Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 13th to October 19 2017 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: We’re beginning to see the light at the other end of the tunnel………unforgettably named IRMA. Landside conditions are still rough with a gazillion places under repair or in search of a contractor but, waterside, things are looking up. Now mind you, we still have the weather conditions that either plague or please us right in our face every day but those IRMA residuals of floating submerged debris, completely fouled water and water depth surprises are fading quickly. So on we go…..this coming week looks very typical early fall weather. It’s hard not to notice and luxuriate in the cool morning temperatures now with mornings showing up carrying a mid 70’s label but that never last – by mid morning you’re all lathered up in the humidity. Fishing goes right along with that….get that really early start and the fish are furiously feeding and as the sun reaches those mid-morning vertical penetrating rays they pull off for a morning nap. We’ll have those 70 degree starts all this coming week. The winds stay reasonable with lots of single digit blows that are mostly easterly (favorable) until late week and then get a quasi front through here and things kick up to the 20 knot variety but doesn’t last long. The tides are heading to a moderate new moon at week end – those mid morning incoming tides are a perfect compliment. And finally, look for the water temps to keep dipping just a tad at a time and we should be close to the high 70’s by week end.

BACKWATER: As conditions normalize you have to realize that you’re right in the middle of the best fishing of the year here in the widespread backwaters of Southwest Florida. The two top contenders for top species……snook and redfish are at their prime. The redfish all perked up following their spawning period and the snook storing up food for their winter solstice. We’ll take ‘em one at a time. The redfish are active as the water comes off superheat and are feeding heavily. Best spots to land one of these challenging fighters would be Rookery Bay’s Henderson Creek area working the last part of the incoming tide with a freelined shrimp strung under a popper. Same approach up at the top of Addison Bay in the cuts created by the oyster / clam farming efforts years back. They will be working the shallow edges and foraging along the mud bottoms late on that incoming. Snook will be in an entirely different domain. On that morning incoming work the current edges out in all three Passes using live bait (pilchards, pinfish, thread herring) freelined tight to current points. Once the current starts out get positioned on a creek / channel exit point and get your bait down just off the bottom. Both species are harvestable (redfish 18”27”) (snook 28”-33”) right now and are well worth the effort.

NEARSHORE: With the wind predicted mild this week, should have good sea surface conditions and clean water out here. Good chance that the pelagic bait schools (mackerel, bluefish, et al ) now see things normalized and will be on the feed. Would run in 20-25’ water along the first and second reef spots with the fishfinder on high power……find the balls of bait and the pelagic feeders will sure be there. Get some chum in the water as you anchor up and work tipped top water jigs up near the surface on a swift retrieve. You’ll want to slip a wire leader in front of the jig for both of those toothy species. Bottom action out here could best be found on the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass; the legendary Five. Mile Reef SW of the island or the John Dee wreck due west at 4.5 miles. Here you’ll have a ball with action on nice size lane and mangrove snapper as well as some small grouper. All on weighted jigs under chum.

OFFSHORE: Can expect even cleaner water and nice flat conditions until late week. Reports of some nice red grouper catches in 60+’ hard bottom due west of Capri Pass indicate the “herd” has started moving east in reaction to the falling water temperatures. You’ll want to work a live pinfish or cut ladyfish tight to the hard bottom on a tidal drift. Red grouper have a minimum harvest size of 20” and the limit is two per person daily. There will also be gag grouper in the mix and they can be worked just off the bottom or on a troll with a large jointed plug pulled 8-10’ off the bottom. Gags have a minimum harvest size of 24”. Conditions should be just about right for grouper action out here this week.

