fishing Forecast

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  • 08/31/2017 11:46 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Early Transition
    by Capt. Michael Masin

    It’s the beginning of a transitional period around the harbor with some of our favorite inshore species on the move providing some of the best opportunities of the year.  As fall approaches, the next two months have good potential and this is just the beginning.  As for redfish, when the days begin to get a bit shorter and the water temperature cools down they begin their spawning period. As a result, the fish group or “school up.” They can show up in just about any of the bays and sounds that surround the harbor as well as the flats on either side.

    To the north, the grass flats on either side of the intracoastal inside Stump Pass in Lemon Bay are always worth a look.  A little further south in Gasparilla Sound, just about any flat outside Whidden’s Creek and towards the western edge of Bull Bay could be good. That being said, probably one of the most probable spots to find schooling reds is Pine Island Sound. Over the years, there hasn’t been a more consistent area. It’s a lot of ground to explore, but with so many passes bringing clean, cooler Gulf water, it’s simply great habitat.

    In addition, larger breeding size fish that have migrated to offshore schools to live out their lives tend to make occasional visits inshore during this fall spawn. The beach can be a great place to look for these larger fish. 

    Snook, if they haven’t already started, are close to being on the move. In a matter of speaking, compared with redfish, one is coming and one is going. In other words, while the redfish spawn is just starting, the snook spawn is winding down. They’re coming off the beaches and deeper troughs outside major flats preparing to settle down near backcountry creek systems, as the water temperature gets a little too cool for their liking. Moreover, they’re hungry and need to fatten up after the spawn and before food gets scarce over the winter.

    Unlike redfish, snook won’t be hanging out in open bays and sounds as they prefer sticking closer to shorelines and in particular, mangrove shorelines. With all the creek systems adjacent to Turtle Bay, any shoreline inside here can produce. Also, though it’s a busy area, the West Wall can be very good as it has quite a few creek systems and ends at the Myakka River which is where lots of snook are going to end up later this year. The other side of Charlotte Harbor, the east side or “East wall” consists of a labyrinth of islands that runs from Pirate Harbor north to Punta Gorda. Because of the island network, it’s not as busy as the West Wall and is one of my favorite spots, although it’s too big to call a spot, to look for snook.

    Until next month, good tides

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com

  • 08/31/2017 11:39 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Constant action for kids
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    September should give us the last bit of the hot days, transitioning SWFL toward a Fall pattern soon. Don’t be fooled it’s still going to be hot most of the month, however by the end of the month we should be blessed with temperatures beginning to cool off a bit. 

    With that said, fishing early in the mornings or late in the evenings near sundown is still the way to go. As we approach October, we’ll begin to see a transition as water North of us begins to cool. As the gulf water in the panhandle begins cooling off, fish move South into our backyard following massive schools of baitfish. This is an exciting time to be in South Florida as everything is active and the fishing will be very good.

    Snook will still be on the beaches and near the rivers and cuts, fattening up trying to stay clear of anglers that harvest them. 28-33” is the slot size and one per person is the limit assuming you’ve got your snook stamp. Many anglers fish snook as catch and release these days regardless, so until the water temperatures begin to drop significantly, handling these fish properly is very important as hot water tires fish quicker. Keeping a snook you’ve just caught in the water and reviving them well before release is a good practice verse becoming shark or dolphin food.

    Juvenile tarpon is still one of the top billings here in Estero bay and the adjacent areas through this month. These feisty 10-40lb balls of energy can be a blast on light tackle and jump around much more than the grown-up versions. You can target these tarpon with swimbaits, flies, and of course white bait for the next two months or more. Pay attention for finning or rolling fish as you can pattern them in the same areas for days at a time on similar tides. When fishing for juvenile tarpon I typically go with 15-30lb leader, based on how clean the water is your fishing. It's better to get the bite and get broke off verse no bite at all, besides if there chewing you can always up the leader a bit and do it again.

    Redfish will continue to get better and better as we move closer to "Red October". They'll be a big target in October for us, as they typically begin to school up late September thru November. Redfishing can be very good in September and can be targeted many ways. The easiest tactic is putting out spreads for reds. Basically 3-4 lines thrown out along mangrove edges, cuts, and oyster bars with a variety of baits like shrimp, pinfish, cut ladies and crabs. Once you know where they’re at and what they’re eating your good for days.

