Marco Island Fishing Report
By: Capt Kevin Bellington
Sea Gone Fishing Charters
Click on photos to view full size
November in the 10,000 islands is always
interesting. Sometimes the winter species arrive in
huge numbers, and sometimes they trickle in.
The last couple of weeks of
November has been tougher than the last few years, in part to
the high winds and in part to several cold fronts moving into our
area back to back.
Offshore fishing was good the first
couple of weeks in November, with nice Gag Grouper caught trolling
with deep plugs. High
winds and choppy conditions have made the last 2 weeks nearly
impossible to venture out to deep water.
Backwater species have been spotty
at times, but those with perseverance have been rewarded with large
numbers of a variety of species.
Snook have generally been below
slot size, but the numbers of small snook is an indicator that
the population is on the rise.
Redfish have been in the lower slot limit, with
a few undersized fish as well.
Trout have not been showing up in
any great numbers yet, but cooling water temperatures
should hasten the migration into shallower
Sheepshead are beginning to inhabit the
backwater channels and are very hungry.
A tipped jig
or small bottom rig is catching good numbers in
channels with good moving water.
Black Drum are also showing up in
deep cuts and along the mangroves.
A live shrimp threaded on a long shank hook is just the
ticket to catch these guys in decent numbers.
Click on photos to view full size
Starting in to
the home stretch of the 2014 season, the weather is beginning to
change and the fish are slowly returning to the back waters of the
beginning to migrate out from their summer haunts, and can be found
on oyster bars and some shallow grass flats into the gulf.
Still finding some undersized reds but a few over slot fish
have been caught by tipping a yellow jig with your favorite
artificial or shrimp and pitching to the edges on a rising/falling
Snook are also
holding tightly to the mangrove edges and can be coaxed out using
copious amounts of shiners or shrimp and getting them worked up.
Trout are still
not showing in the Marco area in any large numbers but catching 1 or
2 in a deep cut on shrimp or tipped jigs and then moving to the next
area has produced limits on several occasions.
Offshore has been
HOT and catching Red Grouper is as easy as I have seen it in years.
Red Grouper season is closed so catch and release only, but on one
recent trip 4 anglers caught and released over 100 grouper from 16
to 33 inches in less than 2 hours.
Goliaths are still available for the more adventurous angler.
With the onset of summer it can only mean one
With wind finally down to a manageable speed ,we have been venturing
out to the deeper water in search of one of my favorites ,
..Grouper. And they are plentiful. Most trips have caught limits of
12 -20 lb Red grouper in 50 -75 ft of water by drifting over coral
patches or anchoring over ledges and hard bottom and deep dropping
live baits such as blue runners, pinfish, and cut ladyfish.
But grouper are only part of the bounty awaiting the adventurous
Permit are moving in large schools in the southern 10,000 Islands
near the Shark river. Small pass crabs are the best choice for bait,
but we have been catching lots of them on a shrimp rig with a
1/4 ounce weight and drifting them near
the bottom. One drawback to the permit is the presence of sharks.
Bull sharks are waiting to snatch your prize if you don't
get them to the boat quickly.
Bulls in excess of 200 lbs are everywhere near the schools of
Cobia and Barracudas also have been around the same areas.
Summer also means SHARK trips!! With the warmer water, a number of
species of sharks are abundant and great fun for novice as well as
Click images to view full size
I have been looking forward
to posting an offshore report for months, and with the wind falling
off this month, we finally got out there.
Making a run to some deeper water paid off in a
big way, as we were able to target some
larger game fish.
Grouper are abundant in depths ranging from 40
to 65 feet. Targeting hard bottom and small reef patches produced
the best results. For
Red Grouper I like to drift fish whenever possible to cover more
area, but anchoring when you get some good bites is always a good
idea. Baits that have worked
well are squid, and any small baitfish like Spanish sardines on a
deep drop rig. Jigs have
also worked very well. I
like the “Charley’s Jig” in a 4-6 ounce weight
with a plastic curlytail.
Snappers are easily targeted on any structure
in deeper water by chumming heavily and free lining small cut bait
or shrimp on light leaders and circle hooks.
Amberjacks are on the towers west of Marco in
69 ft. of water, and are eager to take a large shrimp drifted with a
small weight (just enough weight to take them down from the
Blackfin Tuna schools are a common site in 60+
ft. and can be a real treat for a novice angler because of their
fight and speed.
With higher than
normal winds, the fishing in the 10,000 islands has been slower than
usual for May.
water has been difficult in the backwaters from Marco to
Everglades Park, but for the
experienced angler there are opportunities to be had.
Trout have been
spotty , and holding in much deeper water than normal for this time
holding closely to the Mangrove roots and have been difficult to
Snook to 30
inches have been found when fishing live baits placed far under the
fared a little better with keeper sized Red Grouper being caught in
40 -50 ft. of water off Marco.
plentiful on the structures in 70 plus feet of water and have
provided quite a few good trips.
winds there should be a lot more clean water and a hotter bite
across the board.
