July 13th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Wish I could predict better weather news BUT it looks like the exhausting red tide is going to be with us for just a little while longer. The FWC (Florida Wildlife Commission ….my fwc.com) presents a weekly update of water samples taken from Cape Romano all the way to Northern Lee County. That now regularly shows a red tide presence on Marco in the LOW category. Contrastingly North Naples is MODERATE and Estero to Sanibel is MODERATE to HIGH…….so be glad we’re are the bottom of the Red Totum Pole. This RT event has been hanging on much longer than usual. Probable cause: the pesticide / fertilizer outflow continuing from the BIG SUGAR releases from Lake O. We’ll have to wait it out: Technique: work the outgoing tides which seem to send the red spores back to the Gulf: Stay away from domains that are void of surface bait; and keep moving. Otherwise in the weather domain looks like a superheated week (again) with three digit real feels; light winds and only late day t-storms. Of note however is the “raging” mid-day outgoing tide off the recent new moon that will drive ebb tides over the 4’ range early week. Check your tide tables. Will be a tough time to shoot for anything in currents of that speed. Lastly, look for water temps now holding to a storm dangerous level of 87 to 89 most every day.

BACKWATER.  Been personally experiencing and getting reports on action emanating much better on the faster moving outgoing waters this week. Seems as if the fish are waiting for the of scooting and cleansing outgoing tide and then feeding. Good places to look would be the Johnson Bay creeks and the main channel pouring out of Rookery Bay. There work a weighted jog head with shrimp attached into the outgoing tide points……getting to the bottom for snapper and in the upper half current flow for pelagics (Mackerel, jacks, small permit and pompano. Then there is the edge fishery that continues to provide seasonal larger mangrove snapper. Places like Hurricane Pass and the Keeywadin docks continue to provide nice “take home” results on snapper now in the 11-12” category working a simple 1/2oz jig head tipped with the back end of a shrimp. Lastly, always a chance of a pompano invasion on the first hour of incoming tide with clear water in Capri, Hurricane and Caxambas Passes working a tad of shrimp on a feathered jig tight to the bottom on a drift

NEARSHORE: Just off the beaches, still have the probability that the red tide spore is at work. Examine the water surface coloration carefully…….exit any areas that show the irregular water coloration and hone in on cleaner water spots…….your nearshore targets should be doing the exact same thing. Cleaner water will draw and hold bait and the target fish nearshore will quickly follow. Most days the pelagics (mackerel and bluefish et al) are chowing down on displaced bait schools thus your quest is to find these action areas. On the First and Second Reefs the giveaway culprit will be the gulls and pelicans hovering and diving on bait. Set up on the show with a good chum slick and them draw the action to weighted tipped jigs worked into a mild chum effort. On the same locales, you will now find drawable bottom action on 3-4’ blacktip sharks by working a fresh cut bait tight to the bottom under a moderate chum effort. Make sure everything you put out for slaughter is rigged on wire…..sharks are toothy.

OFFSHORE: Surface conditions out here this week should be marvelous camera targets. Flat and clear to say the least. The long run out past the enduring home of the undersized red grouper would be in play. Try the super-long run to 70-75’ foot depths due west the Island and deploy a live threadfin or pinfish tight to the hard bottom on a good tidal period, either in or out on a tidal drift. Move west till you see sizes north of the 20” capturable size. A little closer in and working the many deep water wrecks and reefs will provide good sustained action of yellowtail snapper working a reef with loads of bait with freelined tad pieces of chum into a slick of the same. Unique action where you leave the bail open and post strike and yellowtail runoff, you set the strike with closing the bail with bail closure. For many, yellowtail, are the filet mignon of the seafood world.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

July 6th Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Unfortunately, the red tide dilemma is hanging around the entire SW Florida coast with some locales north of us suffering to a greater extent than the Collier County gulf edges. Overall, the condition not only effects the fish (disturbing scene to walk the beach with scattered fish carcasses) but effects folks exposed to surface water spray with some respiratory distress (coughing etc). Bottom line……you can still catch fish but the volume of action has definitely been effected. News reports online however are indicating that the “bloom” may be fading with the light winds that are mostly from the south and southeast. We’ll see……hope springs eternal. Otherwise, this holiday week, we should see good weather with some abatement of the constant thunder and drizzle. Unfortunately the 4th evening (think fireworks) may deliver some showers. The winds will surge a bit especially in the gust category and be dominant out of the South and Southeast……and that’s good as it tends to push the tainted water north. For anglers, the primary issue will be the tides as they head towards a new moon late week. Predictions show morning outgoing tides late week in the 4-5’ range which is highly unusual. Check your charts and avoid those racing water periods late morning during the latter part of the week.

