Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, June 21-27
Well, so much for forecasting the frequency and intensity of summer weather hereabouts come the “rainy season.” That’s what we call the deluge days that we’ve just experienced earlier this week. Forecasts now are difficult to predict even as close as the day before. But we’ve got to do the best we can to give readers a chance at planning a week with outdoor activity on the agenda. Among a range of professional forecasting services, we use is AccuWeather which, industry wide holds a top grade. So, bottom line, we’ll stay with our process but urge readers to re-validate weekly forecasts often via local media sources.
The outlook for the week shows a cessation of the inundating storms and replaced by placid weather marked by very light wind days and but one afternoon late next week for afternoon rain. The light winds will do two things; first will absolutely flatten the water conditions but secondly will enhance the already borderline intolerable afternoon heat. So, first consideration before you start the engine is dealing with the latter. Easiest way is to get underway early and enjoy the activity when the fish are on an early morning incoming tide and quit when the conditions begin to melt the crew. This week that early start will mesh well with the tide cycles; early week those incoming tides will be flowing come 5 a.m. and finish up just past 10 a.m. The following outgoing tide will be the prime heat of the day and much weaker than the morning incoming. A significant bell weather marker for heat is water temperature; readings late week were inching toward 91 degrees in the Passes and backwater; that’s too hot, too early.
Marco Island: Will be an interesting week. Have a couple reports of full tropical species are being seen from Cape Romano north; think bonefish and small blackfin tuna as an example. If you’re working the edges of the Passes both species are possible with best chance on a tipped jig worked close to the surface. Both species could be mixed in with pompano, small permit and mackerel. In the Bays and access waterways back from the Passes, there is continued good action on mangrove snapper using tipped weighted jigs along the edges with chance here for Mutton snapper (14” keeper) and some deep working black drum.
Naples: Naples Bay west to Gordon River rip rap still producing reasonable snook action especially early in this early morning incoming tide. Bait thick along the jetty and should draw good action early. Pilchards post shower always best. Redfish action reported along both edges of Henderson Creek working big shrimp on 4’ leader under popper last half hour midmorning incoming. Redfish action also reported Dollar Bay creeks and midmorning high tide should be ideal for working the mangrove overhangs. Quiet on pompano that were expected in heat Hurricane Pass. Worth a quick try on early incoming there midweek.
Bonita Springs: Reports of small to medium size tarpon showing in first couple hundred yards off beach from New Pass the north side of Carlos Pass and very active early - first light incoming on threadfins, pinfish. Early action only; vanish midmorning. Early backwater action east side Big Hickory between #R40 and #R46 for pompano. Set up on shallow bars and work drop off to 10-12th with small tipped jigs worked tight to the bottom. Grass flats at Mound Key islands and bars for small redfish and a few trout working whole shrimp under popper over edges in 4-6’ depth with incoming best before incoming tide stops.
Marco Island: The red-hot water temperature keeps the baitfish here and super active just off the beaches from Romano north. Look for most anything feeding along the line where the incoming surf tumbles to produce pompano, small mackerel and bluefish along with small sharks. All on netted pilchards and sardines. Best, by far, is incoming on cooler morning. Mid-range reefs are loaded with both lane and mangrove snapper in upper water layer as well as small sharks and goliath grouper. Deep water beginning to show slow grouper (gag dominant) as well as the beginnings of big permit action on the lee side on the AF towers with small crabs.
Naples: Mackerel, bluefish, small sharks thick Gordon to Doctors on a.m. incoming working tipped jigs on wire with early incoming best. Mid-range reefs and wrecks seeing increasing action on medium to large kings taking live runners freelined (with weight) on wreck, structure perimeters under chum. Same venue trolling artificial eel on surface through chum for barracuda to 20 plus. Deep wrecks with vertical structure for amberjack working live bait dropped vertically into wreck structure with chunked chum as enhancement. Major tackle and harness recommended here. AJ’s can go 40, 50 lbs. easily.
Bonita Springs: Action along beaches Wiggins to Carlos 20-30 ft. range for mackerel, bluefish schools working heavy bait gatherings. Best bait rig 1/2 oz. feathered jig tipped. MAY Reef east edges for top water mackerel action on jigs under chum and deep action for good size 12-14” mangrove and lane snapper just off the bottom. Wire leader on same rigs will get you chance at a small blacktip shark. Super deep 80’ minimum for gag grouper action working with drift or slow troll 20-30th’ off bottom through structure with live small runner or pinfish at 4-5 knots.
Capt. Bill Walsh owns a charter fishing business and holds a U.S. Coast Guard license. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.