Click on the
images to view full size
Whoever said that
"March comes in like a lion and out like a
lamb" probably wasn't a fisherman, at
least not in SW Florida.
March came in
like a hurricane and only stopped to catch her breath a few times.
The high winds coupled with some frigid fronts passing through at
least once a week, made for some slow
fishing here in the 10,000 islands. The
water temperatures were like a yo-yo,
dipping and rising almost daily. This causes most of our fish
species to go off of their normal feeding patterns.
despite Mother Nature’s best efforts to ruin some of our clients
fishing, they endured. Braving chilly mornings and howling winds
there were still fish to be found.
usually begin to show up in March, were
hit and miss, but when we did get some clarity back to the water
they were hungry. Jigs in
yellow and chartreuse were always the
favorite tipped with shrimp and worked quickly over sandy bottom,
produced good numbers on a few occasions.
are sparse and spread out over a wide area, but slow and steady
retrieves over grass beds and near tidal cuts produced a few nice
Black Drum saved
more than one tough day of fishing. These brutes can be found in
deep water areas in most of the backwater.
Low and slow is the key to
catching them. Drop your
baits low to the very bottom of the water column and slow and I mean
very slow movements have paid off in some nice fish.
January 11th, 2014
Click on images to view full size
Fishing the 10,000 Islands is
always interesting. Changing
water conditions will keep you on your toes in the winter months.
Temperatures are a key factor in our fishery.
As the water cools in the
fall/winter it brings a lot of different species into the shallower
areas, and moves others to seek shelter in the mangroves.
Redfish have been spotty at best but are still
being caught in some of the inshore islands and bays.
Cut bait presented close to mangrove edges and
worked slowly will produce a few slot sized fish.
Trout are beginning to move onto the outer grass
beds and some of the channels leading into the backwater.
Live whole shrimp work well
in the grass flats when the Trout are warming up, or a jig tipped
with shrimp under a popping cork will produce good results.
Black Drum are plentiful in the deep cuts and
channels. Live shrimp on the
bottom have produced good numbers of Black Drum in the 5-7 lb.
When the water clarity improves between cold
fronts, Pompano are showing up in pretty good numbers.
Pompano Jigs tipped with shrimp and retrieved quickly seems
to work best.
Call today to book Capt Kevin as the season is
"Sea" you at our departing dock:
Calusa Island Marina
385 Angler Dr.
Goodland, FL. 34140
(10 to 12 minutes from anywhere on Marco Island).
November 23rd, 2013
Click to view full size
The wind has been
blowing out of the North for
the first 2 weeks of November.
Even with that, we have been able to find a good variety of
fish. And despite the wind,
the water has been crystal clear and deep Caribbean blue which is
helpful, and hurtful.
We can see fish, and they can see us.
It is important to remain stealthy when the water is so
clear. Approach your
fishing ground, whether a grass flat, or mangrove island, as quietly
beginning to show up in larger numbers although on the small side.
Shrimp on a jig are your best bet to catch Speckled Trout, or a
shrimp on a ¼ oz. weight retrieved over grassy areas to produce
Silver and Sugar Trout.
beginning to gather in the channels and passes and are getting
larger every week. Smaller
hooks are best to increase your chances with these toothy critters.
When you feel that little tap tap this time of year, it’s
bound to be a Sheephead.
Have patience, but be ready when you do get a good tug.
becoming a regular catch in a few of the outside passes and in good
clear water channels. A
little unusual that close to shore, but always a treat.
Remember that Permit are schooling fish, so when you get one,
you’ll likely get several.
Live shrimp on a free line are a great rig for Permit.
Flounder to 18”
in the sandy bottoms near the outside beaches and inside the passes.
Drag a shrimp on a jig along the bottom slowly (I said
slowly) until you feel a bite and then let the rig sit until the
Flounder decides to take a bigger bite.
Snook are biting
well on almost any live bait.
We’ve found a few in the slot, but most are still a little
fairly abundant the first week in November, but since then have been
a little difficult to catch.
Maybe the great clear water…we can easily see them…they can
Sea Gone fishing Report
October 19, 2013
Click on photos to view full size
As we finally get
past the rainy season, and temperatures are getting more
comfortable, the water is starting to clear up and is a beautiful
Caribbean blue. This
can be a blessing or a curse for local fishing.
For sight anglers, the
clear water gives them the opportunity to stalk Redfish and Snook.
But it also gives the fish
you are stalking the ability to see you.
So you have to be a little
schooling up in larger groups feeding on the abundant bait.
Bait placement is critical when sight casting to a school of
reds. Pick the lead fish
and throw well in front and to farthest side, moving your bait
slowly into the path of the school.
Plopping a bait in the middle of them will usually result in
the school scattering, and it might be a long while before they
settle down and regroup.
Trout are moving
back into the flats and can be a great way to spend a few hours. Try
casting popping corks with a live shrimp over grass flats and near
shoals and oyster bars. Be
sure to make your casts as far from the boat as you can, this will
give you the best shot at a big fish.
The big ones didn't get big
by being stupid.
Flounder are still biting and can be a tasty addition to your
working a shrimp on a jig head pausing frequently to make sure you
are hitting bottom works well.
