by Captain Tom Van Horn
Summer days in Central Florida can be brutal, so prudent anglers and the fish take advantage of the cool nights, early morning, and late evening hours to feed and stock their prey. With this said, adjust your routine in June, July, and August by fishing at night, during the predawn hours, and in the late afternoon after thunderstorms subside taking advantage of productive feeding hours.
In June, the summer doldrums set in on the Atlantic Ocean, the waters clear, and the seas lay down. This opens a window of opportunity for smaller boats, so near-shore fishing is typically the best you will see all year along the beach. June is also the time of year when the kingfish move in close shadowing schools of Atlantic menhaden (pogies) along the beach and in the Port Canaveral buoy line, and slow trolling live pogies can result in some outstanding catches.
Look for the tarpon and shark numbers to increase along the beach, and let us not forget about the schools of large jack crevalle and the tripletail as both fisheries are cranking up. Remember, snook season closes this week, so let us give them a chance to relax a bit.
Offshore, look for the dolphin bite to slow as the schools begin to spread out. The kingfish concentration will remain good along the inshore reefs and wrecks of 8A Reef and Pelican Flats, so again slow trolling with live pogies will produce the best action. Additionally, bottom fishing will remain good for snapper and grouper until the first summer squall (hurricane) blows in and muddies up the water.
On the flats, focus your efforts between 5am and 9am, and in the late afternoon after the thunderstorms dissipate. Night fishing will also produce descent catches of sea trout. When fishing the flats at night, I prefer fishing real slow with glow in the dark shrimp imitation baits like the DOA Glow Shrimp. If you can only fish during the heat of the day, target the docks with deepwater access. In the early morning look for trout and redfish up in the skinny water around concentration of bait, and toss them your favorite top water plug.
Remember as the days heat up, long battles will kill fish, so if you plan on targeting large fish, please step up your tackle to shorten the battle. Also, dissolved oxygen levels are low, so leave them in the water as much as possible, and revive them completely before releasing them.
As always, if you need more information or have questions, please contact me.
Good luck and good fishing,
Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
407-416-1187 on the water