Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, May 31-June 6

Bill Walsh
Brett from Colorado with a nice Cobia using a live sand flea.

As we turn the corner into summer, we already have early summer here on the Paradise Coast under our belt. This coming week promises more of the same run up to our-hard-to-forecast summer conditions here. Peacefully, we have no rip-roaring storms or treacherous winds in the forecast, but what we do have is searing heat and racing tides. Look for most days to be copy-cats of prior conditions with no let up, especially on the heat. For the first time in 2019 we have an actual (non-real feel) afternoon temperature to exceed 90 degrees; a harbinger of things to come. Speaking of “what’s to come” contemporary news articles are already bespeaking about the potential danger and heightened probability of the red tide and blue-green algae invasion here as the water heats up (84 degrees today) and the same degradation characteristics of Lake O and Big Sugar support remains the unchanged. But enough of that and back to the week ahead. We have mentioned the heat; you’ll want to add to that the predictions of super strong tides as we near the full moon early week. Morning incoming tides will be normal with a daily range of just under 2.0 ft. on the morning incoming. That will radically change for the afternoon, evening outgoing tide that is predicted to be running ranges of over 4 ft. in a six-hour segment; if you go on the late morning, early p.m. outgoing hang on. Some of the six-hour range change predictions exceed water level change in excess of 4.’ Bottom line the water will be racing.

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Marco Island: Unique factors in play now in the backwaters; the water clarity is super clean and green. Can clearly see bottom in 8-10 ft. and beyond. That should be a huge plus but it isn’t because the water is overloaded with gazillions of pilchards, sardines, etc. etc. Your target are totally engrossed in bait overflow. Clearly, the best timing might be working the last hour of the incoming or the first part of a faster outgoing. Look for good action then on pompano, permit in Capri Pass and Hurricane Passe with tipped jig worked tight to the bottom on moderate tidal flow; then work edges same venue for snapper tight to downed fauna.

Naples: On inquiry, am informed exceptional water clarity and excessive bait a non-issue there. But clean and calm enough to sight fish snook along the south edges of Gordon Pass on a.m. incoming with bait netted same venue. Snook closed Gordon north and all eff June 1. Mangrove snapper North Rookery Bay on edges under shadow overhangs working shrimp to bottom – a.m. incoming best. Small to medium redfish Rookery Bay Shell Island to Henderson Flats working whole shrimp under popper tight to overhang edges with best on morning incoming. Pompano in ultra clean water Hurricane Pass a.m. incoming with tipped jigs worked to bottom,

Bonita Springs: Reports on water quality confirm current clarity good but potential for green-blue algae return under caution. Good morning snook action surging in Passes – Wiggins to New Pass early morning moderate incoming – edge cuts and creeks with pilchards post shower. Snook - all release now. Pompano action west edges Big Hickory Channel on drop offs with best late morning incoming working 1/4 oz tipped jigs just off the bottom. Matlacha Bridge cuts for sustained redfish action. Try last half morning incoming working hand picked shrimp under popper tight to mangrove overhangs.


Marco Island: Collective reports on very good to excellent action in “shallows” – 7-10 ft. – just off the beaches Capri Pass to Caxambas working tipped small jigs into the bait bunches – pompano, permit, mackerel all active. Timing – early morning incoming. Mackerel congregating Capri Pass Channel just off wrecks. Draw with chum and work top water with jigs on wire. Small blacktip sharks in the mix. Deep water wrecks holding bait for kings, cobia. Read fish finder approaching spot – bait schools a positive. Set up live runner tethered on wire at 10-15 ft. under chum. Cobia will show on surface. Sight cast threadfin for super action.

Naples: Good action west edges Keewaydin; 5-7 ft. depths just off houses working small tipped jigs in light chum for variety - snapper, small mackerel, pompano, small permit – all feeding tight to bottom with best morning moderate incoming. Deep wreck structure with evident bait for good to very good yellowtail snapper action working tads of chum on #6 hooks in slick – bail open with ten seconds to set. Permit thick on Towers SW – worthwhile long run in flat seas this week. Work with surface harvested crabs freelined under chum. Use stout fast retrieve gear to avoid goliath grouper steals.

Bonita Springs: Solid action reported on lane, mangrove snapper bottom, mackerel, bluefish surface on east edges May Reef complex. Surmise best action morning moderate incoming under chum. Deeper wrecks showing significant bait schools for northbound pelagics King mackerel, cobia, some permit working live bait tethered in good chum slick. Expect surface action on blacktip sharks as well as barracuda. Red grouper potential action in 30- to 40-mile range still slow with slight improvement this past week working threads right into bottom structure on tidal drift.

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