Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, April 17-23

Bill Walsh
Kenny Fizzler with a monster Cobia he caught with a top water plug.

Our weather this week will be less bold and more gentile than the pre-Easter week of blowing winds that raked us with a myriad of blustery conditions. This week will be the flip side of that with a smattering of afternoon winds late week to get the snapper back into the game.


Marco Island: Better fishing even with the tough wind and the sea rocking winds this week. Before the wind got ripping us up late week and the sea conditions tanking (dirty water), most of those that confronted the stronger winds still had clean layers of water and a tide that was holding huge bait schools that in turn were scads of mackerel, with some bluefish and small kings in the mix. Locales were all along the 20-25 depth line and they were chasing enormous tides crammed with runners, ladyfish and small stuff like fin backs and scads. They were focused to say the least. The water will be dirtier this week and you’ll find 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 this action. And reenergize the chum effort. All of which is dependent on the rain and wind come Easter week.

More:On the Hook: Awaited change of seasons arrives

Naples: Edges of Keewaydin still a 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 and conversely not much triple tail showing this late as the pots are pulled well in advance of cutoff date. Received good reports of pompano, mackerel and silver trout in Hurricane Pass on the times of the stronger incoming tides. Work the front edge of the the tidal bulge as it spins down the Pass with 1/4 tipped white jig smack to the bottom. Some better size fish here now, might want to break out the heavier line and leader. Also, good size pomp giving you a tussle with that heavier tackle; horse him over to the deeper cuts away from the oncoming traffic.

Bonita Springs: Looks like another big week for Bonita fishing, that is you work and cold spells and the nasty winds just right. The wind free early week days will be universal hot tickets for just about anything that swims these waters. Still chillier that past weeks so you could capture so you should catch the cold water fish effort all along Big Hickory Channel all the way north to the Carlos Cut working cut crabs and shrimp for the bait stealers. The suggest a move north to the Sanibel environs, West side usually best and rounding up some thread herring and sight casting the island edges with chunky bait to see if you can stop a 25 lb. redfish from escaping.


Marco Island: With the weather forecast as gospel, you should be able to make spilling this week off Marco. On the days with average tides and halted win morning is should be a mackerel shootout as the bait hangs on those bait loaded reefs. Chum first to soften them up and then work the top water; you want Mack’s not a squadron of blue runners. As that softer wind kicks in about early afternoon and the tide switches recommend you be on the established reefs including the Five Mile working either pulled baits/ plugs tight to the high number of kingfish and perhaps cobia who are fresh on the trip up from the Keys and hunger

Naples: With water clear come noonish should be snook turkey shoot all along the north Keewaydin beach edges all the way around the jetty and back down the Gordon River south edge Rip rap working shrimp rigs tight to the moderate tide edges ought to have gotten you a home run. Additionally, you should some nice fiesta size redfish on your stringer. If that’s not enough, you could run north and somewhat west to see if you can drake some gag grouper action amid the 50-60’ ledges on the Couple reef ledges located there

Bonita Springs: Bonita will be concentrating super on deep action. Grouper have been the choice catch from here as long as I can remember. Red grouper was the catch to make but, in some instances, it was a 60-70 mile journey and that’s not a way to top omg a great trip with a bucket of bait. Kind of think the conditions have changed radically this year with the variance in water quality and numbers. Time to find out, it a 70-80 degree course for 60 miles to reach the easterly edges of the “hard bottom”. Technique is a live pinfish or cut runner worked tight to the bottom on a tide induced drift. Let’s see who gets the first one.

More:Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, April 10-17

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