Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, Nov. 23-29

Bill Walsh

As we near December, the conditions become more volatile featuring quick changes in wind and temperature which are forecasted to play out very obviously this coming week. Mild temperatures and friendly wind conditions will tank over the weekend and greet us with tumbling air temperatures and accelerating winds.

Both elements will have an effect on our fishing quality. Of primary note is the descending air temperatures which will have an effect on water temperature by tumbling the current 73-75 water temperature several degrees over the latter days of the week.

But more importantly, accompanying the chill down will come the heightened wind speeds from W orientation featuring gusts in the twenty MPH range, which most likely will have a negative  effect on our water quality. But that’s late fall and winter here ... have to pick the most favorable weather conditions before you set sail. Additionally we will be coming off a full moon on Saturday that will trigger some very strong morning incoming tides (good) and exceptionally weak afternoon / evening outgoing tides (not so good).

Dawn Patrol Capt. Bill Walsh displays an angelfish caught by a guest during some backwater fishing.


Marco Island: Key issue continues to be water quality after enduring the hellacious red tide/algae infestation this summer. Thankfully, we are seeing water now that is both clear and free of contaminants. But as mentioned earlier, will have to fend off the riled water with the predicted wind. Good action now on still active mangrove snapper along the mangrove edges and pompano on early tides in the Passes and that has been joined with unusually active redfish action in current fed drop offs in the backwaters. And surprisingly now seeing good black drum action in same venue where drop offs shift to shallows.

Naples: With the water temps still hovering above 70, the snook that have moved off the beaches are fair game along the expanse from the Naples Bay docks (morning and evening) to the current points stretching along the ICW from the “junction” to Rookery Bay south entrance. Redfish, now of some size, are active along in the Henderson Creek shallow edges taking shrimp under popper with best on incoming last hours. Clean water drawing nice pompano into Hurricane Pass on this week’s strong morning incoming and taking small tipped jigs worked with repetitive bottom bounces......first hour best for solid action.

Bonita Springs: Back to the good ole days here......nice clean conditions with absence of Lake O fouled discharges. Snook are definitely majoring in the backwaters now and feeding heavily as the magic 70 degree nears. Estero would be the best venue working the current points with pilchards especially on this week’s extra strong tides. Lots of redfish action up at the Matlacha crossing fast morning current spots working live shrimp under popper. Back in Estero circa Mound Key grass flats for good action on spec trout working shrimp just off grass bottom on 4’ leader under popper


Marco Island: Will need to work around the windy periods this week ... gusts will be westerly producing rough water. Capri Pass barges still the favorite for the late season pelagics (mackerel, blues, jacks et al) and will be at the top of their game is the mornings fast tides this week. Five Mile Reef / SE corner for top action on take home mangrove and lane snapper. Deep wrecks that hold bait seeing southbound pelagics with dominance of kingfish taking tethered blue runner on wire under chum. Legendary action reported on triple tail taking sight cast tipped dark color jig to sunning TT on surface adjacent crab pot marker.

Naples: Good inshore action Gordon to Doctors 20-30’ structure for lane / mangrove snapper, early season sheepshead, small grouper with shrimp; weighted jig under chum. Check stone crab pot markers 30’ range for holding tripletail; work with surface tipped jig. Deep have reports of increasing action on mid range wrecks of pelagic action on retreating migrators falling for freelined live bait in block chum slick with stronger incoming tide best. Recommend testing same venues for yellowtail snapper schools; freeline tad of shrimp on #6 hook into chum slick; bail open; set post strike.

Bonita Springs: Conditions stable and clean. Good close in action east edges MAY Reef complex on both lane and mangrove snapper working weighted jigs just off the bottom in chum slick. May get surprised with porgies and flounder same venue that were displaced fouled water refugees. Deep ... very deep ... 80’ and beyond (40 miles) for any chance on keeper size traditional red grouper action working live pinfish on drift over hard bottom. Action may well move east as water temperature chills to sixty degree range in weeks ahead.

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