Looks like we will get a short-lived respite from the steady diet of the southwest to northeast storm pattern that has prevailed this past week. The forecast pattern is consistent with average air temperatures in the high 70s in the mornings and then finishing the days in the mid-80s. Rain (storms) should be well scattered and of moderate intensity and of note – all predictions are rain in the afternoons; o the bit cooler mornings should be your pick this week. Favorable will be the wind conditions with zero days forecast with winds above single digit and out of the east and southeast – if that comes to pass you can be assured of reasonably clean water throughout both nearshore and offshore. Water temperature will continue seasonably warm with backwaters logging in circa 82-83 and the near and offshore a few degrees less dependent on depth. The tides are going through a full moon cycle post weekend and will feature a moderate morning incoming and a stronger afternoon ebb that will reach a three-foot drop in six hours. Based on that fact and the lack of precipitation in the mornings, recommend mornings this week for both backwater and near/offshore angling.
Marco Island: Favorable water clarity and reasonable water flow off moderate tides should point to good action back here. The start of the incoming tide to coincide with early first light should put all three Passes in play early for pelagic action working huge active bait schools. Look to bird action for adjacency and “match the patch” with shrimp worked on the back end of a 1/4 oz. jig head just off the bottom on a drift. And if the mackerel are thick can even switch over a 4-5 knot troll. Back inside (Addison, Rookery and Johnson Bay) for good size snapper working current swept edges with shrimp under popper. Pompano at Hurricane, same time.
Naples: Although snook assembling along Gulf edges for spawn, enough sizable ones remain working Gordon River through Bay early and feeding huge pilchard schools with favorable timing this week on early incoming. Reports of fair to good action first in- tide hour at Hurricane Pass for Pompano with small tipped jig on drift. Move off when water turns “racing”. Seeing redfish to take home size south of Gordon River along ICW edges all the way into Rookery Bay. Top of incoming best, shrimp on 4’ fluoro leader under popper. 11-12” snapper Keewaydin docks early before boat traffic with light chum, chopped shrimp to draw.
Bonita: Always first note here is water quality. FWC weekly report continues to indicate some background residual in Lake but nothing of contaminated consequence. We’ll see how recent downpours play out to that call. Big mackerel are the universal call from Wiggins to well north of Carlos. On tipped jigs under chum but better on towed spoons. Bird action is giveaway. Estero Bay east edges of Channel Marker G49 to G43 pompano action where sand meets drop off; best incoming shrimp on jig. Circa Mound Key bars and island edges for redfish tight to shallows; sea trout over sea grass cuts with shrimp under popper on drift incoming.
Marco Island: The dominant summer weather pattern now drives the fishing pattern. Tranquil mornings will get the bite started just before first light with action in the Passes and out along the beach edges for mackerel, bluefish, pompano. Bait schools hold close inshore and be a direct draw for school action. Tipped jigs that closely mimic the bait fish do best. The established reefs (Walton, John Dee, Five Mile) wake up concurrently and will hold the same species as well as snapper and small sharks working deeper. Same rigs under chum here. Deep wrecks, reefs for kings, cobia and sizable sharks deep, barracuda top water on eels.
Naples: Sustained reports action in shallows west edges Keeywadin beach 7-10’ for pelagics a.m. incoming; tipped jigs under chum. Mid-range (20-30’) east edges Gordon Five Reef for top water mackerel, bluefish on light tipped jigs – deep for lane, mangrove snapper, porgies on weighted jigs under chum. Deeper search set up on bait rich wreck working live tethered runner in chum, alternative setting chum and working artificial on slow troll perimeter. Super deep bottom structure (40-50 miles) work live bait, jointed plugs for gag grouper one-half to three-fourths depth; morning incoming best. Better chance take home with gag. Red grouper slow.
Bonita Springs: Tarpon action slowing circa west edges Estero post Memorial Day but still some stragglers first light incoming Carlos Pass on threads with drift post bait shower. Non-stop mackerel, bluefish et al action first reef spots New Pass the Big Hickory 20-25’ on tipped jigs, trolled spoons early incoming. MAY reef east edges sustained lane, mangrove snapper deep on tipped weighted jigs under chum with good chance black tip sharks on large cut bait to bottom in chum. Super deep wrecks for amberjack with live bait vertical drop right into wreck structure on heavy tackle.
Capt. Bill Walsh owns a charter fishing business and holds a U.S. Coast Guard license. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.