BACKWATER: It’s really a return to normalcy here, as the Spanish Mackerel bite continues to be outstanding. There are, literally legions of those “macks” just about everywhere, even in the deeper backwaters. Spots like Rookery Bay and Addison Bay are producing nice size mackerel when you are working the deeper water cuts when the current is moving swiftly. And the macks will jump on most any bait bait…..from a hunk of shrimp to a well engineered flashy jig rig. All of that is welcome here early summer and has been missing (for whatever reason) for the past three or four years. The other dominant backwater action is on the “Old Mainstay” here in the summer…..the mangrove snapper. They are just about everywhere along the mangrove edges and all over docks and other structure. But, you will find that most of the action is on fish that are undersized. You can empty your bait bucket quite quickly with that action. Experience has shown that the BIG snapper don’t like to work hard fighting a fast tide and will hold back on the chow until the water slows. Try holding off on the snapper effort until 30-45 minutes on either side of slack water……working the same spots with the same bait. Good chance the “big guys” will show. As a final passage on backwater action…the snook are still very active early incoming on current points all through the backwater and love pilchards. The action dims when the superheated sun’s rays begin to vertically penetrate the waters…..so go early for the best action.

NEARSHORE: Chances are that the conditions out here will be positive this coming week with fewer storm periods and lighter winds. The same snook that we write about being active backwater early will be be in the same mode early all along the beach edges from Kice Island all the way to Keeywadin. First light incoming will be the key period to soak your baits just off the wave action working live bait (pilchards best) after you rouse them up with a shower of same. Have a couple reports of keeper size gag grouper showing in the inside reefs including the Marco Five Mile. A live pinfish with just a tad of weight freelined just over structure may get you some pleasant surprises. Bottom action on the same spots, post some chum effort, will be on some dinner size mangrove and lane snapper working tipped weighted jigs, again under chum.

OFFSHORE: Conditions out here this week should be a carbon copy of what we discussed regarding the nearshore……..nice and flat and little to no storm activity. The long runs deep have a better chance of producing as the bait seems to be holding on the deep wrecks that are holding bait. Look for pelagics (kings, cobia, sharks, cuda) to be active and feeding on the deeper wrecks that show resident bait schools. Live runners on wire set at 15’ under chum should do the number for you on the kings and sharks. The curious cobia will show on the surface in the slick and are suckers for a live pinfish sight casted in their direction. The cuda will lie in wait in the shadow of the boat and take anything you’re trying to land. Go get ‘em with a heavy duty vinyl eel towed or retrieved quickly over the reef / wreck.  HAVE A HAPPY 4TH…GOD BLESS AMERICA

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

June 29th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Well, if you’re getting tired of the hot and often stormy weather…..at least you can say is that it’s consistent. And it’s “gonna” stay that way as least through the coming holiday week.In fact the forecasts show the fireworks show for the 4th will be aided and abetted by nature’s thunderbangers. Of a more serious note, it looks like the superheated water and air conditions mixed with the red tide spores is delivered get some tough water and, alas, fishing conditions. Those effects are moderate yet in the immediate Marco waters but it’s an entirely different story north of us from Fort Myers up through the Sanibel  and Estero areas. My perception is that condition is worsened there with the constant discharges of fouled (fertilizer /pesticide) waters created by the sugar barons along the Caloosahatchee River. The key factor keeping the condition mild here is the wind direction…….we will have easterly and southerly winds this coming week – if for some reason they turned NW or W and picked up velocity that serious red tide condition would be here. So the heat and rain “ain’t” that bad for us. Just check your forecasts before you head out on the briny. On the other condition fronts, the tides are coming off a full moon and are moderate both ways which is a positive. The water temperature is now stationary at 88 to 90 degrees but just a tad cooler early morning and late evening….which should provide a clue as to when to conditions will be best.

