PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS
JUNE 28, 2019 TO JULY 4, 2019
CONDITIONS: The superheated conditions this last ten days has everything we do here on edge…….fishing certainly fits somewhere at the top of the list. We are seeing consistent afternoon heat that invokes special danger warnings for overheating and at the same time we are getting water temperature readings of 90-92 degrees (unprecented) in the backwaters and coastal waters. Consider, for a moment, that the superheated conditions effect all creatures but to an unknown degree for the multiple species of fish that we encounter here in the sub tropics. Here is a current excellent example of that: In the last two weeks many of the charter captains have expressed amazement at the sudden strength of the snook bite…..that’s right SNOOK. Here is a species that is categorized as “on the bite” at 70 degrees……so what’s going on at 90?. Lots of unknowns about our marine live. For you as an angler, that uptick in snook action lies out there for your fishing enjoyment this week….they are about everywhere / on either tide / at any time of the day or night. Just remember they are outside their capture season and must be returned to the briny unscathed. Good thing also to switch over to circle hooks to enhance a safe release. And finally the other factors this week….the tides will be influenced with a new moon just before the 4th and the resultant afternoon tides will be strong through the period. The morning incoming will be more moderate. Not much rain in the forecast and the wind looks like it will all be single digit and mainly southwest in direction.
BACKWATER: Certainly, if your out there this week and even if snook isn’t one of your regular targets, you might want to give them a shot. Their favorite hangout back here is where there is a good current flow adjacent to a drop off and the incoming tide is their favorite. Bait of choice is the pilchard, a small schooled bait……if you can handle a cast et, the pilchards are all along the mangrove edges……if not a whole sizable shrimp or an artificial (Zook Lure) could work. Treat the catch carefully and try not to remove the catch from the water as you gently release the circle hook impalement. Otherwise, in the backwaters you should see some pelagic species……mackerel, bluefish, jack crevelle that early morning incoming in all three Passes. They go for small flashy tipped jigs worked under a tad of chum either at anchor or on a tidal drift. Along almost all backwater edges tangent to mangrove overhangs or downed trees, you’ll run into some nice take home snapper working a weighted jig to the bottom . Both mangrove and mutton snapper will show in good action and make very good table fare.
NEARSHORE: Evident that the action just off the beaches all along the Marco shore will continue as conditions remain hot and stable. Anywhere along the 7-12’ water depth off the beaches from Kice Island (Cape Romano) right up to the south end of Keywadin Island are target areas for schools of bait that quickly draw feeders i.e.pompano, snapper, triggerfish, jacks etc that will readily take a wel presented bait on a lindy rig or attached to a small colorful jig. Can deploy a little chum to get things started but consider the tidal movement to insure placement is right on for continuing results. Reefs from the barges off Capri Pass to the Walton Reef have surface bait action that is pinpointed by bird feeding action as well as surface eruptions…….all pinpointing pelagic presence. Get some block chum going as you anchor up current and watch for the pattern of pelagic feeding. Once action starts increase the volume of chum and use flashy surface tipped jigs to attract and get some nice mackerel, bluefish and even some bottom dwelling snapper for the table.
OFFSHORE: With winds light to moderate predicted, you should be considering an offshore run…….but keeping an eye on weather changes or on-line forecasts…..things happen quickly out here. The mid range to deeper wrecks and reefs have abundant bait swarms and continue to attract northbound pelagics even with the super hot conditions. Suggest making sure that your selected spot shows evident boat schools before you set up chum and get live bait tethered in the tidal flow. Good chance at most deep spots for kingfish action as primary but good chance of seeing cobia as well as sharks and barracuda steaming the surface especially if you do land a kingfish or larger mackerel. Results on most sought after grouper is evident but action is considered moderate to slow especially in the deeper spots……consider it still has something to do with oxygen depravation in some of the offshore spots.