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Typical summer weather pattern well in place here now. Very predictable with storms early and late and searing heat in between. You’ll note that there is almost no mention of “fronts” which the fall and winter weather drivers are here and that all replaced by the tropical patterns of heat generated storms. Such will be the case this week. Look for periodic storms emanating both early and late with plenty of loud (and dangerous) lightning that immediately disrupts the fishing trip and scatters the fleet. Many of those storms are not in the forecasts, so diligence and having a cell phone or tablet aboard displaying current weather conditions is a smart way to go.

More: On the Hook: Fishing and the cellular snare

These storms, at times, are moving at 20/30 mph and that’s tough to outrun if you have distance to go. This week’s predictions are right in lock-step with what we’ve seen here over the past month. Mornings in the high 70s that will escalate to the high 80s by late afternoons and deliver a baking circa 100 degree real feel. The winds will be single digit except in those storm cells and the “lack” of even a breeze during the day tends to add to the searing heat level.

The water temperatures will continue to hover between 86 and 90 degrees and you can add a couple degrees in the backwaters. The tide is coming off a notable full moon. We mentioned last week that the outgoing tide was remarkably strong 4 to 5 foot on the afternoon outgoing and that “avoidable” issue will carry through this week until Wednesday. That water velocity is extreme and will negatively impact fishing quality.                            

BACKWATER

Marco Island: Conditions have been more favorable in drawing bait just about everywhere. Reports throughout the Marco and adjoining waters call the intensity of bait action remarkable and that draws your fish. Key marker now before you anchor is the presence and activity of bait showing in the now clearer water. Snapper are ravenous feeders and will hover on the bait fish and your offering. Seeing nice 11-13” snapper in places like Hurricane Pass, Addison Bay and Rookery Bay all on rigged shrimp. Snook active from Kice Island to Keeywadin with best in passes. Redfish action reported excellent in Upper Addison Bay on top of tide.

Naples: Rookery Bay flats have been a hot spot especially with these high tide periods in cooler part of the p.m. with nice size redfish being the action working select shrimp on 4’ fluoro leader under popper. Those making the run early morning to the west edges of Kice Island are rewarded with nice smaller snook action on pilchards with a few pompanos mixed in. Hurricane Pass along the eastern edge tree line has seen solid action on nice size snapper taking small shrimp worked on a #2 circle with incoming best. Same venue early (first light) tight into south end Keeywadin Beach edges for whiting to 12-14” on tipped weighted jigs. 

Bonita Springs: FWC report reports good news on red tide, algae; all dormant in background. Nothing active. Overall very positive reports Estero through Charlotte Harbor. Small tarpon action Wiggins Pass to Carlos; best early morning incoming (avoid super strong early p.m. outgoing – super strong) working small threads 10-15 depth off beach. Snook, redfish action circa Mound Key bars and islands – mid morning incoming best. Pilchards, post shower on snook, redfish on shrimp 4’ leader tight to mangrove overhang. Pompano schools circa Big Hickory Channel working drop offs with small tipped jigs tight to the bottom. Trout action Mound Key edges and grass bottom with live shrimp 4’ under popper on both tides.

NEARSHORE, OFFSHORE

Marco Island: Air, water temperature, immense bait schools drawing small to medium size blacktips, bonnet head, spinner sharks to most nearshore reefs. Immense bait schools is the draw. Massive Goliath Grouper unusual presence inshore also. Sharks on big baits, wire leader, major equipment. All release. Goliaths on major gear. Do not remove from water for photos, some 100# plus. Trips to AF towers southwest for good action on 30-40# permit outside Special Permit Zone two per day per boat. Wrecks west Capri Pass for kingfish, cobia either tide with tethered runners for kingfish; sight cast thread herring for cobia.

Naples: Action along shore line Keewaydin Beach to Gordon Pass 10-15 ft. on incoming for varied action on Pompano, Mackerel, Small sharks, snapper working tipped jigs just off the bottom under chum. Incoming only. Shrimper wreck for good strong kingfish action working live runner, hunk ladyfish under chum; incoming best. Avoid super-fast outgoing early week. Deep wrecks for amberjack to 30-40# working vertical drop live runner, pinfish right into wreck structure. Great action on heavy tackle. Reports some gag grouper showing on bottom structure depressions and taking live bait worked at 30-35’ under chum.

Bonita Springs: Still seeing significant coastal action on smaller juvenile tarpon all along the shoreline Wiggins to north of Carlos. Best action first light calm 10-15 ft. working small #1 threads, no weight, no chum (avoid sharks). Great action, photo in water. Kings, cobia, cuda and sharks on mid-range wrecks / reefs holding bait. Chum to begin; tethered blue runner on wire for kings; large cut baits on wire, major tackle for sharks; vinyl eels trolled over structure for cuda and casted thread herring on surface for cobia. Some scattered red grouper to keeper size 30-40 mile hard bottom with pinfish tight to outcroppings on drift.

More: Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, July 26-Aug. 1

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

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