Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

July 5th 2019 Fishing Report

           PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND

                CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

                 JUNE 5, 2019 TO JULY 12, 2019

 CONDITIONS: As we turn the calendar into July, you’ll note that the “rain forecast” really doesn’t exist……it’s just a forgone conclusion that it will “do it” every afternoon. For fishing that presents the issue as to water quality (both cleanliness and saturation) for the next day. And the point is made that that makes day to day totally variable as far as fishing “quality” goes. It’s not only water temperature, tidal strength that are key determinants as to anticipated fishing quality on a given day……as we endure the rapidly changing weather factors like water clarity, salinity levels, and even cloud cover as changes in superheated suns rays been penetrating backwaters can make a difference in fishing quality day to day. Marginal effective weather forecasts for this coming week show an abundance of cloud cover come mid-morning which presents a good chance for early day action in the backwater as well as the shallower nearshore stretches. The water temperature will probably hold reasonably steady circa 86-88 degrees and lastly the tides are coming off an early week new moon with strong tides both ways early week and then easing quite a bit as the week plays out.

BACKWATER: Keys to angling success this week can probably be lumped into two categories…….water clarity and current strength. Know we’ve written about this before but the water clarity factor is paramount. Get muddied water from wind strength in the backwaters things just about shut down…..and on the other hand if your fishing in 10th of water and can pick out shells on the bottom in the gin clean water you will most likely get the same result – shut down and the clear sight of your fishing hardware will spook the fish. So look for the happy medium which is water in which you can sight your outboard lower unit and still keep the hardware hidden. As far as water current goes….you want moderate speed and a good approach is to work the first and last hours of tides when the water flow is a moderate as it’s going to get for the next 5/6 hours. As to what’s biting this week….snook (mostly small) are everywhere and on a voracious feed with the water warmth and enormous bait schools. If you get that moderate tidal flow the Passes have small permit, pompano and mackerel with best in the first hour after the tide turn. Snapper are feeding heavily and are (on average) as big as we’ve seen them in the backwater edges. Not unusual now to land 12-13” mangrove snapper. Last tip: go early before the sun climbs over the “yardarm” and ends the bite.

NEARSHORE: Those enormous bait schools are emanating from the shallow nearshore waters as well as the backwater brush and are drawing good action all along that first 50’ of shoreline from south of Cape Romano to north of Keeywadin and beyond. If you work that usually placid area just off the slight tidal surge anywhere along that beach line with fresh netted live bait of even cut shrimp you have a good chance at mackerel, bluefish, whiting, snapper and small sharks. Lots of action being drawn by the bait schools and conditions. Using a tad of chum in the leaching current also helps the action. Mid-range (20-35’) structure has been delivering some nice action on both lane and mangrove snapper off the bottom as well as an occasional smaller (? 10-15 #) goliath grouper (all release and keep in water). Might also run into flounder and a now keeper size (14”) triggerfish. On the inshore reefs like the Walton off Caxambas Pass, get there just after first light and get some aggressive chum going for the Spanish mackerel morning feed working flashy jigs up top in a good chum effort.

OFFSHORE: Weather forecasts will determine access here. Should be storm free early this week and then go “it’s own way” early afternoon. Still getting fair to moderately good action on the mid range reefs and wrecks on kings and associates (sharks, barracuda, Goliaths). Some kings now are juveniles and look like Spanish mackerel. Be careful on ID…….small kings have a distinctively different dorsal fin arrangement and require a 24” size minimum. Be careful. The big guys (sharks etc) will be deep and jumping on a fresh mega bait set just off the bottom after being teased with a serious chum effort. Deeper wrecks and AF towers SW of island for nice size permit now working freelined small crabs on the current outflow from the towers. You’ll need a seriously fast retrieve if you get a permit to outrace the Goliaths that are sitting on the bottom.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

June 28st 2019 Fishing Report

 

           PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND

                CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

               JUNE 28, 2019 TO JULY 4, 2019

 

