February 24, to March 2, 2017 Fishing Report
ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS
CONDITIONS: Nothing in this week’s forecast that shows a change in the abnormal heated conditions here. It’s more of the same……and maybe a little more so. Morning temperatures in the low 60’s and then surging to 80 or thereabouts by late afternoon. Our grateful visitors are lovin’ it but not so much for the piscatorial sidekicks that depend on weather chill down to make their presence here an event. Temperatures will be late spring like and the winds will be a bit stronger and more variable in direction this week. Dominant wind is still northeasterly but swings westerly come late morning and kicks up a bit. Look for gusty winds from the southwest most afternoons. May rile the water up a bit but nothing to send the anglers packing. The weak tides of last week that destroyed what’s left of the fishing will be gone; replaced by a new moon morning incoming that will have a range of just over three feet and a matching afternoon ebb. The water temperature will continue to hover between 69 and 73 with the shallower backwater showing a few degrees higher. All in all……welcome to an early summer.
BACKWATER: The “dead water tides” are gone and we should see more robust action this week. Suspect that the mangrove snapper action that is being sustained at a active summer level will continue. Snapper to beyond keeper size will be active all along the interior waterways working the current points. Places like Addison Bay / Johnson Bay / Rookery Bay should have solid action especially on the morning incoming working shrimp rigs / small tipped jigs on current points. The afternoon ebb tide will ease a bit but going back at the snapper should still work fairly well. Lots of these snapper, enjoying the extended warmth will be of “take home” size. Mixed in the action will be the “almost forgotten” sheepshead. If the experienced pattern is sustained, your first sheepie on a given spot will be a oversized keeper but from then on your catch will be bait depleting runts. There is no usual pattern of repetitive sheephead catches unless of course things change. Filling in for the missing sheepshead action has been good to very good action on black drum in many of the traditional sheepshead deep water holes all along the backwaters from Marco to Naples. These cousins of the redfish can go to well over six pounds and give you quite a struggle especially in a faster current. A simple shrimp rig moved slowly across the bottom can entice the bite. Spec trout is another option. Best spots for them is along the edges of the ICW’s Calhoun Channel and just north of Canon Island south of Marker R#28 on the ICW. On small tipped jigs with incoming water best.
NEARSHORE: Some chance with the strengthening of the tides that we could see a resurgence of the pelagic action along Marco’s first and second reefs. Early AM on the strong incoming tide best; check for the telltale signs of bird action or the bait school surface eruptions. That surface can best be worked by staying mobile and working the perimeter of the eruptions with a flashy tipped jig retrieved rapidly. Have couple of reports that indicate that little tunny (bonito like pelagic) are showing in the pelagic mix. If so, tie on a live bait on a beefy rod, and stand by…..they are a terrific fight and will range in the ten pound range. But debatable as to table quality. The Walton Reef just NW of Caxambas Pass is one of the best spots for bottom fishing inshore Marco. If the potentially spawning sheepshead are holding in the cooler offshore waters, this is where they will be. Set up on the ample structure of this reef and work the area vertically with a shrimp laden lindy rig worked vertically into the structure.
OFFSHORE: Should be a good week out here. Don’t see any hellacious wind / weather that would shut down the long run. Reports of action on the super deep wrecks has been excellent. Species that usually fled to the warmth of the Keys are hanging around here in the unexpected warmth of SW Florida. Possible to see and have great action on species like cobia / kingfish / permit entirely possible on the wrecks / bottom spots in 60- 65′ some 30 miles offshore. Need a good chum supply and a well of live threads, small runners and pinfish. Closer in (20+ miles) rough bottom still seeing good to very good action on red grouper working a live pinfish tight to the hard bottom on a tidal drift.