CONDITIONS: Summer conditions continue to build and we’ll see more of that this coming week. Over the weekend there will be some short periods of shower activity during the normal fishing periods and then again, a little more robust shower activity on the first two days of June. This activity will introduce some of those raucous thunderstorms that deluge the area and produce numerous ground strikes of lightning. Word to the wise…..have the weather map up and running out there on the water and don’t take chances. Otherwise, conditions look bit more moderate and stable. The winds that have gusted every late morning to nightfall will be diminished. Predictions show easterly winds in the AM shifting west/southwest in the PM with neither direction creating a problem for the anglers inside or offshore. Real feel temperatures will hover circa 100 degrees mid day……lesson there; start early and drink plenty of water. Last but not least condition issue…..the tides come off a new moon pre weekend and the afternoon outgoing tide will exceed a 4.5′ range which is pretty extreme; would recommend avoiding, as I suspect, the fish will do the same.
BACKWATER: Candidly, the fishing quality back here continues to struggle. For a litany of suspected reasons the expectations continue to fall short of what this area’s anglers are used to experiencing. Would suspect that natural climate cycles have had some effect on the issue, as well as the water quality itself as impacted by local stormwater runoff as well as the continuing effects of Lake Okcachobee’s tainted high water releases. And you’d have to add in the effect of a winter here that never got cold until mid-March. The results of all that come in two “flavors”; virtual absence of some normal late winter / early spring species in the backwaters (think Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano) and, secondly, current absence of sizable take home species.(think mangrove snapper). There has been some improvement on both issues and that should continue to improve. For most fishing for “dinner” the main target is the prolific mangrove snapper that thrives in hot summer Gulf waters. There is no problem with action on this sought after species…..the problem is SIZE. Lots and lots of 9″ snapper everywhere (keeper size is 10″). For those seeking catch and release action there are plenty of snook around. Best venues for these active fish are Johnson Bay creeks, Rookery Bay bars and islands. They will take most any bait but salivate over live pilchards. And lastly, there are lots of small bonnethead sharks on Capri and Caxambas Passes to thrill, particularly, the youngsters.
NEARSHORE: Overall fishing expectation and quality is a bit better out here……..more water depth; more assembled bait schools; and more stable water temperature. However, as noted in Conditions for this week, the afternoon outgoing tides will be racing and unsettle the fishing quality. Some reports have scattered mackerel working the Capri Pass barges. Locations for the barges are listed on websites as well as the HOT SPOTS CHART available at the Rose Marina. Best will be the morning incoming tide working tipped jigs over a serious chum effort…..could see some mid size sharks out here also, so bring along some wire leader, mid size cut bait and good luck. Try the Walton Reef, the John Dee Reef and the east and northeast corners of the Five Mile Reef for some possible God lane and mangrove snapper action. Work some weighted jigs right down into the structure behind a good chum effort.
OFFSHORE: Careful on your timing on your run west …….avoid the frontal storm conditions. Deep wrecks are holding sizeable amberjacks that give a serious fight on major tackle. Put up quite a fight but we careful handling boatside as their harvest is closed till year end 2017. Some of the wrecks just inside the “deep” level have schools of yellowtail snapper marauding and taking tads of chum freelined into a good chum slick on small hooks. The “flags” will rise to the bait near the top of the water column. Lots of lane and mangrove snapper to 15″+ on the inside reefs working tipped weighted jigs just off the bottom. While there work a large cut bait on wire to the bottom……lots of sharks around in the heated conditions.