CONDITIONS: The superheated conditions this last ten days has everything we do here on edge…….fishing certainly fits somewhere at the top of the list. We are seeing consistent afternoon heat that invokes special danger warnings for overheating and at the same time we are getting water temperature readings of 90-92 degrees (unprecented) in the backwaters and coastal waters. Consider, for a moment, that the superheated conditions effect all creatures but to an unknown degree for the multiple species of fish that we encounter here in the sub tropics. Here is a current excellent example of that: In the last two weeks many of the charter captains have expressed amazement at the sudden strength of the snook bite…..that’s right SNOOK. Here is a species that is categorized as “on the bite” at 70 degrees……so what’s going on at 90?. Lots of unknowns about our marine live. For you as an angler, that uptick in snook action lies out there for your fishing enjoyment this week….they are about everywhere / on either tide / at any time of the day or night. Just remember they are outside their capture season and must be returned to the briny unscathed. Good thing also to switch over to circle hooks to enhance a safe release. And finally the other factors this week….the tides will be influenced with a new moon just before the 4th and the resultant afternoon tides will be strong through the period. The morning incoming will be more moderate. Not much rain in the forecast and the wind looks like it will all be single digit and mainly southwest in direction.

BACKWATER: Certainly, if your out there this week and even if snook isn’t one of your regular targets, you might want to give them a shot. Their favorite hangout back here is where there is a good current flow adjacent to a drop off and the incoming tide is their favorite. Bait of choice is the pilchard, a small schooled bait……if you can handle a cast et, the pilchards are all along the mangrove edges……if not a whole sizable shrimp or an artificial (Zook Lure) could work. Treat the catch carefully and try not to remove the catch from the water as you gently release the circle hook impalement. Otherwise, in the backwaters you should see some pelagic species……mackerel, bluefish, jack crevelle that early morning incoming in all three Passes. They go for small flashy tipped jigs worked under a tad of chum either at anchor or on a tidal drift. Along almost all backwater edges tangent to mangrove overhangs or downed trees, you’ll run into some nice take home snapper working a weighted jig to the bottom . Both mangrove and mutton snapper will show in good action and make very good table fare.

NEARSHORE: Evident that the action just off the beaches all along the Marco shore will continue as conditions remain hot and stable. Anywhere along the 7-12’ water depth off the beaches from Kice Island (Cape Romano) right up to the south end of Keywadin Island are target areas for schools of bait that quickly draw feeders i.e.pompano, snapper, triggerfish, jacks etc that will readily take a wel presented bait on a lindy rig or attached to a small colorful jig. Can deploy a little chum to get things started but consider the tidal movement to insure placement is right on for continuing results. Reefs from the barges off Capri Pass to the Walton Reef have surface bait action that is pinpointed by bird feeding action as well as surface eruptions…….all pinpointing pelagic presence. Get some block chum going as you anchor up current and watch for the pattern of pelagic feeding. Once action starts increase the volume of chum and use flashy surface tipped jigs to attract and get some nice mackerel, bluefish and even some bottom dwelling snapper for the table.

OFFSHORE: With winds light to moderate predicted, you should be considering an offshore run…….but keeping an eye on weather changes or on-line forecasts…..things happen quickly out here. The mid range to deeper wrecks and reefs have abundant bait swarms and continue to attract northbound pelagics even with the super hot conditions. Suggest making sure that your selected spot shows evident boat schools before you set up chum and get live bait tethered in the tidal flow. Good chance at most deep spots for kingfish action as primary but good chance of seeing cobia as well as sharks and barracuda steaming the surface especially if you do land a kingfish or larger mackerel. Results on most sought after grouper is evident but action is considered moderate to slow especially in the deeper spots……consider it still has something to do with oxygen depravation in some of the offshore spots.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

June 21st 2019 Fishing Report

           PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND

                CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

               JUNE 21, 2019 TO JUNE 27, 2019

 

CONDITIONS: Just a quick note on trying to forecast summer weather here on the Paradise Coast. We use both local forecasting predictions for the week ahead and the nationally recognized ACCUWEATHER on line forecasts to try and tell folks what lies ahead. While Accuweather does a thorough and mostly accurate job on general weather, wind, wind direction and frontal issues, they, and most everyone else is at a loss in forecasting the daily parade of afternoon storm conditions that rake our domain ……the best chance of accuracy there is the local news TV stations that are reporting two or three times daily…….you are encouraged to consider this report for basic issues but keep an ear to broadcast media for afternoon storm patterns that appear and disappear almost hourly. Staying safe out there is of primary importance.

