Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

May 6th 2016 – May 12th 2016

CONDITIONS: Beginning the transition into full blown tropical weather as we see afternoon storms brewing this week and the weather flow going west to east. Means afternoon and evening “thunder-bangers”. Will influence the fishing quality with the storms fresh water intrusion changing the salinity levels and, with sustained periods of west and northwest wind, we will be paying the price with riled (dirty) water. This week will also bring some enormous spring tides as we pass through a new moon phase. All the tides coming off this weekend’s new moon will be strong but especially the weekend PM outgoing that will outgoing tides with a 4+’ range. You’ll want to work around that anomaly. The water temp will keep inching up as the daytime air temperatures continue to increase. Look for 80 degree water during afternoons this week.

BACKWATER: With the exception of the outstanding tarpon action, you’d have to classify the fishing back inside as inconsistent. More of that later; let’s cover the tarpon action first. It’s probably the best tarpon season here in the last 5/6 years. The tarpon are numerous and following a set pattern of feeding. The trailing edges of both Capri and Caxambas Passes have been drawing top action in the deeper holes on either tide with the simple process of setting cut catfish on the bottom in good water flow on both tides albeit mornings seem a tad better. The smaller species backwater fishing, as stated, is inconsistent. One day it will be lights out on pompano, trout and mackerel and the very next day with mimicked conditions….nada! Like somebody turned the switch. But you gotta keep trying. Pompano still rule the roost as to popularity and can be worked in all three Passes, in the early and late stages of either tide with small tipped jigs worked into the current flow on the bottom. Pomps are a school fish, so if you’re lucky enough to tie into a couple on a drift, double back and do it again. Spanish mackerel are another top spring target and can show, again, in the three passes, in fast water chasing top water bait. Look for bird action and you’ll find the marks with tipped flashy top water jigs pulled quickly. Spec trout would be another spring favorite. Grass flats in Johnson, Rookery and Addison Bays in 4-6′ of water on a drift with shrimp under a popper will get you into the action if the bite is “on”.

NEARSHORE: Condition here could be surprisingly testy this week with the inshore continued tough winds. Note: winds / gusts tend to be stronger within 0-6/7 miles of the island with winds / gusts caused by the differential between land temps and gulf temps.Beyond circa 7 miles the land temps are not a factor. So be careful. Mackerel action is present nearshore but tends to be a bit deeper than the first and second line of reefs. Look for good to very good mackerel action just outside the Capri Sea Buoy at the barges. Need to be close in and get a good chum effort going then work tipped flashy jig into the prevailing tidal current. Good chance for bluefish and even some small kingfish in the mix. Bottom fishing best on mangrove / lane snapper at the Walton Reef and the Five Mile Reef complex working weighted tipped jigs into structure.

OFFSHORE: As mentioned previously; better sea conditions out here than closer inshore….but still caution especially when T-storms around. Mid range reefs and wrecks for good surface pelagic action (mackerel, bluefish, little runny and small kings). Faster tides this week will improve the bite working top water tipped jigs under spreading chum. Bottom action will thrive on the chum spread which draws snapper and other bottom dwellers up into slick and baits. Use either freelined chum bits into the chum or use weighted tipped jigs tight to the bottom. Deep wrecks seeing good action on migrating major pelagics (kingfish, cobia, permit and sharks) All on live bait juiced up with a good chum effort.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 29 2016 – May 6 2016

CONDITIONS: As April slides into the history books,we continue to endure improving conditions but not much of a change in fishing quality. We continue to see inconsistent results. The conditions this week will be more of the same and we’ll have to see if the fishing quality finally takes off. The water should stay clean and green despite some continuing gusty winds which start the week out do the southeast and end up out of the more disruptive northwest. Look for the early mornings to be “wind placid” until mid morning and then churn up as the gusts kick in. The storm / fronts are not forecast until late week so early week fishing should be the preference these coming days. The tides this week will be unusual…..we are heading to a new moon late week and facing what they call “neap” tides (neap means strong); by week end we will see both tides nearing an unprecedented four foot range which you’ll want to avoid as will the fish. Water temps which now are reaching 78-79 degrees should continue.