BACKWATER: Even though their “season” is closed until September, the snook are super charged in the heat and with the huge expanses of bait along the backwater edges and out along the beaches have the feed bag on. They could show just about anywhere and are not finicky……jumping on a hunk of shrimp as well as a top-of-the-line live bait. Please, if you’re  targeting these linesiders, please use circle hooks and use special care in releasing. Elsewhere…..things are strange. Species that are not common here are showing consistently. Like permit to 12” in the waters of Rookery Bay on either tide and taking a simple shrimp either on a lindy rig or set up on a jig……mixed in that foray are mackerel and an occasional pompano. We have also seen a few bonefish along the deep cuts the line the drop offs at Hideaway Beach lagoon. They, too, are not particular on their chow and will take whatever you’re offering. Again…..they are a great gamefish, so please be careful on release (after photos, of course). Mangrove snapper, as appropriate, are the mainstay this time of year and as the weeks slide by we are seeing more and more take homes…..suggest if you’re getting size, release the 10” inchers (tiny filet) and hang on for the 11-13” versions.

NEARSHORE: Good and bad news……the winds are down this week so the conditions should be flat BUT the storms are forecasted just about every day. So be selective on the day and time for the fishing trip outside. Mackerel are the top number out here this year and will roam long distances to work those big bait schools. Close in there seems to be good results for those fishing the Capri Pass wrecks out to and including the legendary Pass Barge. Approach is consistent and standard: Good block chum effort and sit tight for 15 minutes and then tipped flashy jigs on a fast retrieve right through the slick. Good chance little tunny could show in the activity and if so toss out a couple rigs (with heavier tackle) with cut bait into the slick. Other action appears to be focused on bottom action (mangrove and lane snapper et al) on the major reef spots like the Walton Reef just off Caxambas Pass and the legendary Five Mile reef. Here working weighted tipped jigs just off the bottom will get you results.

OFFSHORE: Conditions here will be in line with what you experience nearshore. Interface with online weather info offshore will help you make the right decisions……stay in place or run.  Good reports on pelagics (kings, cobia, permit, sharks, cuda) on most of the deeper wrecks and reefs holding bait. Working these spots takes a bit out patience to wait out the impact of your arrival and the chum effort. Once that kicks in, you have to be ready for most anything…….the species that will show differ…..from the ravenous kingfish to the slashing barracuda. It’s a spectacular show with differing results……but all lots of fun. Good chance for delectable take homes (cobia, permit and kings).


Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

June 15th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Looks like we’re settling into typical summer conditions here. Red and green blotches all over the weather radar streaming through the west side of the Florida Peninsula from morning to night…. gets to be commonplace. However, we have yet to see the steady stream of dense black clouds forming late afternoon in the eastern sky and heading our way amid raucous thunder and lighting cracks……all of that settles in as summer takes over here. So, for you folks that love the water and the fishing here….GET OUT EARLY…..it’s cooler / less chance of thunderbangers / and the fish are more likely to respond to you’re effort. And as most long term residents here do, take a siesta and reappear late afternoon. It beats the heat and provides you with minimum disruption and maximum safety. Also, this week is another part of the tide cycle and we’ll be coming off a new moon early week that will grace us with four foot outgoing tides for the afternoons of early week and then easing each day to weekend. Those super fast tides are mostly to be avoided……..fish have to work too hard to feed and hold in that tumultuous current. And finally…..the heat of the water is starting to COOK. Recorded readings of surface water in the back country to 86 degrees last week…..very bad sign for our expected storm season.

BACKWATER: Unusual back here…..is the descriptive adjective that describes current conditions and results. The disruptive water flow, the unusual amount of fresh water intrusion, and the corruptive deposits from   Lake Okeechobie are causing strange happenings back in the inside waters. Fish species, almost historically foreign here are showing up in bewilderment. Trip last week produced spotted sea trout in 20” plus sizes in fast moving backwaters that were totally foreign to their expressed habitats and then a hour later we found permit in the deeper waters in some deep water cuts in Addison Bay (another first). So, bottom line, it’s an unusual turn of events probably caused by the melange of weather events occurring here over the past six weeks. But in all the aberrations, there is a steady delivery of the “summer” fish here the mangrove snapper. The sizable versions of the species will show in those last and first hours of either tide (as the water slows and the effort to feed eases) working small shrimp tight to the bottom with just some slight motion to enhance their presence. Other summer action has mackerel invading all three Passes on the middle to end of the incoming tide and jumping on tipped jigs worked in chum.

