Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, Feb. 1-7

Martin Albertus
Marco Eagle

This week’s forecast calls for a few showers early week and then settles itself into a placid and very favorable fishing week. No wild weather and features mild winds from the NE and air temperatures in the mid 70’s. That’s very favorable for the anglers; not too sure what it will do to the cold water species being sought. If the forecasts play out the water temperature now in the mid-60’s could elevate to circa 70 degrees........that’s bad for the cold water species i.e. sheepshead, drum , whiting etc that are our winter staple. We’ll have to see how it plays out. The tides are a plus as we transcend through a new moon phase mid week producing moderate tides both ways right up to next weekend. And finally, the water quality is staying very good with little evidence of the red tide or other fouling issues. So, bottom line, a much better fishing week than we have experienced in awhile.                                     

Trevally fish also known as Jackfish


MARCO ISLAND: With stable weather conditions, will be a toss up as to how the winter species respond. Last week’s overall action in the backwaters was slow.....we’ll see how the warm-up this week effects the winter species. Recommend that whatever fishing is ventured be done in deeper (cooler) water locations and adjacent to barnacled structure. Might want to target some nice size mangrove snapper that are plentiful on the bottom structure in Addison Bay and Johnson Bay working a shrimp bait on a light jig tight to the bottom. Also good chance a redfish will be interested in your effort. (Remember to release reds)

NAPLES: Good action on the smaller redfish continues. Great light tackle action on the superabundance of these northern hatchery escapees with best venue on either sides of the ICW circa Dollar Bay and south to it’s maze of creeks and cuts. All on shrimp under a popper set on a 3-4’ leader. Remember all release on redfish. Some question as water warms on sheepshead but worth a try in the deeper holes in north part of Rookery Bay. Hurricane Pass delivering action along Keeywadin Beach on the outgoing tides for good size whiting and some silver trout. All on tipped small jigs worked tight to the bottom.

BONITA SPRINGS: Action is staying red hot from Estero all the way up along Pine Island. A complete reversal of what was experienced with the red tide and Big O fouled water late last year. Vividly shows what water quality can do and is so important to maintain good conditions. Redfish action, albeit small, is red hot just about everywhere. Please carefully release all. Sheepshead action throughout Estero is over the top working cut shrimp / fiddler crabs tight to barnacled structure. Good reports on trout action circa Mound Key bars working shrimp under popper on a tidal drift.

Capt. Bill Walsh owns a charter fishing business and holds a U.S. Coast Guard license. Send comments to