Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, Sept. 27-Oct. 3

Bill Walsh
Hayden Koehler, 13, and Trey Hill, 13, of Naples landed and released 
a 30 and 32-inch snook in Bonita Bay over the weekend with white swim bait on white jig.

Get ready, fisherfolk, this is predicted to be a week with a radical change in conditions. From Friday through Sunday evening, AccuWeather calls for nice placid clear conditions with single digit winds. But come Monday on through the end of the week the strong wind conditions will kick in. Mid- to late-week winds are predicted in the 20-30 mph from the east and northeast and intermittent rain. If that holds, sea conditions will go into the tank and the water quality will be marginal at best. So, the recommendation based on that info clearly delineates that your outings on the briny should be planned accordingly.

Water temperature should take a mild hit especially in the backwater, those unusual 80-plus degree water temperature will dive 3-4 degrees and maybe change the mix of the targeted species easily available. The tides are coming off a strong new moon and be moderately strong especially on the morning incoming which will feature ranges of over 3.0 feet all week and the afternoon outgoing will be just a tad less. But for the experienced angler here as we enter the month of October and pass the end of summer things change here and you must plan your trips around conditions. We will soon face the “cold front” time where days are erased from availability with dirty water and high seas.


Marco Island: As outlined in conditions, the coming week will be a look at two entirely different fishing weather experiences. Early week placid – post weekend low pressure intrusion that will create conditional havoc. We are seeing a steady increase in redfish action all along the ICW waterways and an increase in size especially over last year. In the mix we have an uptick in trout action adjacent to Calhoun Channel and on into Johnson Bay. Seeing more sizable black drum back around Addison Bay on the incoming tide. But, if the predicted winds and rough water rolls in here come early next week that could all change with intrusion of rough and dirty water.

Naples: As earlier predicted this year the weather and (so far) lack of red tide and algae intrusion, the snook have stayed remarkably active even as fall enters the weather scene. Either side of the ICW just north of #G35 continues to provide good action on pilchards post shower just after the in tide turn. Redfish are also growing quickly with the hordes of bait still swarming Naples Bay south to the Dollar Creeks. Snapper and now a few early arrival sheepshead are doing great all along the Hurricane Pass docks and on into the Keewaydin beach area. Even have several reports of infrequent hot action on Pompano in the Pass on 1st incoming.

Bonita Springs: Tough to report that the news continues to report potential threats from the Army Corps of Engineers wielding threats of needed Lake O releases. Would repeat 2018 disaster. Hope not. Fishing action all through Estero and on up to Sanibel and north showing good to excellent late summer action. Snook are still early morning first light favorites circa Carlos channel and cuts. Reports all show exclusive frenzy on pilchards on first light incoming (will have this coming week). Redfish action all through the Sanibel entryway and on north to the Matlatcha crossing and drop offs on shrimp, pins being worked tight to overhangs on incoming.


Marco Island: If the downturn in weather plays out with 20-30 mph winds the beaches on out deep to the wrecks, reefs will be a sharp transition from placid conditions over the last couple of weeks. Surface will go south immediately and as soon as the water clouds up we will in a holding position all along the beaches from Romano to far north. Inshore and offshore bite will take a hiatus. If you can duck the wind in larger craft you might be OK, just be careful. Inshore fish continue to be smaller tarpon at first light circa Carlos Pass, nice redfish back by Mound Key and offshore a chance at a retreating cobia and kingfish heading south especially if it rough as predicted.

Naples: Should see action at least through the weekend all along the coastal edges on redfish on the coastal points as the tides subside working shrimp or cut bait. Redfish are definitely growing as they devour the legions of bait hold in place through at least the advent of fall. Mid-range should be red hot over the weekend with residual lane and mangrove snapper now showing sizes of 13-14” regularly and being joined by first of season sheepshead, triggerfish and trout. Deep look for the geo markers for the triple tail; mark them as they will be points to be scanned after the growth on the markers matures and the tripletail make their presence known.

Bonita Springs: These couple weeks will probably define how the winter months will work out. With the absence of polluted water will make all the difference even out in offshore waters. Recent activity nearshore has been very active with nice size late season snapper providing a solid base of action. Mid-range you also have a good chance at some arriving sheepshead, drum and triggerfish along with some speckled trout, that should make the early fall interesting. Deep we’re beginning to see the exodus south of the pelagics triggered by the mild change in water and those storms that damaged Texas and Louisiana last week, Bottom line lots going on, hope we can get back out there in the predicted wind. Sept. 24: Reports patch of red tide strong enough to kill fish, wildlife lurking offshore in Bonita area.

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