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Marco Island Fishing Report

 

By: Capt Kevin Bellington

Sea Gone Fishing Charters

Marco Island'
 FL

Fishing Report

 

November 2014

 

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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 waters soon.

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.

 

 

Fishing Report

October, 2014

Chuck Stevens with Grouper Goliath Grouper

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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 10,000 Islands.

Redfish are 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 high tide.

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.

Unfortunately, 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.

Sharks and Goliaths are still available for the more adventurous angler.

 

Fishing Report
July 2014


With the onset of summer it can only mean one thing, Offshore
Fishing !!


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
angler.


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 Permit.
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 experienced anglers.

 

 

Fishing Report

June 2014 

 
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Offshore finally!  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 surface).

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.

 

 

Fishing Report

May 2014

 

With higher than normal winds, the fishing in the 10,000 islands has been slower than usual for May.

Finding clean 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 of year.

Redfish are holding closely to the Mangrove roots and have been difficult to lure out.

Snook to 30 inches have been found when fishing live baits placed far under the overhangs.

Offshore has fared a little better with keeper sized Red Grouper being caught in 40 -50 ft. of water off Marco.

Amberjacks are plentiful on the structures in 70 plus feet of water and have provided quite a few good trips.

With diminishing winds there should be a lot more clean water and a hotter bite across the board.

 

 

 

Fishing Report

March Report

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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.

However, 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.

Pompano, which 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.

Speckled Trout 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 specimens.

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.

 

Fishing Report

January 11th, 2014

Seagone Fishing at Marco Island  Fantastic fishing in Ten Thousnad Islands of SW Florida

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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. range.

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 filling fast.

Phone:                      239-642-7310

"Sea" you at our departing dock:

Calusa Island Marina
385 Angler Dr.
Goodland, FL.  34140

(10 to 12 minutes from anywhere on Marco Island).

 

 

 

Fishing Report

November 23rd, 2013

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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 as possible.

Trout are 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.

Sheephead are 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.

Permit are 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 small.

Redfish were 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 see us.

Sea Gone fishing Report

October 19, 2013

Fishing report

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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 sneaky.

Redfish are 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.

Pompano and Flounder are still biting and can be a tasty addition to your assortment.  Slowly working a shrimp on a jig head pausing frequently to make sure you are hitting bottom works well.

 

 

 

 

October 5th, 2013

 Fishing Report

 

A 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 flow.

Flounder have 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!

 

 

 

 

September 2013

Fishing Report

Hot weather has brought on hot fishing.   And offshore Grouper fishing is no exception.

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 best catches in 45-60 ft. of water, and over hard bottom.  Sizes 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.  Fish for them like you would a Bass.  Find 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 them.

 

 

August 2013

Fishing Report

 

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I haven't 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:  Red 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 and chum"method.   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.  Tie 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.  Now 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.

Gag Grouper:  Some folks say that they prefer Gag Grouper to Red Grouper.  I honestly can't tell much difference myself.  But 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.  Another method is to troll artificial plugs like a Stretch 30 or Bomber.  Make 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.

Snapper:  Less is more, light leaders and small hooks are the ticket for snappers.

One fish that is surprisingly good table fare is the White Grunt.  These will be present in the same areas that you find Red grouper and Grey snappers.  Small to medium circle hooks and light (10-20 lb. leader) works well for these tasty critters.

 

July 10th, 2013

Weather Report 

 

I usually post a fishing report here about this time, but I think I would like to change things up a little.

This is going to be more of a Weather report.

The 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 warning.  Experienced  anglers  will always be aware of the weather surrounding them and be ready to react instantly should the situation deteriorate.

One of the best tools available to Guides and recreational angles alike is common sense.

Used wisely your own common sense will keep you safe in most weather emergencies.

Watch the skies!! If the clouds begin to build in an upward plume with darkening bottoms there is a high likelihood of a thunderstorm.

Listen!! 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.

Waiting 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.

Lastly 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.

Oh by the way, the fishing is getting HOT again .

 

Fishing Report

 

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 thundershowers.

Snappers are moving in from the deeper waters and taking up residence in the passes around fast moving water.  Shrimp on a small weight are my choice for targeting these tasty fish.

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.

 

 

Fishing Report

May 2013

  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 banks.

Tight lines

Capt Kevin

 

Fishing Report

March/April 2013

 

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 customers,....they're not scared.  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'
 although there have been some Redfish catches using live white bait  or live 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.

 

 

 

Fishing Report

March 11th'
 2013

 

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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'
000 Islands.

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 numbers.

Sea Gone 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 areas.

Spanish Mackerel and Black Drum have been found in some unlikely places lately,  namely Trout havens,  so be prepared for anything.

 

 

 

Fishing Report

February 17th'
 2013

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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 pounds.

With fishing being as good as it’s been for the last week'
 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 fire!

 

Fishing Report

January 24th'
 2013

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'
 “Bipolar”.

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”'
 and several 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.

 

 

Fishing Report

January 3rd'
 2012

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 10'
000 Islands were almost dry.  But our customers  would not be deterred  and  fished on.

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'
 or even  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.