And now to this week’s general weather predictions: Overall prediction is a week of no frontal activity and, of surprise, forecasts of winds in single digits only. That’s great for sea surface calm but not so good for over air and water temperatures. You won’t see much wind but lots of flat water and accentuated air and water heat. Expect real feel temperatures to tickle 100 degrees early afternoon and skyrocket water temperatures to the low 90’s. Only relief will be working the time of day to your advantage. That means GO EARLY and well before the sun is driving vertical rays into the water. Will match up well with an early incoming anyhow. There is only one late week afternoon with rain threats but remember what we just said about daily storm flow. Last issue: tides for the week will be moderate both ways with the morning incoming getting the most favorable nod.

 BACKWATER: A positive factor regarding water temperature: heat excites and drives attraction for most bait species. With that as a well known…..it will drive the fish, especially pelagics to feast. There should be feeding mayhem early mornings this week in the Passes (all three) with sea birds and most all pelagic species tearing into bait schools. Good chance for mackerel, bluefish, some pompano and even small permit on drifts working tipped jigs or spoon rigs on a tidal drift in the early morning first hours of the incoming tide. Keep the rig a few feet off the bottom to avoid small sharks and catfish. Heed the bird action as to the intensity of the bait surge…….birds leave / you leave. Action then in the good current fed backwater spots in Addison Bay, Rookery Bay and Johnson Bay should be considered working shrimp or live bait along the mangrove shaded edges in c=good current flow. Expect good snapper action here as primary with always a chance at some of the pelagics that disbursed from the Passes and few hours earlier. Again………recommendation of GO EARLY and quit when the heat starts melting your anglers and the bite.

NEARSHORE: Over the last couple weeks have seen a continuation of a good bite right up tight to the beaches from Cape Romano on north to the edges of Keywadin Island on large schools of pelagics and bottom dwellers that hold tight in the shallow water on schools of bait fish feeding on crabs and other crustaceans in the surface tossed water. Try setting up anywhere along the outside edge (away from bathers and shore anglers) and casting a baited jig on a slow agitated retrieve. Good chance for pompano here. Otherwise recommend working the artificial reef lumps all along the 20-30’ depths from South Seas to just south of the Marriott. Get a little chum in the water first and then work tipped jigs up the surface for pelagics or weighted jigs / rigs just off the bottom for snapper, triggerfish or even some small black tip shark action. Outer edges (30’) of the nearshore on the Five Mile and associated reefs working the bottom with live bait for bigger snapper, triggerfish and undersized grouper. Top water, under chum with fast retrieve artificial for barracuda or deep for black tip sharks on large fresh cut bait under chum on major gear.

OFFSHORE: Water surface conditions should be superb (flat) and with a moderately good tide especially the morning incoming should be very please at albeit HOT this week. Mid range reefs will be good potential for sizable lane and mangrove snapper with a occasional big porgie or triggerfish thrown in working cut bait just off the bottom under chum. Also beginning to see some keeper size gag grouper working the deeper reefs that have surrounding bottom structure. Work the gags well off the bottom with live bait worked on fluoro rigs under limited chum. Also showing deep are north migrating permit (20-30#) that LOVE the AF towers SW of the island. Working lee side of the water flow with freelined small crabs is best for exciting action. This particular venue is home to ravenous very speedy Goliath Grouper…….fish on……. reel as fast as you can with super tight drag. Exciting event.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

June 14th 2019 Fishing Report

           PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND

                CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

                JUNE 14, 2019 TO JUNE 21, 2019

 CONDITIONS: Just a moment to cover a matter of very important background on the water quality problems that plagued southwest Florida last year and our fishing quality !. This year the Florida Wildlife Commission has undertaken a comprehensive study and reporting on contaminated water conditions from Tampa south to the Florida Bay. They report their findings every other week on line at www.MyFWC.com…..they do a excellent job segregating areas by geographic markers. Thus far,  they report some background issues but no active red tide or blue green algae intrusions……but they lay caution about what might happen when the major t-storms and tropical events are incurred here in the months ahead. For all of you who fish, copy down that site, and stay tuned as to what’s going on in your fishing area. If the 2018 event occurs here again,  look to selling the rods and reels.