BACKWATER:  While the effort for action on many of the resident species are tenuous to say the least, we are now in the height of the legendary tarpon season. And hooking into one of these legends of the sea may not be as difficult as you think. Here are some of the points: Stout tackle; Cut catfish for bait; North edges of Marco River or north edges of Capri Channel early AM or first hours either tide. Key point on fighting tarpon…..when the fish jumps don’t pull back on the rod but rather dip it to avoid the hook being tossed. Otherwise, the most desirable fish, the Florida pompano, continues it’s maddening “hide and seek” game. Some days they are thick and feeding in the Capri, Hurricane and Caxambas Passes especially at the first and last hours of either tide taking tipped white jigs. Great action and results which causes anglers to race back there for next three or four days and get nothing but blue runners and catfish. The other “most desirable” species now in the warmer water is the mangrove snapper which thrives in the warmth. But, they, too are hit and miss right now. Working areas like Hurricane Pass or back along the edges of Addison or Johnson Bay’s with whole shrimp into current flow on either moderate tidal flow should get you the best action available. But again, some days their there and some days their not. Give it 15-20 minutes working any spot and if no action…..pick up and move on to another spot.

NEARSHORE: Most days getting started early before the “heat differential” winds kick in should be a goal to achieve relatively good sea conditions. Plus morning action seems to be stronger than the balance of the day. Mackerel are here but seem focused on bait gathered at the major structure spots i.e. Capri Barges, Isaac Walton Reef and the Five Mile Reef complex. Work them with heavy chum effort followed by pulling tipped top water jigs through the resultant slick quickly. Keep the chum going and they should hold the position and continue to feed……hopefully on your jig. There might also be some bluefish in the mix which will present another good fight. Bottom action nearshore is also good holding those same locales. Snapper, both lane and mangrove, will be drawn to your mackerel chum slick and and feeding on it from beneath. Try free lining a piece of the chum into the slick with no weight  and see if a mega snapper will rise to feed

OFFSHORE:   Same suggestion here about timing…..start early to get the best of the days. Red grouper continue to please by staying on an active bite and continue their move inshore. Look for them over hard bottom starting in the 9-12 mile range working live pinfish / sand perch tight to the bottom structure on a drift. Gags still have to be released. Mid to deep wrecks are continuing to produce reasonable catches of migrating pelagics with cobia and kingfish heading the list. Work the kingfish with live bait set out under chum or on a slow troll on artificials or tethered live blue runner. Cobia will come to you….Chum as attractant will draw them on the surface where they will fall for a sight castes live thread herring.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 15, 2016 – April 21, 2016

CONDITIONS:  Things are beginning to change. The winds, are beginning to lie down a bit; the hellacious weather fronts are weakening and the water clarity is improving. Will take a little while yet to make a overall effect but nature is chipping away at winter’s effects here. Expect the fishing to gradually improve. This week we’ll get a little frontal backlash of wind from the east (thankfully) over the weekend which will then ease nicely over the ensuing early week. Water should stay green and clean. The tides are moving to another full moon late period and will be picking up speed during the week. The PM outgoing will be stronger than the morning incoming. The water temperature continue to escalate and this week 75-78 degrees should be the norm.

BACKWATER: Here, the improvement in fishing quality is tortuously gradual. Still have lots of lingering effects of the influx of toxic water from Lake Okeechobee; the strong weather fronts (and wind) descending from the north and overall chilly temperatures. But…..be patient, things are improving slowly. If the water is clean in the morning and you have a decent tide (either way) you should draw action on mackerel, bluefish or even pompano is any of our three Passes….Capri, Hurricane and Caxambas. Work these species with a small tipped jig that can get to the bottom on a tidal drift. Keep a eye out for bird action which can be a telltale sign as to bait movement. If you work the backwaters of Addison Bay or even north to Rookery Bay you’ll want to work the shallow edges for redfish action by working a nice big shrimp under a popper along the shallow edges. Best action here will be on a rising tide which occurs early morning this week. If you work a fast moving current point you might even run into a great fight with a juvenile snook…..they turn on as the water temp exceeds 70 degrees. Great fight but take care on release. They are a Florida treasure. Anywhere along the mangrove edges you can run into some nice mangrove snapper now. Use whole shrimp and keep some movement in your bait…..just a quick snap will draw a bite. Stay away from open water……therein lies the dreaded catfish. Make sure you have a instrument (sold at the Rose Marina) to release them untouched. Do NOT handle them. Venom can put you in a “hurt locker”

NEARSHORE: Sea conditions here, other than over this weekend, should be comfortable. The bait schools are back and that means the mackerel, bluefish et al should be back. Look for bird action which indicates bait schooling and pelagic fish action. Anchor up ……so that you’re bait is heading to the action spot and put chum block in the water. If there mackerel and bluefish et al will attack. Also keep a small (legal) mackerel on wire leader in the water for potential action on big stuff…..shark, cobia, kingfish on stout equipment. Bottom fishing should be passable on most of the reefs on snapper, retreating sheepshead, triggerfish and trout using a weighted tipped jig, again, under chum.

