PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS
JUNE 5, 2019 TO JULY 12, 2019
CONDITIONS: As we turn the calendar into July, you’ll note that the “rain forecast” really doesn’t exist……it’s just a forgone conclusion that it will “do it” every afternoon. For fishing that presents the issue as to water quality (both cleanliness and saturation) for the next day. And the point is made that that makes day to day totally variable as far as fishing “quality” goes. It’s not only water temperature, tidal strength that are key determinants as to anticipated fishing quality on a given day……as we endure the rapidly changing weather factors like water clarity, salinity levels, and even cloud cover as changes in superheated suns rays been penetrating backwaters can make a difference in fishing quality day to day. Marginal effective weather forecasts for this coming week show an abundance of cloud cover come mid-morning which presents a good chance for early day action in the backwater as well as the shallower nearshore stretches. The water temperature will probably hold reasonably steady circa 86-88 degrees and lastly the tides are coming off an early week new moon with strong tides both ways early week and then easing quite a bit as the week plays out.
BACKWATER: Keys to angling success this week can probably be lumped into two categories…….water clarity and current strength. Know we’ve written about this before but the water clarity factor is paramount. Get muddied water from wind strength in the backwaters things just about shut down…..and on the other hand if your fishing in 10th of water and can pick out shells on the bottom in the gin clean water you will most likely get the same result – shut down and the clear sight of your fishing hardware will spook the fish. So look for the happy medium which is water in which you can sight your outboard lower unit and still keep the hardware hidden. As far as water current goes….you want moderate speed and a good approach is to work the first and last hours of tides when the water flow is a moderate as it’s going to get for the next 5/6 hours. As to what’s biting this week….snook (mostly small) are everywhere and on a voracious feed with the water warmth and enormous bait schools. If you get that moderate tidal flow the Passes have small permit, pompano and mackerel with best in the first hour after the tide turn. Snapper are feeding heavily and are (on average) as big as we’ve seen them in the backwater edges. Not unusual now to land 12-13” mangrove snapper. Last tip: go early before the sun climbs over the “yardarm” and ends the bite.
NEARSHORE: Those enormous bait schools are emanating from the shallow nearshore waters as well as the backwater brush and are drawing good action all along that first 50’ of shoreline from south of Cape Romano to north of Keeywadin and beyond. If you work that usually placid area just off the slight tidal surge anywhere along that beach line with fresh netted live bait of even cut shrimp you have a good chance at mackerel, bluefish, whiting, snapper and small sharks. Lots of action being drawn by the bait schools and conditions. Using a tad of chum in the leaching current also helps the action. Mid-range (20-35’) structure has been delivering some nice action on both lane and mangrove snapper off the bottom as well as an occasional smaller (? 10-15 #) goliath grouper (all release and keep in water). Might also run into flounder and a now keeper size (14”) triggerfish. On the inshore reefs like the Walton off Caxambas Pass, get there just after first light and get some aggressive chum going for the Spanish mackerel morning feed working flashy jigs up top in a good chum effort.
OFFSHORE: Weather forecasts will determine access here. Should be storm free early this week and then go “it’s own way” early afternoon. Still getting fair to moderately good action on the mid range reefs and wrecks on kings and associates (sharks, barracuda, Goliaths). Some kings now are juveniles and look like Spanish mackerel. Be careful on ID…….small kings have a distinctively different dorsal fin arrangement and require a 24” size minimum. Be careful. The big guys (sharks etc) will be deep and jumping on a fresh mega bait set just off the bottom after being teased with a serious chum effort. Deeper wrecks and AF towers SW of island for nice size permit now working freelined small crabs on the current outflow from the towers. You’ll need a seriously fast retrieve if you get a permit to outrace the Goliaths that are sitting on the bottom.