Now to this coming week…..looks like we’ll get a short reprieve from the weather tumult of last week. Pattern is pretty consistent with clear mornings till late afternoons and no rain until late in the day. Of equal importance is the fact that the wind will be Easterly and Southerly and single digit velocity…..so you can count on reasonably clean water…..will not be the totally transparent water we faced last week but water with just a tad of haze that will hide the gaudy fishing gear and allow the fish to go for your bait. You should see a remarkable difference there. The water temperature is going to hold consistent in the 82-84 degree range and shouldn’t mount any action problems. And last but not least the tides are going through a full moon cycle and feature a favorable morning incoming moderate strength but hr outgoing in the afternoon will strengthen and be difficult to work. So all condition facets for the week point to more favorable morning action…..and it will be a tad cooler on you and you’re crew.

BACKWATER: The better water quality (and less clarity) will play out very well back here. Early will work very well this week as the start of the incoming tide with align almost perfectly with daybreak. Those features should provide good action on mackerel / bluefish et al working the marauding pelagics working the schools chasing the flood of bait being dived on by the gulls and pelicans. Choice is yours to either anchor up on structure and use chum to draw the pelagics or turn the cart and chase them on their eruption spots trolling a plain jig or a flashy spoon at about five knots, Both techniques will draw action and sustain same. Back in the bushes the nicer size mangrove snapper should be dominant and working current spots adjacent to fauna cover…..best attractant here are pieces of shrimp worked just off the bottom on 1/4 jigs or jig heads insuring you are working moving water. Back here you also always have a shot at something bigger like blackdrum, redfish or even a snook……all on live bait worked tight to ambush points.

NEARSHORE: The unusual pattern of school fish feeding on enormous swarms of bait up along the outside west edges of Keeywadin continues very strong……might try a venture there and check out the action. The specific spot is adjacent to the half dozen homes built on the island just north of the recreational beach……in 7-10 ft of water over a sand bottom that for some reason has drawn an overflow of bait. Action comes easy on tipped jigs or bottom rigs worked right along the bottom with a little encouragement with a measure of block chum fed into the current (incoming water has been best). Closer to Marco there is sustained action on mackerel and a few bluefish in 20-25’feet of water on the structures located there years ago. Key here is to “follow the birds”. Both pelicans and gulls are the “scouts” that dive on bait forced to the surface by the ravenous mackerel et al. Toss anything here and you’ll get a strike and either a throw back blue runner or a take home mackerel……and even a dreaded catfish. Both these spots are action intensive and close to home.

OFFSHORE: As we’ve always reiterated…..the BIG fish are out here in deeper water. And hanging around natural reefs and and rough bottom that hold their food (other fish). If you have your spots loaded into the GPS you’re all set……if you’re new to the game, the best addition to your fishing arsenal is the HOT SPOT CHART (available at the Rose Marina Store) which lays out Lat and Lon spots and the fish you can expect there. Now going deep, especially in the summer time, can be dangerous especially with stormy conditions. Cardinal Rule: Don’t take chances. But in good weather conditions, working one of these listed spots can be a delight. Using your GPS you can hone right in on the spot and see the structure in all it’s detail right on your fishfinder. Calculate your set and drift so that you end up with the “honey hole” just behind the boat and then get your chum block in the water pronto and get whatever rig you’re using right into the spot. Anything small to big can happen. Again…keep an eye on the weather; have a Chart to identify your catch; and release unscathed all discards  and undersized fish. Enjoy !

