PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS
JULY 26, 2019 TO AUGUST 1, 2019
CONDITIONS: As we finish this screaming hot and wet month, we see the first tropical event of the season forming off the Miami / Bahamas corridor and then sweeping north as a vivid reminder as we’re almost at “that” time of year again. It’s an absolute signal that the “hurricane season” will be ringing in here shortly. But a momentary good thing…..that tropical event should sweep away some of the wet and a tad of the heat here this coming week. Forecasts readily show that that the frequency of afternoon storms this coming week will be about the same as past week but the intensity will be less….plus the winds that have a way of keeping Gulf anglers home and the backcountry fishers on edge with uncomfortable conditions will be redically diminished this coming week. Good news for all. But……you can’t escape tough conditions all together this time of year – so get ready for some very unusual strong, fast tides post weekend. For example the late morning incoming is predicted to range out at a 5’ change and the afternoon outgoing tides will range in the full 4’ drop. Especially in the backwater that will be a halt to good fishing at any time after a hour on either side of the turn. Best fishing will be over the coming weekend.
BACKWATER: Personal observation. Think the combination of hot weather that has warmed the water to an unprecedented level in the backwaters has done the same thing to the mangrove snapper action. Many reports of anglers limiting out (5 per angler) on less than a few hours on nice size mangroves. In fact the bite in most of the mangrove edges is so intense you either begin using tiny bits of live shrimp or break the bank on your bait costs on a routine trip. Many of the “keeper size” mangroves are a minimum 10”…….that is a small fish that produces but a mini-filet. Folks that understand that usually will agree to a trip modification and make the keeper limit at 11”…..more substantial filets and an abundance of the 10” fish that promise action later in the season or next year. Otherwise in the backwaters we have been seeing some scattered pompano mixed in with permit in the first and last tidal hours in all three of the passes with the reigning champion still the fast water Pass at Keeywadin. Working a small jig tipped into the initial movement of either tide should produce action……Activity seems to be strong in the first hour or so as the fish will scatter inland as the water picks up speed either way. The quieter water domains where there are spots where a drop off spins the water current and attracts the lingering season snook to feed…….even surface working artificials will also work here very well…..usually exclusively on the incoming tide. Other species in play backwater are smaller redfish who you will find deep in the “bushes” and jumping on a whole shrimp bait worked tight to the mangrove overhangs.
OFFSHORE: As noted, this should be a week with exceptionally fast tides but should be crystal clear for sight fishing even deep. The warmth has done miracles in stabilizing the steady presence of bait, of all sizes and species, on the major offshore reefs. There is no question as to activity from just off the beach on out to 60-70. Bait holds working on the plethora of smaller bait species available and in turn brings the traditional “big stuff” to those offshore spots. There are certainly a huge number of “spot” opportunities working the information contained on commercially available charts as well as public Internet forums. Suggest forming a game plan as to where and when either near or offshore keeping those strong tides in mind as you recommend tides and opportunities.