February 17 to February 24 2017 Fishing Report
ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS
CONDITIONS: We’re running out of time. Time to get a deep cold trend that will drop the water temperature to the sustained low sixties that will drive our winter fishing opportunities. And as we prepare the forecast for this late week in February, there is still no inkling of that going to happen. There is a front expected for the latter part of this period but it is shallow in duration and intensity. It will not materially effect the trend warmth. In addition, stand by for a weak of virtually non-existent tides….especially the morning outgoing. Mid week morning outgoing tides are projected to drop the water less than four inches in six hours. The afternoon incoming is a bit stronger but still not very strong. Would suggest fishing afternoons this period. The water temp will continue to hover between 71 and 68 with the afternoon air temperatures in the high seventies……..great for the beach / not so hot for winter fishing here.
BACKWATER: Recent fishing experience here has shown it is virtual summer ! The dominant fish available is the mangrove snapper ! By now, as we have stated, it should be the sheepshead…..the black drum…..the speckled trout etc. All signs show that the unseasonal warm conditions will continue. A couple years back we had the same circumstances where the sheepshead culminating spawning ritual was delayed and delayed ….then over one weekend we had a inundation of mega sheepshead showing all along the docks and holes to do their thing. They fed (on your bait) for a week or so and then vanished back to the Gulf depths. Good chance the same thing will occur this year. So keep tuned here and to your other fishing reports and be ready to get out there quickly. In the meantime there is still reasonably good fishing available. Back here the main attraction, as mentioned, is the mangrove snapper. There are most everywhere where there is current flow and mangrove cover and taking everything from tipped jigs to a tad of shrimp worked to the bottom in the current. Speckled trout are also active….to a degree and can be worked along the west edge of the ICW Calhoun Channel working shrimp under a popper on a drift. Other locales that can work is the north end of Canon Island just south of ICW Marker #28 working the same rig on the incoming tide. And as mid winter surprise….the heat is keeping the snook active. May be a problem this period with the weak tides but current points in Rookery Bay’s Henderson Creek and the feeder creeks in Johnson Bay may be your best bet working freelined live bait.
NEARSHORE: Typical winter fishing here for pelagics……mackerel / bluefish follows the reports on the sheepshead situation. Warm water!. Have had spotty action on these pelagics after a frontal passage working flashy tipped jigs under chum on the structure spots along the first and second reefs. Late week front forecast this week may provide the same opportunity. When front conditions subside would recommend working the reefs and major spots like the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass and the Five Mile Reef for possible pelagic action. While there can always drop down a tipped weighted jig for nice size lane and mangrove snapper and may even run into a lunker sheepshead biding time nearshore. Keep an eye open when running around out here…..there may well catch a sunning tripletail alongside a crab trap float. Drift back with a tipped jig for some great action.
OFFSHORE: Conditions should be OK here except for a day or two late week when we get another brief frontal passage. The deep runs (30+ miles) are getting all the attention now. In that cooler water deep offshore, bait and fish have adopted various wrecks and reefs and are ripe for good to great fishing action. Species as varied as yellowtail snapper, cobia, kingfish, amberjack are well ensconced on structure. Working live baits under chum can fill the cooler with delightful table fare. Closer in, the red grouper bite continues strong. Need 50-55′ of water (20+ miles due west) working a live pinfish / cut ladyfish tight to the hard bottom on a drift. The deeper you go the better the keep to catch ratio gets…..can harvest two reds per day that are at least 20″O.