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

June 6th 2019 Fishing Report

              ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT

           PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND

                CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: This will be a week that reminds you of what the “full” summer vacillating weather conditions will be like. It’s a real feel of over 100 degrees as we enter the coming week but that will quickly change and bring us storms and gusty winds by the week end…..expect winds (unfavorable) out of the west and blowing with gusts in the 20-25 knot range expected late mornings and on into afternoons. That will make a difference in the quality of fishing during those couple of days but will make some positive difference in the days that follow. We lamented last week that the “too clean” water experienced over the past couple of weeks had put the bite on edge as the clarity of the water made the fish skittish as they avoided the intrusion of the obtrusive sight of the tackle.

That will change as the water clouds up a tad. Other factors for the week will see tides of reasonable strength off a new moon with the morning outgoing more favorable. The water temperature will still be cooking and running from 81 to 84 degrees depending on your locale and depth.

BACKWATER: As noted in Conditions, backwaters in particular were primary in the anomaly of crystal clear water and the skittish reaction by fish sighting the intrusion of tackle in their feeding environment. That should change radically post the wind caused bottom upheaval late week. As the water “hazes” up things should go back normal. The primary opportunity then will be pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, pompano, jacks etc) in the Passes on the first parts of either tide taking tipped jigs in areas where sea birds are active. Along the backwater edges anywhere from Addison Bay up through Johnson Bay to Rookery you’ll be into mangrove snapper action working shrimp pieces on jigs or lindy rigs tight to fauna edges. A tip: mangrove snapper school by size; if you run into a bunch of undersized runts, pick up and move on to a deeper spot with better water flow which should hold some keepers.

NEARSHORE: As reported last week, we are seeing inshore action all along the beaches in the 7-10’ depths of both pelagics and non-pelagics working sizable bait schools working that depth and current. Best spots might be just off the tip of Kice Island (south of Marco); the waters within 1/4 mile off the tip of Sandollar Island and the area north of Marco just off the west edge of Keeywadin Island in the proximity of the coastal houses. Best approach is with light chum worked in the faster current points pulling tipped jigs slowly just off the bottom. Should see pompano, jacks, small sharks, mackerel and an occasional smaller snook (release). Deeper reef fishing spots would be the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass and the Naftal Reefs just south of Cape Romano where bottom fishing could draw anything from sharks to small kings……so if you decide to fish these spots upgrade you’re equipment.

OFFSHORE: Running deep now comes in two “flavors”……..deep and really deep. For deep you’re talking reefs and wrecks in the 20-30 mile range either west or southwest of the island. Note: Most of these locations are listed on the FWC (Florida Wildlife Commission) website (www.myfwc.com) and include artificial reefs, natural reef formations and sunken wrecks (usually barges). As far as timing goes this week, with wind and storms forecast mid week, something late weekend or early week would be the best (and safe) bet. On arrival at a chosen spot, first run the reef with the finder on……..locate bait “balls” that’s the spot – no bait – move on. Once located your spot, set up upstream in tidal flow and get some deeper set block chum working; get a large cut bait to the bottom on max tackle and then work light weighted live or cut bait in the slick. Targets: mackerel, small to medium kings, small grouper, cobia to some size; and chance for Goliath Grouper.

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God Bless those who gave so much on June 6th 1944 in securing America’s Freedom.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

May 24th 2019 Fishing Report

              ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT

           PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND

                CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: The period of rainy/stormy weather here didn’t last very long…..forecast for this week is total bland…….and should be good for fishing. There is zero rain/storms in the forecast and the winds are in check with some mild afternoon single digit breezes out of the east and southeast which will sustain the clear water we’ve been experiencing these last weeks. The only “devil” that we’ll have to deal with this week is the heat. Forecasts of no cooling rain coupled with light winds will bring some super hot days……the kind that not only wilt the anglers but also effect the fish and their feeding habits. One of the anomalies you’ll experience here as the summer heats up is that fish will avoid the searing direct rays of the sun. When the unfettered sun gets to that point in it’s morning ascent in the backwaters where the rays dive directly into the water, the fish head for shade aka under trees and downed fauna…..offshore the move is to deeper water and tucking themselves under a bottom ledge that affords shade. So, the key tip for this week is to GO EARLY. That will fit nicely this week as we have an early morning incoming tide that peaks mid morning and will feature light winds and clean water. But the water temperature should edge up to the mid 80 degree range as the day wears on.