Capt Bill Walsh-Dawn Patrol

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 6th to October 12 2017 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: What is becoming universally true is the the axiom “IRMA will be tough to forget throughout Southwest Florida. Marco Island took a major hit but those good neighbors south of us…….Goodland, Everglades City and Chokoloskee were devastated having lower geography and a more rural building structure level. The entire domain will be struggling with recovery for quite some time. And as we said last week it’s tough to get focused on a 20” redfish when your struggling to make basic like comforts available to your family. But these Floridans are stoic folks and they will endure and eventually “right the ship”. With that said we move on to thinking about the restoration in the months ahead. Our expected weather conditions then are important to examine both for the recovery for the populace and for the sport fishing environment. This coming week we see most days laced with periodic storm conditions……..most predictions are scattered storms both early morning and then reappearing late afternoon. The air temperatures are continuing to tail off slowly – expect morning temperatures to be “refreshing” mid 70’s with low humidity but then steadily climbing to mid 80’s by mid afternoon – still hot but no more “real feels” tickling 100 degrees. Water temperature will cool off very slowly with maybe a low 80 degrees by late week. But, you can tell fall is here with the reappearance of wind as a crucial factor. Forecasts late week have periods do steady variable direction winds with steady breezes in the low teens but gusts in the PM that exceed twenty knots. Last but not least the tides will have a stronger morning incoming and a moderate to weak afternoon / evening outgoing.

BACKWATER: From the fishing reports trickling in, it appears we are slowly moving back to normal. Live shrimp bait is being delivered daily and a handful of the charter boats are getting back into action. There is still a tone of caution however as you start back into was watery domains that you knew like the back of your hand……..strong currents have changed bottom topography and downed trees have altered the once familiar right-of-ways. The caution then is set a lookout, slow down and watch the Fathometer…..grounding or taking a submerged tree or 2×4 will ruin you’re boats day and your fishing trip. As for the fishing beginning to get some fair to good initial reports of action in the backwaters and surprisingly occurring at heretofore non-fishing spots. For example, the run up the ICW towards Rookery Bay has been showing some surprising action on redfish along the shallow east edges of West Johnson Island (check your chart) on the incoming tide working shrimp under a popper. Also heard that the very popular edges of Sea Oat and Cannon Island up near Hurricane Pass have lots of bottom changes with additional downed trees and brush…….but the action on snapper, small snook and redfish has a been good to very good on the incoming tide.

NEARSHORE: The water was clearing nicely late last week here but the rough wind mid week and that expected this coming week could put the kibosh to that especially out away from the sheltering beachfront. The latter will quiet the sea conditions as the wind gusts in from the east. The first and second reefs should hold returning bait schools drawing mackerel and bluefish (hopefully). You’ll want to give the topwaters a try with a flashy tipped jig pulled under a good chum effort. Bottom fishing should hol lots of retreating snapper and grouper working a tipped weighted jig pulled just off the bottom in the same chum slick.

OFFSHORE: Ditto out here on sea conditions and wind……..this is fall and those conditions are part of the fall weather fabric…….so learn to pick those right days and times to make the deep run. Bait is filing back into the reefs and the kings are following with the water still holding warm. Work a live runner on wire under a float and in a chum slick for best action close in to the structure. Don’t have any reports on the red grouper movement this past week but would surmise with the cool down they will start the exodus east for the winter season. Try 60’ hard bottom with a live pinfish tight to the bottom on a tidal drift to test for action.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

September 29 to October 5th 2017 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Generally, think all agree that weather conditions are improving here on the Paradise Coast…..less thunderbangers; nice docile wind and just a tad cooler morning temperatures. For our fishing impact with all that, it’s virtually a non-event. IRMA delivered some punch! The damage to property was extensive and well beyond what any of us have seen on Marco Island / Naples since Hurrricane Donna in 1960. So…’s tough to get all heated up about a fishing trip if your roof at home has been ripped open; your landscaping now belongs to your neighbor and broken shutters jammed down make your experience at home much like a submerged submarine. But, folks here are a resilient tribe, and things will improve…….slowly this time because of the wide swath IRMA left behind. All of that aside when we look at conditions for this coming week things are on the upswing. Very little rain in the forecast…..almost as if IRMA, MARIA et al was summer’s last gasp. The winds stay morning mild and then kick up as the afternoon heat kicks back in. Look for afternoon gusts in the mid teens for variable directions. The tides are heading to a full moon late week and will range in the high 2’ range with the morning outgoing just a bit weaker than the PM outgoing. Water temps are inching back up but not as quickly as in late August. You can expect water temps in the backwater in the 83-85 range and a degree or so cooler outside. So, when you’re ready to start playing at fishing again the conditions, generally, will be on your side.

