Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

December 30 to January 15th 2017 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS:  Well a great weather start for the New Year…..a little chilly the last two mornings but that promises to pass and the balance of the period will have cool mornings giving way to nice toasty / sunny afternoons. Should bode well for the fishing and continue to stabilize the conditions. No fronts this period…..just warmer than usual conditions and acceptable wind. Water should continue to clear and hold it’s temperature level in the 72-74 range. That won’t do much to push the cold water migration (think sheepshead) upon us but will stabilize the conditions for the species that are feeding in the unusually warm start of winter here. The tides are going to be impacted by an early week new moon which will drive a fast morning incoming tide in the three foot range and a fairly moderate afternoon ebb. No surprises there. Winds will stay East and Southeast with calm mornings and then some breezes starting late morning into late afternoon. All in all…..a great weather start to our new year.

BACKWATER: Look for a continuance of the fishing quality experienced in the last couple weeks. The bite is there but it takes patience and good “tide” timing to put a good fishing trip together. Backwater tides will be very strong during the middle four hours of their cycle….the bigger feeder fish will duck out of the current and lay low until the water speed slows down. Pick the first hour and the last hour of each tide to get the better bite on your favorite spots. As the warm weather cycle continues you should continue to see good sheepshead activity albeit mostly juvenile fish but the 12-14″ take homes will show in the slower tide hours. Also the warmer water has kept the mangrove snapper bite very active on most of their spots….and a better than even chance that you’ll see a goodly number of keepers. Shrimp is always the best bait for the snapper but encourage you to use smaller pieces….avoid mega baits hanging off the hook. Also expect to see both speckled trout over spots with seagrass bottom (Upper Addison Bay; West Johnson Bay; N end Canon Island) working shrimp on a jig head just off the bottom. Incoming tide best. Also could run into a formidable black drum in the deeper holes along the ICW edges between Marco and Naples…..they too will jump on a shrimp.

NEARSHORE: Good weather conditions out here on the first and second reefs this week. Should be a better chance (slightly cooler water) for some reasonable sheepshead action working a tad of shrimp on a lindy rig on a vertical drop into structure. Other bottom action could show on flounder, snapper and triggerfish (season closed of the triggers). If the bait schools continue to hang around on the first reefs, keep an eye open for surface action from terns / gulls working bait schools….that’s a sure signal that there well might be pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, jacks et al) working beneath. Time then to get the chum in the water and work the slick with quickly retrieved tipped top water jigs. Bottom fishing with live bait will provide a good chance for grouper action. But after 1/1/the gag grouper harvest is closed for six months and, as always, you have to return the Goliath Grouper without removing them from the water

OFFSHORE: Nice conditions continue for a run deep. Red grouper continues to be the top target and they are staying very active on the feed. It’s a rather lengthy run to the 50-60′ hard bottom depths …..20-23 miles due west of Capri Pass. Load up with some “gold hooked” pinfish from the first reefs for bait and then get the offering tight to the hard bottom structure. Can take two red grouper 20″ and above per person daily. On the way out, set a lookout to scan the waters around the stone crab trap markers for sunning tripletail. They look like a piece of paper floating on the surface and can be taken on light tackle with a tipped dark color jig. Great eating !

Have a Happy 2017!

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

December 23 to December 29th 2016 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: So what do you think about the weather here ? It’s single digit cold in the Midwest and that’s rolling to the East this week BUT Miami set a record high temperature yesterday at 87 degrees and we were within a degree or two of that. Fantastic……for us!!…..but not so good for the fish. That heat has driven the water temperature back up into the mid 70’s and that is totally “out-of-character” for this time of year. We should be seeing the cooler water fish (sheepshead, seatrout, drum, whiting, redfish) really turning on, but that has yet to happen. The forecast for this week also shows a continuance of the same with stagnant weather systems fending off all that cold from up north. We’ll see some wind late week but nothing to shut down your planned fishing trip…..might even see some showers come late week. Winds kick up when the showers show but otherwise everything is single digit and easterly. Anyhow, enjoy the nice weather and keep at the fishing…..it’s still a blast.