BACKWATER: There has been huge bait schools appearing in both Passes these last weeks and that should continue into this week with the similar conditions predicted. All that surface activity will draw the feeding sea birds as well the schools of pelagics hoping for a early morning feast. Would suggest, if you go early as indicated, you get position for that early first hour and work either Pass with small tipped jigs on a drift. You should be able to work the area closer to the bottom and away from the surface bait/bird mayhem. Good chance for mackerel and blues, so some wire leader will help you keep some of your tackle in play…….other species can well be pompano, ladyfish, jacks and even some small bonnethead and black tip sharks. As the morning tide fades you’ll want to move either inshore and work the mangrove edges for the good action available on mangrove snapper. Work those downed tree spots until you begin to latch onto some bigger snapper….they school by size so once to find the “big uns” you’ll be setting yourself up for a nice dinner. As the outgoing tide picks up steam late morning try working those same jigs in Hurricane Pass just to the east edge of the Keeywadin Beach for some nice size whiting.

NEARSHORE: As the daily cycle progresses, you’ll see that same action you saw in the Passes early, show itself along the First and Second reefs as the birds and fish continue to chase the food……the serious bird action by pelicans and gulls will show you where to fish. You can either troll a spoon or jig about 75 to 100 yards astern working the surface eruptions at 4-5 it’s…….no need to bait these offerings; their natural action in the water will induce the strike…..an alternative method is to keep the rigs you used earlier in the Passes and work the edges of the numerous surface eruptions……avoid running through the action pools as it will scatter the fish. Tiring of that……might want to run a couple miles north up along the west edges of Keewadin Island and to where the beach homes are located and move into 7-10’ water close in and get some chum started. Good chance for mackerel, both lane and mangrove snapper and maybe even a pompano or two…..all on tipped jigs worked to the bottom under a light chum effort.

OFFSHORE: Seeing sustained action on wrecks and reefs that show bait on fish finder on reverse migration kingfish primarily but also seeing some cobia top water action as well as aggressive shark action at some of the deeper spots. For all action you’ll need a live well with small to mid size blue runners as the bait of choice plus a couple blocks of chum. Set up on spots where there is noticeable bait activity and get the chum going for 10-15 minutes before you set your bait. Kings will be the dominant predator and usually quickly fall for an active blue runner tethered on wire to run 10-15; deep and immersed in a serious chum slick. Make sure your tackle is hefty enough to work a king in the 20-30# range. Good chance for cobia here too but they will come at you right on the surface so it’s a good idea to have some thread herring rigged and ready for a sight cast or these curious and tasty cobia

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 20th 2019 Fishing Report

              ROSE MARINA FISHING REPORT

           PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND

                CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

 

CONDITIONS: After a tough beginning to the Easter weekend with that windy / rainy frontal passage, things will settle down but it will take couple days for the water to clear…….causal factor is those strong westerly winds. Would project that things would be settled down by Tuesday. The rest  of the week should be typical early spring marked with some afternoons gusting up a bit but certainly fishable. You certainly noticed the prominent full moon over the weekend and that is a key factor in tide determinant – the tides will definitely be a factor this week…..the morning incoming tide that is usually strong will weaken quickly and be at a volume of less than a foot by week end. Conversely the outgoing tide will strengthen during the week and finish the latter days with a plus 3’ drop. Bottom line you’ll want to avoid the weak morning incoming and if you fish afternoon work the first and last hour of those tides for best results. The water temperature as we begin with week is a degree or two on other side of 79 degrees. Weekend weather will probably dip it a degree or two and then in will recover ending the week circa 80 degrees.