NEARSHORE: Conditions here should be generally favorable for the week. Some forecasted storm periods……so check those forecasts before you sail. Tough to outrun a storm front coming at you at 30 knots. Close in, between the Capri Barge wrecks and the “Pass Barge” there are schools of marauding mackerel and bluefish chasing huge bait schools. Watch for the bird action working the surface to give you a starting point. Can either anchor up and spread some chum or stay underway working jigs on a troll through the bait eruptions. Either way good action is generally available. The major reefs….the Five Mile Reef complex, the John Deere wreck and the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass are all producing pelagic action on roaming mackerel schools as well as solid bottom action on lane and mangrove snapper. With activity on structure can expect to see good to very. Many of the spots with good water flow and bait schools are also attracting surface pelagics.

OFFSHORE: Check out the pelagic action that is picking up speed with the vanguard of the spring-summer migration of the pelagics heading north. Sites of deep water wrecks and as well as bait laden mid-depth reefs and wrecks can produce great action in these heated conditions. Look for the hard fighting kingfish to show on most of the structures that harbor bait. Capture a few mid-size blue runners and string them out on wire leader under a float at a 10-15’ depth in a chum slick and prepare for some serious action. Kings are ferocious fighters right to the very end and are worth the effort. The other major player out there now is the “curious” cobia. Cobia will be attracted by fishing commotion and odors of chum and appear on the surface tight to the boat. Have a rod ready armed with a live threadfin herring and sight cast and be ready to hang on. Exciting times out here.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

June 8th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Finally get a brief respite from the relatively constant rain and stormy weather. Now we get the scorching heat with PM temperature real feel in the 100-105 degree range. Tough on us and tougher of the fish. Experience on charters has shown that conditions on the water are generally in a state of flux……constantly changing. Perhaps as we move into the heart of summer here, we’ll see conditions settle down. You know the drill……nice cool mornings with just a tad of a breeze that heat up by late morning and send us packing to the air conditioning until the PM Everglades T-storms descend on us for an hour or and cool things off for pleasant evenings. And that routine, day after day, will settle down the fishing quality with it’s consistency. The expected weather this week shows some evidence of that happening……some patterned showers over the weekend and then the balance of the week is crystal clear and devoid of tumult. Significant for the week however is a super strong tide triggered by a new moon late week. Look for afternoon outgoing tides that will exceed a four foot drop in 6-7 hour time frames. Finally the water temperature is creeping up and will be showing the mid 80’s by week end.

BACKWATER: The unsettled conditions show up most prominently in the shallower backwaters. Species such as permit and bonefish are showing in the backwaters which is not a customary occurrence……and sort of displays the “mixed up” water and weather conditions. Think if those conditions settle down, we have a chance back here for a good summer season. The heat of the water will energize the mangrove and lane snapper and we should see a steady increase in nice size “take homes” in the 11-13” range. Try most all mangrove edges which display downed trees and other fauna working shrimp on a 1/4 oz jig hear or on a lindy rig tight to the structure. Another tip on bigger snapper is that the major size fish will restrain from working hard in the faster moving tides and show up to feed in the half hour / forty five minutes on either side of slack water. NOTE: Try to avoid the raging outgoing tide mid to late week afternoons…as noted it will fall over 4’ in six hours. Other possible action, as the water cleans up will be mackerel and pompano in all three Passes working tipped jigs to the bottom on a drift.

NEARSHORE: Storms will be a problem here both morning and afternoon over the weekend……should ease up early week. Action on mackerel / bluefish seems to be holding steady all along the first and second lines of reefs off the beaches. Look for bird feeding action or surface eruptions of escaping bait and either set up current with a block of chum working tipped jigs or peel off 100’ of line towing a spoon or flashy jig on the edges of surface eruptions. Troll speed in the 4-5 kt range. The intense heat and rising water temps have excited the shark populations and there are reports now of good blacktip action along those same reefs as well as the major spots like the Capri Barges and the Isaac Walton Reef. Live bait on the bottom under a good chum slick should get you some hot exciting action.