BACKWATER: The glorious weather coupled with the holiday celebration this week will engorge the waterways with boat traffic and impact your fishing quality. Need to find a nice low traffic area back on the east side of the Jolley Bridge to support your fishing effort. Many of the waters back here are “slow speed / minimum wake” which will keep the traffic at a minimum. Addison Bay and it’s connecting tributaries are a good place to start….lots of mangrove shoreline and current points that attract species in the weather transition i.e. mangrove snapper, small black drum, flounder and undersize but scrappy sheepshead. Work them with a small tad of fresh shrimp tied onto a rig with 1/2 oz of weight right up close to the shadows and shallow water. Now, your working open areas and fish may not be schooling for you…..have some patience and give them 10-15 minutes to find before you haul to the next spot. A little dry chum fed into the current just as you arrive on a given spot will also help. Good chance for fair to good action in the Passes…….Capri, Caxambas and Hurricane but well off to the edges away from the main traffic channels. The water should be clear and the tide moderate which are the two major factors for pompano, mackerel and trout. Work the area using the current / wind to energize your drift and get a small 1/4 to 3/8 oz tipped jig head working close to the bottom as you move along. Note areas where you get a strike and insure you double back…..fish could well be bunched up here in the heat.

NEARSHORE: Very good chance the deeper water will be cooler out here. Not the surface water but that down 10′ to the bottom. That could well be a turn on for the cooler water fish that have abandoned the steamy backwaters. Worth at least a serious try. Try deeper reef spots such as the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass or the infamous Five Mile Reef SW of the island. Good chance you may find keepable sheepshead here feeding just off the bottom. Work a tad of shrimp on a lindy rig tight to the bottom and employ the soft lift technique (drop tad of shrimp / cut crab vertically to bottom and continuously lift the rod (and bait) a couple inches off the bottom very softly. A nibbling sheepshead will go after the lifting bait. As soon as you feel weight set the hook with a strong but compact yank upward…..start retrieve but never let the line go slack). Might also find some hungry snapper out here as well some nice size triggerfish using the same technique.

OFFSHORE: At least early week should be a nice smooth journey offshore.  Need about 20 miles due west Capri Pass to get into the red grouper. You’ll be in 50-55′ of hard bottom waters. The technique for getting ahold of one of these tasty fish is quite simple….pin a live pinfish or some cut ladyfish on a 3/0 weighted hook and run it tight to the hard bottom as you drift with the wind / tide. Want to keep the drag on your reel ratcheted down tight to prevent your strike to regain entry to his bottom hiding place. Red grouper must be 20″ in length and your limit is two per person.

Merry Christmas!

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

December 16 to December 22nd 2016 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: Good chance this week will bring weather stabilization with less wind and even temperatures. Fish need that to really turn on the bite. Forecasts show that we will have a rather steady week for air temps; cool mornings starting out mid 60’s and then by mid afternoon it’s tickling 80. The other factor is the wind: those wild afternoon winds are gone (or so they say) and replaced with softer breezes generally out of the E and SE. That will clear the shallower backwater that picked up some murkiness over the last week or so……and that is a definite plus for the fishing especially trying to evade the dreaded catfish. The tides are coming off a full moon and a little tough early period but fade to mild quickly. Both incoming and outgoing are balanced. Another plus.

BACKWATER: As reported in CONDITIONS there have been offsetting variables that has turned the fishing fair, at best over these past couple weeks. But, see conditions begin to stabilize in the shallow backwaters which bodes well for going forward. If air temperatures hold and the heavy wind takes a hiatus we should be into some good late fall / early winter fishing around these parts. A big part of that will be the arrival of the bigger, spawning sheepshead all along our waterways and docks. We are seeing the first part of that episode with the landing of 12-13″ sheepshead now working a very small piece of shrimp or a equally small piece of crab. Approach your spot with as vertical a drop as you can. Letting the weight just touch the bottom and then lifting a few inches repeatedly will draw the sheepshead and on one of those lifts you’ll feel weight, quickly set the hook with an upward compact lift……then do not let the line slack at all…..rod firm at a 45 degree angle and just crank. Boatside take a look at the hook position in the fish…..any chance of the fish breaking off…….get the net. Practice of the small / medium size sheepies now…the lunkers are 40-60 days off. Other promising winter fishing is for black drum who will be found mixed in with the sheepshead but will be bigger and put up a terrific struggle. Be careful, the juvenile black drum look just like the sheepshead (well….almost) they have black and white stripes but their dorsal fin is decidedly different and has two less formidable fin spikes. And finally, the seatrout have come active. You work them with a shrimp either freelined or under a popper in any shallow spot that sports a seagrass floor. Try water that is 5-6′ on a drift. Seatrout have a minimum size of15″ for harvest and a 20″ maximum (you can take one over 20″)

NEARSHORE: Sea conditions here will be improved this week with the diminished winds and weaker tides. As the water clarity improves during the week give working the Gulf edges of Capri and Caxambas Passes on the morning slack tide for pompano that will gather to feed on retreating bait schools. Work the pomps with tipped small jigs just as the tide stages begin. Later in the tide provides a good chance for some pelagic action on mackerel along the first and second lines of reefs. Set up on structure showing bait schooling and get a chum effort going right away. Follow with working some small tipped flashy jigs right up on the surface. Expect hot action with even some bluefish and jacks in the mix.

