Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, July 19-26

Bill Walsh
Jill Maenza was fishing with Capt. Christian Sommer.

Well back to normal summer here again. Forecasts are so certain that we will have thunderstorms every day that they don’t even include the point in their daily reports. This week is total “summer normal” with 80 degree starts to the days and the late afternoon real feel more than 100 degrees.

There are no predictions for storm timing just the underpinning belief that it will storm every afternoon as the moisture drawn skyward during the day in the Everglades will come rumbling by out of the east late afternoon.

There is no other indication of rain at all this coming week. So, if you’re hankering to get back on the water you really have assured positive conditions until at least mid-afternoon. And always now, the earlier in the day you start the fishing will be better as the fish will be feeding early to avoid the blistering sun’s rays come midday and it will be more comfortable for you and your crew.

There is virtually no wind predicted this week save some light breezes starting mid-morning so the seas backwater and offshore will be flat at least until mid to late afternoon when the ripping winds imbedded in the storms do their damage. The water temperatures which dipped to the mid-80s last week as we experienced those excessive rains associated with Barry, is heading north again and you can look for 88 to 90 degree water temps by late week. And finally, the tides are coming off a full moon early week and will be moderate both ways (fortunately) for the complete week.                                                  


Marco Island: Should be a better week, as all that storm fresh water intrusion last week will be dissipated the murkiness as well associated with it. Still seeing an unprecedented surge in snook action with both yearlings right in there alongside the lunkers. The cleaner water here months back sent the red tide/algae escapees our way last fall. Remember, great action but season still closed. But seeing action on redfish also for same reasons. Rookery Bay (Henderson Creek) would get my vote on the place to go with shrimp close to mangroves at high water. Pompano showing Capri / Hurricane Passes early incoming (first hour) tipped jigs.

Naples: Clean water will be the key this week in and around the Gordon River. Both snook and redfish are surprisingly on the agenda. Suggest working the area of the Pass and Naples Bay early catching the early morning end of incoming tide. Sure, bait for the snook has been pilchards and the redfish on hand picked mongo shrimp. Pompano action is finally showing up in Hurricane Pass albeit spotty in accord with conditions. Mid-morning will see the change to incoming and that has been the key time for the pomps to show as the water starts in. Good chance for mackerel in the mix if the water stays crystal clear.

Bonita Springs: FWC site continues to report red tide/algae free conditions in the area but some background presence of same well north of the Bonita area. Concern re; Army report of algae dump in river last week. Tarpon to various sizes showing early morning all along the bait loaded beaches from Wiggins to Carlos. Most all reported on threads worked in 10-15’ depths. No chum to avoid shark intrusion. Up north, Matlacha bridge apron spots stay hot for redfish action at water nears full which this week will occur early afternoons (before storm action) and are going for a big shrimp on 4’ leader worked tight to the mangrove overhangs in slow water.


Marco Island: Will need to work tides early since beach action has been hot on incoming water. Turn to flood tide this week is mid-morning so window will be tight. Beaches all along the Marco beach is holding mackerel, pompano, a few permits and then the perineal jacks and runners; all taking shrimp, cut bait under light chum. Barges and wrecks just west of Capri Pass drawing nice size mackerel schools (and blue runners) on both tides with faster water on jigs under chum. Action deep on 20-30 mile wrecks good to very good on kings, some cobia on surface; sharks deep under chum on whole fresh cut bait.

Naples: Early a.m. first light action shoreline to 10’ Keewaydin to Doctors working tipped jigs just off surf line for pompano, mackerel, bluefish, small sharks. Suggest light chum to draw most. Mid-range Gordon Five east edges with tipped weighted jig under chum for good size lane and mangrove snapper with few yellowtails in mix, either tide. Offshore flat water worth a trip to AF towers southwest for great permit action. Need small whole blue claw crabs for bait, stout tackle. Light chum will enhance bite; too much will draw a legion of Goliaths; in any event need super-fast retrieve. Permit in 20-30# range.

Bonita Springs: Small tarpon schools early from Wiggins to Carlos working small threads in bait shower; avoid chum to lessen shark interference. MAY reef domain - east edges for good to excellent snapper action working tipped jigs foot or two off the bottom under chum. Large chunk fresh cut bait just off bottom for sharks, goliath grouper. Mid-range action 20miles on structure with bait presence for yellowtail snapper. Freelining tad on block chum into strong chum slick with bail open to delay set. Good size “tails”. Reports 30+ miles structured bottom for gag grouper working live bait, jointed plug on drift or slow troll. Red grouper still small.

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