OFFSHORE:  There will be periods this week that deep water fishing is good and the conditions are comfortable. Just watch the forecasts for infrequent heavy wind periods and troubled sea conditions. Warming water conditions have the red grouper starting to move closer inshore. Might want to start your grouper quest now in the 9-10 mile offshore range and drift west over hard bottom working a live pinfish tight to the bottom outcroppings. Your keep to catch ratio should improve as you move west. Can keep two of these red grouper at 20″ overall daily. Deeper wrecks and reefs are now holding good action as the north pelagic migration continues. Expect to see kingfish, cobia and sharks on any of the deeper wrecks and permit on the Towers SW of the island.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 8, 2016 – April 14, 2016

CONDITIONS:

It’s another week of wind. With a lot of variable direction and velocity to keep the water stirred up and you on the search for clean water. Admittedly, the fishing has been tough, especially in the muddy stained flows with some relief when you can find patches of moderately clean water. No serious fronts until the end of the week…..so storms won’t be a threat until then. But you will be up against a very strong leap tide especially the afternoon outgoings. Over the weekend you will have four foot afternoon outgoing tides to contend with; morning incoming won’t be as bad in the one to two foot range. As has been the case for the past two weeks, it’s the gusty nature of the winds that create a lot of the problem; expect the same this week. Water temperatures will continue to be spring favorable in the 75 -77 degree range……now all we need is for the wind to lay down and help us get the water back to emerald green.

BACKWATER:

Been a tough go especially back here for all of us these last couple weeks. Primary culprit is dirty (muddy) water stirred  up by the constant hellacious wind velocity. Expect that to continue this week with just a tad of relief over the weekend. You can separate your fishing expectations into two categories…..muddy water and semi-clean water. If you work in the muddy stuff expect catfish and lots of them;in the semi clean….you got a chance and we’ll concentrate our forecasting there this week. Better water patches will produce some nice mangrove snapper action now with the water temperatures moving into their favorite range. Work spots with good water flow tight to most any structure (a downed tree…..a limb in the water…..a underwater obstruction) working a bottom lindy rig or a tipped jig into the current flow. Use a larger bait for the bigger snapper. Good chance there will be sheepshead to barely keeper size on the same spots; again on lindy rigs with just a tad of bait.

If in the unlikely event this week that the water in the Passes (Capri, Hurricane and Caxambas) cleans up get those jigs out and work the top waters for mackerel and possibly some bluefish…keeping you rigs off the bottom and away from the dreaded catfish.

NEARSHORE:

If the wind switches east and the waters lie down a bit, you’ll get a chance at some mackerel / bluefish action here close into the shore in the lee of the island. Telltale signs are either birds diving on the water or bait eruptions frothing the surface. Anchor up current and get some block chum in the water letting it soak for 10-15 minutes before you  start your casts with tipped small top water jigs. Best action will be in the top 10′ feet with dreaded blue runners lurking below. AND always a chance that a lurking major pelagic (cobia, kingfish) may be lurking below and attracted to your chum effort….so keep a live bait (even a legal small mackerel) suspended under a float on a major rig in the chum. Bottom action here should get you some nice mangrove snapper.

OFFSHORE:

There will be periods this week that deep water fishing is good and the conditions are comfortable. Just watch the forecasts for infrequent light wind periods and good sea conditions. Two good probables: red grouper and pelagics. Red grouper has been the staple catch here for the last couple years….usually in as close as 7-9 miles they now are more frequent in the 12-14 miles range. Get hard bottom indications on the fishfinder and set up a drift working a live pinfish with drag set tight right into the bottom structure. Keeper size is 20″ O and your limit per day is two fish. The pelagics (cobia, kingfish) are in their migration north and can show up on most any deep wreck or reef. The kings go for live bait soaking under chum; the cobia will show on the surface and go for a sight cast pinfish or thread herring.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

March 25, 2016 – March 31, 2016

CONDITIONS:

Think spring ….finally. Still could be a couple of weaker cold fronts zeroing in as we move into April but that now becomes a long shot. Weather for this early week sports a warm, non windy period with winds east and southeast and no precipitation …..that is until Tuesday when we get a weak system with some rain and winds shifting northwest and going 15-20 mph and could foul the water but it dissipates quickly. But check the water quality before you commit to a Wednesday outing. The tides are coming off a full moon and easing as the week progresses. The morning incoming tide will be a bit weaker than the afternoon outgoing. Afternoon air temperatures will border 90 degrees and than will induce an escalation of the water temps. Expect something close to 78 to 80 degrees by late week.