October 5th, 2013
lot of clients ask me “what is your favorite time of year to fish?”
And my answer is always the
same, “late September into October”. There are a number of reasons I
like fishing the 10,000 Islands in the fall, but probably the
biggest reason is ….there are a LOT of fish!!
Redfish are beginning to bunch up on the outside of the
channels and around oyster bars. Simplicity is my motto when
targeting these fish. Shrimp
under a popping cork, or tipped on a ¼ oz. jig are a great way to
catch them. Fish close
to the banks near the edges of mangrove Islands.
Slow and steady, don’t rip
your baits through the water, instead make good casts and work your
bait out a few inches at a time.
Sheephead are starting to
make their way back into shallower waters after spending the summer
months offshore and are hungry. Very small hooks with shrimp are the
ticket to these tasty fish. Try
to concentrate on getting your baits near the bottom and keeping the
slack out of your line. Sheephead
bites are quite light at times, and you need to be ready to set the
hook quickly to avoid having your bait stolen.
Trout have been
moving into the mouths of the passes, and can be caught using a
shrimp on a jig or suspending your bait under a float so that it is
just above the bottom, and letting it drift naturally with the tide
been pretty easy to find but catching them requires a little more
patience. Work a tipped jig
across any sandy area with slow small “twitches” then reel slowly
for a few feet. When you feel a bite stop reeling and let your bait
sit motionless for a minute or so. Usually
Flounder will hit the bait once just to stun it, and drop back to
watch. Moving your bait too soon after the initial bite will often
result in a missed opportunity.
Snapper and Black
Drum have also been prevalent when fishing near the mangroves.
Be ready for anything!
This is the time of year when you never know what you’re
going to get…you just know you’re going to get something good!
Hot weather has brought on hot fishing.
And offshore Grouper fishing is no
Grouper are abundant in waters as
shallow as 35 ft. Gag
Grouper are holding on rock piles and small coral ledges.
Dropping a Pinfish is always a good option
to target Gags.
Red Grouper are a little deeper with
catches in 45-60 ft. of water, and over hard bottom.
have been on the small side but sifting through a few shorts will
produce some tasty dinners.
Drifting over varied cover is also a
favorite technique of mine.
Using a 3-5 oz. Jig tipped with a
rubber grub or plain.
Make sure you keep the jig close to
the bottom , and even bounce it off the sand every once in a while
to get their attention.
Fishing with cut bait has also produced
some excellent results, but remember,
when targeting Grouper or any Pelagic
species you MUST use circle hooks with live or cut bait , and have
the proper venting tool aboard.
Amberjacks are thick further out on the
offshore wrecks in 100-150 ft. of water and catching them is simple,
while getting them to the boat without having them eaten by huge
Barracudas is not so simple. Use high speed reels and eat your
Wheaties if you want to fill the box with these critters.
Inshore fishing has also been pretty
hot with lots of Trout and Flounder to be had in the deeper passes
and outside cuts.
Shrimp on a longshank hook need enough
weight to get to the bottom with the rushing tides this month.
Snappers are everywhere.
for them like you would a Bass.
protruding foliage on mangrove shorelines and throw shrimp as close
as possible, Snappers are very aggressive, so plan on bringing extra
shrimp to make up for the ones you lose when the Snappers steal
Click on photos to view full size
talked much lately about offshore fishing.
Between afternoon thunderstorms and high
winds, offshore excursions were dicey at best.
But the weather has improved, so we've
been able to spend a little more time out there.
Fishing the wrecks and reefs off Marco
Island is easy and we have a variety of species to choose from.
Grouper can be found in several different habitats from coral ledges
to hard bottom we call "Swiss Cheese"bottom.
Drift fishing is usually the preferred
method but don't overlook the good old"anchor
Use squid on a knocker
rig (6-8/0 circle hook with a 1-3 oz. egg
sinker suspended about 24 inches above the hook ).
The best way to rig this is to use 2 barrel
swivels with about 12 inches of 30-50 lb. fluorocarbon between them.
one end to a swivel, place the egg sinker on the line, and then
attach the other swivel to the other end of the line.
tie your 24 inch leader to one of the barrel swivels and your hook
at the bottom end.
Just add squid and drop to the bottom.
folks say that they prefer Gag Grouper to Red Grouper.
honestly can't tell much difference
fishing for Gag Grouper is usually a little different because Gag
Groupers are a voracious predator and will respond best to live
baits like Pinfish or large Pilchards.
method is to troll artificial plugs like a Stretch 30 or Bomber.
sure that you get your lures all the way to the bottom if you want
to catch Gags, as they tend to ambush prey from a concealed location
like a rock pile or ledge.
This method is especially good
around artificial reefs and rubble piles but beware, hanging a
$20.00 lure on a rock pile can get expensive.
is more, light leaders and small hooks are the ticket for snappers.
One fish that is surprisingly good
table fare is the White Grunt.
will be present in the same areas that you find Red grouper and Grey
to medium circle hooks and light (10-20 lb. leader) works well for
these tasty critters.
