Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

September 21st 2018 Fishing Report


CONDITIONS: Best and worst news of the week, in that order, is that the red tide and algae conditions here did not get any stronger and the worst, by far, is the horrendous flooding being endured by the Southeast coastal area as a results of the catastrophic rain and subsequent stream and river inundation. God help and bless those folks and we pray for their safety and survival……and longer term their restoration of living conditions. But, imagine if you will, if the winds had maintained the Category Four strength. Back here our waters are relatively clear of the fouling and the all easterly / southeasterly winds are moving the heart of the issue further north. Reports this past week indicated that the Tampa Bay Area was being caught up in the catastrophic water contamination and fish kill. Terrible. Hopefully, the legislators both state and federal, see the calamity that has been caused by the sheltering of the agricultural interests by government and an immediate legislative mandate ordering reversal of dumping their caustic outflow into homeowners waterways is enacted. Enough is enough ! Our fishing conditions here this week are rather mundane; winds will stay totally East and Southeast (keeping fouled water west again) with some upsurge of afternoon gusty winds mis week. There will be quite a few rain/storm occurrences both morning and afternoon until late week and then we will see some gusty winds kick up in the afternoons. Water will be clear and holding in the 82-84 degree range

BACKWATER: Conditions here should be the best overall that we’d had for awhile. Clean water should be almost totally dominant which will draw bait back inside and having the feeding fish follow. Look for the traditional early fall pelagics to show especially in the Passes (Capri, Hurricane and Caxambas)on that early morning incoming turn at first light this week. Snook are sure to be active in that especially along the beach edges with more action earlier than later. Pelagics should be at play also with mackerel, bluefish and jacks leading the parade. That nice strong early morning incoming should drive some robust action in the passes and well back the waterways working jigs tipped with live bait on strong incoming current. In the sheltered backwaters look for your favorite mangrove snapper now joined with early fall action on some sizeable black drum and redfish. The drum will favor spots where there is a marked depth change from deep cuts to shallow edges and take just about any bait moved slowly across the bottom; the redfish will be along the shallow mangrove edges as the tide runs full and favor a whole shrimp worked tight to the edges under a popper. And in amongst all that we should have the beginning of the final show on nice size mangrove snapper taking cut baits offered on jig heads tight to structure on either tide.

NEARSHORE: The inshore waters have remained quite productive for weeks now and nothing should change that expectation this week. The mackerel and blues should be active all along the first reef spots especially early as the AM incoming tide takes hold. Work tipped jigs for mackerel and bluefish and live pinfish or threadfin herring for marauding snook and redfish working the extensive boat schools in the reefs in 20-30’ of depth. The defined reefs aka the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass and the three corners of the Five Mile reef should be red hot for bottom action on most anything from spec trout to sizable lane and mangrove snapper to an occasional triggerfish or even a close to legal grouper. Fish here feel the change of seasons and the decline of the superheated water conditions first and turn on the feeding cycle firs. We should have a good week for that.

OFFSHORE: Still hear scattered reports of a area of dead fish in the 15 mile range probably caused by the effect of the S and SE winds driving surface water northwest……the extent of the issue however seems to be diminishing. Thankfully !. Starting to see the beginning of the reverse migration on the well bait school populated reefs and wrecks. Good chance for a kingfish or a cobia showing on the more substantial structured wrecks and reefs that have bait populations. Out deep in 60-65+ chance at red grouper this is takeable on hard bottom working a live pinfish tight to the bottom on a tidal drift.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tger

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

September 14th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Just when you think everything weather wise, is back to “ordinary” you get the wall to wall alerts of three tropical storms developing in the Atlantic. None of the three are currently predicted to give us another IRMA shot but we could well get the periphery touches of wind and inundative t-storms as outfalls. But for the moment, we’ll leave all that alone with out fingers crossed and work with what we know. First and foremost, it looks like the red tide effect in waning very quickly. Reports and personal experience this past week indicates that fishing, especially in the backwaters, is back to normal. The snapper, our late summer / early fall champion here is showing in good numbers and in good size and will be there to rescue most trips these coming weeks. The important factors like disruptive storms and tidal strength are both showing favorable. There is very little sustained storm weather predicted but you can always get surprised this time of year by singular black clouds that dump on your parade……need to live through that this time of year. Otherwise it’s a good tide week with predictable and moderate tides that will give you good conditions both morning and afternoon. Lastly, the water temperature continues to tumble with the average this coming week being pegged at from 81 to 83. So, bottom line, keep a eye on the tropical storms but get out there and enjoy the week.