BACKWATER: Limited activity here during the last week to draw any experience recommendations. Still have limited availability of live bait shrimp with marinas / bait shops focusing on recovery and getting viable power back aboard. From a cursory examination of the area looks like the water quality is slowly getting past the fresh water deluge from IRMA and the toxic water releases from big sugar in Lake Okeechobee. Checked the salinity here and the level is still under the optimum 23 ppm…….but it’s getting better. Would assume that those bait schools that exited when the pressure dropped pre-hurricane are inching back and when complete will be the foundation for our fall fishing. Chief among the targets in these backwaters will be the revered snook and redfish. Snook should be hanging out on current points especially on the late afternoon / evening incoming tide as the sun drops those vertical rays penetrating the shallower water. If pilchards / threads are a bit slow to show for bait get yourself some frisky pinfish by goldhooking the inshore reefs. Redfish: This their time ! All the urges to feed pre and post spawn are evident in their activity level now. Look for the bigger bull redfish (males) out along the first Gulf edges feeding along downed brush edges. Here a shrimp (if available) or a small pinfish freelined right into the “stuff” should do the trick. Look for bottom action all along the interior shorelines to continue on mangrove snapper that are now at max size for the season. Work just a small piece of bait freelined on weighted jigs to the bottom flotsam and downed brush structure. Of course, water clarity and tidal flow will make a big difference on success. But it’s a start back to normalcy.

NEARSHORE: Will be dependent here on the re-arrival of bait on the inshore structures. Good chance as water will clear here first that smaller schools of mackerel and bluefish et al will show on places like the Capri Barges and key reefs like the Walton Reef and The Marco Five Mile. Look for telltale signs on the fishfinder of bait schools before setting chum and working tipped weighted jigs just over the decending chum. Bottom action here will be much of the same as inshore with snapper, both lane and mangrove, attempting to re-feed. They can be worked on the same pelagic spot by dropping tipped weighted jigs to the bottom under the chum.

OFFSHORE: Overall sea conditions should be a definite plus here plus water quality should be near normal. Deep wrecks could hold both pelagics in the top waters with hungry reef fish beneath. Look for kingfish that have not yet started south with some cobia in the mix both taking live bait and being drawn in with generous chum effort. On the hard bottom at 60-65’ you should have chances at a harvestable red grouper by working live pinfish tight to the bottom on a tidal / wind drift.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

September 22 to September 28th 2017 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Post IRMA conditions prevail. Concentration now on home / business  clean up and planning restoration. This event was not a “usual” Hurricane brush by here……the island and the surrounding environment too a real hit. Not mush to say about the fishing since that activity has been pu ton the back burner as we all face other priorities. Focus this week will be to advise of numerous waterborne dangers that have developed as a result of IRMA’s tumult. First and foremost you need to be careful and do things as your underway and reigniting your fishing passion. First and foremost SLOW DOWN…there are literally tons of wood (trees, branches, 2×4’s, protection panels etc) that are now water soaked and lying just below the surface in the water i.e. submerged flotsam. At 20 knots plus a collision with one of those dandies can either sink you or destroy your lower unit. Secondly, make sure your depth sounder is powered up and functional…… there has been an upheaval in bottom conditions and depths. You could roar into a grounding on a spot that you sailed through a couple weeks back. Otherwise the weather for the coming week should be radically different from what we experienced with the tropical weather assault. Generally the weather is placid for the next week…….sunny (steamy) days with light winds mainly from the northeast with just an occasional isolated shower. The tides are coming off a new moon and are relatively mild with a mid morning low tide and a nice incoming until mid afternoon. Water temperatures will be zooming back up to pre IRMA levels circa 88-89…….not a good sign if we get another banger coming out of the Caribbean……that heat draws wind intensity.

BACKWATER: Not much activity here this last week. Marina damage…….no   or limited availability of purchased shrimp or netted live bait and concentration at home on fixing storm damage. Think things will begin to normalize this week and here are a couple of tips on what USUALLY happens this time of year here on the Paradise Coast. Redfish should show big time. Bull males out along the first reefs and along the coastal shoreline edges ; Female redfish and juveniles all along the inside coastal edges working the shallow edges on the incoming tide with freelined live bait of any variety. If bait shows up in the passes and the water is just a tad cooler may see some pelagics (mackerel, pompano ) in all the Passes especially on the incoming tide. And as a residual from the heated summer, good chance for mangrove snapper all along the coastline edges with shrimp / cut bait into downed shoreline structure.