July 10th, 2013
usually post a fishing report here about this time, but I think I
would like to change things up a little.
going to be more of a Weather report.
summer months here in the 10,000 Islands can produce some very
severe weather changes. Some of these weather changes can be
dangerous. Summer thunderstorms can build and unleash huge rainfalls
as well as tremendous lightening and wind with almost no warning.
Notice that I said ALMOST no
always be aware of the weather surrounding them and be ready to
react instantly should the situation deteriorate.
the best tools available to Guides and recreational angles alike is
wisely your own common sense will keep you safe in most weather
the skies!! If the clouds begin to build in an upward plume with
darkening bottoms there is a high likelihood of a thunderstorm.
Those rolling thunder claps are your wake-up call. Pay attention, if
they get louder or seem to be coming from a different direction you
might want to head for the dock.
until the rain hits you before deciding to head in is usually a bad
idea. If you are under a cloud that is producing rain, it can
potentially produce lightening. Never assume that you can outrun a
storm. If you can’t run
through it or around it , ”Hunker down” as the storm chasers call it
move to the lee side of an island or point and anchor up into the
wind, tie everything down that might blow out of the boat. Stay low
and avoid holding onto any metal objects such as T-Tops or railings.
there are a multitude if weather and radar apps for almost any
phone. I would NEVER use them as my sole source if information, but
they can give you a better look at what is going on around you. I
use “radar scope” it is a well-designed app for android phones ( I
think they have one for Iphone as well) it is not free but at $9.99
I find it to be well worth it.
the way, the fishing is getting HOT again .
June in Southwest Florida means the start of
the summer fishing season.
Afternoon storms are frequent and sometimes
severe, so morning is the preferred time to fish. It is generally a
little cooler and you can beat the heat as well as the
Snappers are moving in from the deeper waters
and taking up residence in the passes around fast
Shrimp on a small weight are my choice for targeting these
Snook are always a favorite target for most
anglers and they can be found in most of the cuts and channels
surrounding the 10,000 Islands.
White Bait is usually preferred but they can be tempted with
a lively shrimp as well.
Flounder, trout and sheep head are also in good
supply, though most of
the Trout are undersized.
With the warmer water the sharks are in good
supply in the last 2 weeks we have caught eight different species of
sharks within just a few miles of the marina.
There is something
exhilarating about pitting your talents against one of these
Apex predators....if you dare.
Click on an image
above to view full size
Well the seasonal residents have started their
migration back to the North, and the fish have started to move to
their summer homes as well.
May is often associated with Tarpon as the
migrating schools begin to show up near Marco Island, but for some
of our savvy customers May means only one thing Sharks!
Sharks of all shapes and
sizes are plentiful in the waters surrounding the 10,000 Islands.
Cut bait or white bait set out on the bottom
are the ticket to catching the larger sharks in the area.
Fishing near shore on the small wrecks and
artificial reefs has proven to be productive but tricky as the winds
have continued to buffet South West Florida. Finding that elusive
calm day to venture out has been somewhat difficult. Sea Trout and
Mackerel to 25 inches are fairly common on live shrimp.
And once in a while, a
goliath grouper shows up when fishing with squid strips or pin fish.
With the windy weather it has been a challenge
on some trips to find water conditions conducive to catching some of
our species. But persistence pays off for as it did for the Sweet
party of Virginia. In a half day charter they managed to break our
long standing customer record by catching 22 species of fish.
Snook have become easier to find in most of the
islands and bays, as well as Flounder and large Jacks.
Redfish are being caught in the backwaters in
fairly shallow water, but occasionally will take a cut bait
presented properly on the outer beaches and
Click on an image
above to view full size
With the past month being super windy,
sometimes super cold.
and at times rainy, some days it's taken brave souls to go out
searching for the big one.
But I can say one thing about Sea Gone's awesome
And with they're bravery has come reward.
With the wind has come murky waters.
And in those waters Trout, Sheephead,
and Snapper are the
fish of the month while Redfish and Snook have been somewhat more
rare. Multiple species
of Trout including Spotted'
Silver, and Sugar Trout have been in
rich supply either working a live shrimp on a 3/0 long shanked hook
across the bottom in the grass flats or under a popping cork.
Using a super small hook (#1) with
live shrimp has been the secret when targeting large Sheephead in
the grass flats and along the mangrove banks.
Mangrove Snapper have been abundant
near the mangroves and have made themselves available when the
Redfish and Snook have been more difficult to find'
have been some Redfish catches using live white bait
shrimp when casting within about four to six inches of the bank.
Outside the passes, Pompano have
been biting on the same rigs as the trout, as well as jigheads
tipped with shrimp.
Click image to view full size
Cold fronts have
been sweeping through South West Florida for the last few weeks.
High winds and frigid temperatures have made fishing a challenge
here in the 10'
With the cold
come some changes in our fisheries. Some good,
some not so good.
Falling water temperatures have made Redfish and Snook a lot harder
to find (although one customer managed to find the 35” Snook
pictured) but Trout and Sheephead are biting well. Pompano have
started migrating into the passes and are frequently in good
customers willing to brave the frigid conditions are often rewarded
with nonstop Trout action.