OFFSHORE: The deeper wrecks deep will hold the last of the southbound pelagics heading to the Keys. Both kingfish and cobia are possible this week on the deeper wrecks that show bait on the fishfinder. The pelagics will jump on live bait; the kings on a blue runner set out on wire at about 10-15′ in the slick and the cobia attracted by a sight cast threadfin herring as they arrive in your chum slick right up on the surface. Both are considered major targets. Red grouper stay as a top target. You’ll need to get into deep water ……50-55′ about 20 miles west of Marco. Work the grouper with live pinfish or cut ladyfish on a drift over the hard bottom.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

December 9 to December 15th 2016 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: Week starts off with a “bang”…..a weak cold front, the first of the season will bring a temperature chill down with some rain and then a gradual warm up through the balance of the week. As it effects your fishing…those morning air temperatures in the low 50’s to low 60’s should depress the water temperature. Would guess we’ll see our first AM water temp in the low 60’s early week and then escalate back up to the mid 60’s by week end. Thankfully, the associated gusty wind that is forecast to post small craft warnings, will be mainly NE and ENE and tend not to foul the water clarity although it will be tough to deal with the resultant sea conditions offshore. The effect inside will also rough up the normally placid conditions in the backwater estuaries. The tides will go a rather weak full moon late week. The tides ranges will be in the 1.5′ range for the morning outgoing and swell slightly on the afternoon incoming to a modest 2.3′ range. Generally, unsettled conditions like we face this coming week, has a tendency to put the fish off their feed and slow the action. But, we’ll see if that holds true.

BACKWATER: Action in the creeks and bays of the Ten Thousand Islands has been spotty. If you get all the right conditions (clean water; reasonable tide and stable water temperatures) things can go well with lots of continuous action. Get any one of those factors in the negative range, you can still get action but will require patience….they won’t be jumping in the boat. Think, maybe, you could classify this coming week in that category. One positive however, is that the tide will drop off last week’s racing tides and be much more reasonable. So, the chances of a good late season snapper bite could well be a reality. You’d have best chances for a stringer of take home mangrove snappers this time of the by working the slower portions of both tides along the edge structure in places like Rookery Bay and Johnson Bay. Snapper will jump on a small whole shrimp especially if you sweeten the water with a handful of shrimp bits before casting. Also back here, the bigger (12-13″) inch sheepshead are beginning to show as “their spawning season” approaches. The deeper holes along the ICW and the the docks of Keeywadin are ripe for sheepshead action working a small piece of live shrimp on a vertically  worked rig on a soft lift technique (Translation: lift your bait 5-6″ very softly; if you feel weight on the line a short strong lift on the rod will set the hook; then don’t let the rod move downward keeping pressure on the fish right to boatside). Also in the backwaters, if the water stays clean, you have a shot at pompano on the first hours of the incoming tide in both Capri and Hurricane Passes working a tipped small jig right to the bottom on a drift.

NEARSHORE: Even here the sea conditions could be tough early week…..much better chance for some comfortable conditions as the week wears on. Water temperatures will be more stable here and the water a bit cleaner which drives the point of better fishing action. Look for a better brand of snapper action….both mangrove and lane on places like the Isaac Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass and the Five Mile Reefs working tipped weighted jigs under chum just above the structure. Also a chance with that chum in the water than roaming schools of pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, jacks, small kingfish) could show on the surface. Quickly break out the light tackle flashy jigs…tip with a tad of shrimp and work them on the surface with a racing retrieve. Great action should follow.

