May 4th 2018 Fishing Report
CONDITIONS: As we ease into May, arguably our best fishing month here, we will face shifting conditions…..first and foremost there are very few and spotty storm periods for the week. The dominant wind will be out of the more favorable east which will tend to keep the water relatively clean. But there are a couple of days post weekend that might provide a uncomfortable gusty wind. Forecast to be out of the NNW from Monday afternoon through nightfall on Tuesday. Good chance that could gum up the fishing into late week. The tides are off a waning moon and are remarkably weak, both ways, through late Tuesday. All of the tidal predictions on that period show less than a one foot movement in the circa six hour tides. The water temperature continues to climb as we have lots of sum and little fresh water intrusion. Range for water temps this week will go from 80 to 83 depending on the depth of water you’re fishing.
BACKWATER: This month, by far, is the best fishing month for snook. They are in or preparing for their spawning cycle AND THE HARVEST IS CLOSED FOR GOOD REASON. Early morning high water, albeit weak tides, will provide good snook action along the beaches from Cape Romano (Kice Island) all the way to Naples. Working live pilchards / sardines just outside the “breakers” should deliver some good to excellent action. Want to use circle hooks now and handle the release with wetted cloths. The other good news is that the mangrove snapper, which is the summer staple here, are showing up in respectable sizes all along the mangrove edges from Johnson Bay east to Addison Bay and then north to Rookery Bay and the adjacent Hurricane Pass. Whole small shrimp are the best attractant here worked tight to downed tree limbs on either tide. Best timing on faster tides (not this week) is to first the first and last hour of the tides…either way. There is limited tarpon action beginning to show along the Marco River and extending out into the Capri Channel west of Sea Oat Island. Best to work the incoming tide with the aft portion of a cut catfish worked along a drop off. In the deeper backwaters where there is some depth look for black drum working shrimp tight to the bottom in reasonably good current flow – either tide.
NEARSHORE: Action choices here include the good chance for tarpon action along the northern edges of Capri Channel from La Penisula to Marker #R3 working cut catfish in current tight to the drop off. Incoming usually best but that could be a problem until late week with such weak tides. Anchor short with a float at the bitter end…..need to weigh anchor and go with your catch if you’re into action. Bigger sharks will be in the tarpon flow. Recommend you don’t use chum. Action on nice size mackerel schools continue just west of the Sea Buoy and the Capri Barge wrecks. here you’ll want to get some chum in the water and work flashy tipped jigs up on the surface going with the tidal flow. In addition to the macks there is a good chance for both bluefish and little tunny (like bonito) in the action pool.
OFFSHORE: Favorable conditions deep with the exception of late Monday through Wednesday morning……wind will churn up the sea conditions. Inside wrecks and reefs now showing northbound pelagics (kingfish, some cobia and permit) on either tide working bait schools. Kings are the most numerous and aggressive now and can we worked with a live blue runner on wire leader set out at 15’ under a float and surrounded by a good chum effort. The cobia have a much different attack pattern. They will arrive on the surface and hover at shallow depths and jump on a thread herring cast shallow as they cruise the surface. And lastly, the permit will show on or near the surface and go for a small blue claw crab worked up close to the surface. Smaller wrecks and artificial reefs are holding nice size lane and mangrove snapper. Work with s good chum effort and weighted jigs tipped with cut bait worked a foot or two off structure.