    Top water fishing especially on incoming tides is a blast. There's a variety of different types of top water lures that you use in different ways, walking the dog is my favorite as you never know what may hit it next. Finally twitch baits and paddle tail soft plastics are a lot of fun for anglers that cast well. Work them on open flats that have potholes early in the tide, and along mangrove shorelines when the tides higher, you'll find this can be very productive.

    If it’s constant action your looking for with kids or anglers that are less patient, our passes, bridges, and docks will give lots of options. Snapper fishing can be excellent as well as other good eats like pompano and trout. Typically, a simple 1/4oz jig tipped with shrimp will work just fine allowing anglers to cover lots of ground. For those that aren’t casters using a simple popping cork with a live shrimp or white bait can keep people entertained. Other options nearshore for many of the same species can be the same simple jig dropped down to any of our nearshore wreaks and reefs with a live shrimp hooked through the tail. These reefs can be a great place to see how many different species one can find in a trip. It’s not uncommon to catch a dozen different types of fish doing so.

    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com
    239-313-1764


  • 08/31/2017 11:36 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)
    Try early mornings along the beach

    by Captain Charlie Conner

    September is always an exciting month to fish along the Treasure Coast. Anglers eagerly await the arrival of the annual fall mullet run. The beaches and rivers will be filled with mullet and you can find lots of predators following the bait this month. Look for tarpon, snook, jacks, bluefish and many other species feeding on the mullet. Top water and suspending lures work fantastic in September. Try a DOA Baitbuster or Big Fish lure while fishing around the large schools of mullet. It's a great time of year to fish early mornings along the beach. The fish will be cornering the bait along the surf and action can be fun and exciting.
    Snook season opens again on September 1st.  Anglers have been patiently awaiting the chance at keeping a slot fish for dinner. A few things to keep in mind while you are anxiously getting ready for the start of the season are making sure your license and snook permit are not outdated.  Know the slot size, which is 28” – 32” and a one fish per day limit.  Check your rods, reels and fishing line.  Don’t lose that keeper fish because of something that you could have avoided by a little preparation.  Remember that there will be lots of anglers heading out the first several days of the season.  Have fun and be safe!

    You will be able to find some redfish schools this month as they gather up to head out to the ocean. Look around the shallow sandy flats for them to be feeding. DOA 2 ¾” shrimp or CAL jerk baits can coax them into biting. Trout will continue to bite around the usual flats like, Bear Point, Harbor Branch and Round Island. Deadly Combos fished on the edges of the bait schools will find some action with trout and other species. Snapper can be found along channel edges and around structure. Sheephead, drum and snapper can be caught on the catwalks of the bridges. Live or dead shrimp will find these fish.

    September Tip:
    Fish the bait schools! It's easy to spot the bait this time of year. If you don't find bait around your favorite fishing spot, you will most likely not find many fish there. Move around if you need to in order to find active bait. Fish love this time of year and they are out there gorging themselves on the bait in anticipation of the coming winter months. Try a CAL Airhead or DOA Bait Buster around the mullet schools.  Early mornings can be exciting on the flats. You can find big fish in shallow water around the bait pods. It has been a long hot summer and finally temperatures will begin to mellow out and water temps will get back to normal. It's a great time of year to be fishing!

    Remember, fishing is not just another hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!

    Good Fishing and be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

    www.fishtalescharter.com
    captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com
    772-284-3852


  • 08/31/2017 11:29 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)
    Keep our Texas friends in our prayers

    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    Let me begin this forecast by wishing everyone a happy and safe Labor Day weekend, and while we are enjoying the end of summer, let's not forget those in service of our great country who are on duty for our freedom and safety and also let's keep the folks in Texas in our prayers.

    Trophy Mosquito Lagoon Redfish

     I'm often asked the question, what is the best time of year to catch trophy redfish? Well, the answer is right now. September is the month the breeder redfish school up for the spawn in the Mosquito, Banana River and Indian River Lagoons as well as inlet passes of Ponce and Sebastian, so it's a good time to target these breeder fish. 

    September also marks the beginning of the fall bait migration, primarily silver mullet, which increase as we progress into October and November. It is hard to predict precisely when and how strong the run will be, but along with the arrival of the bait, come the predatory species we love so much. 