The best option
for a successful Trout trip is live shrimp under a popping cork in
shallow flats or worked on the bottom through the deeper grass
and Black Drum have been found in some unlikely places lately,
namely Trout havens, so be prepared for anything.
Click image to view full size
Cooler weather has put the bite back in fishing
here in the 10'
000 Islands. Larger Trout have begun to move into the
bays and grass flats. The method of targeting them is as varied as
the places they have shown up'
but a tipped jig either worked slowly
across the grass or under a popping cork has been hard to beat.
Sheephead to 8 lbs. are frequent tenants of
deep oyster bars'
or Coral rocks on the outside of the pass. Small
pieces of shrimp on extra small circle hooks will give you the best
shot at one of these tasty fish.
Redfish are still holding up in the shallower
water and have been tempted out with live shrimp or cut bait.
Pompano and some small permit have been caught
in clean water'
as well as some Spanish mackerel and Jacks to 3-4
With fishing being as good as it’s been for the
even though we’ve had rain'
wind and cold'
this next week
with temperatures reaching
a perfect 80-85 degrees and sunny'
the fishing should be on
Click on image to view full size
When peoples’ moods swing drastically from one
extreme to another'
we call them Bipolar.
I think that is a perfect analogy to our
fishing here in the 10'
000 Islands lately'
The Sea Gone customers over the last 2 weeks
have experienced the whole spectrum of fishing in Southwest Florida.
From bright sunny days and calm seas just right
for targeting one of my favorite fish Tripletail!!
To blustery windy'
and downright cold! With water temps
falling faster than the New Year’s Ball in Times Square.
But through it all we have continued to locate and catch a
wide variety of fish from Sharks to Silver trout.
Offshore (when the wind permits) we have been
catching good numbers of Spanish mackerel to almost 30”'
species of Sharks on some of the near shore structures.
Macs are easy targets with a live shrimp if you don’t mind
re- rigging often'
as they do wreak havoc on light tackle.
Sharks have been finicky'
and will only bite on
well-presented cut bait with very light leader.
Backwater is a different story'
as most of the
Redfish we were catching on the oyster bars and outside points have
moved further into the back bays and shallow mangroves.
Trout are still active'
especially on days when
the sun warms the shallow waters adjoining the grass flats. Using
live shrimp on a jighead'
or under a popping cork has been the
ticket to getting them to bite.
Pompano and Permit have also been around and
they’ve been caught free lining shrimp just outside the passes.
2012 wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
With Howling winds and frigid temperatures the fishing was tough to
say the least. Couple
this with a full moon cycle'
and the bays and backwaters here in the
000 Islands were almost dry. But
our customers would not
be deterred and
But with the New Year the prospects are looking
up. The dropping water temps
it can only mean one thing …….Trout and lots of them !!
If you can find even the
tiniest patch of clean water'
you can find Trout.
Spotted Sea trout to 20” are
being caught in most of the cuts and deep channels.
Silver Trout and Sugar Trout
are in good supply and easy to catch using a tipped jig dragged on
the bottom. Pompano are showing up in better numbers and are always
a great catch using the same jigs'
regular Shrimp rigs.
Sharks are less abundant with the colder water'
but on a recent “Shark Hunt” we were fortunate to come across a
school of Bull Redfish a few miles offshore.
One behemoth was 39” and
weighed 23 lbs. Another just slightly smaller at 36” and 20 lbs.
One was taken on a medium
shrimp and the other with a cut Jack.
Our weather here in the 10'
000 Islands has been
all over the charts. From cold grey skies to blistering heat'
a matter of 2 weeks. But it has made the fishing interesting if
Redfish are still being found'
but mostly in
unlikely places. Oyster bars and deep water have been a good bet'
using jigs or buck tails tipped with shrimp.
Trout are still roaming on and off the grass
flats. Sizeable fish are
eager to eat a juicy shrimp suspended from a popping cork and
drifted on an incoming tide.
Sheep head are moving further up into the
backwater and are easy to find on a moving tide.
My personal favorite has arrived in good numbers'
For the first time in at least 10 years I am
seeing multiple fish on almost every spot.
For those of you who have not had the pleasure of
making the acquaintance of this formidable fish'
they can humble you
with blinding speed and awesome strength.
But if you are patient you will be rewarded with
the best tasting fish the Gulf has to offer.
Cold weather means hot fishing for spotted sea
Cold nights have dropped water temps into the
low 60s. Trout are good cold water targets because they develop
patterns that you can predict and prepare for.
Trout instinctively look for places that the water is warmed
by the sun to help them control their body temperature.
In the morning trout can be found on grass
flats in less than 3 ft. of water.
As the sun moves higher they will fall back into deeper water
along the edges of the flats.
This is where I usually look for them in the afternoon.
I look for moving water between 5 and 7 ft. with some sea
and use tipped jigs under a popping cork with at least
a 36” leader (I sometimes increase the leader length slightly
according to the clarity of the water.)
