Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

November 2nd 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: The continuing aspects of the welcome “changing of seasons” these last two weeks keeps the expectations of improved fishing results alive and well. This week we’ll experience our first fall cold front passage that will rile the weather up a tad but give us the first decline in water temperature so vastly needed to resurrect sustained good fishing here. The drop in water temperature is showing a low temperature in the mid 70’s as compared to circa 90 degrees some weeks back. That makes a major difference both in water quality and the feeding aggressiveness of the various species. Hopefully, we won’t experience the red tide and algae intrusion for some time to come. This week is also the change week for DST as we return to Standard Time with light filled mornings. Make sure you double check your tide predictions as the times double up over the weekend. The weather post frontal passage should be favorable with easterly winds and just a tad of rain intrusion over the weekend. All in all……would have to say that things are “looking up”.

BACKWATER: As the weather changes this week it will bring a different look and feel to the action. In the ranging backwaters here the summer favorites of mackerel, pompano, snapper and snook will be joined or replaced by the cold water piscatorial favorites of black drum, redfish, speckled sea trout and, of course, the legendary sheepshead. Although we have change in conditions, if the last 3/4 year pattern is repeated, it will take 4-6 weeks to reach stabilized low winter temperatures (Low 60’s). In the meantime should focus on the prolific redfish and the black drum now showing in good numbers all along the edges of Rookery Bay, Addison Bay (especially the section known as Upper Addison) and the creeks and shallows of Johnson Bay. Best for redfish is tight to the shallow mangrove overhangs with a whole shrimp on 4’ gossamer leader under a popper. The black drum (cousin of the redfish aka red drum) will be feeding on a 5-7’ location just off a deep cut in the current flow and take a small shrimp bait slowly mooched across the bottom on either tide.

NEARSHORE: Action is still focused on the summer residents….i.e. lane and mangrove snapper; mackerel and bluefish; occasionally, triggerfish, porgies and seatrout; seldom keeper grouper. The geographic channel just west of the Capri Channel is a top drawer location for the macks and blues working a flashy jig on a rapid retrieve tipped with shrimp in the top water over chum. Another spot for action on these pelagics is the John Dee wreck whose coordinates can be found on the “HOT SPOTS CHART” available at the marina and most tackle shops. The lane and mangrove snapper can be found most anywhere along the first and second reef artificial structure just off the beaches. Need chum again but set it deep to get to the bottom and then work the area with tipped weighed jigs just off the bottom.

OFFSHORE: Inquiries to several stone crabbers came back with…..” still seeing some dead floaters but better than two weeks ago”…..so a hopeful sign that the fouled water is dissipating. Deep wrecks that hold active bait should be seeing the retreating pelagics heading south to the Keys. Kingfish, cobia, permit, tarpon and sharks could show most any day and anywhere. For all you need livebait (blue runners, jacks, threadfin,  and pinfish) set out on heavy tackle in waters with a good chum slick going. This would be a good week for that action with the Panhandle water temps dipping into the low 60’s already. Other dominant action will be on tripletail energized to feed with all the crab pots now flooding the offshore waters. If sighted, throttle down and crawl back then work a simple shrimp rig or jig right to the pot. Good action and great table fare.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 26th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: We can dismiss all the chatter this week about hurricanes, red tide and green algae and direct our “conditions” attention to what will obviously be the first vestiges of our late fall arrival. Following the front that is passing through the southern part of the Paradise Coast as I put this article together, we will have the arrival of sixty degree mornings come early next week. That, folks, will tumble the water temperature, which is the key determinant as to what species of fish you’ll see hanging on your line very soon and then, for all the winter months ahead. We’ll spell the species changes and techniques out for you in the sector paragraphs that follow……weather change like this is A BIG EVENT here after we sweltered and ducked t-storms for the past five months. Associated with the change in air temperature, next week some final t-storms (hopefully) early weekend as the front finalizes and then the temp drop will kick in. Expect morning air temps of 60-62 late week. That will tumble the water temps to 72-74. The tides will be coming off a full moon, so hang on for some fast moving water especially in the incoming tide mornings. Lastly, you’ll face some gusty west winds before the weekend and then it will settle back easterly, but stay gusty for the balance of the week.