    My lure selection for these breeder schools this time of year is a DOA Bait Buster with a single hook instead of trebles. I like the shallow runner in natural mullet colors when the school is near the water's surface and the deep runner when fishing the deeper water of the inlets and near-shore.

    Look for snook, tarpon, jack crevalle, sharks, and large kingfish crushing bait pods along the beach. The pods are easily located by watching for fish and birds busting the bait. Once you've determined the direction of fish movement, usually south, simply set up in front and let them come to you. This is my preferred time of year for targeting snook and tarpon along the beach.

    Beach Snook During the Mullet Run

    The beach snook run started last month with a few fish already showing up, and it will began to pick up substantially, just in time for the opening of snook season on September 1st. 

    The technique I like use for beach fishing is to simply slide a ½ to 1 once barrel sinker onto your line, next attach a swivel which will serve as a stop for the weight, and help keep your line from twisting as it rolls down the beach. I use about 24 inches of heavy leader, 30 to 50 pound test, and a large Daiichi Bleeding Bait circle hook. You'll need to step up both the hook and leader size if tarpon are present. 

    My favorite bait is a live finger mullet, fishing the very edge of the surf, casting just beyond the white water. Walk slowly along with the direction of tidal flow, so your bait does not wash in with the waves. The same system will work for tarpon, just cast it out further, and make sure you have adequate tackle and line capacity to handle these mighty fish.

    Near-shore, good numbers of kingfish will continue to work the beaches, wrecks and reefs. When fishing for kings, slow trolling live pogies is one of the most productive methods.

    As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Capt. Tom Van Horn

  • 07/30/2017 11:12 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)
    Redfish, trout, and snapper are August targets

    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    August is here and we’ve got lots of options to fish for in Southwest Florida. Fishing is usually best early in the mornings before it gets too hot. Part of August is that bait options are plentiful, so if you have a plan on what you want to catch finding the right bait should be easy. Pilchards, threadfins, pinfish, crabs, and shrimp are all plentiful through August. Tides, winds, and weather are the deciding factors as afternoon thunderstorms will be common just about every day.

     The stronger the tides the better, you need moving water to catch fish especially as it gets hot.  Windy days will give savvy anglers options of what sides of islands to fish on, where they’ll need to run to for the most options, and sometimes the opportunity to fish specific spots that will be awesome on certain wind directions. Likewise, on low wind days I’ll blow off the backcountry fishing and go out front nearshore fishing.

    Tarpon fishing will be a continued target both in the backcountry and along our beaches. The juvenile tarpon is plentiful this time of the year. Tarpon can be found regularly around or bridges, near the beaches chasing schools of bait early, and in the back bays usually where it’s a bit deeper than the surrounding flats. We’ll chase them usually early in the morning or late in the evening using everything from small white baits, artificial lures, all the way up to live ladyfish.

    Snook fishing is great during the summer, we’ll continue to find them along our beaches within feet of the shorelines, on our wrecks and reefs patrolling the edges, and in the backcountry laying up under the bushes as it gets hotter. They’ll be in schools usually, and when the waters clean are a blast to site cast.  Moving around slowly on the trolling motor looking for those big fish cruising is a blast in the Summer. Seeing snook up to 40” isn’t uncommon this time of the year and well worth putting a few hours of a trip toward.

    Redfish, trout, and snapper are typical backcountry August fishing targets. As redfish will be found often in the same areas as the snook and snappers, we do fish them a bit different however. Spreads for reds works out great as it gets hotter. We’ll put out an assortment of baits on jig heads or knocker rigs and keep the lines close to structure, shorelines, and potholes. By varying the baits you’ll eventually figure out what their most likely to eat and where that given day.

    Fishing our passes and cuts when the tides slow down can be a saving grace during August. These cuts and passes will have the last and first of the moving water and that’s where you’re going to get a bite during the tough times. Pompano, trout, snapper, etc… can be found in these areas. Jigs are my favorite rig tipped with a piece of shrimp and worked quickly. You’ll have to put some time into figuring out where the fish are hunkered down, but it’s worth it when you find a bite.

