flatties” in excess of 25”. In another anomaly …….there must be thousands of suspected hatchery produced undersized redfish working in large schools over shallower Bays along the ICW……several reports of catching (and releasing) 15” reds one after the other when you luck into a feeding school. All of that plus reported very good action on pompano in Hurricane and Capri Pass that has sustained bites over multiple hours. So where ever your favorite “honey hole” is don’t waste any time getting there this week……..who knows how along the bonanza will last.

NEARSHORE: First comment is that sea conditions, both sea surface and tidal flow should be excellent this week. The fishing here can be classified as good here but somewhat diminished as to what we’ve shared with you regarding the backwater. Still lots of topwater bait schools out here that are quick to attract pelagics i.e. mackerel, bluefish, a few little Tunney and scads of jacks and blue runners. With working tipped flashy jigs on wire leader into a chum slick can wear you out. Will be some take homes but most will be releasable jacks and runners. Deep action on the named reefs will be the best chance for a full “stringer”. Look to find snapper, some wandering mackerel and maybe even a small kingfish up top and the, old favorite, lane and mangrove snapper deep on weighted jigs under chum. Could even see some “big stuff” here i.e. grouper, small sharks taking larger cut baits.

OFFSHORE: Reports this week on the first harvest of stone crabs is quite disappointing with one major commercial boat harvesting just 30 lbs of claws after working 450 traps. Kind of suspect that there is still an “issue with re tide and algae deep caused by the dominant east wind pattern and the outflow from MICHAEL. But, there are still some interesting reports of fair to good reef and wreck fishing where there are schools of bait resident with good tidal flow. And this is the time the southbound migration of pelagics kicks in as the water chills……so all could turn around in an instant…….be ready.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 12th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: This week’s report is entitled…..”We catch a break”. The radar this morning is showing HURRICANE MICHAEL streaming just to our west and heading for the Florida Panhandle. Our prayers and best wishes are for those folks along that shoreline. But we’re not totally out of the woods and will have to keep an eye on high water probability on this Friday and Saturday at high tide times at early afternoon. Other concern expressed in the news articles is regeneration of the red tide….always possible but the winds this coming week are generally easterly and moderate and the water temperature will take a dip as the storm passes west. – those two factors are unfavorable to any red tide regeneration. My bet is that we’ll stay clear. Otherwise, our conditions this week are rather normal early fall. The air temperature begin to edge down especially in the evenings and overnight which will dip the water temperature to hovering just above 80 for the week. The winds, even with the nearby hurricane passage, are forecast at single digit and mostly  from the E in mornings and switching SW in the afternoons. One hiccup however……winds at end of the week will go gusty. Tides are coming off a new moon and favorable morning incoming with a much weaker PM ebb. Overall should be a good fishing week here.

BACKWATER: Conditions and expectations this week remain very positive here. The species availability in the backwaters remains very strong with both summer species hanging around in the non-chilled water and the fall species activity kicking in they hit the reproduction cycle. The summer mainstay of mangrove snapper are now of good size and staying active all along the mangrove shorelines. Best, as reported, are Hurricane Pass and the Keeywadin Island docks, the mangrove edges all along the Three Island Creek back in Addison Bay and the flat portions of Rookery Bay to our north. Bait of choice has been live shrimp worked on a 3/4 oz lindy rig or a 1/4 oz jig head tight to the bottom structure. And last week we talked about species “relocating” here in the red tide debacle, so don’t be surprised to see a flounder, a seatrout or a whiting fishing those same venues. Additionally, the snook are still on feed with warm water temps and hot action on the early morning incoming working plentiful pilchards along the current edges early in the tide cycle. Redfish are showing in full fall expectation on the exaggerated high tides this week all along the Marco River islands and back into Johnson and Addison Bays with whole shrimp under a popper tight to mangrove overhangs.

NEARSHORE: As an adjunct to the favorable backwater action, good things should occur out here. Bait has been strong all along the first and second reefs just off the beaches, creating a feeding nirvana for both pelagics and bottom dwellers. Look for mackerel, blues and even a few tunny working the hot bait spots on the favorable morning incoming tide with tipped jigs on wire under chum. Also dropping weighted lindy rigs under the surface slick may draw some nice action from bottom dwellers i.e. snapper, triggerfish and maybe even a grouper or two. Move out a little deeper to the Walton Reef, the Five Mile or the John Dee wreck and you could be into the same type of action and possible action on small sharks and perhaps a top water barracuda.

OFFSHORE: Forecasts show conditions out to 25 miles should be OK. And with the unsettled water spinning off the hurricane and the barometer pressure differentials you never know what could have run east and into our offshore domain. Get your bait inshore and give it a run to wrecks and reefs holding bait in the 20+ mile range and be ready for anything. Weather and sea conditions should be good but, perhaps, going strong as the week ends. Good possibilities out here.