BACKWATER: Best bet as to how the area recovers from the “Friday Front” is that the backwaters will be visually churned up until perhaps Tuesday morning and the fishing slowed both along the coast and up in the backwaters. Come then look for good snapper action along the coastal areas from south of Rookery Bay to the east edges of Hurricane Pass…….with a secondary opportunity in that Pass itself. Should be good hunting for snapper along the eastern edges of the Pass working a 1/2 jig head tipped with shrimp tight to the downed fauna. A drift in the Pass itself with a 1/2 oz tipped jig could deliver a pompano (early in the tide cycle) or a mackerel as the tide matures working a flashy jig or small spoon on a drift. Unfortunately the mega sheepshead are virtually gone………offshore to cooler climes but they leave behind their offspring that have a knack of emptying your bait bucket. Working a spot and that’s all you see….LEAVE. But now the Passes are showing bird and bait action especially early in the first hours of the AM incoming. Worth a early effort to tie on a tipped jig and try a couple of drifts down the Passes…..always a chance at some mackerel or even the sought after Florida Pompano.

NEARSHORE: .Best info from those still trying…….the BIG sheepshead are headed offshore even from their inside reef spots. Now is the time to work the top waters on the nearshore reefs for mackerel et al (bluefish, jacks, ladyfish and an occasional little tunny). The process….. either home in on bird or surface action with tipped jigs or working chum into bottom structure and then working surface flashy jigs on quick retrieves. Both techniques work. Bottom action on the established reefs are also providing results on lane and mangrove snapper as well as an occasional triggerfish or nice size porgie. A nice chum slick will help attract and hold a gathering for you. For the more adventurous, a large chunk for freshly cut runner or mackerel will attract shark action. Make sure the rig is on wire leader and your equipment is strong.

OFFSHORE: Things improving out here as time and temperature erodes the fouling aspects of “dead zones” and bait has returned to many of those ledges and reefs listed on the HOT SPOTS charts. Should continue as better conditions continue. Mid range reefs that have bait showing on the finder should be prime opportunity for good yellowtail snapper action. Get some good chum action down upcurrent and give it a 15-20 minute hiatus to start the draw and then work tads of the chum on #6 circle hooks freelined into the slick with the bail open. Strikes will be strong with immediate run off…….but count to “ten” before you close the bail and initiate the strike. Deeper wrecks and reefs should have action now from returning migrating pelagics and be engaged in solid on both tides on major structure. Bottom action with mega baits same venue could get you some heart stopping action or a range of shark species.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 12th 2019 Fishing Report

PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND

     CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

CONDITIONS: Week will kick-in with some “summer like” super heated conditions with the heat level approaching ninety degrees by mid afternoons. There will be light to moderate easterly winds with some bothersome gusts by late afternoon. That should be right “down the alley” for sportfishers. Then things turn around a bit by mid to late week as the winds go west and the wind increases in velocity. So get ready for some heightened sea surface and churned up water by late week. Probably be worse offshore than in the backwaters but there will still be some carryover. The major factor in determining what lies ahead is water temperature. We need the big bait schools to invade first and then sought after by the pelagics, many of which are in the process of vacation winter residence in the Keys. Thus early week we’re looking at fair weather water temperatures somewhere between 77-79 but the “upheaval” will most likely tumble the temperatures backwards to the low seventies by week end. Tides are another important factor and are unique this week. Tides at the week git-go are extremely weak and as they head to full moon on the 19th really pick up steam and will have to be worked “First-hour and last-hour” as you ply the waters here week end.

BACKWATER: If the water temperature doesn’t tumble too much, we should see some good action for spring/ summer fish species here to chance the bait schools. Already seeing some mackerel with intermixed bluefish and jacks showing in both the Marco Passes. Action is best on the incoming tide and early is better than late. Macks et al will go for a fast moving high visibility bait like a light colored jig tipped with shrimp being either retrieved quickly or trolled at a rapid speed. No matter…either way suggest a mid weight wire leader to prevent cut offs on both the mackerel and the companion bluefish. In the far reach backwaters, the mangrove snapper are still ferociously active and will jump on a well presented shrimp tossed tight to the mangrove overhangs……especially close in the downed trees and fauna. A tip….late in the week when that tide accelerates, you’ll want to fish in the first and last hour of the tides when the water speed is at it’s minimum.