December 17th

Our weather here in the 10'
000 Islands has been all over the charts. From cold grey skies to blistering heat'
 all in a matter of 2 weeks. But it has made the fishing interesting if nothing else.

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'
 Tripletail!!

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.

 

Nov 29th'
 2013

 

Cold weather means hot fishing for spotted sea trout.

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 grass nearby'
 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 retrieve slowly'
 stopping occasionally'
 and jig the shrimp up off the bottom with a quick motion'
 then allow it to sink back down slowly.

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.

 

Fishing Report

 

 

A windy start to November kept the fishing confined to the back bays and protected islands'
 but that is not all bad.

Trout have been the fish of choice for most anglers here in the 10'
000 Islands. Plentiful and tasty'
 these voracious hunters can be taken with any number of baits or artificial lures.

Of course the ever popular live shrimp is always a good choice'
 especially for novice anglers.

Slowly retrieving a shrimp on a jig or weighted hook is probably the most productive method.

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.

Sheepshead 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.

Redfish have 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.

Fishing Report

October Report


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 Oyster bars.

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 Report

September fishing in the 10'
000 islands can be rewarding'
 and frustrating at the same time.Afternoon rainstorms have kept the water  temps down'
 but at the same time it has been difficult at times to find clean water resulting in an abundance of our whiskered friends the catfish.

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'
 slow small movements are the key to attracting the hungry reds. Too much action only increases your chances of a break off on the oyster bottom.

Trout are still available'
 but Tropical 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 + ft. depths.

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   shark hunter.

 

July Report

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.

Offshore was starting to look good as well with the opening of Gag Grouper the 1st of July'
 There were lots of keeper sized Gags in 20-35 ft. of water off Marco.

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.

 

 

June 7th'
 2012

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 Mangroves'
 New Penny and Natural were the colors that produced the best results.

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.

April 2012

Well the wind is still a factor in the fishing here in The 10'
000 Islands.

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'
 Flounder'
 Southern Kingfish are in good supply.

Can you say SHARK? On the last 4 "Shark Hunts" our customers have caught and released at least 40 sharks including an 11 ft. Tiger Shark '
as well as numerous Lemon'
 Black tip'
 Sandbar'
 Dusky'
 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'
 then'
 of course'
 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.

 

 

 

February Fishing report

 February 2012 

Fishing in the Ten Thousand Islands can be as challenging as it is rewarding'
 and 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 temperatures'
 moving out of the usual haunts and proving very elusive.

Speckled sea trout too'
 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 been improving'
 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.

Redfish have returned to familiar spots and seem hungry as ever.  Live shiners'
 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!

 

January 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 problem'
 but getting them to eat proved to be a bit more challenging.  Working live shrimp very slowly near the mangroves provided the best results for reds'
 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'
 silver 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.

 

 

December Fishing Report

 

 Click photos to view full size.

Seagone client with big triple tail.December 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 challenge.

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'
000 Islands.

Sheep head are back along with an abundance of Whiting'
 Spotted Sea Trout and Silver Trout.

Another visitor has shown up on the buoy lines close to shore and that is the fantastic Tripletail!  Trash 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

November 1-10'
 2011

 

Ok.  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'
000 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)'
 and 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 season closed'
 it is great to have other species to target.

Most of our trips have resulted in multiple species usually between 10 and 15 different fish.

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!

 

 

 

"Take a Soldier Fishing" tournament this past Saturday hosted at the Calusa Island Marina.

Click on photos to view full size

Sea Gone Fishing 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, Florida.  Fishing the 10,000 islands area allowed all aboard to catch a huge variety of species and sizes that are available in our fish abundant waters.Sea Gone Fishing 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'
 Florida.  Fishing the 10'
000 islands area allowed all aboard to catch a huge variety of species and sizes that are available in our fish abundant waters.

 

Take a soldier fishingCaptain Kevin Bellington was honored to be at the helm of the Sea Gone 1 with Master Sergeant Dana Juarez and her two sons'
 Armando and Antonio.   Although these "jarheads" (per MSgt Dana) had little fishing experience'
 all 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'
 snapper'
 small sharks 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.

 

Take a Soldier Fishing tournamentCaptain Randy Vest was at the helm of the Sea Gone 2 and was thrilled with the opportunity to take Master Sergeant Alonzo Cherry'
 his wife Monica and their six year old son Alijah 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.

 

 

 

Capt Kevin Bellington's fishing reportWind and rain have kept most of the Sea Gone customers in the protected backwaters of the 10'
000 Islands in the past 2 weeks'
 where they 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 customers.

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.

 

 

 

 May 15th'
 2011

Fishing Report

April

 

 

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 and ledges.

 

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 improve.

 

12/10/10-12/24/10

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'
 the bite 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'
 2010

 

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 babysitter'
 bundled up and braved the chilly 51 degree temps.

First stop in the bay was unproductive with live shrimp'
 enticing 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 stinging mist.

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 tiring'
 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.

Disappointed'
 but happy with the memories we headed back to the marina for some welcomed warmth.

 

Capt. Kevin Bellington

Sea Gone Fishing Team