BACKWATER: Albeit, there are still some pockets of water back here that are fouled……not so much with the red tide issues but rather just “dirty water” conditions caused by rain intrusions as well are weakened tidal flow. The fish action therein is minimal to say the least. So, take a look at the water clarity on your chosen spot. You can test by tying on a white jig and let it out 5-6’…….can’t see it ?…..pick up the anchor and move. You can’t see it; neither can the target fish. However, with the red tide free water coupled with the good tides this past week, you’ll have a hard time missing nice clean productive water. Look for the mangrove edges all along  Addison Bay to be harboring a good size snapper population. They will be feeding actively and be hiding in those shady edges where there is good tidal flow and are definitely hungry as they sense the cooler weather approaching. Shrimp, with set on a jig head with a four foot leader under a popping cork or just flat out worked across the bottom with a hunk of shrimp on a weighted jig head. Elsewhere, good action on pelagics in the Passes on the early hours of either tide for pompano and mackerel working tipped jigs tight to the bottom on a tidal induced drift. Redfish, a customary fall target are beginning to show along the deeper edges of flats in Johnson Bay and deep in Rookery Bay by Henderson Creek. Shrimp worked tight to the edge overhangs should get you action.

NEARSHORE: Conditions staying favorable here especially for fast action pelagics. The slightly cooler water has energized the mackerel / bluefish to an upsurge in action all along the first and second reef spots especially on the morning incoming. Look for surface to bird action…set up and get some chum in the water and work those tipped jigs with a fast retrieve under a good chum effort. Can well be little tunny (aka bonito) in the mix and if so, switch over to a wire leader and a small hunk of cut bait. Nice action on the tunny but not much on the table. The Five Mile Reef has been showing up with nice action on both lane and mangrove snapper. Work with tipped weighted jigs over a good chum effort just off the bottom.

OFFSHORE: Seems there is still some evidence of the red tide offshore. There is a band of water in the vicinity of the 15-18 mile range that continues to display dead fish on the surface. Last week we described this layer as being caused by the strong tidal current following the Gulf bottom contour and distributing demised fish from the Lee County environs by current driven inshore waters. Would cautiously recommend to work waters on either side of this waning domain. Deeper wrecks that hold bait should provide good opportunity for kings and cobia up top and snapper, porgies working deeper out here. You’ll need live runners up top for the kings and a surface worked threadfin for the sneaky cobia. Both species well worth the effort.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

September 7th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Things sure change rapidly here now……. from a world of red tide and algae to an brush-by of a developing Tropical System sure keeps us on our toes. Fortunately, the crisis so well expounded by the local and national press on the fouled water in our domain seems to be dissipating rather rapidly……as they redirected their attention to the fallout from the tropical weather system that dumped some rain and mediocre winds on us earlier this week.  Thankfully the Tropical Storm was a non-event, as far as fishing goes here, and the the fouled water has solid evidence now of fading quickly. The water quality here circa Marco both inshore and offshore has seen dramatic improvement in the last week……still a tad away from normal but getting very close. Look for your backwater efforts now to be close to early fall normal. This coming week should be an improvement over what we faced for the past couple months. The general conditions should be favorable albeit with some intermittent storms over the weekend and then going storm free the latter part of the week. The tides will be going through a full moon phase which may make it interesting with racing outgoing tides through late weekend. The winds will be mild and dominant from the SW and the water temperatures will be in the 82-85 range.

BACKWATER: Back here in the streams and bushes, it’s still important to find and work “clean water”. Clean in the sense of clarity but also free from the red tide spores and any effect from the detestable algae. The visually clean water is readily apparent…….set a jig in the water and see what it’s visibility looks like a 4-5’deep. The red tide clarity will be apparent when there is no inhalation irritation while underway and the algae will turn the water to a define green cast…..all that showing up as planned should give you a positive bent on your fishing expectations. There has been good reported action on mangrove snapper to plus keeper size along the mangrove edges and waterways throughout the Marco area. Best reports are from Addison Bay and it’s coves and Rookery Bay just off the entry at #R22 for snapper and occasional pompano and mackerel especially on the middle to late part of the incoming tide. Shrimp remains the bait of choice on whatever rig you want to us that will get the offering to the bottom on the fast moving current. Look for other action closer to home in the Addison Bay coves and cuts working shrimp close to the bottom. In addition to snapper here, good chance for some nice hefty black drum now