OFFSHORE: Post weekend should be great out here with good tides, flat water and good pickings. The inside reefs that are swollen with bait have solid populations of both lane and mangrove snapper with an occasional triggerfish or porgy thrown in. That action can be initiated on structure showing bait on the Fathometer and then drawing fish in a generous chum effort…….working them with weighted jigs just a couple feet off the bottom. The mid range wrecks and reefs will have action on pelagics (kings, cobia, permit) working live bait, again, accentuated with a good chum effort. Plus your activity might well excite some sharks and cuda into the fray. Sharks on live bait and cuda on bait or fast trolled artificial eels.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

June 1st 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Looks like the effects of Alberto have past ……at least the rainfall, variable wind conditions and the threat of floods. But what we are left with is a huge immersion of fresh water mixed into the salt which has significantly dropped the salinity levels. We’ll have to see how that plays out over this whole week. But the general weather conditions that confront us this this week are generally favorable. There are a few isolated period of threatening T-storms that are rather weak and scattered. The winds for the week will be mainly W and WSW and moderate with the exception of a couple afternoons late week. That will tend to moderate any water tumult caused by last week’s storm. The tides, too, will be moderate the eases in strength as it moves past last week’s high tide. Don’t have an accurate water temp effect the week ahead but predict all that storm driven fresh water may depress this week’s temperatures into the 75 to 77 range which would be a 5 degree average drop from what we had before the storm. An aside……this is an early start for tropical conditions on the Paradise Coast which should put all of us on the caution for a tough, dangerous 2018 Hurricane System.

BACKWATER: Will forecast that the conditions that were producing fairly good action of the spring species of snapper and mackerel will kick back in as soon a the barometer begins moving north consistently…….and that the water clarity moves towards clear. Might find the better spots now as close to the max current flow as possible are occurring. Look for action on spots like the current points in Rookery Bay or working the docks along Hurricane Pass. The snapper should stay close to their annual pinnacle of action and be taking small shrimp worked in the moderate current either way. And then in spots like Addison Bay current points there should be the same level of action with a good possibility of black drum showing on spots vacated earlier this year by the sheepshead. The drum will go for a bait moved slowly along the floor of the deeper cut just off the tide flow. And finally, don’t be afraid to try any of the three passes as the mid morning flood tide begins for mackerel which move to bait from their nearshore holding spots in search of bait schools. Best on mackerel is a tipped jig worked up in top water in a moderate chum effort.

NEARSHORE: Should be a recovery week. Just how fast that process proceeds will this an iffy week. Can try the Capri Pass just off the turn of tide early morning working tipped jigs under chum in vicinity of the barges trying for pelagics which would be the first group of species to return to the feed as the conditions return to normal. Factors would be moderate that give the activity here the week after a tropical storm but our area was really on the fringe of the severe conditions north of us. Other chances would be on the nearshore reefs i.e. the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass and the legend Five Mile Reef and few miles further SW. Would suggest working the bottom here with weighted jigs under chum for snapper et al.

OFFSHORE: Not nearly the impact here from the water intrusion but more the lingering effect of the winds that were in the storm last week. Good bet to postpone your trips to the latter part of the week to allow time and fair weather to settle the water surface down. As far as the fishing goes, should recover quickly with good snapper action, both lane and mangrove, on the closer in reefs and wrecks. Setting up current and working tipped weighted jigs into the chum slick should get you good to very good action. Further west, on the deeper wrecks that hold bait schools, there should be solid action on pelagics especially kings and cobia with a few permit mixed in. Live bait is the ticket for all three: live runner on wire for kings; sight cast threadfin for the cobia; and small live crabs for the permit. All of that after early insertion of chum.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