OFFSHORE: Just keep an eye on the weather before you power up the offshore boat especially early this week. Should get better as the week proceeds. Still have some action coming south from the cooler waters of the Florida Panhandle heading south to the Keys for the winter season. They feed along the way of the lengthy “swim” and naturally stop over on sites that are holding good food. (The bait on the deep wrecks offshore the Paradise Coast). So, those deep wrecks are a great place to soak a live bait right now. With a little chum in the water and with live bait in the water on these bait rich sites can draw great action on retreating kingfish, cobia, permit and a few tarpon / sharks. You’ll need a good chum effort and lively live bait to garner the hot action.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

December 2nd to December 8th 2016 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: This week should present us with our same chill down mornings and warm to super warm afternoons AND. for a change, should deliver some much needed rain over the weekend. As is the case in most of the Southeast, we have been very dry for some weeks. The expected rain won’t be severe here, and although greening us some lawns and fauna, will not influence the fishing. Otherwise, the air temperatures will hold and the water temps will hover between 68 and 72. The more temperature stability we hold in the environment now will be a positive for our fishing efforts. We will be coming off a weak new moon and see some hike in tide strength with the morning incoming the stronger of the two daily tides. And finally, the forecasts for late week show a mild upsurge in the winds …..shifting to the N/NW and gusting in the 20’s……a sure sign that our “real winter” is not that far off.

BACKWATER: Action here has been slow. With water temperatures hovering between the break points of summer vs winter fishing, the action has been weak. Some summer species, mainly mangrove snapper, are still active but with much smaller fish than we enjoyed in the summer heat. And, conversantly, the winter mega-sheepshead are still somewhere offshore awaiting a general cool down. So…. we’re “in-between”. Best bet  is to pick a moderate tide either incoming or outgoing and work the backwater spots with some shrimp bits for chum and half or whole shrimp worked into the edges of the current flow. In addition to the aforementioned snapper and sheepshead, there is possible action on black drum (sizable to 20″) and spec trout along with some pompano and mackerel showing in the Capri and Caxambas Passes on either tide. Work the latter two species with tipped jigs worked right to the bottom on a drift at the beginning or end of either tide. Redfish is another possibility with action showing in places like the creeks in Johnson Bay and the shallow flats in Rookery Bay’s Henderson Creek. Here a whole freelined shrimp tight to the shallow edges can work miracles and save your fishing day.

NEARSHORE: Conditions here should be OK…..just check twice regarding that rain forecast for this weekend. The inshore reefs just off Marco are beginning to show action on barely keeper sheepshead as the migration begins. Most spots with good structure will work and the marked reefs of the Isaac Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass and the Southeast corner of the Five Mile Reef complex and great spots for both early season sheepshead and late season (and departing) mangrove snapper working lindy rigs baited with live shrimp worked under chum in good tidal flow. Up top look for bird action as a indicator that the mackerel are working up tight to the surface mackerel / bluefish schools. If there, get a block of chum in the water and work those tipped flashy top water jigs quickly through the slick and hang on for some serious action. Especially mackerel can give you a run for your money.

OFFSHORE: As the winter cold weather invades the Florida Panhandle up north, the final signal for migration will be flashed to the pelagics summering up there. As they head south to the Keys for winter they are looking to feed along the way……enter our wrecks and reefs as their likely targets. Great chance for kingfish, cobia, sharks stopping off for a snack and attracted to your live bait and chum slick en route. Live bait for the kings would best be a live blue runner strung out on wire leader at a 10-15′ depth…..for the cobia, they will show on the surface curious to the activity and chum….work them with a sight cast thread herring or pinfish sight cast on the surface. The permit are more elusive and will go for a live crab freelined in a good chum slick. Sharks will take a magnum cut bait soaking on the bottom on the heaviest tackle you own. Fun, fun, fun……

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

November 25 to December 1st 2016 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: As we enjoy Thanksgiving Week, the late fall weather is closing in. The air temperatures, especially in the early morning, can be downright chilly and that effects the water temperature as well as our comfort level. This coming week will be more of the same with some more radical descending air temps as well as some periods of rain late week. The winds are forecasted as variable in direction and rather mild until just over the holiday when we will have some periods of SW winds that are strong. Chance, then, that our waters may get riled up a bit and effect the clarity level. The tides move to new moon influence also late week and will have fairly robust morning incoming strength and then fade in the afternoon outgoing….but the strength level both ways will be moderate and not seriously effect the fishing. The water temps are edging down…..now getting steady temps in the 69-71 range and that will probably take another sight tumble this week. So, bottom line, with all of that going on, probably best to use the daily forecast this week to pick your fishing times.