NEARSHORE: Things settling down here albeit after some settling after the wind from the Labor Day Storm. Should be settled down by the weekend and back to the business of producing some nice catches. Look for a resurgence of the pelagic (mackerel, bluefish and little tunny) action on the string of Capri Barges just west of the #G9 channel marker. Look for surface indications of bait and drop a marker. Double back and anchor up current with a healthy chum effort flowing over the marked bottom structure and work those tipped top water jigs on a quick retrieve for the schooled mackerel, blues, jacks and (unfortunately)blue runners that will be jumping on the offering. A good wconfoy move would be SW to the Five Mile Reef and suggest the SE corner for good action on nice size lane and mangrove snapper with an occasional near keeper size red grouper. Might run into a surface action on barracuda here now. Tie on a artificial vinyl eel and try a troll at 4-5 kts for possible action.

OFFSHORE: Last week’s hint at the 15 mile start still holds promise. Water should be cleaner there and good action (sans lingering red tide/ algae effects) and good action should be positive from there on out. Look for the inside artificial reefs to shelter snapper, both lane and mangrove that we go for weighted jigs worked just a foot or two off the bottom under a significant chum effort. Further west, on the identified wrecks, you’ll run into good pelagic action on kings and perhaps cobia if the wrecks / reefs are holding active bait. Get a good chum effort in place and then follow with some live blue runners on wire leader under chum tethered at about the 15’ depth. If the cobia show in the commotion they will be in the top water and fall for a live threadfin cast their way as they encircle the boat.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 31th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Difficult to comprehend, but here we are some one week away from IRMA’S devastating visit to the Florida Peninsula and beyond last year …….and we have yet to have any tropical storm warnings or even long range evidence of any threats this year. Amazing ! And very well accepted. However our “weather devil” this year has been the fouled water amassed all along the SW Florida coastline. But, we are beginning to see lower air temperatures now as well as the “Real Feel” temperature levels all through our area and that is a solid indicator that we will soon see an abatement of the red tide effect…..that’s good for us folks down here circa Marco Island but for the folks adjacent to the polluted Lake Okeechobee releases, that pattern of afternoon torrential storms we are experiencing will exacerbate the water quality problem circa Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach. So, bottom line, our general water quality concerns here should start moving, rather quickly in a positive direction and give us some great fall fishing conditions here. This coming week will continue to deliver those brief but impactive T-storms most afternoons, so it’s important you keep an eye on the sky and move to shelter before those storm generated torrents descend on your afternoon. The wind will stay fairly placid with light easterly winds with some afternoon gusty periods especially associated with the T-storms. The tides are docile this week and should give you reasonable water flow both ways. Lastly, the general heat conditions are easing and we can predict a slight dip in water temps to the 85-86 range.

BACKWATER: This backwater domain will remain the toughest to deal with even as the water cleans up. Look for areas with evident good tidal water flow to give you best chance at unfouled water and good early fall action. With the snook season open, that species will be the primary target through these next couple of months. The bigger snook will be active early and late in the days and will be feeding in shallow drop-offs adjacent to deeper cuts. Bait of choice is pilchards or even top grade artificials like the Zara Spook worked dead center in the current flow. The slightly cooler conditions will also be triggering the annual redfish fall action. Good chance now that most of the “red” action will be on undersized puppy reds……suggest you anticipate that and employ circle hooks as you work those shaded mangrove edges at the last hour or so of the very favorable late afternoon high tides. Mangrove snapper, however, will continue to be the most active targets even as we move toward late summer conditions. Work the current fed mangrove edges with tipped weighted jigs or even try a whole shrimp worked on a 1/4 oz jig head.

NEARSHORE: As mentioned in prior reports……the effects of the fouled water generally dissipates as you move west. But recent experience has shown some current flow from up north has carried fouled water in a southwest direction and impacted our action at mid range depths. There has been good solid action on snapper, mackerel and other bottom dwellers in the one to four mile range and then it slows till you reach the offshore (10-12 miles) areas. So recommendations for this week, is to work the close in reefs and structure with tipped jigs worked over a good chum effort for the surface pelagics and weighted tipped jigs, again under chum, for the bottom dwellers. And don’t forget early morning or late evening action working live bait right tight to the beach breaker line for snook.

