Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, June 7-13

Bill Walsh
Jerry from New Jersey with a nice snook using a live mullet head.

Just when anglers get used to nice tranquil wind conditions hooked onto gin clean water. The vacillating early summer conditions come roaring back and such it will be the latter part of this coming week.

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Those mornings with dead flat surface conditions and translucent water will change overnight to westerly winds churning up out of the west and northwest with a steady 12-15 knot wind further accented with 20-25 knot gusts.

Bottom line that should provide a couple day fishing hiatus right into the weekend as things then cycle back to favorable fishing conditions. Conversely, that two to three-day disruption could be a blessing in disguise especially in the backwaters (i.e. the “too clear water” syndrome) could be taken off kilter and the usual semi-clear water that provides normal feeding occlusion for the late spring, early summer species could return with a roar.

Those conditions will be complemented with but a light variance in water temperatures (82 to 84) and a reasonable tide movement both ways with the afternoon outgoing just a tad stronger than the morning flood tide. 


Marco Island: There is a learning curve on how to approach water as crystal clear as what this area has experienced these past three to four weeks. Best advice: Minimize tackle to lessen disruptive distraction (i.e. downsize leader); switch to flourocabon, use smaller hooks etc. That is in reply to anguish experienced backwater anglers are faced with in Marco backwaters. Best action now is mangrove snapper, some snook, few redfish back here and pelagics (i.e pompano, mackerel, bluefish) in the passes and connecting waterways. Both tides will work well this coming week before the forecasted weather brakes are applied late mid-week.

Naples: Adjacency of Gordon Pass provides superb backwaters i.e. Naples Bay, Port Royal ICW junction, Dollar Bays, North Rookery paying off. Good to very good action on snook early just off Gordon jetty and south edges Gordon Pass with enormous bait schools working the clean fast-moving water. Redfish reported vicinity of Rookery Bay’s Henderson Creek cut and associated cuts and edges with best working early weekend high water with pilchards post multiple bait showers. More than a few positive reports of pompano action Hurricane Pass. Try last of high mid-morning tide with tipped jigs worked on clear water compatible tackle.

Bonita Springs: The FWC provided report on toxic water conditions continues to show a clear slate for waters in our area from Fort Myers to South of Marco. Some caution to watch carefully when the torrid summer rains kick in. So, far -so good. Still getting tarpon sightings and action circa Carlos Point north with reported frequency most at incoming first light. Light action however, mostly on threadfin freelined. Good action up against Estero east mangrove edges, creeks on redfish at top of incoming which points to good action early weekend here. Recommend hand-picked shrimp light flouro leader under popper tight to overhangs.      


Marco Island: Early morning high water weekend and early week prime chance for mackerel, pompano action Sandollar Island with scaled down tipped jigs under light fluorocarbon on drift over sand bottom. Cut as tide goes slack. Mid-range reports of good mackerel action top water at Walton Reef just off first light working tipped flashy jigs under chum. Best at anchor with big cut bait on bottom, sharks, goliath grouper. Deep action on wrecks with bait schools in evidence for kings and blacktip sharks deep on cut bait under chum just off bottom. Chance kingfish in 15-25’ range taking live runner under 20’ float.

Naples: Close in Keewaydin Beach (vicinity of island homes) in shallow (7-12 ft.) working jigs loaded with shrimp on downsized tackle under chum for active pelagics (i.e. mackerel, pompano and porgies and snapper) on either tide. Some curious redfish and even snook possible in stable water. Mid-gulf (40’ to 60’) on wrecks and reefs with tipped weighted jigs under chum for good size lane and mangrove and even yellowtail snapper.  Deep work wrecks showing huge schools of bait that draw major pelagics heading north. Good chance for kingfish, cobia, barracuda and, of course, meandering sharks and goliath grouper.

Bonita Springs: Experiencing solid pelagic action all along the coast from Wiggins to north of Carlos. Early action (major species) early a.m. cool; expect snook who have arrived west edges for spawn circle hooks for sure. MAY Reef complex east edges and cuts for mangrove and lane snapper to 14” on weighted tipped jigs worked just off the bottom - shrimp bait of choice. Super deep (60-75’) a very few keeper size coveted red grouper reported working a live thread just off the bottom with sash weight; must report most all reds undersized yet. Super deep wrecks for amberjack on vertical drop of live bait right into structure.

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