If they are a little shy you can also drop to the bottom and
and jig the shrimp up off
the bottom with a quick motion'
then allow it to sink back down
Sea Gone customers have been catching fish in
pretty good numbers over the last 2 weeks'
but a bout of red tide
combined with below average water temps have had the bite fall off
over the last few days.
Warmer days in the forecast should revive other
species to previous levels.
start to November kept the fishing confined to the back bays and
but that is not all bad.
been the fish of choice for most anglers here in the 10'
Plentiful and tasty'
these voracious hunters can be taken with any
number of baits or artificial lures.
the ever popular live shrimp is always a good choice'
retrieving a shrimp on a jig or weighted hook is probably the most
But if you
are ready to test your skills you can try any number of spoons or
soft plastics. It takes a little more finesse but the rewards have
been worth it '
with several Gator Trout in the 22-24" range in the
last two weeks but more in the 15 to 19 inch range.
are beginning to show up in the passes and around the pilings in the
bays and harbors. Several Sheepies
upward of 5 lbs have been caught.
The trick to
catching Sheepshead is knowing when to set the hook '
I suggest "JUST
BEFORE HE BITES" as they
are known to steal baits'
having very large teeth and hard bony
jaws. It is sometimes
difficult to get a solid hook set on them.
been fairly easy to find'
but size varies widely from day to day.
Live shrimp worked very slowly in close to the mangrove banks is
your best bet.
Fall has fallen and the water temperatures are drifting downward'
and that means HOT fishing!
I am starting to see pretty good Trout returning to the grass flats
in the 10'
000 Islands and some of the inlets and passes. Live shrimp
on a popping cork have produced good results'
as well as live
Pilchards under a float.
Black Drum are showing up in the deep cuts along the Mangroves and
drifting live shrimp on the bottom works best.
Pompano have been a welcome catch in clear water on the outgoing
tides. A chartreuse jig worked very slowly has been the ticket for
these tasty fighters.
Redfish are still in good supply along the shorelines and around
Sharks are just about everywhere especially the bonnet head variety.
Grouper are still in 40- 50 ft of water on the near shore wrecks and
ledges and live Pinfish are always a good bet for bait.
Click photo to view full size
September fishing in the 10'
000 islands can
and frustrating at the same time.Afternoon rainstorms
have kept the water temps
but at the same time it has been difficult at times to find
clean water resulting in an abundance of our whiskered friends the
Fishing for Redfish has been pretty steady
here in the Marco Island area. Using anything from top water to cut
bait. I am still a big
fan of using what works for you'
in my case that’s a live shrimp on
a “legend” rig'
a variation on the popular Carolina rig. This is
probably one of the most versatile rigs in my box.
Fishing along the outer edges of the Mangrove islands'
small movements are the key to attracting the hungry reds. Too much
action only increases your chances of a break off on the oyster
Trout are still available'
Storm Debbie and Hurricane Isaac did considerable damage to the
grass beds on the exposed islands making it a bit harder to find
large fish.Offshore has been the real hot spot these last few weeks'
with good catches of both Gag and Red Grouper being caught in 40 +
Trolling has produced the largest Gag
grouper using large lipped plugs on small wrecks and ledges.As
always the late summer is SHARK time here in the islands with plenty
of action for both the beginner and experienced
Fishing in July is
usually one of my favorites'
but T.S. Debbie put a damper on our
fishing plans for almost 10 days.
Before the storm
fishing was beginning to pick up in the 10'
000 Islands with good
numbers of Snook'
Snapper and Redfish caught inshore using live bait
and cut bait on the outer islands and in the passes.
Pompano and Flounder
were in good supply fishing slow moving baits in the sandy bottoms.
starting to look good as well with the opening of Gag Grouper the 1st
There were lots of keeper sized Gags in 20-35 ft. of water
Since the storm the
bait schools have scattered and the fishing has slowed a bit. But we
are still catching some Grouper and nice sized Mangrove Snappers on
the near shore reefs.
Starting into our
summer pattern of afternoon showers'
so mornings are the best bet to
get out and catch some fish.
May was a mixed bag of weather and conditions
that made fishing the 10'
000 Islands fun and productive.
Fishing live shrimp on the bottom in the
backwater produced a nice mix of Reds and Trout with a few large
Snook for good measure.
Gulp Shrimp were also popular with the Redfish in tight to the
New Penny and Natural were the colors that produced the
Near Offshore is beginning to heat up with lots
of Sharks as well as some large schools of Spanish Mackerel'
that are always a great target using everything from
shrimp to silver spoons.
In the last few days we have been catching some
very nice Mangrove Snapper on live shrimp in the fast moving waters
of the outer island cuts.
the wind is still a factor in the fishing here in The 10'
Although we've had our windy days'
it has been
letting up long enough for the water to clear and the fish to move
back to their normal feeding patterns.
Plenty of action in the backwaters from
Caxambas Pass to Dismal Key including Spotted Sea Trout as well as
Silver Trout caught in large numbers over the grass flats and near
the mangroves with live shrimp on long shanked hooks or shrimp
tipped jigs. Pompano'
Southern Kingfish are in good supply.