BACKWATER:

The spring / summer species are definitely here. Not that some of the winter species are still hanging around i.e. sheepshead breeders, spec trout. The snook are showing in good numbers and the juveniles are out-feeding the slots. Fast current points on the stronger afternoon ebb tide along exit points in Rookery Bay and Johnson Bay would be a great spot to set up with a freelined pilchard or thread herring for some snook action. The heat usually slows redfish but the because of the late change of water temps this year, you still have a chance of some nice “red” action. Try Henderson Creek east of Rookery Bay or the mangrove shallow points up in Upper Addison Bay at the early afternoon top of the incoming with a shrimp under a popper tight to the mangrove overhangs. As mentioned, there are still some big sheepshead around trying to do their thing after a late start. Most deep holes with some structure are ideal holding points and work them with just a bit of shrimp on a soft lift. Pompano are back and worth the effort of the first part of either tide in Capri, Caxambas and Hurricane Passes with a small jig tipped with shrimp worked close to the bottom. Last but not least, the mangrove snapper are coming on strong and to 12-14″ in those good current spots on shrimp.

NEARSHORE:

Should be a placid week, sea conditions wise, this week except for the weather hiccup on Tuesday / Wednesday. The white bait arrival on the first and second reefs continues to draw the pelagics and some hot action on mackerel, small kings and bluefish. You may have to move to the 30-35′ depths and work some of the highlight spots (Five Mile Reef / Walton Reef / John Dee for the best action. Work top water tipped jigs over a strong chum effort for best results. You might want to keep a live bait freelined in the slick just in case a migrating small king or a cobia show inshore. Bottom action good to very good here on lane and mangrove snapper working tipped weighted jigs in a good chum slick.

OFFSHORE:

Expect stable weather and sea conditions all week except for a brief weather interlude Tuesday and Wednesday. Pelagics are en masse migration north and showing in good numbers on deeper wrecks and reefs. Look for king mackerel as dominant in the parade and falling for a live blue runner strung out on wire under a float surrounded in chum or on a slow troll with a blue runner set at 10-15′ in tow at 4-5 knots. Cobia could well be the other more frequent visitor but they will visit your activity site on the surface looking for a sight cast threadfin herring put right in their face. Once hooked these cobia are a handful both on the fight and the on board submission. Make sure you have the right stout tackle and the right person on the rod. Cobia are one of the best species for excellence on the table.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

March 18, 2016 – March 24, 2016

CONDITIONS:

This is really a crazy year for weather. A few weeks ago we were struggling with wild winds and rain surges and, now, we are literally into spring. The air temperatures are into the mid eighties and the water temps are surging into the mid seventies. Crazy! Such an unusual pattern, I’m absolutely sure the fish are confused. Well, anyway, we are through the transition and moving into spring/summer. Those crazy mid-day winds should abate a bit this week and settle down…..all but for a front predicted for early week that will bring a day of rain, winds and rough water. Look for that this coming Monday or Tuesday. Thankfully the winds associated with the front are north and northeast which will keep the water clarity reasonable. Tides this week are headed to a full moon late and you what that does to the tides……suggest working the morning incoming which will be more docile than the afternoon ebb. Water temp, believe it or not, is working it’s way up to the 76-78 degree range,

BACKWATER: 

Best example of what’s happening with the weather is the cold water spawn with the sheepshead this year. Usually the species wait until the water temp drops into the low sixties and then make the run inshore to release and enrich spawn …..well it never got to the low sixties but they waited offshore and waited……now they are here too late and doing their thing anyhow. Seeing BIG sheepshead all along the deep structure full of roe and taking bits of shrimp or cut crab. Bite won’t last long, as the lucky ones will be heading west and cooler waters again. Spring resurgence of pompano and mackerel are showing in the Capri, Caxambas and Hurricane Passes with best on incoming water working tipped jigs or lindy rigs into the moving current. Spec trout action is waning but still some good activity up along Hurricane Pass grass bottom patches working shrimp under a popper on a slow drift. Mangrove snapper go hot in warmer water……all along the mangrove edges on shrimp worked right into the structure

