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
407-416-1187 on the water