PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND
CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS
AUGUST 23, 2019 TO AUGUST 29, 2019
CONDITIONS: The Paradise Coast is continuing to have issues with a VERY WET late spring and summer. Seems like every day we see both morning rain and then a couple hour hiatus and then we get it again in the evening with lots of accompanying thunder bangers. That pattern has kept our weather on an unparalleled heat track. Our fishing has taken unusual turns this late spring and summer with all the unusual aberrations. The unusually warm and wet weather with dominant SW winds have kept the natives sweltering and changed the arrival and departure problem for most of our piscatorial residents. Of priority the snook which usually go dormant inland vacate the premises in December and January never left and been actively feeding right through all the traditional off months……..the offset of course was the damage the algae / red tide did to their population. Otherwise, generally the fishing population has survived the weather anomaly and are more active as we reach the end of summer because of the influx of immense bait schools ……almost all species save sheepshead and trout have generally thrived during the heated sea water that reached a historic 92 degrees backwater in the sweltering backwater. Like most, we have no specific idea what this winter will deal for us weather wise but most early subtle suggestions is that it won’t change much. Fishing, generally, will be about the same with a late arrival and early departure for the sought after sheepshead. And to finish up on weather conditions this week…….it will be a week of morning and evening rain threats and morning warm air and water temperatures. Weather offset will be very light winds. The water temperature will cover the mid 80’s and the water quality in the backwaters will be stained with mangrove root runoff especially in the backwaters. The tides will be mid morning moderate outgoing and a tad weaker on the afternoon ebb.
BACKWATER: The true backwaters in amidst the mangroves will have clear but stained water to deal with. Which will “hide” some of the tackle parts and provide a little better take than when the water in gin clear. That should provide a benefit for general action back there and be a definite advantage for the primary targets back there i.e the snook and the redfish. So the tackle utilized can be “normal “ and snaps /swivels/ leaders are OK and will not spook the action. Both of those species are still super active with the snook finishing up with their spawn and moving back away from the Passes and coastal waters. And for those linesiders, the “feed”is still on the avalanche of bait that surged in here this summer. Just as a reminder, the snook season is open here with 28-33” slot. The redfish are in the process of putting their annual spawn together. You’ll find the larger bull males adjacent to the passes and in the close in reefs; the breeding females are all though the backwater cuts, and edges. Best rig for reds is a handpicked shrimp strung on a 4’ fluoro leader under a popper worked tight to the mangrove edges at last of the incoming tide.
OFFSHORE: The unusual occurrence of massive bait schools strung along the beaches from Romano to Gordon Pass will continue. Those schools are attracting feeders in the form of pompano, small permit, whiting, mangrove and lane snapper and even a fairly sizable numbers of sharks (bonnethead and blacktop) that are all fair game this coming week with a repeat of the light winds and favorable tides. A block of chum soaking on a current point will draw any and all of those species working a tipped jig about 30-50 yards off the beach and working the moving tide. Mid range the close in reefs at Five Mile and Walton and John Dee are all doing well on pelagics near the surface (mackerel, bluefish, jacks) early in the morning tides working tipped jigs under chum. And if you drop to the bottom you’ve got a good chance for land and mangrove snapper as well as a visiting shark and even a maurading Goliath. Deep you’ve got the continuing action on kings and cobia with some permit and barracuda on the wrecks and reefs and all going for live bait under chum.