Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, March 27-April 2

Bill Walsh
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As predicted when last we met, March is going to go out as a “steamer” with p.m. temperatures tickling a full 90 degrees late afternoon, but all will not be totally a weather nirvana as we’ll have substantive winds to deal with Tuesday through Thursday with winds veering westerly both morning and afternoon.

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Look for some roughed up water both day and night and add some storms Wednesday night through midday Friday to bid farewell to this month of record setting temperatures here.

From some national weather warnings, the Deep South will be being buffeted during three same days by serious flooding rains out the same system; we’re fortunate and wish our neighbors the best. Here we will see steady water temperatures in the near 90 range all week; so, it’s almost certain the good action that the “good” sheepshead will on their way west and offshore and quickly replaced by our mackerel, pompano, snapper and pelagic returning from south. Final note: there has been restrictions on the water with coronavirus. Let’s hope all holds and we all get out from under that terrible threat.


Marco Island: Look for a divided week with early week gorgeous with great summerlike weather but fading to a typical late spring late week bordering a windy and super rainy start to the weekend. The early super warm should give you all kinds of shots as arriving spring fishing but disappoint if you’re a fan of the of the departing sheepshead. We should see the pelagic in all three passes in goodly numbers in the morning working tipped jigs albeit on a not so good tide. Just after first light and then move into the coastal creeks and streams up around Rookery Bay and the associated islands. Standard fare for arriving macks, pomps and mackerel will be the set up as in the passes; small jigs with shrimp.

Naples: If the cooler water in mid-March was holding the snook bite in bay, this solid early week super warm temperatures should get them screaming. Best location is from the Gordon River jetty down the south side on the river and then swarming the junction. Work with pilchards post shower with a generous length leader and a #2 or #3 circle hook. Also look by the northern cut into Rookery Bay for the redfish sure to put a bid in as the tide makes that mid-morning tide turn and picks up speed. Reds will be working the incoming tide tight to the edges of the mangrove overhangs. A whole shrimp under a popper floated tight to those mangrove overhangs is ripe for good action as the water turns.

Bonita Springs: FWC water condition reports just a background trace of k.brevis is evident just north of Sanibel; nothing serious yet as enter the rainy season that’s where we experienced the problem with water quality and fishing the Bonita environs for subsequent months. Stay tuned to those reports. This week should be a replica of what your neighbors in Marco and Naples will then adding in the good water flow around Big Hickory Channel for pompano along those drop offs on the back channel. Another hot spot would be the Mound Key environs that get great action this time of year working the schools of bait working trout and redfish along the shell laden edges with associated assembled shrimp and crab.

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Marco Island: This will be a hallmark week for the transition from weak fall, winter season to (hopefully) a more vibrant spring early summer season. Have seen spring and pelagic initial movement from the Southern waters in the reefs south and a bit west of Marco in the last weeks, The movement at full presence will include the mackerel, pomps, as well little funny, trout, snapper etc., as well as the pelagic favorites of kingfish, cobia, cuda, permit, et all and last but not least the arrival of both snook and redfish action especially on the inside side of the first and second line of reefs. Will need to switch over to live baits for most of this action. And reenergize the chum effort.

Naples: Edges of Keewaydin Island are still hot spot for good action working the morning incoming tide. Set up with a chum effort working on array 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 quickly 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 hopping 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 grouper here going again.

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