    Lastly shark fishing can always save the day during the summer. We’ve got all kinds in all sizes, from hammerheads, bulls, blacktips, all the way down to nurse sharks and bonnets. Sharks love a little chumming to get them going and once there enticed they will eat just about anything. Using a simple 5/o circle hook with a nice chunk of ladyfish usually gets it done. I don’t even use wire as I’ve found a freelined bait rarely gets cut off when using 50# leader for sharks up to 8 feet.

    Tight lines,
    Capt. Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com
    239-313-1764


  • 07/30/2017 10:25 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)
    Blue water bite will improve

    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    Angling on the in-shore lagoons will continue to show improvement as long as the brown alga bloom continues to subside and the summer squalls (hurricanes) stay away, with fishing in the predawn and late evening hours being most productive. Look for schools of redfish in the skinny water holding in the vicinity of bait concentration, and target them utilizing smaller top-water plugs or soft plastic swim baits like the DOA Bait Buster and Airhead. Once the sun starts to grow hot, the top-water bite will shut down, and bait becomes your better option.

    For larger trout, fish live pigfish in close to docks and other structure adjacent to deeper water. In deeper water, look for large schools of ladyfish, small trout, and tarpon pushing schools of glass minnows near the surface. These schools are easy to locate by watching for concentrations of birds, terns and cormorants, joining in on the frenzy, and they are perfect for fly anglers who are interested in the continuous fast and furious action provided by these speedsters.

    Last but not least, look for schools of black drum and pompano holding in the shadows of the causeway bridges where the water is deeper and cooler. For pompano, fish small jigs tipped with shrimp or sand fleas (mole crabs) along the deeper edges and drop-offs.

    Offshore, look for the blue water bite to improve along the inshore reefs and wrecks of Chris Benson, 8A Reef, and Pelican Flats, with kingfish, dolphin, and cobia serving as the primary species, along with an occasional wahoo or sailfish. This is also the time of year when cooler waters sometimes push the giant manta rays in close to the shoals off the Cape, bringing cobia with them. Further off shore, the Gulf Stream typically moves in closer making tuna a possibility for smaller boats working in the areas of anchored shrimp boats and thermals, and as long as the summer squalls stay away, running to the other side of the stream isn't out of the question.

    Along the beach, look for the silver kings (tarpon), smoker kings, blacktip sharks, jack crevalle, and redfish to be shadowing pods of Atlantic menhaden (pogies), thread fin herring (greenies), Spanish sardines, and bay anchovy (glass minnows) in close to the beach. Also look for snook fishing in the surf to improve, as we get closer to the commencement of the fall bait run. Remember snook are out of season, so if you target them, handle and release them with care. In and around the inlets, look for Spanish mackerel, tarpon, jack cervalle, and bonita to be working schools of glass minnows on the outside, and snook, redfish, mangrove snapper, and flounder in the area of jetties and other structure.

    As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
    www.irl-fishing.com
    407-416-1187 on the water
    mosquitocoast@cfl.rr.com

  • 07/30/2017 10:17 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)
    Fish early

    by Captain Michael Manis 

    Being the height of summer, this month is a good time to get out before the sun gets up. Redfish and snook fish best during the cooler morning period. Typically, the water temperature is so warm on the flats I like fishing around outer bar systems adjacent to deeper cuts leading to the open harbor.  Just like last month, I’ll still take a look around creek systems during rainy periods on high early morning outgoing tides; but overall, the cooler water adjacent to the open harbor is more consistent for the short available window before it gets too hot. That’s generally around 10:00 or 11:00 a.m.

    The area from Cape Haze Point at the southern end of the West Wall to Cayo Pelau at the bottom of Gasparilla Sound is good country. It’s one big bar with multiple cuts that come from both Bull and Turtle Bay. Just across the harbor, the bar that runs from Jug Creek at the northern end of Pine Island Sound to Mondongo Island that lies adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway is good.

    Around both these bar systems, especially considering the tight window of opportunity, don’t hesitate to throw top water plugs right off the bat. Lots of floating grass is the only reason I wouldn’t pursue this bite. When the sun comes up, I might move to a floating twitch bait that runs just under the surface and towards the end of the morning a soft plastic paddle tail works great. Of course, I’d rather spend a few hours on the bow of my skiff with a fly rod. During the calm early morning, a six or seven - weight with a floating line and small weed less baitfish or clouser minnow would be my choice.