NEARSHORE: Will be dependent here on the re-arrival of bait on the inshore structures. Will certainly be some bottom action on “activity” species i.e. Grunts, sea robins, lizard fish but the unknown is the resupply of cherished pompano, mackerel et al that SHOULD return and conditions stablize. Worth a shot; but head deeper is limited action in first Thierry minutes.

OFFSHORE: Look for conditions here to be closer to normal than the other two domains. Less of tannic water / less salinity loss can translate into close to normal fishing. Bottom action on reefs / wrecks should be best working cut / live bait into structure under chum.


Sorry for the limited narrative this week……… should have a handle on what post IRMA has is store for our fall fishing next week. STAY SAFE AND GO SLOW !!!

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

September 8 to September 17th 2017 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Not much we can say after these last two weeks other than…….that’s south Florida in late August and September. After that week to the day of incessant rain we were visited by a Force Five hurricane named IRMA. If you were here or vacated just before the hit there is no need to tell you about the ferocity of a direct 130 mph screamer hurricane…………with our little island the recipient of a IRMA’S second direct hit. The populace here is still dazzled with things other than fishing, such as standing in line for hours for a limited availability of gasoline for auto and home generator…….trying to fine a restaurant, supermarket, or just anything to provide substance. As a result, there is little interest in catching one of those denizens of the deep……that quest is replaced with survival at least through the next couple of weeks. But general conditions have improved and will be there for those with fishing interests after those of basic survival have been set aside. We look for a week totally opposite of the one just past. Nice days with a slight pattern on showers on a few afternoons. With temperatures (believe it or not) just beginning to decline in the beginning of fall pattern…..we will even have days with close to seventy degrees to start the day. The water now a rancid summary of overflows and inundations will show a better clarity each day and, believe it or not, good fishing will return and maybe, just maybe showing a glimmer of the traditional fall fishing here. We’ll hope that that’s the case for all that love the sport.

BACKWATER: Here the fishing that survives the inundation of IRMA should be surprisingly different. The water will cool down and projected to hold a temperature of the very low 80’s this week. That alone will trigger change. The bait schools will move back in and and be active in their schooling process. Look for the return of the long lost traditional fall pelagics (mackerel / bluefish / jack) to make a showing in the three Passes (Caxambas, Capri and Hurricane ) especially on the morning incoming and then the mid day moderate outgoing tides. Equipment for these battlers are chum to start the action and tipped top water jigs to latch onto one of the gang. Also expect to see traditional redfish action take off….the is the month that the breeding habits of the redfish kick in and the action goes from summer “once in awhile” to fall “mayhem”. Good action spots on the jumbo males will be along the outside edges of the coast shoreline from Gordon Pass all the way south to Kice Island. They will be more active on live bait worked into the shallows. Earlier in the day as the incoming tide crests look for both male/female working the edges of the far shallow backwaters and worked with a shrimp tossed tight to mangrove overhangs under a popper. Elsewhere look for black drum to some size on those sheepshead spots you tried so valiantly to land “take homes” last winter. Bait is shrimp / cut crab moved ever so slowly over the deeper holes where the current is goo

NEARSHORE: Action here should improve basically with better water clarity and lower temperatures. Look for those fall favorites to show here also. Hopefully the pelagics will show and provide top water action on the wrecks in Capri Pass and outside to include the corners of the Five Mile Reefs and perhaps westward to the John Dee wreck and beyond. Need chum to supercharge the water and top water jigs loaded with shrimp. Deeper action on the inside reefs should continue strong on summer’s good bottom action on lane and mangrove snapper. Here it’s chum first and then working tipped weighted jigs to the bottom.