Can you say SHARK? On the last 4
our customers have caught and released at least 40 sharks including
an 11 ft. Tiger Shark '
as well as numerous Lemon'
and Nurse Sharks from 4 to 7 Ft.
Cut ladyfish on 8/0 or 10/0 circle hooks with a wire leader '
5000 series plus bait runner reel and a hefty rod is the ticket to
getting these fighters to the boat.
We have also been getting our share of Snook
recently. Here's a
picture of Steve who caught his 40" Snook
with us on a trip last week.
Caught with a live shrimp in a small pool right in the
mangroves he wrestled this monster out long enough for pictures'
Mr. Snook was released unharmed back to his home.
Tarpon are showing up in larger numbers
although they're acting somewhat finicky and we're starting to see
some large schools of Bull Redfish a few miles offshore.
Fishing in the Ten
Thousand Islands can be as challenging as it is rewarding'
February has been proving that.
High winds and a few
days of cold weather can disrupt the patterns of several of our
targeted species as it did the first couple of weeks. Redfish were
one of the most affected by turbid water and falling water
moving out of the usual haunts and proving very
Speckled sea trout
were quick to abandon the shallow flats
for more shelter and food'
making them harder to locate.
Other species are
less affected by the rapid changes and can almost always be found in
and around the passes and channel cuts.
Sheep head are a perfect example and have been an easy catch
on long shank hooks with live shrimp threaded on.
As the weather has
so has the fishing.
Pompano are becoming
a regular catch as the water begins to settle and the temperatures
begin to inch upward.
Using a jig head with cut shrimp has been the ticket to good numbers
of pompano around the passes.
returned to familiar spots and seem hungry as ever.
pinfish or shrimp fished near the mangroves are
keeping them interested.
Sharks are showing
up off the beach and are always fun on light tackle.
They may grab the bait straight up or look out!
And reel fast ‘cause they may be after your prized catch!
2012 Fishing Report
Winter decided to rear its
ugly head in the first week of January.
We had a short cold spell that lasted a couple of days'
causing water temps to hover just above 55 degrees.
With the cooler water'
finding fish was not a
but getting them to eat proved to be a bit more
live shrimp very slowly near the mangroves provided the best results
while long casts with tipped jigs and popping corks onto
the grass flats was the key to slot sized trout who's season just
opened Jan 1st.
With our water temps returning to normal'
trout are still chewing in the passes in protected deep channels and
keeper sized Sheephead
are showing up in good numbers. Tipped
jigs are still producing good action for most of the area from
Caxambas Pass to the Everglades.
photos to view full size.
has been a mixed bag as far as weather is concerned.
The winds have been pretty stiff making for less than ideal
water conditions. Couple
that with the extreme low tides and finding quality fish has been a
Fortunately in the
midst of the less than ideal conditions'
Mother Nature has been kind
by bringing in a few of the cooler water species.
Silver Trout have been on fire in the back bays and deep cuts
around the 10'
Sheep head are back
along with an abundance of Whiting'
Spotted Sea Trout and Silver
Another visitor has
shown up on the buoy lines close to shore and that is the fantastic
bag sized Triptail have been caught on freelined shrimp in
less than 15 feet of water from Gordon's
Pass to the entrance to Whitehorse Key.
Redfish are still in
abundance near the oyster bars and around the outer islands.
Slot sized Redfish are common'
with a few going over 30".
Dick from Columbus with a Tripletail
I admit it. I got
lazy and took a few days off in the last few weeks and it just threw
my whole schedule off.
I haven't posted a
fishing report and I apologize.
Well fall has fallen
and so have the water temperatures here in Marco and the 10'
islands. The water temps
are fluctuating between 70 and 77 degrees depending on the tide and
depth. With the drop in
temps we are also reminded to slow our presentation down to account
for the slower metabolism of our target species.
With crisp breeze
mornings comes the fall fishing season (my favorite by the way)'
the return of a few of our favorite species such as silver trout and
sheep head. Spanish
mackerel are plentiful off the barrier islands and in the entrances
to the backwater.
Redfish are as thick as flies on the points and in cuts around the
oyster bars. With trout
it is great to have other species to target.
Most of our trips
have resulted in multiple species usually between 10 and 15
Live shrimp is the
bait de jour because they are working on about every species we have
targeted in the last ten days.
Redfish will also chow down on cut ladyfish presented in the
sandy holes around grass flats'
as well as a few nice snook!
Soldier Fishing" tournament this past Saturday hosted at the Calusa
Click on photos to view full size
was privileged to be a part of the "Take a Soldier Fishing"
tournament this past Saturday hosted at the Calusa Island Marina.
This second annual tournament was for active and veteran
military and their families to enjoy our fantastic fishing in the
waters of Marco Island/Goodland'
Fishing the 10'
000 islands area allowed all aboard to catch a
huge variety of species and sizes that are available in our fish
Kevin Bellington was honored to be at the helm of the Sea Gone 1
Sergeant Dana Juarez and her two sons'
these "jarheads" (per MSgt Dana) had little fishing experience'
three managed quite well and soon became very competent fishermen.