OFFSHORE: As described in the nearshore section, consider the starting point out here at about fifteen miles where you have the best chance for species that have exited to deeper waters to avoid the red tide / algae laden water. Look for good to excellent bottom action on lane and mangrove snapper working wrecks or bottom structure with weighted jigs under chum. But also be prepared for a visit from nearby pelagics aka mackerel, bluefish, little tunny as they sense the commotion and chummed waters. On the deeper wrecks, that are identified as holding bait schools, there continues to be good pelagic action on kings as well as associated pelagics i.e. barracuda and sharks that will tear into a tethered cut bait soaking in a chum slick. Super deep -60-70’ hard bottom for possible red grouper action working live bait tight to the irregular bottom on a tidal powered drift.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 24th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: The Gulf water conditions has become the topic “royal” nationwide now……can hardly grab a newscast or a newspaper without the mention of dangerous conditions and demised sea creatures being carted off all along the SW Florida coast. Makes it difficult or next to impossible to create a yearning to go fishing in negative.  circumstances like that……. but you know what !!!!!! For whatever reason whether it be tidal current or water depth uniqueness or adjacency to the endless Ten Thousand islands, we here on Marco can still catch healthy active fish in three different areas…the backwater, nearshore and super deep (15 plus miles due west). It’s a slower catch than normal but it’s a viable activity. Meanwhile, other areas of our coast, almost all located north and slightly northwest are inundated with all the negatives of the fouled and red tide saturated waters. Tough to understand why and how long the calamity will be sustained. But, here on Marco we’ll take what we get and be thankful. Other factors in our “conditions” this week…….weather will be a continuation of random late afternoon t-storms with dangerous lightning strikes and accelerated wind. Generally the winds will be light mornings with a little gusty periods just before dusk. The tides will be going through mild iteration of strength as we experience a mid-fall full moon……all tidal flow should be manageable. The water temps may dip just a tad as the overnight temps dip…..look for 86-87 shallow water temps.

BACKWATER: First rule for success back here is to find “clean water”. Most realistically, it will be where there is good tidal current flow; has both shallow water that tails off into deeper water just adjacent and you are able to sight 4-5’ into the water from the surface. Second rule is to see active bait and bird action. Can you see the surface ripples of bait schools working the surface?. Are there heron active of the water edges and are the black skimmers working the surface with jaws agape? Working live shrimp tight to downed timber with positive results to the noted water suitability criteria should gain results of primarily some good size late season mangrove snapper as well as some early season redfish (most yet undersize) as well as the ever present small snook. Clean water in the Passes could well turn up mackerel, pompano and jacks working the shrimp tipped to a jig head worked close to the bottom.

NEARSHORE: Again, as fashioned by the mysterious currents and water flows, the nearshore is sectored for fishing opportunity now. Inside 2-3 miles on the reefs and artificial spots, there is moderately good fishing. Early morning or nightfall for pelagics working the top waters with tipped jigs worked over chum. Likely to confront some scattered pelagic action is top (mackerel, bluefish and jacks). On the same spots a weighted jig worked just off the bottom will give you a chance at lane or mangrove snapper and maybe even a singular triggerfish or sea trout. Recent experience and reports from a myriad of charter folks indicates that the bite goes belly up from there out to eight to ten miles where, surprisingly, you will encounter an offshore expanse of dead fish floating on the surface. That indicates that the same current that decimated the inshore waters circa Sanibel and Fort Myers somehow swings southwest bypassing Naples and Marco inshore and does the same for the fish inhabiting that mid range depth off the coast. If you continue out to the fifteen mile area things change again……..see OFFSHORE below.

OFFSHORE: Based on contemporary reports suggest an offshore starting point at fifteen miles. The wrecks holding bait should have somewhat limited action on kings, cobia and bottom action on yellowtail snapper. “Somewhat limited” because of the proximity of fouled water. Offshore action should improve dramatically as you move west for both pelagic and bottom dwellers. Good chance that action will mount as you move to spots further west and southwest as the escape currents draw the schools away from the contaminated environment. That flight west will be temporary however ….all depends on what nature decides to do as the fall waters cool a bit and the fresh water (storms) intrusion on the Big Lake lessens.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 17th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: We here on Marco Island should consider ourselves “blessed” as far as the widely broadcast “red tide / algae” dilemma goes. Although the news has grabbed the effected area as total Southwest Florida, that is not exactly true. The major effected site is  the outflow of the Caloosahatchee River near Sanibel that spreads a little north and heavily south until it reaches the Collier County line and then it eases considerably. Bottom line we are still catching healthy fish here. Hopefully, we will see some abatement of the general water condition in the short term and ease the anxiety about the event. As to the weather conditions this week……should be more of the same. There are no major fronts in the forecast, just a continuation of the spotty t-storm pattern that can pop up anytime anywhere. Events can produce heavy downpours but dissipate in short order.  The winds will be unusually mild with morning easterly and afternoon westerly breezes. The tides will be mild both ways all week and the water temps will continue to percolate in the high 80’s.