OFFSHORE: Less of tannic water / less salinity loss can translate into close to normal fishing out here. Close in should be action on the artificial reefs and shallow wrecks for bottom action – lane and mangrove snapper as well as smaller grouper and grunts. The major deep wrecks should still have bait schools holding and drawing the plentiful number of kingfish in the area as well as some Spanish mackerel and bluefish: Kings on live runner on wire in chum and macks and blues on top water tipped jigs under chum.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

September 1 to September 7th 2017 Fishing Report


CONDITIONS: The intensity and duration of this past week’s tropical weather system was unprecedented. That much fresh water deposited in our environs will have a definite impact on the fishing……to what degree is a classic unknown. Just a tad of research developed both positive and negative information on two of our most sought after species this month. Thankfully, snook (whose season opens today ! ) are impervious to changes in salinity levels…..they can even operate in fresh water. On the other hand the mangrove snapper can slow down activity as the salinity levels decline. That gives you a basis for the weather week that you’ll be looking forward to. In stark contrast to what we just experienced, this coming week is almost void of any rain / storm predictions and features single digit winds from variable sectors until late week when we get some predicted gusts in the 20 mph range. The tides will be a moderate factor with a full moon on display this coming Tuesday. As usual the afternoon ebb will be more problematic than the moderate morning incoming. At this writing the water temps have fallen to 80 but will be moving higher as the placid week develops. Expect you’ll see temperatures like 88 by weekend.

BACKWATER: Looking to specifically forecast the fishing this week in the backwaters is, indeed, a journey into uncharted waters. On the negative side you’ll have the impact of all that rain on the mangrove islands which will release torrents of tannic coloration resulting in stained waters; in addition the salinity level throughout the areas will have been negatively influenced ……i.e. lower salt levels which impacts many species as to providing a comfortable environment i.e. they may vacate an area or go lethargic on feeding. So we’ll concentrate on what may work this week. Snook, thankfully are impervious to the lower salinity levels, in fact, they can thrive in fresh water. So as this week’s mornings provide you with a very favorable first light incoming tide which should show good to excellent conditions. Best venues: Kice Island to Cape Romano; both sides with the hot area being the cut at Blind Pass / Henderson Creek area in Rookery Bay; current points on fast incoming / Johnson Bay creeks and cuts. On late morning tide turn shift your working area on draining creeks and waterways with live baits closer to the bottom. There also might be a resurgence of redfish with the suddenly cooler water. The other “good chance”species is mangrove snapper. The snapper were super active before the onslaught and there is some chance they may be receptive to feeding on live baits. Action, most likely, will be on smaller fish, so please use circle hooks to enhance safe release. The larger snapper were there before we experienced the deluge……..your best chance is the slower tides / fresh baits / working structure. And…..bottom line, remember things will improve as the week unfolds.

NEARSHORE: Out here you may find improved conditions compared to backwater. Deeper water will mitigate the challenge of impacted salinity. There will still be the challenge with browned tannic water but not as severe as the inside. Would think the pelagic action will be impacted the most with mackerel / bluefish schools scattering westerly. Best chance might be bottom action on spots like the Walton Reef and the reefs associated with the Five Mile Reef complex. Here you can work the bottom structure trying to entice action, again, on primarily lane and mangrove snapper with a number of small grouper mixed in. Best baits are shrimp on weighted jigs or live bait (sardines / threadfin herring) worked tight to the bottom.

OFFSHORE: Look for conditions here to be closer to normal than the other two domains. Less of tannic water / less salinity loss can translate into close to normal fishing. Should be action on the artificial reefs and wrecks for bottom action – lane and mangrove snapper as well as smaller grouper and grunts. The major deep wrecks should still have bait schools holding and drawing the plentiful number of kingfish in the area as well as some Spanish mackerel and bluefish: Kings on live runner on wire in chum and macks and blues on top water tipped jigs under chum.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 25 to August 31st Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Looks like our change in the weather pattern we mentioned last week is playing out……past week definitely showed signs of reduced storm pattern as well as just a tad cooler morning air temps. That trend should continue this week. Look for morning air temps in the mid 70’s and the afternoon highs tickling the mid 80’s. In addition the winds will hold a moderate pattern with mostly S and SW winds of the single digit variety with weak gusts late week in the mid teen speeds……nothing to be concerned with. Both the lack of rain / storms and the dipping temperatures should bode well for water clarity. All factors favoring better fishing conditions. The tides are also in a positive state with no moon draws and moderate tide speed and ranges forecast both ways. And finally the water temperature is forecast to make it’s first modest decent to the 84-85 range. Bottom line …….lots of positives this week.