On the list of species caught were two very respectable
redfish and black drum as well as flounder'
and many more. MSgt
Dana and her sons were quite amazed at the action.
They mentioned that they caught at least sixteen different
types of fish.
Randy Vest was at the helm of the Sea Gone 2 and was thrilled with
the opportunity to take
Sergeant Alonzo Cherry'
and their six year old son
out for a day on the water.
MSgt Alonzo was already a proficient fisherman and got to
show his six year old a thing or two.
From then on'
Alijah proceeded to "tear ‘em up".
We were excited
to be a part of the "Take a Soldier Fishing" tournament and are
looking forward to being able to take our dedicated servicemen and
women out again next year.
We are forever in their debt.
and rain have kept most of the Sea Gone customers in the protected
backwaters of the 10'
000 Islands in the past 2 weeks'
were treated to a good mix of inshore species.
Tipping jigs with shrimp produces good
quantities of Flounder and Pompano to 17 inches in the sandy bottoms
around Marco Island.
Live Shrimp rigged on the bottom were the
ticket for quality Redfish and Black Drum and some Sheep head in the
cuts and ledges of the bays.
Bait is plentiful in the Gulf and Ladyfish have
been in and around bait pods'
providing lots of action for our
The Catch of the week was an 8+ ft Tiger Shark
caught on a whole mullet by a young lady from Northern England while
on a near shore trip with her family.
April was not going out like a lamb it was
going out blowing . But for the customers that were ready to fish
the rewards were worth the effort.
The month started off with a few Pompano
showing up on the outer edges of the sandbars and the mouths of the
passes. Throwing pink buck tail jugs tipped with shrimp
were the ticket for these feisty fighters.
Large trout are still around '
but the wind has
had the water churned into a brown soup and targeting these
beautiful fish has proved to be difficult at times. Lighter tackle
and proper boat placement has been key to success with trout as they
hold up on the grass flats in shallow water.
As the Month progressed so did the
opportunities for large fish such as Snook to 45 inches as well as
many over slot Redfish to 30 plus inches.
Sharks were plentiful near shore and we caught several in the
6-8 foot range on cut bait trailed far from the boat over structure
I am humbled by the beauty and strength of
these magnificent creatures and grateful for the chance to test my
mettle against such a worthy adversary.
May will be even better when we finally settle
into our summer weather patterns and the water clarity continues to
Even with the extreme low tides and the chilly temperatures the
Sea Gone team managed to find fish.
With two cold fronts rolling into the area and the water temps
hovering just above fish kill levels at times'
there are still fish
to be had in the Marco/10k Islands area for the anglers brave enough
to endure a chilly boat ride a little farther south.
Friday the 10th started with a drizzle and ended in a
downpour that muddied the backwaters and effectively turned off the
bite for a few days. Managing only sheep head and a return of the
dreaded catfish for a couple of days'
we were concerned that
Christmas week would be a bust.
But by mid week the sun had done it's magic and the water temps
began to rise back to acceptable levels. The bite was back with
plenty of action on live shrimp fished on the bottom on a rising
tide. We started seeing an increase in redfish and trout in the bays
and deeper inlets. Also catching some sugar trout and whiting in the
flats and cuts in the bays. And thankfully not a catfish to be seen.
December 18th brought another cold front with
basically the same result'
but the front was short lived'
was back very quickly'
and Christmas week turned out to be very
successful for our out of town guests.
Our offshore bite has been spotty within 9 miles but there are
still a few Gag grouper in 30+ feet of water. And although sharks
have been everywhere offshore for the last six months'
it seems they
may have taken a short vacation themselves.
Thursday December 9'
Weather has been a big factor in the Marco Island fishing scene.
Thursday afternoon was no exception. Mark and Heather from
Toronto were scheduled for an afternoon trip with their three
children for some backwater fishing. The rain was supposed to let up
by 1 P.M. and it was supposed to clear up. Welcome to South West
Florida! By departure time it had been decided that it might be just
a little too cold for the young ones '
so Mark and Heather got a
bundled up and braved the chilly 51 degree temps.
First stop in the bay was unproductive with live shrimp'
only a meager bite by snapper and catfish. Off to the outer islands
where the wind was blowing briskly at 15- 20 knots and carrying a
Two small reds and a couple of jacks greeted us.
Moved on to a channel with a good flow of incoming water inside
the pass and hit the jackpot with steady action from Redfish and
Trout to keep them both busy. I realized that they were well on
their way to an inshore slam '
and really wanted to see them get it.
Finally after some trial and error casting to the mangrove roots
Heather hits pay dirt with a reel screaming run from under the bank.
Two more runs and the big Snook was beginning to show signs of
but he had one more trick that he hadn't tried yet. Along
side the boat on the surface he gives his best Black Marlin
impression and Tail walks about 15 feet out and spits the hook.
but happy with the memories we headed back to the
marina for some welcomed warmth.
Capt. Kevin Bellington
Sea Gone Fishing Team