NEARSHORE: .Those pelagics (mackerel,bluefish, sharks) that you are targeting in the back will also be super action on the First and Second Reefs in 15-25’ depths and working schools of bait on structure. Look for bird action and upheavals on surface water as a indicator of their presence.  Plan on either setting up on the reef and getting a chum slick underway and then with a 15-20 minute delay give the effort a chance to work and then get those tipped jigs working in the top water. Stay right up top to try and avoid the nuisance blue runners hovering beneath……The other technique is to head toward that bird action over the top water disruptions and working on the edge of the frantic top water action get those tipped jigs running about 100’ behind the boat running at 4 kts. Lastly, the major reefs…..the Walton and the Five Mile….work the bottom with weighted jigs under just a bit of chum for nice lane and mangrove snappper.

OFFSHORE: Been getting reports that there still are areas offshore that have “dead water” due to oxygen depletion caused by the red tide and the algae depletion. So you’ll have to scoot around and try your spots until you hit paydirt. Good spots will have returning pelagics from the Keys heading to the panhandle ……kings, cobia, permit, sharks and last but not least barracuda. All of these guys love live bait worked in attaracting chum. Blue runners are best for kings and sharks; small crabs are the same for the permit and the cobia will show in the top water and can be worked with a live threadfin on a sightcast on the surface. Last advice….if you’re going deep go early week to avoid those predicted winds late week.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

April 5th 2019 Fishing Report

PREPARED BY THE MARCO ISLAND

CHARTER FISHING CAPTAINS

APRIL 5, 2019 TO APRIL 12, 2019

CONDITIONS: From assembled forecasts for the week, it looks like this first week in April will really be the first week of solid spring weather. Conditions for both temperature, wind and absence of precipitation all come together to provide a great pre-Easter period. With that stability, would hope that the spring fishing comes roaring in with action on our spring piscatorial visitors. As noted in the sector notes that follow, we could well see the final turn of winter conditions and a end to the abnormally slow winter fishing we have all experienced. Even the static conditions i.e. tide and water temperature should prove a positive factor all our anglers. The tides are coming off a new moon but will have a moderate morning incoming and finishes off the evening with a evening ebb tide that will average just under a 3’ fall.

BACKWATER: Water temperature should be the major change agent this week. With a steady diet of mid 80 degree water these coming afternoons will drive the basic water temp into the low 80’s. That will, hopefully, drive the spring species to chase the flood of bait schools that typically arrive in these conditions. Would expect to see the Spanish mackerel schools throughout all three Passes especially on the morning incoming. Working a flashy tipped jig on wire leader on a drift should enable some solid action. Another spring opportunity should show with pompano right at the very start of that morning incoming tide right at the Gulf Passes and be very active for an hour or so as they traverse the bait rich cut snd then scatter on connecting waterways …….best opportunity is while they are congregated in the Passes and being worked tipped small jigs worked right off the bottom.

NEARSHORE: A repeat from last week……..good chance there will be some yet-to-spawn sheepshead of considerable size still hanging out at the First and Second reef spots off the hotels/condos in 20-25’ of water. That anomaly won’t last forever as they eventually will make their way due west to cooler climes. Right now, they will still take a well presented tad of live shrimp or a cut crab. Otherwise, there should be a good presence of mackerel and bluefish mixed in with jacks and blue runners that are surface feeding on scads of bait. You’ll need a good chum effort to draw them and then it’s top water fast retrieves of flashy tipped jigs worked right in the spreading chum effort. If you do get into action…..might want to put a large fresh cut bait out on heavy gear just off the bottom……you never know what all that mackerel action is attracting.

OFFSHORE: Still seeing mixed action deep. There are still wide areas which have not totally recovered from the effects of red tide and algae infestation which has apparently depleted oxygen levels in the water……almost all species of fish avoid such a domain. So it’s a hunt to find good to very good action. A key is to look for bird action on a given spot……..birds will find the surface bait and that is the key to active pelagic fish feeding beneath. Also another positive trend is the activity of the returning pelagic fish emanating from their winter digs in the Keys. Once you find a working spot make sure you record the Lat/Lon as that benefit should last as other areas near it also recover.

Rose Marina Fishing Report - Marco Island, Fl

March 22nd 2019 Fishing Report

  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.