BACKWATER: Perhaps with all the environmental factors going positive that we’ll see an upturn in fishing quality action this week. Would be a significant reward for those that have endured a summer of tough going. A big factor would be a great addition to the opening of the snook season this coming Friday (9/1). You can look to fishing activity around here really accelerating with the long awaited fall snook season to open. Best locations for a chance at a keeper (28 – 33”) can be had at spots like Blind Pass down on the east side of Kice Island; the Henderson Creek environs in Rookery Bay; the winding creeks in Johnson Bay and the creeks and cuts in Upper Addison Bay. If conditions continually improve inside look for nice size live bait schools all along major waterways and there for the taking with a little work with cast nets. The pilchards that you will collect, are the absolute prime bait for the snook. Best of luck to all on your chances at a snook. Other activity stays centered on mangrove snapper which continue to thrive in the heated summer conditions. Lots of small snapper almost everywhere. To latch onto the big “take homes”….a couple of tips; 1) start early; the bite ceases as the sun reached mid height 2) play the tides and work the snapper in the slower water that happens a hour on either side of slack water both ways 3)fish spots where you can spot surface bait (water dimples up).

NEARSHORE: Conditions should be even better out here with the deeper cooler water and the infusion of more bait schools. Reports of smaller tinker mackerel showing on the areas stretching between the last of the Capri Channel markers and the sea buoy. Attracted by chum efforts they are falling for tipped top water jigs pulled over the chum. And would assume that the same action should stretch into the first and second reefs as the bait schools continue their infusion. And then the bottom action heats up as the general conditions improve. Best venues for that action is the Walton Reef just SW of Caxambas Pass working weighted jigs loaded with bits of shrimp tight to the bottom. Another location that works the same way would be the corners of the Five Mile Reef. There, you also want to keep a cut bait on the bottom for the meandering back tips that are feeding out here.

OFFSHORE: Sea conditions should be excellent out here all week. Continue to get the influx of king mackerel on the major reefs that are loaded with bait. A live blue runner on a wire leader set at 10 -15’ under a float should get you some strong action. Another good bet is working some of the closer in reefs that show great bait collections for delicious yellowtail snapper. You work them by freelining a tad of the chum itself on a small (#6 hook) right into the chum slick with the bail set as open. One the yellowtail hits and runs…count to five and drop the bait. Great fight and even better on the table.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 18th to August 24th Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Good chance we got “a change in the weather comin”. Forecasts for the first time in months shows morning temperatures dropping into the mid seventies and afternoon highs skirting the mid eighties……..still hot but this info is predicting the beginning of a change that is hopefully a sign to come for the balance of the summer here. Also, there is a distinct absence of rain / storm predictions. Hopefully it’s not just wishful thinking. We’ll see……but all can’t be positive. Right? So in the latter part of the period the wind, virtually dormant for so long, kicks up and we’ll see a couple days with gusts to plus 20mph for several afternoons. The tides are cruising through a week with a new moon and, as usual pick up speed. Look for the morning incoming to be moderate (favorable) but the afternoon outgoing to run close to a 4’ drop in six hours. That’s fast !……..providing good reason to make that early start and hang in the hacienda in the afternoon. Lastly, even with the slight decline in air temperatures it probably won’t effect the 86-89 water temps very much.

BACKWATER: This week it’s possible with the halt of the rain that we will finally see a significant change if the water clarity. With little to no downpours, we will see a significant decrease in the mangrove tannic run off and, hopefully, will be replaced by the traditional emerald clean water. AND….will help restore the normal salinity level thus heightening the water oxygen level. That’s a lot to hope for but it could be a beginning of the “righting” of fishing conditions we’ve been living with here since our warm winter. With all of that, we still have some great action in place on both juvenile and slot snook…..the snook defy conditions as this as the plus 80 degree water drives them. Want to try them early before the sun’s rays go vertical (pre 10:30 AM) with a baitwell of pilchards working those shallow current points in places like Johnson Bay / Henderson Creek / Blind Pass at Kice Island / Upper Addison Bay on the very favorable incoming tide. Use circle hooks to enhance release. The other species that thrives in the heat, thankfully, is the mangrove snapper. And, of you play your cards right, you’ll have a chance to take nice catch of 11-12” keepers home. Limit your venue for action to waterways with downed trees and work those spots only from an hour before slack tide to an hour after. Bait is a simple small piece of fresh shrimp worked to the bottom with just a little motion. Hate to say it but……….putting in a ton of effort for pompano / redfish / trout right now is pretty much a waste of time. Can get back to that a couple weeks from now.

