October 21st to October 27th 2016 Fishing Report
ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS
CONDITIONS: Well, the worst of the residual effects of our “brush by” by Hurricane Matthew are fading quickly. But that means there are still pockets of Red Tide tainted water in our midst. You’ll want to give them a well defined miss…..you can visually spot these pockets as the surface water takes on a dark mottled color and you might sight a few “floaters” in the area. Avoid. Tip: If your holding live bait / live shrimp in your bait well turn your switch to recycle to avoid bringing any of the tainted water aboard. Good news is that the storms / rain deluges are gone for this coming week and that the tides are off the racing full moon speeds. Look for tides that are not only moderate but consistent both ways all week. The average rise and fall will be a steady two feet. Bad news is that the gusty winds are forecast to kick up early week and hold that speed well into the next weekend. That will 1) churn up the water clarity 2) make any offshore venture rough. And, finally the water temps both air and water are beginning to diminish which is a prime indicator that fall has finally decided to appear here. Air temps are mostly mid to low 80’s and water temps should dip to 75-77 degrees as the week progresses.
BACKWATER: After this weekend, you’ll have to be selective as to your fishing sector, as the forecasted winds will, most likely, muddy the waters up and chase the fish. Wind will be from the east so backwaters will get stirred up first and outgoing tides will be more riled up that the incoming tides. Snook have begun their migration away from the bait laden beaches and are moving inshore for their eventual slow down when the water temps dip below 70 degrees……but for now they are still active and can be found on most any shallow current point seeking “food” as the current sweeps the bait along. White bait (if available) is preferred but live shrimp will do almost as well. Freelining the bait just off the bottom is the preferred approach. Redfish are slowly moving inshore from the deeper nearshore waters and beginning their fall feeding in prep for the annual spawning action. Mid-tides you’ll run into them in small schools transversing shallower bays that feature seagrass bottoms. Technique is to approach the perimeter of the school and toss tipped jigs or jig heads to the forward perimeter working the bait with a light jerking action. Later in the tide cycle as it nears max move to the far reach mangrove shallow edges and have a freelined shrimp working tight to the vegetation overhangs. Keep the shrimp moving or set it up under a popper and let the incoming tide provide the motion for you. In other sectors the summer snapper bite is beginning to wane…..still worth a shot but try to be there in the last and first half hour of either tide. The pompano are scarce in the tainted water but action should kick back in as we move forward from the rain run off and red tide.
NEARSHORE: Pick your fishing times carefully this week……will have some tough sea conditions here in the wind forecasts for mid to late week are accurate. Seeing scads of ladyfish and jacks all over the bait schools resident on the First and Second Reefs but, unfortunately, the mackerel / bluefish bite has been very light. But that’s liable to turn around any day so it’s worth a shot early in your trip. Try the Walton Reef or the Southeast corner of the Five Mile Reef working small flashy jigs over a good chum slick and give it 15 minutes or so to see if you can draw those pelagics. Move on if no-go. Bottom fishing the First / Second Reef line should get you some nice mangrove and lane snapper as well as some early arrival sheepshead working simple shrimp lindy rigs right on the bottom…..works well on both tides.
OFFSHORE: Ditto on watching your trip timing and potential wind impact on sea conditions. Fortunately, the red grouper bite has stayed strong and consistent even through these weather aberrations. Reports say that best target depths now are between 55-65′ over hard bottom. Technique has you working a live pinfish or cut ladyfish on a drift with those baits scooting along tight to the bottom outcroppings. You’ll want to set the drag on your reel tight to prevent the hooked grouper from a run back into his bottom lair. Keeper size on the reds is 20″ and if your running into too many shorts…..keep moving west; depth makes a difference.