July 6th Fishing Report
CONDITIONS: Unfortunately, the red tide dilemma is hanging around the entire SW Florida coast with some locales north of us suffering to a greater extent than the Collier County gulf edges. Overall, the condition not only effects the fish (disturbing scene to walk the beach with scattered fish carcasses) but effects folks exposed to surface water spray with some respiratory distress (coughing etc). Bottom line……you can still catch fish but the volume of action has definitely been effected. News reports online however are indicating that the “bloom” may be fading with the light winds that are mostly from the south and southeast. We’ll see……hope springs eternal. Otherwise, this holiday week, we should see good weather with some abatement of the constant thunder and drizzle. Unfortunately the 4th evening (think fireworks) may deliver some showers. The winds will surge a bit especially in the gust category and be dominant out of the South and Southeast……and that’s good as it tends to push the tainted water north. For anglers, the primary issue will be the tides as they head towards a new moon late week. Predictions show morning outgoing tides late week in the 4-5’ range which is highly unusual. Check your charts and avoid those racing water periods late morning during the latter part of the week.
BACKWATER: It’s really a return to normalcy here, as the Spanish Mackerel bite continues to be outstanding. There are, literally legions of those “macks” just about everywhere, even in the deeper backwaters. Spots like Rookery Bay and Addison Bay are producing nice size mackerel when you are working the deeper water cuts when the current is moving swiftly. And the macks will jump on most any bait bait…..from a hunk of shrimp to a well engineered flashy jig rig. All of that is welcome here early summer and has been missing (for whatever reason) for the past three or four years. The other dominant backwater action is on the “Old Mainstay” here in the summer…..the mangrove snapper. They are just about everywhere along the mangrove edges and all over docks and other structure. But, you will find that most of the action is on fish that are undersized. You can empty your bait bucket quite quickly with that action. Experience has shown that the BIG snapper don’t like to work hard fighting a fast tide and will hold back on the chow until the water slows. Try holding off on the snapper effort until 30-45 minutes on either side of slack water……working the same spots with the same bait. Good chance the “big guys” will show. As a final passage on backwater action…the snook are still very active early incoming on current points all through the backwater and love pilchards. The action dims when the superheated sun’s rays begin to vertically penetrate the waters…..so go early for the best action.
NEARSHORE: Chances are that the conditions out here will be positive this coming week with fewer storm periods and lighter winds. The same snook that we write about being active backwater early will be be in the same mode early all along the beach edges from Kice Island all the way to Keeywadin. First light incoming will be the key period to soak your baits just off the wave action working live bait (pilchards best) after you rouse them up with a shower of same. Have a couple reports of keeper size gag grouper showing in the inside reefs including the Marco Five Mile. A live pinfish with just a tad of weight freelined just over structure may get you some pleasant surprises. Bottom action on the same spots, post some chum effort, will be on some dinner size mangrove and lane snapper working tipped weighted jigs, again under chum.
OFFSHORE: Conditions out here this week should be a carbon copy of what we discussed regarding the nearshore……..nice and flat and little to no storm activity. The long runs deep have a better chance of producing as the bait seems to be holding on the deep wrecks that are holding bait. Look for pelagics (kings, cobia, sharks, cuda) to be active and feeding on the deeper wrecks that show resident bait schools. Live runners on wire set at 15’ under chum should do the number for you on the kings and sharks. The curious cobia will show on the surface in the slick and are suckers for a live pinfish sight casted in their direction. The cuda will lie in wait in the shadow of the boat and take anything you’re trying to land. Go get ‘em with a heavy duty vinyl eel towed or retrieved quickly over the reef / wreck. HAVE A HAPPY 4TH…GOD BLESS AMERICA