BACKWATER: Have to classify the fishing in the extensive backwaters these last few weeks as “spotty”……and that will probably continue through these end of November days. Think we are in seasonal transition i.e….the summer stalwarts (snapper, mackerel, snook) are giving way to the cooler water fish (sheepshead, drum, seatrout, whiting) but it’s a gradual process. You have to be persistent and at the same time patient as you work the backwaters. Fish will be more active in the moderate speed tidal waters than in the dead slow or racing tidal waters…..the chillier water temps slows them down; just like it does for us. Most of the snapper now will be ravenous runts feeding like crazy along those mangrove edges on whatever you’re offering. Live bait works as does any portion of a live shrimp. Good idea to use the circle hooks now as many of these little guys engulf the bait and tend to swallow the hook; circle hooks will keep the insertion point of the hook point close to their mouth facilitating a safe release. But, we are also beginning to see some nice black drum on those deeper spots…..most in the 5-6 pound range but provide a great tussle and anglers thrill at the size of these battlers. Also beginning to see action from speckled trout on the shallower flats with grass bottom…..think Rookery Bay, Johnson Bay and Addison Bay on a drift with a shrimp under a popper. The bigger sheepshead are also making their way into the backwaters and jumping on just a bit of shrimp or crab worked on a soft lift technique……not lunkers here yet but many in the 12-13″ range. Finally, if the waters stay clear, the pompano action in Capri and Hurricane Pass should go full speed working small tipped jigs to the bottom in the early and late tidal periods.

NEARSHORE: Recommend a last minute weather forecast check before venturing out on the briny this week…..lots of variable conditions in store I think. Good reports from folks working the major reefs (Five Mile, Walton, Keeywadin, on mangrove and lane snapper. Probably an indication that the vanguard is moving to deeper (warmer) water as the shallow backwaters chill down. Best approach is working tipped weighted jigs right to the bottom under a good chum effort. Morning action will be better here based on a stronger incoming tide. There are also some nice size sheepshead showing here that can be worked with a simple soft lift technique with just a tad of shrimp or crab on the hook. The gag grouper, who love the colder water, are in process of moving from offshore and into the waters of the first and second reefs. Live pinfish worked just off the bottom right on structure will draw the action. Make sure your drag is ratcheted down to insure the gags don’t duck back into their liars while hooked.

OFFSHORE: Same caution here as nearshore…..check the local forecast before shoving off. Can get rough out here in a hurry if the winds kick up. Deep wrecks still seeing some southbound pelagics……mainly kingfish and cobia with an occasional permit. They will hang around the deep wrecks that have indicated bait schools evident. A freelined live bait under a bit of chum may be all they need to excite the feeding instinct as they head south. Red grouper should be a winter staple target. Look for them to hang in the 55-65′ water depths and love going after a live pinfish bounced across the hard bottom on a drift.

 

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

November 18th to November 24th 2016 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS:  We are definitely into fall weather and it tends to be a bit unsettled. Take this coming week for example…..starts nice and placid and then goes into the tank with gusty winds from Sunday through Wednesday. Thankfully, the wind direction is NNE, and will influence your fishing but not the water clarity. The tides are coming off a super strong full moon period and will be ripping at least through the weekend. The tide range early week will be close to 4′ on the early morning incoming. A positive however… there is zero rain in the forecast which will keep the salinity level stationary and stable for fish like the sea trout and redfish. The air temperature which, in essence, controls the water temperature is steady this coming week and that will hold the water temps in the mid 70’s and favorable for ouir fishing conditions. All in all, a pretty good week for fishing ahead.

BACKWATER: Lots going on back here. Stable conditions will enhance the fall action. With the water temps still holding above 70 degrees, the snook are staying active. Almost anywhere there is good current flow and moderately shallow water you have a chance at a snook working live bait (or even a big live shrimp) freelined into the current with the incoming tide just a bit better than the outgoing…….on the outgoing move over to the deeper cuts and work weighted live bait into the deeper cuts on waterway exit points. Redfish are approaching their best opportunity period. Cooling water and good tides bring action to it’s zenith……mid tides the reds will be working shallow grass beds in places like Henderson Creek in Rookery Bay……the “Muddies” on the east side of the Marco RIver at Marker R24…….and the flats just inside Johnson Bay. They can be worked here with small tipped jigs in the 4 – 6′ depths over sea grass. Later on the late incoming move to far reach mangrove edges and send a big shrimp under a pooper at them. Seeing quite a few nice size black drum now almost everywhere where this is deeper cuts and good water flow. Again, best bait for these bigger fish is just a piece of fresh shrimp worked slowly across the bottom on either tide. Other players in the fall program here are pompano in the first hour of the incoming tide in either Capri or Hurricane Passes working a small tipped jigs to the bottom on a drift……Mangrove snapper all along the mangrove edges working live shrimp on either tide and , surprisingly, some nice size (take home) sheepshead in the deeper holes with good water flow.