NEARSHORE:

Water temps out here this morning an amazing 77 degrees…what happened to the frigid mornings and assailing winds ? Amazingly, big sheepshead and snapper are super active on first and second reef structure …side by side.Taking whatever size shrimp you toss into the drink and fighting like crazy. Still nice size sheepshead around, mostly the breeders, that many times will exceed 13-14″ and mostly small mangroves yet but enough 12-14″ to make you smile. On top the mackerel have shown up (finally) and put on quite a show for everyone. Enough size there too to take a couple home. Plus always a chance here that some of the forward vanguard of the pelagics could show on the major spots. A chance for small kings and cobia along those same reefs….keep a live bait in the water and refresh the chum every so often. You never know.

OFFSHORE:

Stable weather conditions here except for that weak front (rain) forecast for early week. Keep an eye on sea conditions. Migration action has started. Kingfish are showing on even the intermediate reefs and wrecks and going after live blue runners and thread herring set out under chum; also might latch onto a cobia on the same reefs but showing almost on the surface and going after a nice thread herring that you cast in front of their nose. Reef structure can also provide good action on mangrove and lane snapper as well as retreating sheepshead working simple lindy rigs tight to the structure. Red grouper action, our old winter standby, is also reheating up. Get out to the hard bottom in the 9-11 mile range and have at is on a  drift with a live pinfish worked tight to the outcroppings. Reds need to be 20″ and you can take two of these delectable table fare daily.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

March 11, 2016 – March 17, 2016

CONDITIONS:

The real March has finally arrived. Warming temperatures immersed in harrowing winds. This week we’ll have those winds early and late with nice mild weather in between. You’ll have to pick your day for backwater vs. offshore. Most all of the wind is south and east, so that is a positive for keeping the water reasonably clean. The air temperature continues to climb especially in the afternoon and is taking the water temperature with it….look for 69-71 degree temperatures this week. The tide also, will have to be managed this week. Coming off a new moon early week and then changing 3.0 foot tides ranges to less than six inches by late week. You don’t want either extreme. Check App “Buoyweather” for real time tide estimates.

BACKWATER:

Been a strange year. The warm water through our early months kept the bigger breeding sheepshead offshore and deeper in cooler water. The conditions really never changed but finally “nature called” and the sheepshead had to do their thing…..this week we have numerous reports of big (13-15″) roe laden sheepshead being caught in all those spots along the docks and bottom structure inshore. Work them with small pieces of shrimp or cut crabs tight to the bottom using a soft lift technique. Speckled trout remain active and are a great action catch and excellent table fare. Best spots are shallow (4-6′) that have underlying sea grass and good water flow……west Johnson Bay up along Calhoun Pass is one of the best venues as is the areas between the docks up along Keeywadin Channel. Work a shrimp to the bottom or hang one under a popping cork and work on drift over those areas. Mangrove snapper are beginning to show on bottom structure. Lots of small guys now taking shrimp but the activity level bodes well for some great spring/summer expectations. Juvenile snook are waking up from winter hibernation and jumping on shrimp or white bait presented on spots with structure and good water movement. Fun to catch but need to be released right now.

NEARSHORE:

With conditions back and forth out here this week you’ll want the most recent forecast before you rev up the engines. Spanish mackerel are definitely back and feeding all along the First and Second reef spots working the white bait schools that have recently arrived. Get into the torrid action working a tipped top water jig over a serious chum effort on a reef that you’ve marked the schools of white bait. Be careful; the mackerel can be mixed in with small kingfish and they have divergent harvest sizes….mackerel 12″ …kings 24″. Bottom action on the reefs presents good chance for late season sheepshead and some early season snapper along with triggerfish and seatrout. All on shrimp worked tight to the bottom structure.