May 25th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: The rain that we all hoped would grow the grass and put out the smoky brush fires just won’t quit……and we have more coming this next week but the forecasts are showing it lets up just a tad by the month end. All that fresh water has an effect on the fishing. The fresh water intrusion not only changes the salinity level in seawater big time but adds to the murkiness of the water quality and and, sadly, helps the growth of algae that fouls your tackle, especially in the backwaters and chases the feeding fish to cleaner climes. So….enough is enough !! Hopefully, we’ll see a more standard June with the standard fare of the east to west late afternoon rather compact T-storms coming our way from the Glades…….cooling us down and then vanishing before sundown. Overarching item continues to be the presence of the red tide bloom in waters. Reports show it is considered “mild” off our coast but gets serious up around Bonita Springs. For this coming week, we have two post weekend days showing some significant rain mixed in with 20 kt winds…..after that we’re clear to the first June weekend. The water temp keeps yo-yoing back and forth with the daily dose of stormwater…..runs mid 70’s to low 80’s depending on your depth. And finally, we will have another moon cycle to deal with…..Full moon late week with stronger PM outgoing tides to add to the tough fishing factors you will face this coming week.

BACKWATER: Many who scheduled fishing charters for the last couple weeks have either postponed or cancelled scheduled trips as you might suspect with the weather and associated T-storms. But from what we could glean it looks like we still have fair to good snook action out along the beaches from Cape Romano north through Caxambas Pass and on up to the north end of Keeywadin Island. Bait is scarce in some places so look for the surface shimmer that is the give-away for pilchards and sardines…….they will draw the snook action. Best action spots seem to be in Bays and waterways with mild tidal flow that staves off the surge of fresh water and hints of red tide. Spots like Johnson Bay and the flats area of Rookery Bay seem to be producing best. Hot species continues to be the mangrove snapper that are feeding all along the mangrove edges that will jump on a shrimp presented on a jig head tight to structure. Spots like the small feeder creeks in Addison Bay are showing good size black drum now occupying the lairs of the vacating big sheepshead and also taking shrimp worked slowly across the bottom.

NEARSHORE: As May ends the tarpon that moved through the Marco waters are heading for the annual gathering at Boca Grande as they move north. We had some tarpon action here along the west edges of the Keeywadin flats reef but comparatively slow as comparison to prior years. Still a chance to get a straggler along the Gulf edges on cut catfish but is a long shot. The pelagics,,,,,,mackerel / bluefish / some little tunny that occupy the slightly less effected (i.e. clarity / salinity) deeper set reefs and wrecks. Work those spots with a good chum effort followed by working fast retrieved flashy jigs just below the surface. The little tunny will fall for a live or fresh cut bait worked on light wire in the slick. And the mangrove snapper are out here as well with the Five Mile Reef one of their favorite hangouts….a tipped weighted jig worked a foot to two off the bottom is the favorite.

OFFSHORE: The water cleans and is less susceptible to taint as you move deeper and west……should have flat water out here this week with the exception being a couple days post weekend. Wrecks in the 20-25 mile range that have working bait schools are havens for migrating pelagics i.e. kingfish, cobia, permit among others. Live bait (blue runners / threadfin herring) worked on clear leader in a good chum effort should garner results. Have a couple reports that the coveted keeper size red grouper are inching east and can be worked with a live pinfish worked tight to hard bottom on a tidal drift. Start your drift in 55-60 feet and work west with the stronger afternoon outgoing tide.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

May 11th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: As we move into the middle of the month, the two dominant weather factors here, effecting our fishing, are heat and water quality. The water temperature, as driven by 90 degree air temperature afternoons, is climbing into the 80-85 degree range consistently. Result: increased potential for storm conditions albeit mostly isolated t-storms but the long range potential for tropical system development here in the SW quadrant of the Gulf is way too early. The water quality issue of red tide presence is most likely enhanced by the abnormally high water temperature. Those red tide levels, as identified by authorities, for our Marco area is LOW along the beaches this week but measured as MODERATE north of the island from the shore and reaching inland to Rookery Bay. In the general weekly weather predictions, the week is generally rain free with just a few brief stormy periods; the wind holds easterly and moderate until mid week with some afternoon gusty periods. The tides are anticipating a new moon early week which will drive some super strong afternoon outgoing water flows.