BACKWATER: If you’re going to encounter fouled water conditions, this is the area most likely to give you trouble. But with a little time and patience, you can find areas of water that are “clean” and will provide the chance of good fishing action. First of all, avoid areas where there might be “floaters i.e. dead fish” and also water that is distinctly discolored. Find water that has a good current flow (either way) and has signs (dimples / splashes) of bait fish in the water and has birds either standing by to feed or on the active prowl like black skimmers working the area’s surface. Those signs, any or all, are positive and should provide an area to get some solid action. The primary fish available these days is the late summer mangrove snapper which is usually of small keeper size (10-12”). Work where there is bait and good current movement with either a lindy rig with live shrimp or a jig head with same attached. Be aware that if you begin working a spot where all the catch is undersized…move on. All that you can look for there is a empty bait bucket. Try a spot that adjoins a area of deeper water and work the drop offs with the same baits. Other species available now are mackerel, pompano, small permit and whiting…..most will go for the same rig used on the snapper.

NEARSHORE: The water flow pattern just off the coast will bring cleaner water as you move west. Still have a minimal effect of respiratory discomfort when the water is stirred but the fishing opportunities will not be effected as they are backwater. The reefs along the Marco shoreline should provide ample opportunity to get into some good action on both mangrove and lane snapper as well as an occasional triggerfish or sea trout. Here you’ll need to encourage their feeding with a good block chum effort and then work the water beneath the slick with weighted tipped jigs. Always a chance of something bigger lurking below so working a hunk of fresh cut bait on a wire rig tight to the bottom could bring you some exciting action on grouper and even some smaller sharks.

OFFSHORE: Hankering to get away totally from the effects of the fouled water ?…..then go deep. Wrecks and reefs are well marked on Fishing Hot Spot Charts (available at the Rose Marina store) and provide lots of opportunity for various species offshore. One of the premier spots is known as the “Towers” which are government towers that are used in military aircraft training that line the south edges of the Gulf. They, too are marked on the charts and uniquely are great places where Permit school to feed in the swirling tidal waters. You’ll need small live crabs for bait and stout tackle for it’s not unusual to have a 30# permit on the business end of your line trying to head elsewhere. Close by the the towers are other wrecks and reefs that are home to larger fish like kings, cobia and sharks as well as barracuda.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 10th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: As far as fishing in Southwest Florida right now, the best description might be “a time that tries men’s souls”. For this generation we are immersed in the worst conditions debacle that most can even remember. To have a ten month visit from the scorned red tide was bad enough but then the annual deluge of phosphorus and fertilizer laden algae from the Sugar Barons, made this a cataclysmic event. The unfortunate folks circa Sanibel through to Fort Myers Beach really got inundated (no need to draw pictures; the beach photos of frontloaders hauling dead fish was enough). A good friend mentioned “the only thing positive about this tragedy is that it was SO BAD AND SO PUBLICIZED that it may draw the hovering politicians to take action. Time will tell ! Now to the conditions this week……look for continued heat with scattered evening storms everywhere. The winds will be dominant from the EAST and SOUTH with some breezy afternoons early week……..that direction of the wind will keep the worst of the killer water north of us. The tides are coming off a strong new moon and will deliver a couple of early week dats with plus 4’ tide swings. The water temp is somewhat mitigated with the rain intrusion but still hovering 86 to 89.

BACKWATER: The shallower backwaters will take the brunt of effect from the red tide and algae “soup”Stay aware of the quality of the water you’re fishing in……kinda green; no surface bait; void of bird action especially the black skimmer. If all of those come together pick up your gear and move on. Good current, bait dimpling the water surface and bird action will be the place where the fish have run to. There you will find the action. Mackerel are around in the fast water flow and can be had with tipped jigs worked over chum. Bottom action now is almost exclusively on mangrove snapper that have grown nicely over the past two or three months. A tipped jig head to the bottom adjacent to structure should get you what you’re looking for.