OFFSHORE:

Mostly snapper action out here now. Some signs that red grouper will kick back in as the water quality and temperature range return to normal. And…..the pelagic march from the Keys north to the Panhandle has begun. The snapper are hot on mid-range structure spots that show holding bait and best worked with weighted tipped jigs worked under chum. Expect good size lane and mangrove snapper to 15-16″. Expect the excellent red grouper action to kick back in as the water quality and Gulf warmth to return. Worth a try now, anyway, working a live pinfish tight to the bottom on a tide induced drift…..you never know.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

March 4, 2016 – March 11, 2016

CONDITIONS:

Nothing weather wise seems to be consistent this time of year around here. We keep flipping back and forth from generally mild conditions to tumultuous frontal conditions and dealing with the after maths. We’ll see a little more of that this week as we have a predicted cold front to make it’s way through mid week. Look for some resurgent wind come mid-week, thankfully out of the east, stirring up the water but leaving the overall water quality generally clear. Although, think we are feeling some residual effect of the “leakage” of that tainted water from Lake Okachobee, especially in our backwater fishing. The tides for the week are strengthening to a new moon late week with faster tides both ways. With all of that, the water temperature is creeping back up to the 70 degree spring threshold and, hopefully, stability in fishing weather conditions.

BACKWATER:

Expect that this week things will be stabilizing here. Finally seeing some bigger breeding sheepshead showing in expected spots which speaks to them being tired of waiting to do their “thing” in the non-existent cold water this winter. Some great action on bigger fish worked with shrimp or cut crabs even in shallow water structure. Speckled trout are staying active on seagrass bottoms all along the Hurricane Pass docks and actively feeding on simple shrimp rigs worked tight to the bottom. Great top water action on the trout. Still waiting for the late winter/ early spring pompano surge but beginning to see undersized pomps in Capri and Caxambas Passes which is a positive sign for what lies ahead. Chillier water keeps action on silver trout and whiting strong both off the beaches and in those deeper holes all along the ICW. Work with shrimp rigs or tipped smaller jigs. Both species are great table fare and have no size limit or bag limit.

NEARSHORE:

Nice conditions out here at least till mid week. Both spawning and retreating sheepshead are available out here working vertically dropped shrimp rigs into structure with a shrimp or crab bit aboard and worked with a soft lift technique. Usually, both lane and mangrove snapper will go for the same offering……but might want to get a chum slick going to really activate these chunky snapper. With the stone crab trap markers in place, good chance for an ugly but delectable triple tail. Look for them side floating on the surface tight to the trap markers and taken on a tipped shrimp rig or a dark colored tipped jig. Last point here……Spanish mackerel should show here any day now. Key will be either surface bait eruptions or serious bird action. Keep a lookout !

OFFSHORE:

Red grouper action remains slowed. Causal factors probably a combination of fouled water intrusions and unstable temperatures. Reports show a few still being caught in 60′ hard bottom with small pinfish as bait. Seems better action on small reefs and structure closer inshore for more available lane and mangrove snapper using chum to draw and weighted jigs to catch. Many reports show fish to 15” being caught. Deep water action is great right now on amberjacks to 30# plus on deep wrecks using live blue runners as live bait dropped vertically into wreck structure.

 

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

February 26, 2016 – March 3, 2016

CONDITIONS:

The water temperature went to 70 degrees today ! It’s almost as if we’re past the winter…….and all of that without the traditional temperature plunge that sends the winter species scurrying inshore to propagate. Guess we take what we get. Week ahead has more of the same with a frontal hiccup mid week with some nasty winds…..some out of the northwest which will tend to foul the water clarity a bit. Otherwise expect more of the same slightly chilly mornings and summer like afternoons. Winds will be reasonable and out of the east until then. The tides are coming off a full moon and will be exceptionally weak especially the morning outgoing with later week tides with less than six inches of movement in six hours. The afternoon incoming will be stronger. The water temperature should stay in the 68-70 degree range through the period.

BACKWATER: 

Unusual conditions persist. The traditional cold water action has vanished. With water temperatures never getting below the 62-64 range here, the mass sheepshead invasion of spawners moving inshore never happened. There has been some heightened activity in that regard in the last week but nothing like the norm. But still worth a try in the deeper waters of the Marco River docks and structure points with a tad of shrimp or cut crabs…..this week on the afternoon tide. Also the Keeywadin docks are a worthwhile target to nail a mega sheepshead on the same baits. Looks like speckled trout have jumped in to fill the sheepshead void. Better action on the trout than we have had for years. Good spots are the edges of Calhoun Channel just north of the Isle of Capri; the flats off Henderson Creek in Rookery Bay and the north end of Canon Island south of Marker #28 in the ICW northbound. If the warmer weather holds or escalates, keep an eye open for some serious snook action. The linesiders reactivate in 70 degree water and will be feeding heavily after their short winter solstice. Live bait is the key here worked on shallower current points. Finally, don’t forget the silver trout and whiting action, so typical to usual winter action that are a hot target off the beaches and the holes along the ICW working small tipped jigs deep.

