Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, Jan. 3-9

Bill Walsh

A good week of weather as we turn the corner into a new year. Predictions are for clear and warm temperatures through the week. The only hiccup might be the winds that will be in the 10-15 mph range out of the north and west for most of the week and kick up the sea surface especially offshore. There is no forecast for precipitation, however, so the moderate wind is helping push the remnants of the red tide south of Marco Island at least for a while.

More:On the Hook: What gets in the way of fishing fun

The tides are moderate and should not be problematic either way with the changes in flow occurring early morning and late evening. So, bottom line weather and seasonal conditions should not produce interference with your fishing efforts this week. Just what you want for the holiday week.


Charlie Roloff caught this with him dad Mark Roloff off Naples.

Marco Island: With the stable conditions should be an excellent chance to work the deeper backwaters for the arriving sheepshead and drum in the backwaters back around the edges of Addison Bay close in and then range out into the waters between Marco and Rookery Bay. Will be a good influx of feeders as the bait swells back into the cleaner water. Expect to see pelagics such as pompano and smaller permit in the passes and some of the bigger sheepshead and drum in the more sedentary waters in the deep water bays this week. They should be on the “feed” after the last couple weeks of questionable weather.

Naples: Should be a banner week for both snook and redfish along the path of the Gordon River as the cleaner water takes hold. Live bait will be the key post some live bait showers to enliven interest. Best will be from the breakwater to the junction. Good expectations should be encountered along the edges of Hurricane Pass also for mangrove snapper who never vacated the area with the yet mild temperatures, Here it’s working live shrimp along the edges right to the bottom on either tide with the best timing being the first and last hour of either tide.

Bonita Springs: Action along the Wiggins to Carlos coastline has been red hot with action on pelagics – mackerel, jacks, little tunny and runners. All on tipped jigs worked on surface. Inshore lots of action along the marked waterways behind Big Hickory all the way from Big Hickory to Carlos Point. Action hot on mackerel working tipped flashy jigs right on surface. Seeing redfish action on the edges of Mound Key working whole shrimp tight to the shell edges at the higher tides. Some trout also will show at the top of the incoming.


Marco Island: Inside seeing mackerel along the first reef spots from Capri Pass the Caxambas with best early morning incoming water flow on tipped jigs under chum. Some large jacks in the mix. Mid-range Five Mile Reef holding good population of snapper both lane and mangrove that will engulf your bait and chum. Nice size on most snapper now at 12 -13. Some close to keeper size grouper jumping on live bait worked under chum just a foot or two off structure. Most are red grouper so be careful of your measurement; need 22” to keep.

Naples: Results nearshore almost all mackerel and other pelagic action working shrimp tipped jigs in the 20-25’ depths between the Pier and the Gordon entrance with best timing on start of the morning incoming tide, on tipped jigs under chum. Deep seeing OK action on late season lane and mangrove snapper on the Gordon Five working tipped jigs with a little help for a light chum effort. Deep now seeing good to very good action on tripletail sunning on the stone crab markers. Best is to set a lookout as you move east, west and have a baited rig ready to go.

Bonita Springs: Anglers here still enjoying the positive difference in what they had to endure the past two years. Good action inshore producing good to very good sheepshead action all along the structured edges and even having some luck on black drum in the mix. Mid-range having action on some mongo sheepshead arriving from offshore. Deep looking at grouper action. Fairly active on gags working the ledges and structure with live bait trolled and some less active action on reds with live bait worked tight to the bottom on a drift; most of the catch undersized yet.

More:Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, Dec. 6-12

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