    Tarpon are also an option this month and the upper Harbor is the place to look. Anywhere between the mouth of the Myakka and Peace rivers and down to the 20 foot hole should be good. Also, the bridges are good places to look and it’s not a bad idea to look up the Peace River around the I-75 Bridge. Look for rolling fish and a live threadfin or ladyfish is tough to beat.  Blacktip sharks should be prevalent around many harbor channel markers and don’t be surprised if one runs off with that threadfin you’ve got soaking.

    The mangrove snapper bite should be consistent in all the Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte canals with the perimeter canals fishing best. Moreover, the artificial reefs off Alligator Creek and Cape Haze should hold good numbers of larger fish. Jack Crevalle are around and it’s not unusual to see them just about anywhere. They come and go quick; but in most cases any bait thrown in their path will get sucked up and they put up a great fight.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis 
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com

  • 07/30/2017 10:07 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Snapper and trout best bite for August
    by Captain Charlie Conner

    As summer continues to bring the daily chance of afternoon rains and thunderstorms, fishing will take the usual second seat to the opening of lobster season.  It has been a fairly dry season so far and rain hasn’t been a big factor up to now.  Expect lots of boats on the water each day as they head out in search of the spiny critters.  Practice safe boating tactics and don’t be in a hurry to get out there.  Those dog days of August will continue with hot weather, so take the normal precautions while on the water.  Have a great August this year! 
    Trout and snapper will continue to be the best bite around the river.  Top water lures, like the DOA Airhead or Bait Buster, fished early, followed by a DOA shrimp or CAL jerk bait will be productive on the grass flats.  Water quality has been very good this year to date, but with all the hot weather the water temps have been higher than normal.  Queen’s Cove, Bear Point and Harbor Branch are usually active with trout.  Fish shallow early and move to the edges of the flats as the sun warms thing up each day.  Look for sand holes on the grass flats.  Trout love to sit in them and wait for the tide to bring their food to them.  We have enjoyed a good amount of big trout this year on the flats.  This month will provide great weather in the mornings for fishing the river. 



    Head out to the docks along the river for snook, snapper, sheephead and redfish.  Some big fish will be hanging under the shady areas around many of the docks along the river from Vero to Stuart.  Fish your lures slowly.  If you use the tide in your favor, the lure will remain under the dock longer and give you a better chance at hooking up.  Snook will be active around the jetties, bridges and docks of the river.  Live baits, Terror Eyz and Bait Busters will all work well for you.  As the rainy season continues, try some of the spillways when the water is actively running over them.  A root beer Terror Eyz is a great lure around those areas.

    Bridges will hold some nice snapper during the month along with some sheephead and black drum.  The turning basin should become alive with glass minnows and a variety of predators to feed on them.  Again the fresh water runoff will play a part in determining where to fish this month.  Everything on the water loves to eat those glass minnows.  Fish the edges of the bait pods and you should find some predators hanging out there waiting to feed.  The edges of the channel will also be holding lots of snapper around any of the structure or rocks.  It’s a great time of year!

    Make it a point to keep hydrated and lathered up with sunscreen.  Take those precautions early so that the end of your day will be as enjoyable as the beginning.  Sunburn or sun poisoning isn’t any fun and can become dangerous to your health.  Drink plenty of water or Gatorade.  Have fun in August and good fishing!

    Remember, as always, fishing is not just another hobby……it's an ADVENTURE!

    Good Fishing,
    Captain Charlie Conner

    www.fishtalescharter.com
    captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com
    772-284-3852

  • 07/02/2017 10:50 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Water temperature is key
    by Captain Michael Manis

    Understandably, this month begins a period where I prefer fishing early.  The cooler morning water temperatures present the best opportunity to look for redfish and snook outside the cover of mangroves where they’ll spend most of the day as soon as the water temperature rises. Overall, rainfall amounts factored in with tide help determine where I’ll look on any given day. For instance, if we’re getting consistent afternoon soakers, I like looking around tidal creek areas on an early morning outgoing tide.  The east side of the harbor anywhere south of Ponce Park in Punta Gorda and all the way down to Matlacha can be good under this scenario. 

    If we haven’t had a whole lot of rain, I like to look around flats adjacent to mangrove shorelines that are in close proximity to the Intracoastal Waterway.  As it receives flow from the passes, it holds good amounts of clean oxygenated gulf water. Here, I’ll generally load at the Placida ramp and cover ground anywhere from outside Catfish Creek to all the way down to the Cabbage Key area in northern Pine Island Sound. This is a lot of ground and only a fraction can be covered in the limited time we have on any given morning. 