NEARSHORE: The light southerly and easterly winds should keep the sea conditions flat out here this week. Mornings absent showers should be best timing coupled with a good incoming tide. The barges in the main Capri channel should be a haven for good pelagic action on mackerel, bluefish et al. Once you sight surface bait anchor up and get a block of chum going immediately, then work flashy tipped jigs tipped with shrimp just over the tidal driven slick. A 15 minute ride out to the well identified Five Mile Reef will give you the venue to work the bottom with tipped jigs, again with chum in the water, for good size lane and mangrove snapper. Might even see a black tip shark here. If interested set a fresh cut bait out on the bottom with wire leader on heavy tackle.

OFFSHORE: Further you go west the cleaner the water thus you escape the ravages of the fouled water. Try the deep wrecks around the 20 mile range for king mackerel.  Find a wreck or reef with good bait schools and anchor up current with a good chum slick. Then deploy a large cut bait on wire leader under a float set at 15-20ft. Won’t take long to draw action if the kings are anywhere in the vicinity. You’ll get a good fight and some nice take home filets for the grill or the smoker. Closer in reef spots are producing some nice catches of land and mangrove snapper working tipped weighted jigs with block chum as the teaser.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 3rd 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Adverse conditions continue to perpetuate all along the SW Florida coast that enhance the continued presence of Green Algae and it’s companion Red Tide. Albeit, the presence of these annoying problems are presenting a greater problem to our North……but, we still are enduring effects along our beaches that spills into our backwaters on the back of those stronger early summer incoming tides. Doesn’t shut the fishing down but makes your trip a hit-or-miss event. As you go West into the deeper, cleaner water of the Gulf the problem dissipates but never disappears……fish that have been tainted drag the issue west in an attempt to escape. Hopefully we’ll experience an abatement of the problem as the rains of August descend on us. Elsewhere on the CONDITIONS front, this coming week is showing light AM East and  Northeast winds with some increase in gusts but not till late afternoon. There will be lots of thunder bangers but not much storm rain. The tides are heading to another new moon….so hang on for some racing AM outgoing tides with a 3-4’ range. The water temperature is toying with a steady 90 degrees……way too early!

BACKWATER: Of the three domains we consider, the backwater is the major locale living with water quality problems. First……some tips on WHERE to fish. Fish in areas graced by the incoming tidal flow i.e cleaner water especially where you can sight bait ripples in the water. Even the smallest bait fish will exit red tide levels. Look for water that shows a level of clarity (Test: can you see the lower unit step on your outboard clearly ?).Look for birds working the water you want to fish… scout nowadays is the black skimmer….if they are working the area you’re fishing, you’re in the right place. Fishing action is stronger early in the day before the superheated sun’s rays begin to penetrate the water surface in a vertical direction and try to find areas shaded by overhanging trees. Species active this last week are mangrove snapper, mackerel, whiting and occasional pompano and (surprisingly) small permit. Snapper along the edges and downed fauna; mackerel, pompano and permit in fast moving incoming water; whiting along beach edges on the outgoing tide.

NEARSHORE: Light wind will keep the sea state relatively flat this week in the 3-5 mile nearshore reefs. And, more importantly, the water quality will be less threatened by the fouled water conditions. Mackerel et al will again be the top target here as they work the bait schools holding on the numerous nearshore reefs. Best this week most likely will be those reefs just nearshore Marco in 20-30’ of water paralleling the coastline. Make a north/south run with fishfinder at max gain searching for tight schools of bait. Drop a marker and double back: anchor up tide from the major activity site and get some block chum in the water. Pelagics (mackerel / blues / jacks)  will show first and can be worked with tipped jigs on wire leader worked in the top water above the slick. Action could well be fast and furious. As you tire of that action, change over to weighted jigs and work the bottom structure for mangrove and lane snapper as well as trout, whiting and possibly triggerfish.      

OFFSHORE: Should be reasonably flat conditions here also. Exception could well be late week mornings when the outgoing tidal pull will be extreme. Long range options here will include a trip to the “towers” SW of the island (well marked on hot spot charts) for permit. Will need mid to heavy tackle and a supply of small blue claw crabs for bait. Set up on the tower working the outgoing water and freeline a live crab into a block chum slick. Permit are a very active prize and can be in the 30# class. Work an aggressive fast retrieve to outrun the huge Goliath Grouper that will covet your catch. Bottom action out here is usually fair to good on yelllowtail and lane snapper as well as an occasional red grouper.An alternative trip would be mid range 15-20 miles due west to marked wrecks for yellowtail snapper action. Here it’s early deployment of chum and then freelining bits of chum on small hooks into the slick with the reel bail open. ‘tails will take the chum and run…….count to ten and drop the bail. Good catch and great on the table.

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.