CONDITIONS: Well, if you’re getting tired of the hot and often stormy weather…..at least you can say is that it’s consistent. And it’s “gonna” stay that way as least through the coming holiday week.In fact the forecasts show the fireworks show for the 4th will be aided and abetted by nature’s thunderbangers. Of a more serious note, it looks like the superheated water and air conditions mixed with the red tide spores is delivered get some tough water and, alas, fishing conditions. Those effects are moderate yet in the immediate Marco waters but it’s an entirely different story north of us from Fort Myers up through the Sanibel and Estero areas. My perception is that condition is worsened there with the constant discharges of fouled (fertilizer /pesticide) waters created by the sugar barons along the Caloosahatchee River. The key factor keeping the condition mild here is the wind direction…….we will have easterly and southerly winds this coming week – if for some reason they turned NW or W and picked up velocity that serious red tide condition would be here. So the heat and rain “ain’t” that bad for us. Just check your forecasts before you head out on the briny. On the other condition fronts, the tides are coming off a full moon and are moderate both ways which is a positive. The water temperature is now stationary at 88 to 90 degrees but just a tad cooler early morning and late evening….which should provide a clue as to when to conditions will be best.
BACKWATER: Even though their “season” is closed until September, the snook are super charged in the heat and with the huge expanses of bait along the backwater edges and out along the beaches have the feed bag on. They could show just about anywhere and are not finicky……jumping on a hunk of shrimp as well as a top-of-the-line live bait. Please, if you’re targeting these linesiders, please use circle hooks and use special care in releasing. Elsewhere…..things are strange. Species that are not common here are showing consistently. Like permit to 12” in the waters of Rookery Bay on either tide and taking a simple shrimp either on a lindy rig or set up on a jig……mixed in that foray are mackerel and an occasional pompano. We have also seen a few bonefish along the deep cuts the line the drop offs at Hideaway Beach lagoon. They, too, are not particular on their chow and will take whatever you’re offering. Again…..they are a great gamefish, so please be careful on release (after photos, of course). Mangrove snapper, as appropriate, are the mainstay this time of year and as the weeks slide by we are seeing more and more take homes…..suggest if you’re getting size, release the 10” inchers (tiny filet) and hang on for the 11-13” versions.
NEARSHORE: Good and bad news……the winds are down this week so the conditions should be flat BUT the storms are forecasted just about every day. So be selective on the day and time for the fishing trip outside. Mackerel are the top number out here this year and will roam long distances to work those big bait schools. Close in there seems to be good results for those fishing the Capri Pass wrecks out to and including the legendary Pass Barge. Approach is consistent and standard: Good block chum effort and sit tight for 15 minutes and then tipped flashy jigs on a fast retrieve right through the slick. Good chance little tunny could show in the activity and if so toss out a couple rigs (with heavier tackle) with cut bait into the slick. Other action appears to be focused on bottom action (mangrove and lane snapper et al) on the major reef spots like the Walton Reef just off Caxambas Pass and the legendary Five Mile reef. Here working weighted tipped jigs just off the bottom will get you results.
OFFSHORE: Conditions here will be in line with what you experience nearshore. Interface with online weather info offshore will help you make the right decisions……stay in place or run. Good reports on pelagics (kings, cobia, permit, sharks, cuda) on most of the deeper wrecks and reefs holding bait. Working these spots takes a bit out patience to wait out the impact of your arrival and the chum effort. Once that kicks in, you have to be ready for most anything…….the species that will show differ…..from the ravenous kingfish to the slashing barracuda. It’s a spectacular show with differing results……but all lots of fun. Good chance for delectable take homes (cobia, permit and kings).
HERE’S WISHING ALL A VERY GREAT FOURTH OF JULY. GOD BLESS AMERICA !!!!