Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, Aug. 10-15

Bill Walsh

The frequency and sustainability of wet weather occurring with such intensity is unique here on the Paradise Coast, even in the midst of the aptly named “rainy season." It marks another notch in the climate change adage. This coming week might see a degree of lessening frequency of storms at almost any time of the day or night, but multiple forecasts do nothing to lessen the intensity of the wallop these storms have on general conditions.

For the angler, the infusion of so much fresh water has changed the salinity level significantly, especially in the backwaters; species that are salt dependent have either gone deep or vacated the area to seek compatible water habitat and visa versa. You may see more freshwater species showing up all of a sudden.

On the Hook:Fishing and the cellular snare

On another front, all the fresh water intrusion into Lake Okeechobee can raise the potential for another series of high water releases laden with algae potential. Bottom line: let's just hope the storm pattern dissipates in the short term.

Other weather factors this coming week shows water temperatures dropping a degree or two to 84-85. The tides are considered moderate with a stronger morning ebb and a more moderate afternoon incoming tide. Neither should be a problem. And thankfully, we're the beneficiaries of another week of weak Easterly and Southerly wind that provides at least one positive factor in the weather department.

Last but not least, some good news from the National Hurricane Center: all quiet in the Atlantic and in the Caribbean on storm development..

Fishing has a way of bringing out something special for those who participate.


Marco Island: For those that have been able to squeeze a trip in between the storms, getting good reports on mangrove snapper action just about everywhere. Abundance of bait is the key both to their availability and size. Not unusual now to tie into 12-13” snapper. Redfish are quickly adaptable to salinity drops and seeing good action on reds along the cuts and crannies in Johnson and Rookery Bays taking big shrimp freelined tight to mangrove edges at top of incoming. Warmth and bait keeping snook unusually active post-spawn and working both the Passes as well as the backwater fast water creeks on pilchards/threads

Naples: Significant full-day action (both tides) on snook reported on Gordon Channel from Pass to junction. Rain doesn’t seem to deter heavy feeding on good size linesiders. Exclusively on pilchards past shower. Water conditions (salinity) having little to no effect on reported redfish action, albeit still mostly undersized fish. Circle hooks/careful release. Keeywadin docks a bonanza for nice size mangrove snapper action with the outgoing faring best with shrimp in a good moving current. Sparse results on usual pompano action in Hurricane Pass; suspect change in salinity the causal factor.

Bonita Springs: FWC reports that red tide/algae numbers still show a background presence, but no water quality effect (as of yet.) Nice mid-size tarpon still a good action opportunity all along the coast from Wiggins to north of Carlos. Best will probably be early morning outgoing at first light with threads or pinfish. Mound Key showing good to very good action on spec trout and small redfish tight to the bar edges and then over grass bottom on mid-morning high with shrimp on 4’ leader under popper. Matlatcha continues to report good to excellent action on smaller redfish worked tight to mangrove overhangs.


Marco: Inshore beach waters from Romano to the Gordon River continue to draw a range of predators feasting on the enormous cadre of bait fish feasting on bottom creatures, a sustained chain reactive event. Numerous reports of good action all along the corridor in 7-10 ft. feeding vociferously. Wrecks and reefs SW of Caxambas Pass are seeing very good action working assembled lane and mangrove snapper schools and the deep published wrecks are seeing good to very good action despite the change in overall salinity on kingfish, cobia in mid-range major structure. And of course, predator sharks are rampant for all action.

Naples: On the past mornings with first light strong incoming have had good to excellent small tarpon action circa Gordon Pass. Reversal of tide pattern this week but still a chance for an early a.m. feed for fiesty tarpon/same spots on threads/pins. Five Mile Reef bait rich and drawing/holding solid bottom action snapper, triggerfish (to 14”), undersized red grouper, cuda on top and numerous major Goliaths. Super deep wrecks holding bait attract significant schools yellowtail snapper that provide solid action all tide phases. Super deep published wrecks holding bait experiencing good late summer action kings, cobia and a few barracuda.

Bonita Springs: Angling community jittery regarding prospects of resurgence of fouled water with torrential rain pattern. Still seeing action early a.m. now between New Pass edges and Carlos on immature tarpon circa first light working bait fields and taking threads/pins in faster tide periods. Sustained good bottom action MAY Reef complex east edges for good size mangrove and lane snapper with some small porgies and keep triggerfish in the mix. Red grouper deep still a problem on size. Even at 30-40 miles still an absence of red grouper keepers. Mixed action just inside the hard bottom stretches for gag grouper with freelined live bait or on depth control troll.

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