Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, Sept. 28-Oct. 4

Bill Walsh

Interesting that the steady easterly and southeasterly wind pattern along our coast has effectively moved the vanguard of the red tide mass north and northwesterly. News from the Tampa Bay Area unfortunately supports the transition. Not back to considered normal here yet; but it’s getting close north to south. Elsewhere, the general weather conditions continue the superheated side.

Sherrie Cousineau with her first snook while on vacation; fishing with Capt Christian Sommer.

Afternoon real feel air temperatures continue to nudge the 90-degree mark repeatedly and that’s not only uncomfortable for us; it’s a turn-off for the fish as they seek shade and deeper, cooler water. Expect so see a continuation of the 86-88-degree water, especially, in the shallower flats in the backwater. And to digress for a moment. The hurricane season isn’t over yet.

A few years back we had Hurricane Wilma take Cape Romano and everything north and south apart on Oct. 23; so, keep your boat storage plans in place for a while yet. Elsewhere, looks like a good week with moderate post full moon tides with a better morning incoming. Winds will go gusty for a couple days post weekend and the late afternoon t-storms could pop up most anywhere.  


Marco Island: With cleaner water here earlier, good chance fish “relocated” escaping red tide. Example: two reports of minimum size but keeper sheepshead Marco River docks. Expect same action elsewhere. Seeing black drum deeper drop offs in Addison Bays now working small cut bait slowly tight to deeper hole bottoms. Mangrove snapper late summer mainstay and many to keeper size now. Work areas: edges Addison Bay; drop offs Capri Channel; creek edges Johnson and Rookery Bays on light jig head with shrimp. Redfish at Henderson Creek mangrove overhangs; top of incoming; shrimp 4’leader under popper to edges.

Naples: Snook action continues hot – snook “alley” Gordon River south edges Pass to Port Royal junction. Early incoming with pilchards post shower. Some action snook Naples docks late on small threadfin freelined to structure. Fall redfish action accelerating Dollar Creek edges – both sides – Shrimp 4’ leader to popper late incoming. Redfish target spot Henderson Creek top of incoming with same rig tight to overhang. Pompano Hurricane Pass cut first hour full incoming with tipped small jig on drift.

Bonita Springs: Distance from Caloosahatchee spillway, river key factor re: distance from algae intrusion. Red tide absence a key positive factor. Most action spots north Matlacha, Pine Island Sound and south of Big Carlos. Snook action slowing a bit; bull reds to mid-20” heating up in schools working flats on live bait worked tight to shrub mangrove edges on live bait. Mangrove snapper at peak bite taking shrimp worked on 1/4 oz jig heads on incoming current. Trout action hot circa Mound Key bars and sea grass cuts.


Marco Island: Nearshore showing good bait schools all along the first and second and stretching south to Cape Romano. Top water action on pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, jacks) early incoming with chum to draw and small tipped jigs on wire worked rapidly for action. Five Mile Reef south to the Naftal’s Reef for bottom action on lane, mangrove snapper et al with best on incoming. Weighted jigs under chum here. Deep wrecks seeing first reverse migration pelagics showing deep on bait laden wrecks. With live bait tethered on wire leader under a float in chum.

Naples: In close the best choice would be the east edges of the Gordon Five and the Santa Lucia wreck. Set on incoming with block chum effort and work surface with tipped jigs under chum and go deep at same venue with live bait set mid depth on wire with sizable cut or live bait. Deep the choices expand on the number of wrecks that hold bait and are an attractant for returning pelagics jumping on live bait. Frequent visitors are cobia (on surface with cast threadfin) or kingfish (mid depth on tethered live bait on wire, under chum).

Bonita Springs: Close inshore the clean water is a terrific positive producing good action in most spots on both top water pelagics and bottom action snapper, and other bottom targets. Mid-range (5-15 miles) is considered “iffy” as some of the fouled water pushed northwest has patches of avoided water. Then going deep to the 20-plus mile range seems to reestablish the action arena for returning pelagics as well as resident bottom fish. Out there look for kings, cobia, permit and sharks right through the water column and feeding in the cleaner water.

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