March left us in rather abrupt style (typical) in an abrupt and weather situation forward to a raucous end of the month and putting all of us on warning that our unpredictable summer is at hand. So, polish those storm shutters and stand by for some tough conditions as we slide into April dealing with 90-degree plus afternoon temperatures with some storms. For example, Wednesday night and lasting through midday Friday.
We will see steady water temperatures in the near 90-degree range all week; so, it’s almost certain the good action from the sheepshead will on their way west and offshore and quickly replaced by our mackerel, pompano, snapper and returning pelagics. But one final weather note: that system has now been dropped in our lap; we’ll have 22 knots out of the southeast and that accelerates to 24 it’s out of the southeast on Easter Sunday and peaks at a predicted 32 knots on Monday. Not pretty, especially for those needing one more fling at the fish before heading home.
All of that on top of the horrid track record for the corona virus holding us hostage. Adhere to the safety rules on separation there have been on the water along with hand cleaning discipline. Let’s hope all that discipline holds and we get out from under this horrible corona monster.
Marco Island: Look for a divided week with early week gorgeous weather with great summerlike conditions but then fading to hellacious wind and rain conditions; even Easter Day’s weather looks awful. 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 winter sheepshead. With that windy late week, they might slip out unseen. Might see some action on the incoming pelagics if conditions warrant by moving to sheltered cuts. Doubt if you will free fall action on open wind whipped water. Will probably see some limited surface action if the wind doesn’t take hold until late morning. Remember to 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 at bay. That’s probably not going change if the revised forecast plays out. If the predicted onslaught comes true, do your snook action early a.m., like working 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, but not for long. A whole shrimp under a popper floated tight to those mangrove overhangs is ripe for good action as the water turns, hopefully.
Bonita Springs: FWC water condition reports just a background trace of k. brevis is evident just north of Sanibel; but there has been some sighting of “floaters” in the Estero backwaters; nothing serious yet as enter the rainy season that’s where we experienced the problem with water quality and fishing the Bonita environs in subsequent prior months, years. Stay tuned to those reports. This week should be a replica of what your neighbors in Marco and Naples will expectantly see if this forecast holds up. There probably will be better tidal flow around Big Hickory Channel which may mitigate some of the weather’s expected action. Also, the Mound Key area has good current control which may allow some drifts down the ledge if redfish or trout are sighted 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
Marco Island: This would have been a hallmark week for the transition from weak fall, winter season to (hopefully) a more vibrant spring early summer season. So, stay tuned; could be a great change of seasons or a clunker. 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, so, we know the Targets are there. Question will we have the conditions to fish them. 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 finally 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. All of which is dependent on the rain and wind come Easter week.
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 ledges on nice trout and small redfish even better with clean water and light winds. Conversely not much triple tail, they will vamoose as the pots get lifted. If not be kept. Have couple weeks to finish up the very good tripletail season. If we added numbers now they would probably be the best for sizeable Tripletail catches.
Bonita Springs: Cleaner water here this week could have made the fishing off the Bonita edge a turkey shoot. Will have to wait and see how the predictions work out. Clean, flat water is what we want; so, keep your fingers crossed. Remember occasionally, the guys make a bad prediction. Anyhow Happy Easter either way.
Capt. Bill Walsh owns a charter fishing business and holds a U.S. Coast Guard license. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.