Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, March 20-26

Bill Walsh
Fishing contest lures them in: The annual visitors from five states participated in the “Just Friends” fishing contest off Collier Creek, March 5, at the Pavilion, Marco Island. Despite the cold and windy weather, 87 fish were caught and released during the 8-hour tournament, including trout, sheepshead, mangrove snapper, puffer, lady fish, whiting’s, and a toad fish. Everyone celebrated at the after-fishing party-where trophies and prizes were awarded to the winners. All involved had a great time.

Look’s good for the week with string of unusually warm temperatures for the week, which could well draw the first spring invasion of our summer species (mackerel, pompano, trout et al) showing up miraculously.


Marco Island: The fishing effort will be minimally impeded. Would think it’s almost a week of major transition from spring to summer season and the warmth has been touted to put the brakes on the dilemma.

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Naples: With the water clarity by Tuesday, Wednesday and a stable water temp this[1]  could well be a planner week for snook along the prime target area along the Gordon Pass to the junction. Incoming tide should be ripe for solid action on both the snook and redfish working the south edge bait schools. Don’t neglect the late season along those Keewaydin docks for post spawn sheepshead and the hangers on along the Keewaydin docks like snapper and seatrout. Last but certainly not least give the pompano, mackerel a try on first and last hour of tide in Hurricane Pass.

Bonita Springs: Weekly FWC, as always reported showing zero threats of red tide along river into Sanibel, General conditions are excellent for coastal species (Mackerel, tunny, some pompano being taken is 15-20ft - primarily incoming enhanced by clean water conditions. Circa Sanibel alive with bait and resulting action on everything from pelagics like mackerel and bluefish to major species like snook (release) to redfish and black drum. First inside tier of water depth holding redfish with many to major size, Reds all on hand picked shrimp worked tight to mangove overhang at high tide.


Marco Island: Conditions returning to “ideal” Give it the weekend to settle out. Inside reefs should be hot through both tides with both turns as water clarity and tidal effect takes place. Good conditions should spread westward quickly. Capri barges recommended as good place to start comeback at unsettled conditions. Look for active resurgence of small likes and mega mackerel in reefs with bait in evidence and feeding. Deep should see some good action on the 10 mile definitive reefs that were summer hot spots on kings - feeling is will start again this year.

Naples: Edges of Keewaydin Island still hot spot for good action working the morning incoming tide, Set up with a chum effort working an array of ledges on nice gags to 10-12 lbs., even better with clean water and light winds. Mid-range always make to swing be those pronounced and scales. Fish of some size and super strong. If on hook, tiring quicky keep a watch and release gently, Have couple weeks to finish up the very good tripletail season. If we added numbers probably the best for sizeable Tripletail catches and tie homes.

Bonita Springs: Cleaner water will keep things hoppin’ this coming week for everything between tarpon and snapper. Should be a bonanza week both inshore and outside over structure and ledges for gag grouper and on the reefs with returning bait holding snapper and sheepshead action mid to inshore. Anticipate that with these conditions could even see the redfish resurge in this which has bottom structure and bottom bait schools to get the red qrouper here going again.

More:Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, March 13-19

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