Rookery Bay Question

Hey Folks,
I retired a few years ago and have since been visiting FL in the spring. I'll be a bit further south this year than yrs past, and will have fishing access via a kayak to Rookery Bay just north of Marco Island. I'll be arriving for two weeks about March 7th. I'm hoping to get a bit of general info from those more familiar. In particular, given that it's been a warm spring, will the redfish still be shallow? Do they stay shallow all year or do they move out as water warms up? Same question with Snook - do they head for deeper water at some point?  Sorry for the rookie questions but it's a different world than fishing WI, and a heck of a lot to learn (which I agree is a big part of the fun).  PS - be willing to share info with anyone who per chance fishes the Turtle Flambeau Flowage (Northern WI) for muskies.

Thanks alot,
BadgerFan.

Replies

  • MollyBrownMollyBrown Posts: 5 Greenhorn
    Casting very tightly to the shore is the best bet year around.  Focus on areas within a 100 yds or so of an entrance to the bay or bays within the main bay.  Any place that has some flow is worthwhile.  If the water looks like chocolate milk, go somewhere else.   Within the main body of the bay, fishing is just so-so.  There is a lot of interesting water between Marco and the Rookery.  You could hit pay dirt in those areas perhaps better than in the bay.  If you are launching at the landing in the park at Shell Island Rd, the area near the launch can be pretty good.  To the west and north of the landing, lots of creeks  and nooks to check out.  Good luck.  
  • Drifting_ByDrifting_By ChicagoPosts: 95 Greenhorn
    I'm interested in this area too, it looks good from the Google Earth view. I only know a little bit, but my understanding is the small and slot size redfish stay inshore year round the bulls move out into nearshore areas. I believe some of the big snook stay inshore year-round too, but will move nearshore when water gets very warm which it won't in March. But hey I live in Chicago and have only fished inshore in Florida a few seasons so if anyone local chimes in listen to them not me!

    But I should arrive in south FL on Saturday with the kayak on top of my Jeep. I may just fish this area early next week along with the Goodland and Everglades City area. Looks like there's a kayak launch spot on Shell Island Road with good access to Rookery Bay but I've never fished there. If I do fish there I'll report here!
  • 10kman10kman Posts: 507 Officer
       BadgerFan,have fished Rookery and Johnson many times.So,
    let's start with the North side of Rookery with all of the small

    islands is a bit deeper.The South side has many small to med.
    bays.So when moving stay on North side.Redfish can tolerate
    temp.extremes,65-95.Snook,ideal around 75 and tarpon there
    around low 70,gone above low 80's.Tackle,think bass and doing
    alot of casting to the mangroves.If your not getting hung up once
    in awhile,your not close enough.
      Lures-1/8 and 1/4oz jigs with whole shrimp threaded on jig and/or
    Gulp.Zara Spook Jr. red/white,bone or mullet colored.Gold spoons
    wdls.and/or with trebles.Line 10-14lb.braid with 25-40 lb leaders.
       Must have elec.motor to move around in particular,reds.Reds
    very senstive to noise and odor.
        There are some very big fish in these bays.Best snook and
    tarpon I've caught where here. Gopherfan who fishes.
     
  • snook_footsnook_foot Posts: 1 Greenhorn
    Badger...  
    10k has it pegged... fish have tails!  Have caught some “slobs” out of the same waters... however... fire one day can easily mean ice the next as waters are always changing here based on winds/tides/ etc. As a mutual Cheesehead living here for 15 years I will gladly share knowledge... just not spots!  16 years and I’m still learning... but that is what makes us fisherman... not catcher man. PM me for more info. Would be glad to meet up and chat over a brandy old fashioned. 
  • BadgerFanBadgerFan Posts: 14 Greenhorn
    Hey All - Thx for the input! Good to at least get that first step in the right direction. I appreciate the help, and will post my experience, the good, bad, and ugly. Speaking of ugly, is it a horrible idea to hook a fish on a stringer and drag it off the side of a kayak if perchance I caught a keeper? I saw a guy do this on a YouTube video, and I can't imagine that being a safe thing to do.....

    PS - 10Kman, my youngest daughter is a gopher at present (last year in school!). So I have come to accept the MN gophers as an acceptable team to root for (not on plane with the badgers yet however). 

    Snook_foot, I'll drop you a note - never met an old fashioned I didn't like.
    Thx again.
  • Paucan6005Paucan6005 Port of the islandsPosts: 34 Greenhorn
    Not a great idea to tow a stringer you might meet up with the local tax collector ( shark) tug of war in a kayak not fun
  • Drifting_ByDrifting_By ChicagoPosts: 95 Greenhorn
    Went there 2 days ago, conditions weren't the best. High winds made the main bay very hard to navigate in a kayak and really stirred the water up, water clarity was poor couldn't see my lure 1 foot under. Made my way to some back areas but by that time tide was high and slack. Went back by the kayak launch area and caught 2 17" trout on consecutive carts and then nothing. Total for the day was 2 trout, 2 small jacks, 2 puffer fish that bit my paddletails in half when lifted out of the water, and a baby goliath grouper. 

    Dirty water seems to be an issue everywhere I've gone so far on this trip. I need to find some clean water! 
  • 1outlaw1outlaw Naples FLPosts: 1,097 Officer


    Dirty water seems to be an issue everywhere I've gone so far on this trip. I need to find some clean water! 
    Have you made it too goodland or choko yet?
    Jason :USA
  • snookaffinitysnookaffinity Naples, FLPosts: 1,124 Officer
    edited March 7 #10
    I went out Monday and fished Henderson Creek and Rookery Bay. Henderson Creek was dirty except near the mouth. Caught 2 small snook, 1 small redfish, 1 jack and 1 18 inch  trout. Going to Goodland tomorrow.
    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
  • Drifting_ByDrifting_By ChicagoPosts: 95 Greenhorn
    edited March 7 #11
    1outlaw said:


    Dirty water seems to be an issue everywhere I've gone so far on this trip. I need to find some clean water! 
    Have you made it too goodland or choko yet?
    I went to Goodland yesterday morning at low tide hoping to catch a redfish on the flats when the water came up. It was very dirty there, couldn't see bottom in 6 inches of water. Saw one redfish on the flats thst wasn't interested in my lure. Caught a hardhead when I made the mistake of casting into a hole. And there were lots of dolphins there.