NEARSHORE: Unless you plan to stay in the lee of the shoreline, would suggest getting your fishing trip in before Monday to avoid the windy and assuredly rough sea conditions. The pelagic bite (mackerel, bluefish et al) has been touch and go along the first and second reef spots. Need to find your spot with good bait markings before you deploy the chum and rigs. Once located, give the chum 15-20 minutes to work before getting bait in the water. Top water jigs tipped with shrimp worked quickly across the surface is best chance for some nice action. Good venues for action are the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass and the corners of the Five Mile Reef. The cooler weather and water temps have drawn the gag grouper closer inshore. Try some live bait just off the bottom on close in Reef spots for possible action on gags. Great fight on the gags and fantastic table fare. Take size on gags now is 24″ overall.

OFFSHORE: As always……conditions permitting. Deep wrecks still getting fair to good action on southbound migrating pelagics. Either tide works working live bait under a good chum effort tight to the structure. Chum is also a must here to get the piscatorial attention. Chance here for  kingfish, cobia, permit feeding on their way south. Suggest a live blue runner for the kings …….a live pinfish sight casted to the curious cobia and a freelined live crab for thr permit. Elsewhere and closed inshore the red grouper are still a great target catch. Work the 60 – 65′ hard bottom depths working a live pinfish or a cut ladyfish to the bottom on a drift for best results.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

November 11th to November 17th 2016 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: Unfortunately, the abrasive wind goes along with the nice drop in air temperatures and humidity. Thankfully, the direction has been mostly easterly and that helps keep the water from getting muddied up by the wind from the west. Backwater should be nice and clean and flat with the sea conditions deteriorating near and offshore depending on how far you’re going west. A point: be careful going deep early morning as the wind picks up mid day and will rock you’re trip home. This week looks like more of the same for the weekend and early thereafter; mid week we have a slight front coming through that turns the wind westerly for two days and is forecasted to have some 20+ gusts in the afternoons. The tides will be rocking with a “super moon” on Monday that will deliver a morning incoming tide of close to a 4′ range and then easing off the PM outgoing to just about a 2′ range. There is no rain or storms forecast for the week. The water temperature is rather consistent now at 76-77 degrees……good fall fishing temperature.

BACKWATER: Conditions here should be favorable to just about anything until early week when the moon and tides go super full and the west wind  kicks in. Snook continue to diminish their feeding activity as the fall season takes hold. Rare to find them along the beaches now as they were during the late summer months……have to look for them now in the far reach backwaters feeding on current points just off the shallows. Best venues would be the creeks in Johnson Bay and the same in the vicinity of Henderson Creek in Rookery Bay. Pilchards or small pinfish are the best baits to attract. The bigger snook are still around and “selectively” feeding. Have a couple reports of good late evening action along the Marco River docks and connecting waterways working either artificials or live pinfish under dock lights. Need stout leader here to avoid getting cut off the barnacle encrusted pilings. On the last couple of trips have found the bigger snapper in short supply. Lots of 9″ snapper that can help empty your shrimp bait bucket. Think best technique for the 11-13″ snapper is to work your spots a half hour or so on either side of the tide turns…..and that goes double this week with the racing full moon morning incoming. Pompano continue to show on the incoming water in the main channels in Hurricane Pass; they are few and scattered but worth the effort by working a tipped light jig on the drift amidst the surging incoming water. Last, but not least, there continues to be good and improving redfish action all along the mangrove shallow edges in the last portions of the incoming tide. Best would be Johnson Bay and Upper Addison for the best redfish action.

