Report for Naples, Marco Island and the Ten Thousand Islands
Capt. Matt Hoover
February 3, 2000
Marco Island - Saltwater Fishing Report
Red, Wind, And Blue
It was a tough week on the pond. We had major cold fronts pass through Florida that dropped the water temperature into the low sixties. It was very cold on the water in the morning. If you weren't dressed properly, you would be blue by the time you got to the first fishing spot. These fronts had some wind with them as well. Many of the guides get to didn't fish because of flight cancellations. States to the north of us got pounded with snow. Fish do not like getting blind-sided by that kind of drastic temperature drop. We had other problems to deal with as well. There has been a tremendous influx of red tide that came into the Marco and Ten Thousand Islands area. This stuff has been extremely nasty. A lot of folks, including myself, have been getting sick from it. Symptoms include irritated throat, eyes, headaches, and burning skin. The red tide stretches from inshore to at least five miles offshore.
Fish do not like red tide. If you couple that with cold water, you get a combination of elements that make fishing a real project. That doesn't mean that there weren't fish to catch. They just weren't jumping in the boat. There were places where the red tide wasn't prevalent. You can actually see the stuff in the water. If you found a deep run, you could pick up a trout or three. Most of my trout have been caught on a screw tail jig in the shrimp color. Deep hard bottom runs are still producing sheepshead. We have been catching them on chunks of shrimp weighted down with a split shot.
We saw a few redfish while flyfishing this week. I even managed to get one to take a fly. They have not been around in any significant numbers. I haven't heard of too many snook being caught in our area either. Snook have a hard time tolerating water temperatures in the sixties. They will move or "hole up". It does seem unusual. Some of the other guides have caught a couple. At the end of the day, most of us are standing around wishing spring was here. We have had enough of winter even though we really can't complain.
Winter will be over before we know it. The spring run of tarpon is just around the corner. It's time to get the big guns oiled or repaired. Don't wait till the last minute. Large snook will come into play as well. In the meantime, dress warm and wear a gas mask. I'll see you on the water.
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