BACKWATER: Think snook ! First….remember the harvest for snook is CLOSED until September and rightly so. The snook are is spawning mode; love the heated water and this is their nirvana for feeding heavily. And that nice early first light incoming tide along the beaches should show good to excellent action working live bait just west of the surf break. As the morning rolls on, they will be working the current points along the mangrove edges as well as structure (docks, piers). Please use circle hooks exclusively to enhance a safe and quick release. The mangrove snapper, to good size, love these conditions and will be feeding heavily along most all mangrove edges and structure. They will feed on both tides and the larger fish will show in the slower water periods i.e. an hour on either side of the tide change (slack water). Usual bait for the snapper is fresh shrimp but they will jump on all live bait correctly presented as well. Look for deeper backwater action on sea trout and species like black drum in the creeks and cuts in Rookery and Johnson Bay, on either tide, working cut bait along the bottom where there are varying depths and  ample structure.

NEARSHORE: Thus far, this has not been a robust tarpon season here. Get reports of some action in the Passes and associated inland waterways but not the “barn burner” we have experienced in past years. But still worth a shot as the season here has historically run through the third week of May. Back half of a cut catfish for bait and no chum (to avoid sharks). The mackerel and companion bluefish and jacks are holding out along the nearshore reef spots and barges and provide good exciting action. Key is locating bait schools and then commence a good chum effort, giving 15-20 minutes for it to work and then get small tipped jigs on light wire leader cast into the current with a rapid retrieve. Stay up in the top layer of water to avoid the legions of blue runners feeding below. Good bottom fish action on snapper, both lane and mangrove, reported on the corners of the Five Mile reef as well the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass with AM incoming best.

OFFSHORE: With virtually no forecast of storms and reasonable wind, good week to head out here. Just one caution……some gusty wind periods in the afternoons will make the mornings the better choice here for action as well as creature comfort. Beginning to see the vanguard of the pelagic migration show up on the deeper reefs and wrecks that are holding bait schools. Expect to see kingfish (king mackerel), cobia, sharks and, on some spots, barracuda. All can be had working live bait (blue runner best) under a good chum effort and the cobia, which will show on the surface, on a deft cast of a live threadfin right at them. The closer in reefs SW of the island are producing nice catches of lane and mangrove snapper working weighted jigs under a good chum effort.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

May 4th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: As we ease into May, arguably our best fishing month here, we will face shifting conditions…..first and foremost there are very few and spotty storm periods for the week. The dominant wind will be out of the more favorable east which will tend to keep the water relatively clean. But there are a couple of days post weekend that might provide a uncomfortable gusty wind. Forecast to be out of the NNW from Monday afternoon through nightfall on Tuesday. Good chance that could gum up the fishing into late week. The tides are off a waning moon and are remarkably weak, both ways, through late Tuesday. All of the tidal predictions on that period show less than a one foot movement in the circa six hour tides. The water temperature continues to climb as we have lots of sum and little fresh water intrusion. Range for water temps this week will go from 80 to 83 depending on the depth of water you’re fishing.

BACKWATER: This month, by far, is the best fishing month for snook. They are in or preparing for their spawning cycle AND THE HARVEST IS CLOSED FOR GOOD REASON. Early morning high water, albeit weak tides, will provide good snook action along the beaches from Cape Romano (Kice Island) all the way to Naples. Working live pilchards / sardines just outside the “breakers” should deliver some good to excellent action. Want to use circle hooks now and handle the release with wetted cloths. The other good news is that the mangrove snapper, which is the summer staple here, are showing up in respectable sizes all along the mangrove edges from Johnson Bay east to Addison Bay and then north to Rookery Bay and the adjacent Hurricane Pass. Whole small shrimp are the best attractant here worked tight to downed tree limbs on either tide. Best timing on faster tides (not this week) is to first the first and last hour of the tides…either way. There is limited tarpon action beginning to show along the Marco River and extending out into the Capri Channel west of Sea Oat Island. Best to work the incoming tide with the aft portion of a cut catfish worked along a drop off. In the deeper backwaters where there is some depth look for black drum working shrimp tight to the bottom in reasonably good current flow – either tide.

NEARSHORE: Action choices here include the good chance for tarpon action along the northern edges of Capri Channel from La Penisula to Marker #R3 working cut catfish in current tight to the drop off. Incoming usually best but that could be a problem until late week with such weak tides. Anchor short with a float at the bitter end…..need to weigh anchor and go with your catch if you’re into action. Bigger sharks will be in the tarpon flow. Recommend you don’t use chum. Action on nice size mackerel schools continue just west of the Sea Buoy and the Capri Barge wrecks. here you’ll want to get some chum in the water and work flashy tipped jigs up on the surface going with the tidal flow. In addition to the macks there is a good chance for both bluefish and little tunny (like bonito) in the action pool.

