We are pretty much into our standard summer weather and fishing pattern right now, so that means that unless you’re offshore and fishing during the middle of the day you’re probably not catching. The water temperature affects inshore making it next to impossible the catch anything past 10 am and for those fishing the beach and the pier the heat brings the tarpon and the June grass.
If you’re looking to do more catching than fishing in the sound and bays, go early, go late or go at night. It’s not universal, but the bite slows down greatly past 11am and only picks up in the evenings once it’s cooled off. Specks, reds, black drum, black snapper, and Spanish are the most targeted species right. Spanish, specks and reds are mostly being caught in 3 to 8 feet of water on the deeper parts on the flats on the north side of the sound. The top presentation has been live croakers under a popping cork with live finger mullet coming in a close second. Black drum, redfish, and black snapper are being caught around the bridges and deeper docks. Small blue crabs for the reds and the drum, and small pilchards presented on a 12lb fluorocarbon Carolina rig with just enough weight to keep in on the bottom. Spanish are easily caught trolling a 4inch X-Rap slash bait around the flats or working a Got-Cha lure through the schools seen busting on baitfish throughout the sound.
The king bite has really picked up the last few days on the pier and so has the tarpon bite. They are still catching good numbers of Spanish and redfish, but the pompano bite has really slowed. June grass has moved in and is making it practically impossible to fish the surf. About the only place I’ve received reports of folks still able to fish has come from folks fishing Ft Pickens near the Pensacola pass. There they were catching bull reds and small black tip sharks.
Most of my reports this week have come from folks fishing offshore for red snapper and grouper. With it being a couple of weeks into the snapper season most anglers are have to run at least 10 miles or more from the area passes to catch decent fish. The best reports have been coming from folks fishing federal waters in the 150 to 200 foot depths. There they are catching their limit pretty easily with some of the snapper up over 20 pounds. The grouper bite strong, but folks are having to fish through a lot of juveniles before they finally land a keeper. The king bite is about as good as it gets right now with most of the kings caught in the 10 to 12 pound range. Fish over 20 pounds though are being caught quite regularly. Mahi, blackfin tuna, and wahoo round up the top catches this week and I don’t see that changing until the fall.
As I said last week, offshore remains the most consistent and productive way we harvest fish in our area right now, but if you adapt to the conditions and hear out early inshore or fish at night your success rate increases greatly. So GET OUT THERE and get in on the bite!!
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