NEARSHORE: Smaller schools of mackerel / bluefish and jacks continue to roam along the first reef waters off Marco. But they are “local” and focused on already assembled bait. So best technique is to keep the fishfinder on full power as you hit the various reef spots…..you’ll immediately ID those bait schools as black blobs just off structure. Get the chum in the water and give it 15 minutes to work before winging those tipped top water jigs into the slick. Always a chance that little tunny (like a bonito) and small kingfish could show in the mix and, if so, toss a couple live baits at them. The tunny….a great fight are marginal table fare at best and would recommend release. The smaller kings have a 24″ minimum take size and have a different dorsal fin coloration than the mackerel. Still getting reports of fair to good snapper, early season sheepshead and some flounder action on the Walton Reef and out to the corners of the Five Mile ….on tipped jigs under chum.

OFFSHORE: As mentions in “CONDITIONS” could get a bit testy out here early week…..this weekend better. Deep wrecks are still holding a goodly amount of bait that draws the pelagics (kings, cobia, permit) enroute south for wintering. Fairly easy pickings…..setting up on a wreck with chum worked in these faster tides and working live baits either freelined or set at depths with weighted rigs. Grouper are still on the hunt. The red grouper seeking warmth move just a tad deeper to 65-70′ hard bottom while the gags (Like cooler water) can be moving closer to shore. On the latter try running a magnum jointed plug on a planer about five feet above the bottom on a troll at about 4-5 knots…..no bait required; they will engulf the plug. Stout tackle and heavy line / leader will keep your strikes from getting back in there lairs after hook up.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

November 4th 2016 to November 10th 2016 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: Weather is following it’s usual seasonal pattern. Cooling down (a bit) and the winds have been consistently bothersome especially for those that have a hankering to fish offshore. Much of that will continue this week. Pattern of light morning winds and then accelerating in the afternoon will continue. Look for gusts up to the low 20 mph range mid week…..that makes for uncomfortable sea conditions. Luckily the rains and storms will hold off this week as we assume the typical dry fall season weather pattern. The water temperature is a constant 72-75 now depending on what time of the day you will be on the water and how deep you are going. The tides will be moderate this week with a little stronger late morning incoming followed by a rather weak afternoon / evening outgoing. The moon is coming off a past week high and will not be a factor influencing your fishing this week. The water, then, should stay green and clean as long as the winds don’t turn west and nasty. Overall look for a good week of fall fishing. Last point: we move to Standard Time this week make sure you adjust your tide timing appropriately.

BACKWATER: That great snook fishing you enjoyed all summer is about to go into hibernation. As the water temp nears a steady 70 and below, the snook will begin to go into “catatonic” stage. They suspend the heavy feeding stage and go into a slow down approaching the cooler / colder water during the winter months. Many times, now,  you’ll see “lurkers” on the surface just “lollygogging” but not feeding and ignoring your bait. So, you’ll want to switch your targets to the active cool water fish during the ensuing winter months. The sought after redfish should well become one of your top targets as they are very active in the cool down. Important: the tides control the redfish feeding activity. During low water and incoming tide they will frequent the shallow flats (Johnson Bay, Rookery Bay / Henderson Creek / Addison Bay) working over grass flats searching for live bait. Here, best is to work a small live pinfish in a light rig just off the bottom on a drift…if you see the redfish tailing over the area, pick up and sight cast the rig just in front of their schools movement. This week, as the incoming tide goes full during the late afternoon, suggest you move to the shallow mangrove edges and work either the pinfish or a sizable live shrimp either freelined or under a popper right up tight to the mangrove overhangs in the shallow edges. Redfish will hit with “no strike”…they just mosey up and engulf your bait and take off…… great fight and active right to boatside. You won’t miss the snook very much once you tangle with a nice size redfish. The other fall weather fish that will come active are nice size black drum (on small bits of shrimp worked slowly across the bottom); speckled sea trout that will frequent areas with shallow sea grass bottom that can be worked with a shrimp under a popper set up on a drift over the shallow grass; and last but not least…the sheepshead that is arriving in the cooler water and be just about everywhere taking shrimp / cut crabs / tube worms.