OFFSHORE: Favorable conditions deep with the exception of late Monday through Wednesday morning……wind will churn up the sea conditions. Inside wrecks and reefs now showing northbound pelagics (kingfish, some cobia and permit) on either tide working bait schools. Kings are the most numerous and aggressive now and can we worked with a live blue runner on wire leader set out at 15’ under a float and surrounded by a good chum effort. The cobia have a much different attack pattern. They will arrive on the surface and hover at shallow depths and jump on a thread herring cast shallow as they cruise the surface. And lastly, the permit will show on or near the surface and go for a small blue claw crab worked up close to the surface.  Smaller wrecks and artificial reefs are holding nice size lane and mangrove snapper. Work with s good chum effort and weighted jigs tipped with cut bait worked a foot or two off structure.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 27th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Trend looks like we’re finally moving away from the water damaging west winds this week. That will present a significant improvement in water clarity in all three fishing sectors. Winds this week are dominant E and NE albeit with still some afternoon gusty periods but nothing like what we faced in late March and early April. The water temperatures continue to creep up with stable air temperatures and the absence of deluge cooling rains with have an immediate  “cooling” effect on the necessary warm temperatures to draw and hold our spring and early summer species here. Look for the water to hover in the high seventies all week. In fact, we should be devoid of rain of the forecast of one late morning period of rain on Saturday is accurate.Tides both ways will be charged up just a bit as we experience a full moon on Sunday. Both ebb and flood tide strengths will be about the same and definitely fishable.

BACKWATER: This domain will have the most appreciable benefit from the anticipated clean water…….and just in time as we welcome one of the prime fishing months here. Snook will be one of the prime attractions as they feed up pre-spawn BUT their limited harvest season ends of May 1 and is closed until September 1. Look for them along the beaches from Kice Island northward. Primary bait are pilchards worked just beyond the surf line. They will also be active all along the backwater spots like Rookery and Johnson Bay holding on shallower current edges with best on incoming. The clean water will also present an opportunity for the seasonal pelagics (mackerel / bluefish / little tunny) to invade the three Passes on the stronger morning incoming tides and taking tipped jigs. Keep and eye open for bird action which is the giveaway of their presence and location. While in that domain, don’t neglect the fact that the pompano also thrive in these conditions. Every once in awhile, while on your drift switch over to weighted bottom rigs bounced just off the bottom. In the deeper backwaters, it will be the month that the snapper size kicks in and you should see some 11-13” mangrove snapper along most of the mangrove edges…….worked with small whole shrimp.

NEARSHORE: We’ll focus here on both backwater and coastal tarpon action here. This is their month ! They will be transiting up from the Keys and invading through the Coon Key Pass and Marco River and up around Cape Romano and then northbound along the inshore waters heading north. Two most used spots for tarpon action are, first, the north edges of the Marco River between the entrance to Tarpon Bay and the La Penisula complex and, secondly, the south edges of the Capri Channel out to #R3 marker. Most successful bait on the tarpon has been the back end of a cut catfish. Try not to use chum as it will attract the big sharks that accompany the tarpon herd north. Best times are the first part of the incoming tide in early morning (exactly the conditions this week). Elsewhere in the nearshore, you have mackerel et al action on the Capri Pass barges. Improving bottom action on snapper along the first and second reef spots and some migrating pelagic action (kings) on the Five Reef corners.

OFFSHORE: Should be one of the better weeks out here. Winds aren’t shut down but are of lighter velocity and out of the east quadrant which should keep the sea conditions and water quality top notch out here. The inside reefs (8-12 miles) have good snapper, both lane and mangrove varieties providing good action in harvestable sizes working tipped weighted jigs just off the bottom under a moderate chum effort. The activity and chum will usually draw concurrent action on mackerel and bluefish in the top waters. The deep wrecks are seeing the first of pelagic migration action on kingfish and some cobia and sharks working live runners on wire leader set out under a float set and 10-15’ under chum. Deep / deep action on the 70+ feet water hard bottom is still producing a reasonable activity level on red grouper working a live pinfish on a drift tight to the bottom.