CONDITIONS: The rain that we all hoped would grow the grass and put out the smoky brush fires just won’t quit……and we have more coming this next week but the forecasts are showing it lets up just a tad by the month end. All that fresh water has an effect on the fishing. The fresh water intrusion not only changes the salinity level in seawater big time but adds to the murkiness of the water quality and and, sadly, helps the growth of algae that fouls your tackle, especially in the backwaters and chases the feeding fish to cleaner climes. So….enough is enough !! Hopefully, we’ll see a more standard June with the standard fare of the east to west late afternoon rather compact T-storms coming our way from the Glades…….cooling us down and then vanishing before sundown. Overarching item continues to be the presence of the red tide bloom in waters. Reports show it is considered “mild” off our coast but gets serious up around Bonita Springs. For this coming week, we have two post weekend days showing some significant rain mixed in with 20 kt winds…..after that we’re clear to the first June weekend. The water temp keeps yo-yoing back and forth with the daily dose of stormwater…..runs mid 70’s to low 80’s depending on your depth. And finally, we will have another moon cycle to deal with…..Full moon late week with stronger PM outgoing tides to add to the tough fishing factors you will face this coming week.
BACKWATER: Many who scheduled fishing charters for the last couple weeks have either postponed or cancelled scheduled trips as you might suspect with the weather and associated T-storms. But from what we could glean it looks like we still have fair to good snook action out along the beaches from Cape Romano north through Caxambas Pass and on up to the north end of Keeywadin Island. Bait is scarce in some places so look for the surface shimmer that is the give-away for pilchards and sardines…….they will draw the snook action. Best action spots seem to be in Bays and waterways with mild tidal flow that staves off the surge of fresh water and hints of red tide. Spots like Johnson Bay and the flats area of Rookery Bay seem to be producing best. Hot species continues to be the mangrove snapper that are feeding all along the mangrove edges that will jump on a shrimp presented on a jig head tight to structure. Spots like the small feeder creeks in Addison Bay are showing good size black drum now occupying the lairs of the vacating big sheepshead and also taking shrimp worked slowly across the bottom.
NEARSHORE: As May ends the tarpon that moved through the Marco waters are heading for the annual gathering at Boca Grande as they move north. We had some tarpon action here along the west edges of the Keeywadin flats reef but comparatively slow as comparison to prior years. Still a chance to get a straggler along the Gulf edges on cut catfish but is a long shot. The pelagics,,,,,,mackerel / bluefish / some little tunny that occupy the slightly less effected (i.e. clarity / salinity) deeper set reefs and wrecks. Work those spots with a good chum effort followed by working fast retrieved flashy jigs just below the surface. The little tunny will fall for a live or fresh cut bait worked on light wire in the slick. And the mangrove snapper are out here as well with the Five Mile Reef one of their favorite hangouts….a tipped weighted jig worked a foot to two off the bottom is the favorite.
OFFSHORE: The water cleans and is less susceptible to taint as you move deeper and west……should have flat water out here this week with the exception being a couple days post weekend. Wrecks in the 20-25 mile range that have working bait schools are havens for migrating pelagics i.e. kingfish, cobia, permit among others. Live bait (blue runners / threadfin herring) worked on clear leader in a good chum effort should garner results. Have a couple reports that the coveted keeper size red grouper are inching east and can be worked with a live pinfish worked tight to hard bottom on a tidal drift. Start your drift in 55-60 feet and work west with the stronger afternoon outgoing tide.