NEARSHORE: Have to think that the annual mackerel explosion will occur here any day. The “macks” typically wait until chill down and then move in nearshore chasing the white bait schools that have formed up on the nearshore reefs. Make a couple trial runs over your favorite spots with the fishfinder on full search……if you mark bait schools; anchor up current and get the chum block in the water quickly and then stand by…..if the macks are in the vicinity, they will show quickly and jump on your tipped light jigs pulled very quickly in the top water. The chum should hold the action for you. On the bottom structure, you should begin to see some “take home” size sheepshead showing up and jumping on a small piece of shrimp worked with the “soft lift” technique. (With a lindy rig baited up with just a small piece of live shrimp….drop it to the bottom and then lift the weight ever so slowly off the bottom and repeat; when you feel any weight on the lift, pull upward with gusto…..you have a sheepshead aboard. Corollary catch here this time of year can be triggerfish (14″ minimum); sea trout (15″ minimum)

OFFSHORE: Morning conditions here will be more favorable than mid to late afternoon because of wind issues. Deep wrecks will still be working the migrating pelagics heading south to the warmer water temps in the Keys. Locating wrecks with good bait activity is the key. Once located get your chum in the water and followed by a live bait (blue runner or pinfish) on wire in the slick and get ready for kingfish action. These fish are aggressive and will jump on just about anything. Kings are a ferocious fight and a challenge for most all anglers. Cobia will show on the surface being curious as to the activity and the chum effect in the water. You’ll want a couple of live threadfins ready to sightcast to the cobia which will show on the surface and will engulf a well directed cast of same right i front of their noses.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

October 28t to November 3rd 2016 Fishing Report

                ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
             PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
                  CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: You can feel fall in the air now and begin to see it in the water. Weather is variable this time of year here and we will get the chill down like we’ve seen for the last week or so…..and then it will heat up again and here comes the humidity and, with it, the rains and unsettled weather. That’s what we will be facing this week. Our weekend will show up with some nasty winds and rains as we have some of those warm conditions moving back in. We’ll see rains on and off and some blustery winds out of the east through early week…..and then it will settle down again as the week ends to steadier conditions. We probably have to anticipate some stirred up water especially in the shallow backwaters with the strong gusty blow. But good news…looks like the red tide is finally abating and we have less personal discomfort and better fishing conditions ahead. The moon cycle will move through mid week delivering a new moon that will moderately effect the accompanying tide strengths. Looks like it’s a fairly mild event with tides that will strengthen a tad mid week and then back to normal. The water temps will start the week in the high 70’s and probably edge back over 80 late week. All in all, the week will be unsettled weather wise; hopefully the fishing will not follow suit……we need a good week after all the red tide negatives we’ve experienced.

BACKWATER: Snook are staying active as we are staying well above their magic hibernation temperature of 70 degrees. Lots of nice size (but under limit) snook in the 18-22 inch range which bodes well for the apparent snook population uptick. The weather changes have moved them off their summer habitat along the beaches and they are now more likely to show on backwater current points just off shallow shelfs. Best bait remains either pilchards or very small pinfish. Also a chance at some “big boys” along the Marco River and Caxambas Pass docks and connecting waterways from dusk into night on surface artificials worked under dock lights. Redfish are in play now just about everywhere. In small schools working the Bay flats (Rookery, Addison, Johnson) during the mid tide period and then moving to the mangrove edges as the tides reach full and jumping on shrimp either freelined or worked in the moving current under a popper. The slight chill down in the water temp has also invited the popular black drum back into our waters. These cousins of the redfish, are a great fight and comparable on the table as blackened filets. They hang out in the traditional sheepshead spots (little deeper water with bottom structure) and will take a bit of shrimp moved slowly across the bottom. They are a good fight and don’t surrender very easily. Lastly, the snapper are still active but the big ones seem to limit their feeding to the first and last hours of the tide……working shrimp just off the bottom.

NEARSHORE: Be careful with the windy weather this weekend. Could causes some nasty sea conditions even nearshore. Good news is that the red tide that plagued us in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew is just about gone. The snook have moved inshore and the “off the beach” fishing should get you good action fish……ladyfish, jacks and even a few mackerel working just inside the surf line. On the first and second reefs look for some bottom action on both lane and mangrove snapper and maybe even a few early season sheepheads working tipped weighted jigs or shrimp on lindy rigs into the structure. Might even find a few Goliath Grouper here if you sling out out some cut bait on major tackle. The long expected great mackerel action here has yet to happen……but stay tuned that action could come as the water chills down.

OFFSHORE: Keep an eye on the weather conditions here…..especially the wind which will influence the sea conditions over the weekend. The red grouper action in the 60-65′ depths is holding fairly steady. Still getting good action with a fair keep to catch ratio. Need to work live pinfish tight to the hard bottom outcropppings on a drift with either tide as an assist. There are also gag grouper around and they, now, will be moving toward cooler water probably closer inshore. Technique is about the same and you can even try trolling a deep run jointed plug for them just 8-10 feet off the bottom.