General observation this week is an uptick on air and water temperature throughout Southwest Florida as well as a continued progress on the abatement of red tide and algae laden conditions that plagued the area for the last six months. There still exists some differential in the degree of abatement however, with the southern areas faring a bit better than the areas circa the Caloosahatchee outflow. That area is somewhat affected by the fresh rainwater releases from Lake O.

An associated factor for the overall improvement in our area is the consistent East and Southeast winds which pushed the tainted water offshore; hopefully far enough now to give us good clear conditions super deep. The general weather for the week will be a continuation of the unremarkable early fall conditions except for a moderate frontal passage Monday through Wednesday which will deliver some gusty easterly winds.

The spotty p.m. rains will continue and help keep the water temperature “moderate” in the 82-85 range most of the week. The tides will be kicking up off a new moon on Tuesday with a balanced strength both ways.


Marco Island: The theory advanced here the last couple of weeks that many fish relocated to cleaner water in the past months of fouled conditions is really starting to show up along the Marco Island to Naples waterways and islands. Bait, in goodly numbers, are working the current flows along the shoreline and the backwater cuts. Mangrove snapper, sustained by the super warm water temps, are thick along most mangrove edges Rookery Bay, Addison Bay and along the ICW islands. Shrimp on a half-ounce jig head is the key. Also seeing sustained snook action south of the island (Kice Island, Cape Romano) and the early morning incoming produces a super situation. Pilchards worked to current points post shower.

Naples: Fall means redfish action and it’s evident all along the ICW between markers R#40 and R#68 working creeks and cuts with best a high water tight to the mangrove overhangs with a shrimp on a 4’leader under a popper. Snook are also still in play all along the south edges of the Gordon Pass to the ICW junction; on pilchards post shower. Good reports of steady action on pompano on both tides in Hurricane Pass working small tipped jigs or lindy rigs just off the bottom on a drift. Back to the belief of conditions forcing fish “relocations” … reports of 20-plus flounder and good size black drum east of Keewaydin edges.

Bonita Springs: Reports seem to show backwater from Estero to Charlotte improving “gradually” with anglers covering large areas to find best action spots. Couple reports of good snook action circa Pine Island sound but slow to the bite with sustained water warmth. Area of scattered action island edges Little Carlos Pass on spec trout over the seagrass patches between the islands on a drift working shrimp under a popper. Redfish on mid-morning high water along the Bay cuts and creeks working shrimp under popper tight to the shallow edges, mangrove overhangs. Last minute note: Report of sheepshead showing Big Hickory Channel. That’s early!


Marco Island: Watch wind post weekend. Good bait population off First and Second Reef lines drawing pelagic action early in good tidal current. Mackerel, bluefish, jacks action under bird action working tipped jigs up top on fast retrieve post good chum effort. Bottom action / same venue on small sharks taking cut bait to bottom. Keewaydin South reef for good lane snapper action 20-25’ depth with good chum effort and working tipped weighted jigs just off the bottom. Large cut bait on wire same venue for surprisingly hefty blacktip sharks.

Naples: Good conditions over weekend for long run. Getting good action on permit USAF towers southwest with small crabs worked freelined under chum morning strong incoming. Stout gear, fast retrieve to try and beat Goliaths. Close in have good action early morning cool inside reefs Doctor’s to Pier on pelagics. Top water action working tipped jigs under chum. East edges Gordon Five for lane, mangrove snapper, triggerfish, porgies.

Bonita Springs: Bouncy post weekend. Inshore pelagics hot action 20-30’ Carlos to New Pass – mackerel, bluefish, jacks and few little tunny working shrimp, live bait over structure with chum to draw; tipped jigs to take. Snook action early along the beaches Wiggins, Vanderbilt Beach first light incoming on threads, pinfish. Deep for early action southbound pelagics (kings, cobia, permit) on wrecks holding bait working live bait on wire leader under chum.

More: On The Hook: Keeping credibility in sport fishing

More: Fishingcast: Conditions for Southwest Florida, Sept. 28-Oct. 4

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

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