BACKWATER: Even at the beginning of the fall-winter cycle, you should see different action starting in these next two weeks and continuing through mid March. The most dominant change is the arrival and ultimately the dominance of the sheepshead feeding to prepare for the annual spawning cycle triggered by the falling water temperatures. At first the sheepshead will be small to medium size with a seldom few keepers (minimum size 12”) and that will morph to lots of BIG sheepshead as the spawning cycle matures. Quickly now, with more detailed catch techniques in later weeks……it’s a piece of shrimp, cut crab, or a morsel of shellfish on a lindy rig dropped to the bottom on structure (dock, piling, bottom structure) and with a repeated soft lift technique. The other winter favorite is the black drum which can be sizable at 18-23” it’s casting over soft bottom beside a drop off using the same baits but moving the bait ever so slowly across the bottom. Medium weight tackle is recommended. And you’ll also begin to see a pair of favorites in the deeper holes along the ICW and off the beaches where there is good current; the pair feed together i.e. the whiting and the silver trout. Both are fun to catch with the same lindy rig; are great on the table and there is no size limit. So, stay tuned in future weeks, we’ll be giving you more info on these three species along with other developments

NEARSHORE: As reported backwater, the water temperature dip will not only influence the activity nearshore but also the species showing up in the population. The species that invade this sector of the waters have been existing out deep for the summer months and with the reproduction urge awakened will transit from west to east thus passing through the area we label nearshore enroute. Look for sheepshead action in the nearshore reefs first as the vanguard moves to it’s spawning “ground”. Those same techniques sketchily explained in “backwater” will work out here also. Add that to the continuation of the good topwater pelagic fishing (mackerel, bluefish et al) and you see how your potential for a “good day” have been enhanced. All of that should advance this week and the weeks following in November.

OFFSHORE: Note on conditions here first…….be cautious over the weekend. We will have some residual west winds that can be gusty making the sea conditions bouncy and uncomfortable. That should ease nicely as we enter the week. The temperature drop out here has a tendency to move the cold water dwellers i.e. gag and red grouper closer inshore as that is the temperature progression. Those trips deep for grouper may be replaced with one’s a few miles closer inshore over hard bottom. Action on the wrecks and reefs will also show increased activity as the pelagics that summered in the Panhandle will be heading back to the warmer water south of us here……i.e. the reverse migration. And, finally, remember those thousands of stone crab pots that have floating markers that can attract those tripletail. Keep a lookout in transit and double back for some good action and some delicious eating.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 19th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: Have to feel extremely sorry for the folks in those towns lining the Panhandle Coast. MICHAEL ended up as a “right angle hurricane” when the 140 mph winds roared directly in at them. Much different than the glancing blow we got from IRMA. Donate if you can to the organizations hard at work trying to help put lives back together. There was some question here as to what effect MICHAEL might have on our water quality and fishing here. I think NONE…..the distance is far too great and the forward speed too great which had it battering Georgia and Alabama within hours. We did have some spotty heavy rain here for periods that late week, but am told it did not trigger a massive release from Lake O……we’ll see ??? Our outlook this week looks promising with a gentle cool down in air temperatures which should start the early fall water temperature cool down……could see water temps dip below 80 this week. Elsewhere, we are forecasted to see a week of infrequent afternoon rain and winds dominant from the NE and SE with moderate speeds until the very end of the period. Tides will be passing through a full moon late week and have fairly balanced ebb and flood tides that should be productive both ways.

BACKWATER: Conditions should drive some good to very good fishing in the backwaters in and around Marco this week. As previously stated in prior week’s issues, there is mounting evidence that the red tide and algae intrusion up around Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach has driven the fish and the bait south along the coast. At least thus far in the run out of actual experiences, folks here are seeing a big difference in fishing action and, surprisingly, the addition of some rarely seen species showing up here in significant size and numbers. Best example of that is that we are seeing BIG flounder showing along the waterways (Rookery Bay, Hurricane Pass, Johnson Bay) mainly on the stronger periods of the incoming tide and taking a hunk of shrimp worked and bounced across the bottom. Had two reports of “flatties” in excess of 25”. In another anomaly …….there must be thousands of suspected hatchery produced undersized redfish working in large schools over shallower Bays along the ICW……several reports of catching (and releasing) 15” reds one after the other when you luck into a feeding school. All of that plus reported very good action on pompano in Hurricane and Capri Pass that has sustained bites over multiple hours. So where ever your favorite “honey hole” is don’t waste any time getting there this week……..who knows how along the bonanza will last.

