Looks like fall has taken hold here as the weather this week holds to the seasonal changes. Unusual as the warm (80 degree range temperatures) continue to hold up but usual as the east and north winds begin to kick up especially gusty in the afternoons. Look for afternoons mid to late week with afternoons with plus 25 knot gusts mainly from the east and northeast. That will rustle up the surface waters both backwater and offshore but leave the water clarity alone.
More importantly, since we are hearing rumbles of red tide presence just north of Marco, it will tentatively keep the fouled water at bay a little further offshore. The water temperature will also hold mid-80s in the backwaters and just a tad less in the deeper nearshore and offshore waters.
There is no radical change in any of the climate measurements, so think you’re safe in assuming that there will be no radical change in fishing conditions this coming week; just must pay attention to the wind blustery out of the east come afternoons. The tides are in between moon phases and will probably be a nil factor all week with a morning low and a moderate afternoon incoming. But, get ready, it won’t be long now before we get those cold fronts swooping down from up north with front edge rain followed by strong winds and messed up sea conditions. The long term caution is the question about water quality problems re-emerging. You can check the condition on line at www.myfwc.com.
Marco Island: Should see an elongated period of good to very good mangrove snapper action at least through this coming week. Warm temperatures and relatively clean water holding bait schools in place will keep the 12-14” mangroves on the feed all along the backwater current edges with current flow. Shrimp rigs or tipped jigs right into structure will deliver results. Couple of reports this past week on keeper size sheepshead beginning to show along the deeper spots Marco River and connecting spots plus nice size black drum showing in Addison Bay and some of the deeper holes in Rookery Bay. Redfish action steady; best Marco River #R22.
Naples: Water temp and water clarity the key to keeping the snook action between Gordon Pass and Naples Bay a hot bed for late “season” snook action. Early a.m. at the Pass to the ICW junction; nightfall along the Bay docks where there is good water flow; all on live bait and surface artificials. Slight water temp drop has spec trout beginning to show both sides Dollar Bay creeks on tipped jigs under popper over bottom grass spots – incoming best on incoming. Cool down should drive pompano action both at Gordon jetty and Hurricane Pass. First hour of morning incoming working tipped jigs just off the bottom. Pomps scatter inside later.
Bonita Springs: Unfortunately, news of coastal red tide circa of concern and should be monitored. Clean water thus far circa Carlos to Wiggins driving good morning action small to mid-size tarpon working live pins/threads at first light as incoming crests circa 8-9 a.m. As elsewhere, still seeing good snook action all along Carlos Channels for snook working still resident bait schools with pilchards post shower. Redfish action staying hot with sizeable landings along the east edges of Carlos last hours of incoming – late morning this week. Also, for reds, with the trip to Matlatcha crossing tidal spots as morning incoming crests with shrimp under popper.
Marco Island: Should be similar effect with wind this week both close in and deep. All wind predicted will be easterly (a plus). Close in bait still surging all along beach edges and holding small pelagics – work this live bait, shrimp under chum. Offshore seeing increased action major pelagics (cobia, kings, permit) which signals beginning Panhandle winter migration south. Concentrate on mid-range wrecks with major bait with targets feeding enroute south. Smaller close in reefs beginning to see sheepshead, triggerfish. Stone crab pots in process of placement. Should mean start of tripletail season. Worth keeping a lookout heading west.
Naples: Coastal edges Keewaydin to Doctors Pass, a.m. good bait movement and action reported on late season mackerel and blues 15-20ft working surface action with tipped jigs under bird action; early a.m. last of incoming mid-morning best this week. Seeing solid bottom action on nice size lane/mangrove snapper east edges Gordon Five Reef with tipped jigs just off the bottom under good chum effort. Deep wrecks for southbound pelagics, either tide; conditions permitting. Kings most active; try live runner tethered on wire leader under chum; either tide. Chance cobia same venue - sight cast live runner to surface.
Bonita Springs: General conditions now contingent on water quality and adherence by authorities to control of Lake O discharges. Wind will probably rough up surface conditions offshore during afternoons. Coastal waters from Wiggins to Carlos best in vanguard of light night winds and good chance of snook action last of incoming between 6-9 a.m. working live pins post pilchard shower circa 10-15 ft. depth. Deep - same deal as Naples on retreating pelagics working wrecks, reefs with major bait population for kings, cobia, permit, and sharks. Almost ready for stone crab traps, markers. Take note of location of traps. Work through winter with lookout.
Capt. Bill Walsh owns a charter fishing business and holds a U.S. Coast Guard license. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.