NEARSHORE: No rain / light winds until late week may make action possibilities out here worth an solid effort. And in addition may see some cleaner greener water. Why not give a try if you’re heading deep. You’ll pass right by the Capri barges just west of the sea buoy. Lats and Lon’s are on the FWC web site of the four sunken barges all within a mile of one another. Comin’ in watch the Fathometer for signs of schooled bait; if there put a chum block over and start with a tide powered drift working a  flashy top water jig on a fast retrieve……if you hit a mack or a bluefish or two, set the hook, centralizing the attractant and have it. Bottom action is probably best on those corners of the Five Mile Reef. Think you’ll surely see mangrove and lane snapper here along with an occasional triggerfish, porgy or sea trout. Work the bottom with tipped weighted jigs, again, under chum.

OFFSHORE: Ditto on sea conditions out here especially on the morning incoming. Just a tad of caution if you stay late and the possible tunderbangers could get in your way. For a change of pace from mangrove / lane snapper and grouper chasing………try for yellowtail snapper. Bigger snapper species……..great fight and even better on the table. Make sure the wreck you set up on has plenty of bait showing on the scope and then plant the hook and get a serious chum slick in place. Give the slick a chance to spread and then freeline a #6 (small) hook with a piece of the chum right into the slick. The yellowtail will rise in the water column to feed and engulf your tad of chum…….let them run counting to fifteen and then drop the bail. Great fight and even better on the barbie!

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 4th to August 10th Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Know you’ve been hoping that the deluging weather that has beset SW Florida over these past week has quit…..but, after running through a couple of this week’s forecasts, I sadly report that it’s not going to happen. More of the same (storms / intermittent showers / flooding /) are on the way. This week ahead shows just two of the seven days to be clear of stormy weather; the balance is more of the same. We can also add tropical storms as the next added weather threat. As we put this week’s report together, Tropical Storm Emily, crosses the peninsula and heads out into the Atlantic. More of those will follow as we reach into later August and the prime tropical storm month of September. Bottom line: Conditions are not going to enhance your fishing opportunities especially short term. Moving on to other “fishing conditions” the winds are generally favorable all week with some accelerating winds late afternoons. They will impact water quality as it can rile up the bottom sand and mud and muddy up the water. The tides are coming through a full moon cycle that will show up as some stronger afternoon outgoing tides with more modest morning incoming. Better to be on the water during the morning than the afternoon with the rather racing tides. And finally the water temps will be tickling 90 degrees most late morning and afternoons.

BACKWATER: The fishing quadrant most effected with the water and weather quality is back here in the bushes…….the backwaters. So those period so severe fresh water intrusion in the salt impacts big time back here. Best reports this past week has been on the uptick of mangrove snapper action all along the shoreline edges……those snapper as one of the most active “hot” water species, are a small but positive sign that all is not lost. But you need to take some disciplined action to maximize results. First and foremost, the oft repeated axiom of “START EARLY” is paramount. The noon to afternoon heat deflates the piscatorial appetite as well as the strength and comfort of you anglers. The most frequent morning sun’s rays, once they reach the zenith, when the rays pierce the surface of the water vertically, the fishing takes a major hit…….that time usually will range from 10:30 to 11:30 AM.  Next in the chain of importance is working the tides……..avoid racing tides…….work moderate tides and emphasize working the first and last hours of both tides when the water is at moderate strength. And finally, try adding some moderate amounts of chum to “salt” the water where you are focusing which will draw some of the bigger fish into your operational domain.

