ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT
PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS
CONDITIONS: The adage that March is probably the most unpredictable weather month in the year…….and here on the Paradise Coast that has played out in a straight flush this year. We’ve had just about every facet of weather related issues……with the thankful exception of snow and ice. But for anglers it’s been a back and forth paradise, especially with the unpredictable and (sorry weather news shows) unforecastable situations. As we enter this last March hurrah, we see a stunning beautiful weekend that roils into a couple of days with roaring winds with gust velocities tickling mid 20 mph speeds. Might suggest a weekend fishing trip and then defer to shopping or movies early week…….those winds will muddy the waters especially backwater and in the 1-3 miles offshore. The water temperatures are hovering in the low seventies but that will change as April rolls in with spring species of mackerel (inside), bluefish, pompano and BIG mangrove snapper. Otherwise the this weather week will be kind with moderate tides both ways heading to a new moon late week
BACKWATER: Post late weekend, and as the winds subside, would encourage some backwater angling where the tides are normally tide friendly with reasonable water flow and, more importantly, where the water is generally cleaner. Could well be there are still some of the winter holdouts…..black drum and spawned sheepshead holding in the deeper holes all throughout Addison Bay, Johnson Bay and as far north as the local centerplace of Rookery Bay. Working a cut crab or a small shrimp tight to feeding structure for the drums…….barnacles, crabs, should get you a nudge or two…….hold off the short compact set until you feel the weight on the end of the rod. Elsewhere, the bigger mangrove snapper will show all along the mangrove edges especially where there is downed timber……all of those guys on tipped lindy rigs or tipped jigs. Finally, allocate some time to work the Passes during the first and last hour of either tides for the arriving pompano, mackerel working tipped jigs on a drift.
NEARSHORE: Feeling is that there is a number of retreating sheepshead spqwners waiting it out on the first line of reefs………South Seas to the “J.W.” and continuing to feed. Now this is late March and the big sheepshead spawners have done their business in the chilled down winter and have gone off their voracious reproduction feed BUT in the last two or three weeks have personal experience and received similar reports that the spawners have not deposited roe and are still eating for the neewbies.
Wonder what effect that wil have on what has been a super generous sheepie population????…….Bottom line for the time being the “big ones” are still hanging around. Elsewhere, we are seeing hungry mackerel on first and second reefs on structure holding bait. You need to spot ‘em on the finder first and then get them in the mood with a good chum effort. Good catches on a 4 KT troll towing a spoon or flashy jig just past the edges of the very evident schools or on open water top water jigs soaking the tidal current.
OFFSHORE: Topsy-turvy out here now………you meet long term anglers that have spent the better part of a lifetime “loving” the waters and fishing results in the offshore (usually measured from ten miles on out) who are seriously disappointed with current results. Time and time again, the lament is “couldn’t get anything like the usual action we got at reef after wreck last week”. But “hope springs eternal” and many think this migration from the Keys with returning pelagics could well turn the dead reefs / wrecks back to full volume. That could well happen but the known depletion of oxygen caused by algae infusion and red tide over those terrible months this last fall and winter has yet to turn itself around. Enthusiastically, there is hope as the great summer species like kingfish, cobia, permit, and the long awaited return of sizable red and gag grouper once again will take hold as summer kicks in on all burners.