December 7th 2018 Fishing Report
CONDITIONS: Looks like we could be info a redux of the fouled water dilemma that we suffered through this summer. Multiple reports this week of dead dolphin and bottom feeders prevalent in waters just north of Marco. Personal experience this past week shows water here that tainted color but very little respiratory discomfort for those on the water. We’ll just have to wait and see how the issue plays out this week. My bet as the water temperature dives down in the mid 60’s and beyond is that we see the threat of red tide and algae infected water dissipate. Advice: stay tuned using the MY.FWC.COM web site or the local Naples daily publications. General weather this week is winter typical with a front roaring through early week with some diving air temps and stronger and gustier winds. The latter may foul the water especially in some backwater spots that need to be avoided. The new moon tide will provide a good medium strength morning incoming tide but then dissipate and give you a weak afternoon water flow.
BACKWATER: Expect to see an “early” arrival of the sheepshead spawn cycle in this domain this week and beyond. For reasons only known to them the medium (keeper) size sheepshead have arrived here early. Experience over the past week or so indicates that if you hit a spot with good small sheepshead action…..stay put……it takes a little time but the bigger ones (12-14”) will show as they gravitate toward the bait and action. Work a spot in the 8-10 foot depth range that has good tidal flow with the incoming showing best. Good chance on those same spots for mangrove snapper action with some bigger fish finishing their summer feast. Elsewhere, you might begin the try the waters just off the beaches (think Sandollar Island / Sea Oat Island) for the beginning phases of whiting and silver trout action. Need good relatively clean moderately fast water working tipped gigs tight to the bottom. Last but not least the spec trout are in the process of turning on all along the Calhoun Channel and the island edges up north by Canon Island. Look for moving water in 6-8’ depths and a grass bottom and work a tipped jig under a popper on a drift.
NEARSHORE: Want to stay close to the wind forecasts if your planning to venture anywhere in the Gulf this week. Could get rough early week if those predicted westerly winds show up. Action here is holding pretty steady with good to very good pelagic action on incoming tidal waters on inshore structure like reefs and shallow wrecks. Best here is a early immersion of block chum and allowing a 10-15 minute soak time before beginning to work tipped jigs on a fast retrieve up above the falling chum bits. Be patient…..once they show, they will sustain the action on mackerel, some bluefish, jacks and blue runners. Looking for bottom action for snapper, grouper (possible) then get the coordinates for the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass and the legendary Marco Five Mile Reef. Late summer action is still prevalent in both spots. Will, again, need a chum effort followed by either cut large baits to the bottom or after lifting your chum to the surface work tipped weighted jigs and work just off the bottom.
OFFSHORE: Ditto on watching the wind forecasts before making a long offshore effort. Deeper wrecks are still experiencing the intermittent action on southbound pelagics (kings, cobia, permit et al) attracted to bait rich wreck sites.You’ll need to acquire some frisky live bait inshore (blue runners, pinfish, thread herring) and deploy it on wire leader and stout tackle tethered under a float at 15-20’ immersed in a strong chum effort. If the targets appear on the surface, rig up a smaller live bait and commence to top water retrieve. Cobia, will most likely, approach your activity right on the surface. This also is the prime season for tripletail and, as previously mentioned, it’s a good idea to assign one of your crews as lookout as to move through the crab trap markers looking for a floating TT sunning , Take with medium weight tackle working a dark color jig right on the surface. Good action with great table fare appeal.