Inshore fishing at Marco Island in southwest Florida was slow in very high water temperatures over the weekend, but Crazy Alberto Knie always seems to have a trick up his sleeve even when conditions aren’t good.

After getting a break in afternoon thunderstorms, we did some small boat fishing with Dave Rizzo. We started with blind casting metal lures at the pass into the Gulf of Mexico which produced a few ladyfish for them while I only hooked a Spanish mackerel which Alberto turned into a live bait for Goliath grouper at the Marco Island Bridge. Alberto knew just where to drop that live mackerel and I was soon involved in a short but intense battle on a Shimano Trinidad reel with a pinned down drag needed to prevent it from cutting off in the pilings. Fortunately, it was the right size for an old man — and we soon released the Goliath that Alberto estimated at 70 pounds.

That species has been protected for years after divers almost wiped them out in spawning aggregations, but they’ve recovered so well that it’s hard to get a snapper off bottom on wrecks before a Goliath swallows it. Florida plans to allow some to be harvested next year by anglers buying permits in a lottery system.

Crazy Alberto and Al with Goliath before release

We didn’t get wet that afternoon, but the next afternoon made up for that after Alberto jumped a big tarpon which hit a small blue runner — and got off by that fish on his 80-pound mono. We couldn’t figure that one out as there were no obstructions and the fish was in the air when it cut off. Before heading back Monday morning, we joined John Mueller for a shot at redfish and snook in mangrove areas. but only came up with odds and ends of smaller species in the 83 degree

As noted in last night’s late blog, there were some impressive bigeye tuna boated during the first day of the 49th White Marlin Open at Ocean City, Md. and Cape May. N.J. However, with most of the 408-boat field fishing, there were very few billfish encountered — and none large enough to be brought in for weighing. There were just 29 white marlin released along with a surprisingly high 17 blue marlin. Don’t expect much change today as only 15 boats went to sea. If there are any changes to the leaderboard, I’ll add a late blog after the scales close.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported bluefish wouldn’t bite today, though two bonito were lost at the boat. They did catch some Spanish mackerel, chub mackerel, sea bass and ling.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had poor fluking today in tough drifting conditions. That boat is chartered on Sunday.

Northeast winds at just 5-10 knots are predicted for the morning, but showers and thunderstorms are possible in the afternoon.

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