NEARSHORE: Should be cleaner water out here and could well be a spot where inshore species seek that clarity and lower water temperature differential…….so you might be pleasantly surprised with results to your efforts out here. Good chance for solid bottom action on the first and second reefs on lane and mangrove snapper as well as spec trout, whiting and (hopefully) some pelagic action up top on pelagics i.e mackerel and bluefish with a mix in of jacks, blue runners and ladyfish. On the major reefs i.e. Walton Reef Complex and the Five Mile Reef for good to excellent shark action on blacktip and spinner sharks taking cut bait soaking on the bottom strung out on wire leaders under stout tackle.

OFFSHORE: Gotta keep an eye on the sky out here these days……those storms move a lot quicker than you do. Mid range the smaller wrecks and reefs are a good bet for some good lane and mangrove snapper worked off the bottom with weighted jigs and an additional good chance of pelagic action up top on mackerel and bluefish et al. Close in is not a bad choice these days as it keeps you closer to home when the sky turns black. Further off shore on those deeper wrecks the opportunity for major pelagics remains intact. Kingfish are probably the most active and worked the perimeter of the wrecks. Best attractant for them is a live blue runner string out on wire and soaking under chum. Cobia are probably the next most attractant target and will show up in your chum slick and be right on the surface a sucker for a well placed threadfin herring placed right in front of it’s nose.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

July 28 to August 3rd Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Hope springs eternal……the forecasts show some diminishment of storm activity this coming week. Somehow we’ve got to outlast the incessant storm/rain pattern we’ve been immersed in the last two months…….need to get that water back to a “green” color; we’ve had enough of the “run off” tannic brown. We’ll see……as the week unfolds. As mentioned, the water will retain that mangrove tree stain that definitely taints the water quality back here until we get a major hiatus of the daily downpour problem. Other than the torrential rain problem, most of the other condition factors are showing positive; the wind will be a non-existent this week with the only issue being the wind blasts we get in the center of the storms. The tide are favorable with good water movement but not the racing 4’ tides we have seen over the past few weeks. The water temperatures will range from 86-90 this week depending on where you fish. Best sage advice however continues to be GO EARLY.

BACKWATER: Still have good action early on the warm-water-loving snook. Will require you to get out the net and scoop up a cooler full of pilchards / sardines et al……that is like M&M’s to the snook. Work the Passes (Capri / Caxambas / Hurricane) on the early morning outgoing. Look for the shallow edges where the current is running strong. Free line the live bait into the same area where you just provided a bait shower to excite the snook. They, unfortunately, are still out of season….so please use circle hooks to lessen the impact on the release of the snook. Redfish are still around but a bit lethargic in the extreme heat and super picky on feeding. But those early hours of the outgoing in the deeper exit cuts from the bays may have them feeding in the deeper water.  Charts will show you the deeper exit cuts from the best bays (Rookery, Johnson and Upper Addison). Work a bigger shrimp freelined just off the bottom….they should be feeding in the cooler bottom water and you may get lucky. However, the prime attraction now is the mangrove snapper. They love the heat and feeding on the huge bait schools that thrive in the steaming hot water. They are just about everywhere and most maddeningly too small for harvest. So you’re quest is for the bigger ones. Couple of rules / tips on that subject. Work spots with good current flow and downed structure in the last and first hour of either tide. Keep an eye on action along your shoreline edge…….if you see bait ripples on the surface and birds working the outflow will gauge you a great start.

NEARSHORE: Action here best in the stronger periods of the tide i.e. Morning sunrise and late afternoon. First and second reefs areas for good bottom action on lane and mangrove snapper with a weighted jig tipped with shrimp worked to the bottom under a bit of chum. The latter ingredient will also entice a bite from the smaller sharks that are working those reefs. You can hook some fresh cut bait on a wire leaded hook worked off a major rig for some exciting action on sharks that are very active now in the extreme heat.

OFFSHORE: Water out here is finally nice and clean and conducive to some hot action on feeding pelagics working the wrecks and reefs at the mid range depths . Suggest you target king mackerel (Kingfish) which are very active right now. Will need to capture a live blue runner (rather easy) and string it out on a major wire leader rig and set it out at a 15-20’ depth under a balloon float. Suggest you tease the bite with a block of chum feeding into the current. Strike will be ferocious and the fight will be terrific. Elsewhere the red grouper action has moved deeper in the hot water but still a good chance of a take home. Look for that action now in 60+ depths working a live pinfish tight to the bottom on a drift.