NEARSHORE:

Weather conditions out here should be reasonable this week with the exception of the front running through here midweek. Good reports of bigger sheepshead on the Isaac Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass worked with shrimp / cut crabs on a vertical soft lift technique. Just might be that with the warmer water inshore that the big breeders stayed on the deeper cooler reefs out here. Also seeing white bait reassembling out here which bodes well for some hot pelagic action (mackerel / bluefish) in the weeks ahead.

OFFSHORE:

Red grouper……….for the first time in a long time the bite seems diminished. Causal factors: perhaps the fouled water leaching from the Okeechobee drain off or the unusual water temperature issue. Hopefully it will snap back quickly. But still worth a try working live pinfish / cut ladyfish over hard bottom 9-11 miles due west of Capri Pass. Nice size lane and mangrove snapper to 15″ have been the “go to” species as the grouper take waned. They are being worked on structure with tipped weighted jigs a couple feet off the bottom under chum. Deep; still have reportable action on good to excellent amberjack action on wrecks using a vertical drop of live bait right into the structure.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

February 19, 2016 – February 25, 2016

CONDITIONS:

Unfortunately, weather is not the only condition we are dealing with now that influences our fishing now. Allow me to quickly explain.  The Corp of Army Engineers are releasing hundreds of thousands of tainted gallons of fresh water, that have overfilled Lake Okeechobee right into the Caloosahatchee River that has run west and impacted our fishing from Ft.Myers on west and south into our Gulf and inshore waters. These tainted waters are supposed to be released south into the Everglades water shed where the natural filtration in the Glades would clean it before it reaches Florida Bay. Sorry, to overburden you with this overarching issue but you will see the impact on the fish bite here until this tainted fresh water is assimilated. Otherwise, we have a week ahead that will be a bit weather friendly albeit with some chilly mornings but warming quickly. Wind will jump back with some gusty blasts mid week but the fronts / rains are gone. Tides are moderate with a stronger morning incoming than the more placid afternoon outgoing. The water temp should inch up to 63-65 by week end.

BACKWATER:

The expected great bite on mega sheepshead isn’t happening…….yet. Up and down water temperatures as well the west winds that muddied the water are highly suspected causal factors. If you try anyhow, there will be bait bucket emptying escapades with undersized sheepshead. With current conditions would recommend fishing tight to barnacle laden pilings on either tide with a tiny piece of fresh shrimp or crab and be patient…… It will take longer to get the action on the sheepshead started. Hopefully, you’ll see a few harvestable fish in the mix. As an alternative, give seatrout a try. Good spots are along the waterway enroute Keeywadin known as Calhoun Channel. Set up in 4-6′ of water and work either shrimp or tipped small jigs into the moving water just off the bottom. You need at least 15″ to take a trout but they are worth the effort for they are considered excellent table fare. The waters are still friendly to mangrove snapper all along the mangrove edges…..a whole shrimp here will do a better job than a tiny piece that you’ve been using along the waterways for the still elusive sheepshead.

NEARSHORE: 

Might have bit of a better chance out here……water could be a bit clearer but, unfortunately still fouled by the Okcachobee tainted water release. Pelagic top water fish (mackerel, bluefish, jacks) would probably have moved as far west as they needed to escape that influence. However bottom dwellers out here could have stayed their ground with more staid waters. Worth a try to work some of the first and second reefs, working cut crabs or tads of shrimp tight to the structure for sheepshead, snapper or trout. Might even see an occasional triggerfish out here.

OFFSHORE:

Red grouper has been the red hot bite of here for months. How they react to the tainted water infusion is an unknown. Good chance they will be reviled…….and if they are they will move to deeper water. On a hunch, would recommend moving out to the 70′ water hard bottom and deploy your baits of live pinfish or cut ladyfish on a drift in the faster moving current. Weather should cooperate early week…..so you should have a reasonable chance. Otherwise head out further west to some of the super deep wrecks to work amberjacks on a vertical drop of live bait into the wreck structure and hang on……some of these AJ’s will gross out at over 35 lbs.