Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, June 28-July 4

Bill Walsh
Dylon Jacobs with a six and a half foot Bull Shark caught off Marco Island Beach.

Very few of us have had to deal with the super-heated air temperatures that have tormented us these last two weeks. Anglers are among the most perplexed.

If you’ve been on the water and especially in the backwaters, a 90-94-degree water temperature reading late afternoon is almost expected. Overall these varied weather conditions we’ve experienced this late spring and very early summer should be raising our awareness of potential weather-related issues heading our way as we engage a much different summer weather.

For starters we are already hearing rumbles for those controlling the water flow from Lake O and with a run of inundated rain in July and August we could be mired in another red tide, blue/green algae event; more importantly but less publicized is the excessive water temperatures that we’re dealing with so early in the season – tropical storms track the warmest weather.

Remember the weekend in September 2017 when Irma turned west at the last minute and headed our way; that’s because our water temperatures were reading a 5-7-degree warmer environment than the East Coast. So, we all must be aware of the potentials and take advantage of the current environment albeit uncomfortably hot.

To repeat advice given repeatedly the last couple weeks that the best angling part of these days is the morning, so plan to go early and quit late morning. Fish feed before those sun rays make a direct vertical penetration into the briny plus the tides within week with a more favorable morning incoming will enhance the bite. Otherwise, it’s another one of those scorchers with very little rain/wind to offset the heat.


Marco Island: Exceptional action spurred by record setting water warmth of snook action all along inside edges from Capri Pass back through Johnson and Addison Bays and north via Calhoun Channel into Rookery Bay. Best early morning first light incoming tide on pilchards on current points. Snook to full range of sizing. All snook release, use circle hooks. Uptick also in redfish action most noticeable at top of incoming on good current edges working shrimp tight to ‘grove overhangs on shrimp under popper. Good size and population mangrove snapper Rookery Bay circa #R22 and east on drop offs working shrimp last hours either tide.

Naples: Numerous reports great snook action (all sizes) Naples Bay east mangrove edges, under docks best incoming with pilchards, sardines last half incoming. All sizes, all release until August 31. Redfish on mangrove edges mid to late morning incoming. Try either side of ICW Dollar Bay Creeks working picked shrimp tight to ‘grove edges last hour AM incoming. Disappointing activity on expected pompano Hurricane, Gordon passes but fair uptick in mackerel, some bluefish both spots. Outgoing p.m., Keewaydin docks grass bottom spots for few spec trout, more whiting on weighted tipped jigs to bottom in good current flow.

Bonita Springs: Good news; having sustained clean water yet river down through Sanibel, Fort Myers. Warmth here drawing unprecedented action snook, redfish, trout Estero Bay as a whole. Good tide positioning this week with a.m. incoming very favorable through early a.m. Good to excellent snook action Carlos Pass and channel; both tides on pilchards both tides post bait showers. Excellent redfish reported action Matlatcha crossing points with mega shrimp under popper; late incoming best. Tarpon action on full range of sizes first light incoming tide Carlos Point to east channel on threads


Marco Island: Superheated relatively clear water holding superb action shoreline to 10ft depth off full range of beaches Kice north to Sanddollar; snook action superlative just inside the surf line on small threads. All release until August 31. Bait schools, working birds all along beaches for mackerel, blues, ladyfish et al on small tipped jigs, wire leader. Mid-range action on bottom structure spots 20-30th that show holding bait for super bottom action snapper, triggerfish, little tunny with cut bait post good chum insertion. Deep for kings primarily with cobia in the mix on published sites 20-30 miles with live bait tethered for kings; sight cast for cobia.

Naples: Bird action thick Pier to Gordon and beyond working mackerel, blues; either tide as long as moving water with tipped jigs on wire. Same venue small blacktip sharks working bottom cut bait either tide. Good action reported on wrecks holding bait for yellowtail snapper working freelined bit baits in serious chum slick. Small blacktip sharks will also show in slick activity; drop cut bait to bottom for best results. Long range wrecks for reverse migrating kings, cobia. Kings on troll bare spoon or tethered cut bait under chum. Cobia on sight cast small live bait to surface.

Bonita Springs: Action along beaches Wiggins to Carlos 20-30 ft. range for mackerel, bluefish schools working heavy bait gatherings signaled by seabird action. Careful; small kings in mix have almost same markings as macks but 24” minimum. Yellowtail snapper action popular on mid to deep structure where sizable bait schools evident working tad of deployed chum freelined on small hook with no weight. Trick is to delay closing bail until bait swallow. Deep wrecks 30-40 miles for possible gag grouper action working plug, cut bait in bottom structure 20-plus ‘off bottom or on slow troll bait set mid depth tight to structure.

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