    This time of year, it’s not unusual to find yourself with calm conditions and a flat that can be very visual. By this, I mean the mullet are very apparent as well as pushes from both redfish and snook. You may not see the fish at first but you may begin noticing single V wakes pushing off. Slow it down and some sight fishing opportunities may materialize. It’s also the time you want to be on the poling platform and not running the trolling motor.

    Off the flats, this is one of the best times of year to do some mangrove snapper fishing. Inside Boca Grande Pass in about 20 or 30 feet up on the hill is a great place. Live bait or shrimp dropped to the bottom can provide some great fun. Inside the harbor, the Alligator Creek Reef is another good spot.

    Tarpon should start grouping up in the upper harbor at the mouths of both the Peace and Myakka Rivers. The bridges are always good places to keep an eye on.  In addition, the canal systems of both Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda hold small tarpon as well as lots of mangrove snapper and some good-sized black drum. The perimeter canals are the best place to look.

    Until next month, good tides,

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895

    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com

  • 07/02/2017 10:45 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Kingfish and Tarpon on the Beach
    by Captain Tom Van Horn

    There’s no doubt about it, summer has arrived in Central Florida and the mid-summer doldrums are currently upon us. It's also the time of year when tropical weather systems and offshore water temperatures are unpredictable. Just when you think you've got the fishing figured out, a summer squall (tropical system) will blow in and kick up the seas, or the cold water Labrador Current (upwelling) will chill bottom water temperatures and shut down the seaward bite. Setting all these possibilities aside, many opportunities for angling adventure exists both inside and outside. 

    Near-shore, kingfish will be the staple on the reefs and wrecks in 70 to 90 feet of water, with a mixed bag of three, wahoo, dolphin, and an occasional sailfish, thrown in. The preferred method for targeting these species is slow trolling live bait (pogies) on steel stinger rigs in the areas of the Chris Benson, 8A, and Pelican Flats reefs. Currently the water temperatures are starting to drop.

    On the Port Canaveral buoy line and along the beaches when the water is clean, an assorted beach bag is available with smoker kings (large king mackerel), silver kings (tarpon), sharks, and gigantic jacks (school buses) all available at any given time. To target these species, focus your attention in areas of bait concentrations. This past week, large tarpon and sharks were located between Patrick AFB and Satellite Beach. As the month progresses, these fish should begin moving north along the beach to their favorite summertime haunt into the bight of the Cape. 

    In the Port and inlets, snook, Spanish mackerel, flounder and mangrove snapper number should remain steady. To target the flounder and snapper, try using DOA Shrimp on a ¼ to ½ ounce jig head in the areas of structure and along sandy drop-offs. For flounder or snapper cast the jig as close to the structure as possible without getting snagged, and let it sink to the bottom. Once it's reached the bottom, slowly drag it back letting it rest every foot or so. When jigging for Spanish mackerel or other toothy critters, use the same jigs, but retrieve it quickly to avoid getting cut off by not allowing the fish to strike the line. 

    Inshore, July is one of the best times of the year to catch redfish in shallow water. Water conditions remain good in most areas of the lagoon with some signs of algae blooms beginning to show up.  Redfish schools have already started forming up. In deeper water, look for ladyfish and small trout to be shadowing schools of bay anchovies (glass minnows) under clouds of feeding terns. These feeding frenzies are great fun, especially when fly fishing using a top water popping bug. Additionally, Calm conditions are ideal for paddlers wishing to venture back into the No-Motor Zone, where tailing redfish make great targets for both fly and spin anglers.

    On the St Johns River water levels have increased due to recent rainfall setting the stage for the catfish spawn.  As the water levels and volume increase, catfish move upstream out of the big lakes into the creeks and river.  When targeting these fish, try fishing in the deeper bends on the bottom and step up your tackle size to safely manage these larger fish.

    Remember, as the water temperatures increase, dissolved oxygen levels decrease, so it is important to step up your tackle and line size to facilitate a shorter battle, and to revive your catch completely before releasing them.

    As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    http:www.irl-fishing.com
    407-416-1187


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