    Today I launched out of Capri Paddle Park, much cleaner water there. Poked around a few hours looking for a good redfish spot finally found an area that looked good and caught a beautiful 26" red along the mangroves on a 3" paddletail.
  • BadgerFanBadgerFan Posts: 14 Greenhorn
    Put in at Shell Island launch Saturday - same story regarding dirty water. I'd presume if I got further into the backwaters that water would generally clear up to some degree? Is that generally true? Thx.
  • 10kman10kman Posts: 507 Officer
        Generally closer to Gulf clearer the water unless a good
    wind stirring the waters.Less than clean  water not so bad-
    You can't see the fish,they probably can't see you.
       But milky water the worst,you will only catch catfish in
    that water.
  • BadgerFanBadgerFan Posts: 14 Greenhorn
    I said I'd report the good, bad and ugly so here you go. The good, put in off of Shell Island Road and went west, water seemed to have cleared up a bit. One medium snook on brown jig with a while gulp tail. Saw a couple of reds in shallow, but couldn't get them to hit anything. The ugly, when in a kayak, I learned the hard way to not bump your paddle off the kayak when your anchored on the edge of current. By the time I had the anchor up, my paddle was 15-20 yards from me and floating away. I had to lay on my belly and paddle with my arms to catch up. Fortunately, the paddle didn't stay in the main current, or I may be still paddling.  All good fun thou.
  • Drifting_ByDrifting_By ChicagoPosts: 95 Greenhorn
    I also put in at shell island road today, the water was much cleaner. Didn't get there until early afternoon though because I spent all morning dreaming with insurance companies because of the accident the other day. Since the rise was already up and coming in hard I stayed close to the launch point and cast a gulp shrimp on a jig. Caught 2 keeper trout and a small jack. A ladyfish was hooked but jumped free, no loss.

  • Lake-LinkerLake-Linker Posts: 82 Greenhorn
    Badger - Hobie makes a triangular soft cooler that fits inside the bow hatch of several types of SOT kayaks - including my Hobie Revo. It's big enough for a bag of ice,a couple quarts of Gatorade,and (my opinion) "plenty" of fish. Even if it weren't for the possibility of the taxman taking his cut,dragging dinner around for hours in 80* water isn't my idea of a tasty meal.

    I spent a few days fishing out of the Shell island Rd access last year. I used the San Marco Rd bridge/Goodland bay access for a week solid this year. This 'Badger fan' preferred the second.
  • Drifting_ByDrifting_By ChicagoPosts: 95 Greenhorn
    I have a 52 quart Igloo cooler that fits perfectly in the back of my Tarpon 120, it's strapped down tight. Very easy to open it and throw fish in there, no way can I get to my front hatch when I'm on the water.

    And BadgerFan - tether your paddle to your kayak! I have everything tethered or strapped down on mine... learned the hard way on that one. There's a marsh in southeast Louisiana that swallowed up a brand new $250 rod/reel combination after it got plucked out after getting snagged on a shrub.
  • CataholicCataholic Posts: 20 Greenhorn
    Great thread.  I'll be down in Goodland first week of April, and will be looking to score a few fish too.


    I have a kayak there, but will mainly be fishing out of my 17 Montauk.  I've been told on another forum that trout should be pretty hot about  that time.  I've only caught a few randomly, but have had others tell me wild tales of catching them one after another.

    Query:  best bait for trout.

    Query 2:  do you eat them?  I think I've cooked one way back but so long i dont really remember.  Any advice on that?
    The view from here...


    ATcvO3Pt.jpg
  • hellsgatehellsgate NaplesPosts: 40 Greenhorn
    Eat trout?  YES!
    bucktail jig with a bit of shrimp. Lots of folks use artificial
  • Drifting_ByDrifting_By ChicagoPosts: 95 Greenhorn
    Trout are fantastic eating! Almost every one I've ever caught was on a new penny colored Gulp shrimp on a 1/8oz jig head, either under a popping cork or by itself. If trout are there they will eat that, I've tossed that into a school of them and they hit it literally the second it hits the water.
  • 1outlaw1outlaw Naples FLPosts: 1,097 Officer
    Keep in mind that trout does not freeze well. Good luck with your trip. Fishing should be excellent!
    Jason :USA
  • CataholicCataholic Posts: 20 Greenhorn
    Thanks guys.  Maybe we'll have us a trout fest.  
    The view from here...


    ATcvO3Pt.jpg
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 448 Deckhand
    BadgerFan said:
    I said I'd report the good, bad and ugly so here you go. The good, put in off of Shell Island Road and went west, water seemed to have cleared up a bit. One medium snook on brown jig with a while gulp tail. Saw a couple of reds in shallow, but couldn't get them to hit anything. The ugly, when in a kayak, I learned the hard way to not bump your paddle off the kayak when your anchored on the edge of current. By the time I had the anchor up, my paddle was 15-20 yards from me and floating away. I had to lay on my belly and paddle with my arms to catch up. Fortunately, the paddle didn't stay in the main current, or I may be still paddling.  All good fun thou.
    This is why I started carrying a small emergency paddle. Especially if I was by myself.  Never needed after I bought it but wish I had it previous to that
Sign In or Register to comment.