Fishingcast: Conditions for SWFLA, Oct. 12-18

Bill Walsh

Last week we referenced the continued hurricane threat here right through the end of October and a bit beyond. Well here we are, the fortunate one’s this time, as Michael sails past us and has the Florida Panhandle at full alert. We offer our prayers for safety for those folks effected. Here, we will experience some intermittent rain and moderate wind conditions that should be totally dissipated by week end. On the red tide front, we should continue to experience a clear condition with the waters clean of the Karenia brevis micro-organism especially with the wind direction this week pushing waters offshore. General weather conditions this week are mild. The p.m. rain storms will be less frequent as Michael draws the water north; the general wind conditions are easterly come late weekend and through the balance of the week; the tides are coming off a new moon and feature a nice strong early morning incoming followed, unfortunately, with a super week p.m. outgoing. The water temperature should hold in the 80-82 range.

Christian Sommer of Naples caught this 12 lb. redfish off Naples Beach. He used a gulp under a popping cork for bait.



Marco Island: The brush-by produced by Michael will have very little effect here. Favorable fishing both pelagics in top waters and “reef” dwellers on the bottom should continue. In the latter domain, mangrove snapper remain the primary catch with a goodly number of those in the take home category. Best locales for action are the Hurricane Pass, Keewaydin mangrove edges and docks; the Rookery Bay flats just east of ICW #22R; and the island mangrove edges in the full extent of Addison Bay. Best action on shrimp tipped jig heads worked tight to structure. Redfish action is accelerating as the “pups” are being replaced by schools of nice size (16-22”) reds working the grass flats in Johnson Bay and the Henderson Creek area in Rookery Bay. Shrimp under a popper on a drift is the catch ticket.

Naples: Pompano have been a hot item in Hurricane Pass and that action should continue this week. The pomps are showing and working the bottom in the fast-moving water (early morning this week for best fast water). Simple white jigs tipped worked just off the bottom and keeping motion (not retrieve) in your bait. The rip rap and edges of Gordon Pass is a magnet for snook action – again, the best will be first light incoming post weekend with pilchards worked post shower. Look for redfish in the north part of Rookery Bay circa ICW R#58 along mangrove edges of shallow flats working shrimp under a popper.

Bonita Springs: Reports state that we have a very noticeable improvement in action from Estero on up to Charlotte Harbor and beyond. Don’t need any weather issues to disturb that trend and the “light” rain forecast here with Michael will keep the Lake O dam spill at a minimum. Still seeing snook hot action in the Gulf cuts Vanderbilt Beach to Carlos on the morning incoming working first light with pilchards post shower. Have to be there before sunrise. With first sun rays the snook vamoose. Juvenile tarpon have produced action at New Pass; in the cut, again early incoming on threads, pinfish. Careful release. Redfish are in full action mode circa the Matlacha Bridge spots at the top of the tide along shoreline overhangs with live bait under 4’ leader popper. Request: continue release of all snook and redfish.


Marco Island: Thankfully, sea conditions nearshore should continue favorable with only mild, moderate wind effect from storm. Might be tougher conditions deep. East winds should also hold off any “floater” accumulation. Look for continued pelagic action along the first and second reefs particularly late morning incoming. Top water species continue to be primarily mackerel, some bluefish and a plethora of hungry blue runners and jacks. Start with chum and work tipped jigs in the extreme top water. Structured reefs will have good action on mangrove and lane snapper and, surprisingly, some take home sheepshead (already).

Naples: Inshore for pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, jacks etc ) from Doctor’s to the Pier. Tipped jigs on wire under chum on the AM strong incoming. Bottom action same venue with weighted jigs to 1-2’ off bottom for lane and mangrove snapper action. 8-10mile artificial reefs and adjacent wrecks for first sightings of southbound pelagics (escaping Michael) kings, some cobia and permit working live bait in chum both to bottom and tethered mid depth. Best will be morning incoming. Poor PM water flow.

Bonita Springs: Near shore for continued good action on pelagics up top in the strong morning incoming with tipped jigs on wire under chum. Clean water offshore should continue. Some sea condition issues super deep following storm passage. Mid to deep reefs should begin to reverse migration action this week accentuated with schools escaping the ravages of the storm passage. Set up on deep wrecks that are holding bait with freelined live bait to tethered at 15-20 ft. all under chum.

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