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.