ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS
CONDITIONS: Would love to assume that everything is honky-dory with the weather now that April has arrived……but sorry; no so !. This coming week will see a few spring rain shower intervals that may disrupt trips but for the overall, we’ll have a week of sunny weather with a few early week days with howling gusty afternoon winds. Most of that activity will emanate from the S and SW thus sparing us for another muddy water siege here. The tides this week will be better than we’ve experienced in the past couple of weeks. Expect a morning outgoing tide of moderate speed and an afternoon incoming of the same variety. Of note is the fact that a lot of our “no-tide” or “racing tide” days in the last two weeks has been accentuated by the raucous wind velocity we experienced.The water temperature which is hovering circa 72-74 degrees as we speak will probably inch up during the week.
BACKWATER: The “big” sheepshead bite is waning fast but the big guys / gals leave behind legions of undersized bait stealers. Careful where you fish or make sure you have a huge bait bucket……small sheepshead can empty it. (Use half shrimp if you must fish in their domain). As the water temperature inches up we should begin to see the vanguard of the tarpon migration appear all along the coastline and in the “cut through” tributaries (Marco River, Caxambas Pass, Hurricane flats/pass) and be feeding heavily. As always, either tide will work if the water is clear and of moderate speed. Baits can be cut catfish if working deep or live threadfin if working the shallower bars and cuts. Good chance also that the good size mangrove snapper will reappear and reenergize the backwater fishing after a generally listless year of sheepshead action. Work them along any of the good current mangrove edges with a whole shrimp with just enough weight to hold position. Elsewhere, expect that we will see the spring Spanish mackerel run in all the Passes as well and the nearshore reefs. The telltale of their presence will be the bird action of gulls, terns and pelicans. Back here inside the best approach is working a small flashy tipped jig in Capri, Caxambas or Hurricane Pass in fast moving water with incoming tide the preferred event. Good chance you might have the pompano mixed in and they will take what you’ve intended for the mackerel. Trout will stay active over those seagrass patches in Johnson Bay / Upper Addison and the Keeywadin dock spaces. All on shrimp worked couple feet off the bottom on a popper.
NEARSHORE: Things should begin to happen here….as the season changes and spring temperatures and wind stabilizes, we should see a return of pelagic action all along the first and second reef lines. First indication will be the presence of both bird and surface action as the pelagics (Spanish mackerel, bluefish, blue runners and jacks) begin attacking the bait schools holding on structure. You’ll need a chum attractant to gain the attention of the pelagics and then work them with either live bait or tipped jigs worked close to the surface. At the same time those reef structures will begin being populated with bottom feeders (reef fish) i.e. mangrove and lane snapper, spec trout, triggerfish, grunts and they will move into the flow of the chum attractant and take tipped weighted jigs worked a couple feet off the bottom. Might even find a grouper or two in the process.
OFFSHORE: Look for action to begin to stabilize as spring weather takes hold. On reefs and wrecks in the 8-12 mile range we should see good to excellent lane and mangrove snapper action deep working weighted jigs a foot to two off the bottom tight to the structure. Could even see some red grouper in this close especially if the structure holds hard bottom. But the prime target for the red grouper is deeper in 50-55′ over hard bottom where working a live pinfish or cut ladyfish over hard bottom can almost guarantee action albeit spotty as far as achieving keeper size. The super deep wrecks are now holding good action on the major pelagics i.e. Kingfish, cobia and permit. All species out here fall for live bait; the kings on blue runners worked in chum; the cobia on sight coasted thread herring and the permit on freelined small crabs under chum.