Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, Sept. 13-19

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

This begins to look like a different weather pattern as we depart from the widespread threats of Dorian. The aftermath of that storm as it hightailed it north was a climate here of no humidity (result: scorching heat) and no wind (more heat). But we’re moving past that now with a more normal heat and intermittent moderate rain pattern.

In the background is the normal threats of tropical storms building in the Atlantic and keeping the TV weather forecasters salivating; albeit that the current forecasts are showing a wide window of no threats. What the forecasts show for the coming week is a reemergence of two of our least favorite fishing weather factors, wind and rain. Early week look for some rain periods right through the weekend and then, we’ll be “blessed” with some rather persistent wind mostly out of the east, southeast with afternoon gusts predicted at 15 to 20 knots. That alone will create a problem with surface conditions in the Gulf as well as water clarity problems both there and in the backwaters; probably more bothersome in the afternoons than the mornings.

The wind emergence will be something we will have to deal with for the balance of the fall and into the winter. On the other factors; the tides will be coming off a full moon on Sunday and will be moderate with an early morning incoming and an easing afternoon ebb.


Marco Island: Conditions this week will have a chance to stabilize and offer some consistency in fishing opportunity. Look for the great summer snapper bite to continue as the water temperature will maintain a temperature range from 82 to 86. The predicted moderate tides will be favorable especially in the mornings. Elsewhere, have seen some pompano and permit action for the first time in a while in the Passes as well as the deep cuts in Rookery Bay and Hurricane Pass; on tipped jigs tight to the bottom. Deep backwater i.e. Addison Bay, Johnson Bay reports show redfish action at the top of the incoming on shrimp under a popper.

Naples: Noting good action continuing all along the Gordon from Pass to the junction on snook and now in a mix with smaller redfish. Good early a.m. incoming this week will further enhance that action. Have reports of good size redfish working the final portion of the incoming back in the Henderson Creek area of Rookery Bay. Drifting Hurricane Pass in first and last hours of either tide working tipped jigs just off the bottom for a chance at some nice size pompano. Couple reports of spec trout showing over grass patches Hurricane Pass south of #G33 with shrimp worked under 1/4 oz weight with best incoming. Early for less boat traffic

Bonita Springs: Weekly report from FWC on red tide shows no presence of red tide or algae. Good action Estero on late summer snapper circa Big Hickory east cuts working shrimp on 1/2 weighted rigs close to downed structure. Both tides work / slower water best. Redfish hot bite Pine Island Sound spots especially Matlacha spots either side of bridge. Best shrimp or small threads worked tight to ‘grove overhangs last hour of incoming. Good action on redfish also back in Mound Key area of Estero working whole shrimp tight to barnacled edges of oyster bars on either tide.                                                             


Marco Island: Dorian had some impact on the unusual assemblage of bait that we enjoyed for most of the summer that was stacked along the beaches from Romano to Gordon River. Much slower action reported in last week. Worth a try going outside but be ready to move on. Good to excellent action has recovered at major inshore reefs i.e. Walton, John Dee and Five Mile. Cooler AM’s best with incoming tide for mackerel and bluefish early with tipped jigs over chum. Deep wrecks, reefs drawing strong late summer action on kingfish, cobia and permit. Think mass migration winter move will either be light in volume on late developing this year with heated water and bait availability here.

Naples: Favorable sea conditions and light disruption from Dorian’s passage a real plus for fall fishing here. Inside coastal bait had a minimal disruption from the hurricane passage. Early reports indicate some diminishment of holding bait volume. Reef action at Gordon Five continues strong with snapper, both lane and mangrove on the east edges along with pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, jacks) working tipped jigs under chum with incoming best. Deep look for mid-range reefs, wrecks to have action on bait schools drawing kings, cobia, sharks and schools of yellowtail snapper.

Bonita Springs: Positive outlook here as water staying clean and efforts to manage Lake O discharges under scrutiny. Just weeks away from the beginning of the stone crab season adds an uptick in activity and anticipation of a better year for the crab effort and a repeat of the great tripletail year in 18-19. Action deep is enhanced thus far with good access weather and positive results on the kingfish as well as the cobia this year. Getting a few favorable reports on gag grouper results on structure points in the 30-plusmile range being worked at 20-30’ depth range. Not much positive news however on the popular red grouper results. Most still small.

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