Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, July 5-11

Bill Walsh
Rich Gordon with a  snook fishing with Capt Christian Sommer.

Obvious now, in professional commercial tropical weather forecasts, that late afternoon / evening tropical storms are not even forecast; it’s almost a given that come 4 p.m. any day you will be into Everglades initiated thunder bangers. Thus, our expectation going in is “come late afternoon expect varying strengths of thunderstorms and associated wind and lightning strikes.”

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With that said, our coming week is typical sub-tropical. Days will be filled with superheated air with very little wind and expected real feel temperatures hovering in the low 100s come afternoon. The morning will be a tad more favorable, and for those heading to the briny, a distinctively better fishing environment. There are long shadows just past sunrise which seem to energize the “bite” universally with the optimum favorable period from sunrise to circa 10 a.m. As those shadows shrink, the fish cut and run to either deeper cooler water or to the land edges to finish feeding.

Watching this phenomenon displays strong natural instincts. So, this week is totally typical; no forecasted rain, light winds dominate southwest and southeast with screaming exit water temperatures, especially in the backwaters that will top 90 degrees; nearshore, offshore may be 4-6 degrees less. The tides are coming off an early week new moon with strong tides early week and then dissipating to moderate midweek.                                         


Marco Island: Strong snook action received another plus as we fed a wealth of fresh rain water into the area this past week. Infusion of moderate amounts of fresh water drops the salinity level a tad (favorable) and added a bit of silt into the backwaters which clouds the water just enough to enhance the bite with tackle parts more obscure. Elsewhere; good action on mangrove snapper to 12-13” along most of backwater edges; both tides. Finally seeing a few pompano showing on the early faster water at very start incoming tide with best spots the three Passes and connecting waterways. Incoming tide most favorable using tipped jigs on drift.

Naples: Snook action all along the Gordon River from the pass to the junction south side mid-morning just prior to incoming turn (9 a.m.) with pilchards worked post shower. Then to dusk along Naples east side docks with live bait or surface artificial (Zooks). Started to see light pompano action reported circa Gordon jetty just before early morning slack with small tipped jigs worked 10’ depth tight to bottom. Late afternoon outgoing east edges Keewaydin Beach southern tip for nice size whiting worked a shrimp loaded one-quarter jig tight to the bottom on strong current. Chance mackerel same venue with mid depth tipped jigs.

Bonita Springs: Water quality still holding good per FWC. Warm water with just a tad of film has tarpon; most small but few lurkers showing Big Hickory’s New Pass north to 10’ depth NW of Big Carlos. Coming week with late low tide, working current points on strong early a.m. outgoing for the silver kings with threads worked just off bottom. Avoid chum to escape sharks. Couple reports of surprisingly good mid-size redfish (all release) on the Matlacha spots either side of bridge working hand picked shrimp on 4’ fluoro leader tight to mangrove overhangs; best here will be the mid to late afternoon incoming.


Marco Island: Reports of widely scattered tarpon action on mid-range kings on the Keewaydin Flats. Incoming upper half for best water taking threads or half cut catfish. No chum to avoid sharks. Still seeing hot snook action all along the Kice to Sand Dollar Island beaches as the bait population there has been unusually strong. Most working this area with tipped jigs into a light measure of chum. Deep action strong offshore but need depth for target temperature and assembled bait. Most any wreck/structured reef with significant bait schools. Pelagics are kings and sharks on cut bait. Bottom action on sizable lane, mangrove snapper on shrimp

Naples: Close in noted action all along west edges Keewaydin Island with feeding pelagics (pompano) as well as resident bottom feeders (mangrove snapper, porgies). Resident bait schools are feeding right up tight to the beach edges in 7-10’ of water. Mid-range still getting good news of working the bottom east edges of the Gordon Five for nice size lane and mangrove snapper......and if you use some chum and soak a large fresh cut bait in the same domain good chance Goliath Grouper or sharks. Deep action 20-30-mile wrecks for kings mid depths and sharks and grouper in the deep trenches.

Bonita Springs: Good pelagic action 20-30’ reefs inshore that is holding good pelagic action early to midday on mackerel, bluefish, and even some little tunny working tipped jigs or live bait (for tunny) in chum. Occasional bottom action on smaller goliaths also reported but infrequent. Mid depth on wrecks that show bait assembled good chance for yellowtail snapper to 16” working tads of chum freelined into chum slick; with delayed bail set to match up with bait being “taken”. Super deep 80-100’ still spotty take home on red grouper. Better chance on gags working structure at that depth with live pins worked at 30-40’ drift to slow troll.

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

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