NEARSHORE: First comment is that sea conditions, both sea surface and tidal flow should be excellent this week. The fishing here can be classified as good here but somewhat diminished as to what we’ve shared with you regarding the backwater. Still lots of topwater bait schools out here that are quick to attract pelagics i.e. mackerel, bluefish, a few little Tunney and scads of jacks and blue runners. With working tipped flashy jigs on wire leader into a chum slick can wear you out. Will be some take homes but most will be releasable jacks and runners. Deep action on the named reefs will be the best chance for a full “stringer”. Look to find snapper, some wandering mackerel and maybe even a small kingfish up top and the, old favorite, lane and mangrove snapper deep on weighted jigs under chum. Could even see some “big stuff” here i.e. grouper, small sharks taking larger cut baits.

OFFSHORE: Reports this week on the first harvest of stone crabs is quite disappointing with one major commercial boat harvesting just 30 lbs of claws after working 450 traps. Kind of suspect that there is still an “issue with re tide and algae deep caused by the dominant east wind pattern and the outflow from MICHAEL. But, there are still some interesting reports of fair to good reef and wreck fishing where there are schools of bait resident with good tidal flow. And this is the time the southbound migration of pelagics kicks in as the water chills……so all could turn around in an instant…….be ready.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 12th 2018 Fishing Report

CONDITIONS: This week’s report is entitled…..”We catch a break”. The radar this morning is showing HURRICANE MICHAEL streaming just to our west and heading for the Florida Panhandle. Our prayers and best wishes are for those folks along that shoreline. But we’re not totally out of the woods and will have to keep an eye on high water probability on this Friday and Saturday at high tide times at early afternoon. Other concern expressed in the news articles is regeneration of the red tide….always possible but the winds this coming week are generally easterly and moderate and the water temperature will take a dip as the storm passes west. – those two factors are unfavorable to any red tide regeneration. My bet is that we’ll stay clear. Otherwise, our conditions this week are rather normal early fall. The air temperature begin to edge down especially in the evenings and overnight which will dip the water temperature to hovering just above 80 for the week. The winds, even with the nearby hurricane passage, are forecast at single digit and mostly  from the E in mornings and switching SW in the afternoons. One hiccup however……winds at end of the week will go gusty. Tides are coming off a new moon and favorable morning incoming with a much weaker PM ebb. Overall should be a good fishing week here.

BACKWATER: Conditions and expectations this week remain very positive here. The species availability in the backwaters remains very strong with both summer species hanging around in the non-chilled water and the fall species activity kicking in they hit the reproduction cycle. The summer mainstay of mangrove snapper are now of good size and staying active all along the mangrove shorelines. Best, as reported, are Hurricane Pass and the Keeywadin Island docks, the mangrove edges all along the Three Island Creek back in Addison Bay and the flat portions of Rookery Bay to our north. Bait of choice has been live shrimp worked on a 3/4 oz lindy rig or a 1/4 oz jig head tight to the bottom structure. And last week we talked about species “relocating” here in the red tide debacle, so don’t be surprised to see a flounder, a seatrout or a whiting fishing those same venues. Additionally, the snook are still on feed with warm water temps and hot action on the early morning incoming working plentiful pilchards along the current edges early in the tide cycle. Redfish are showing in full fall expectation on the exaggerated high tides this week all along the Marco River islands and back into Johnson and Addison Bays with whole shrimp under a popper tight to mangrove overhangs.

NEARSHORE: As an adjunct to the favorable backwater action, good things should occur out here. Bait has been strong all along the first and second reefs just off the beaches, creating a feeding nirvana for both pelagics and bottom dwellers. Look for mackerel, blues and even a few tunny working the hot bait spots on the favorable morning incoming tide with tipped jigs on wire under chum. Also dropping weighted lindy rigs under the surface slick may draw some nice action from bottom dwellers i.e. snapper, triggerfish and maybe even a grouper or two. Move out a little deeper to the Walton Reef, the Five Mile or the John Dee wreck and you could be into the same type of action and possible action on small sharks and perhaps a top water barracuda.

OFFSHORE: Forecasts show conditions out to 25 miles should be OK. And with the unsettled water spinning off the hurricane and the barometer pressure differentials you never know what could have run east and into our offshore domain. Get your bait inshore and give it a run to wrecks and reefs holding bait in the 20+ mile range and be ready for anything. Weather and sea conditions should be good but, perhaps, going strong as the week ends. Good possibilities out here.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

September 21st 2018 Fishing Report

 

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

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

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

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

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

September 14th 2018 Fishing Report

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

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

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

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

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

September 7th 2018 Fishing Report

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

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

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

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

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 31th 2018 Fishing Report

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

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

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

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

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 24th 2018 Fishing Report

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

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

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

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

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

August 17th 2018 Fishing Report

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

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

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

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