by Capt. Tom Van Horn
Summer has officially arrived on the Indian River Lagoon coast, as the mid summer doldrums are currently upon us. It is also the time of year when tropical weather systems and offshore water temperatures are as predictable as Wall Street. Just when you think you have got things figured out, a summer squall will blow in and kick up the seas, or the cold-water Labrador Current will move in and shut down the seaward bite. Setting all these possibilities aside, many opportunities for angling adventures exist for us both inshore and offshore of the lagoon coast in July.
Inshore in the Lagoon during the summer can present outstanding top-water action, with early morning and late evening bite being the most productive times to fish. If you can tolerate the mosquitos, night fishing on the flats and around dock lights can reward you with some very calm and starry nights, bioelimination light shows in the water and outstanding fishing. Always keep in mind that our Central Florida summer heat can sneak up on you, and keep a close eye on the radar for those sneaky afternoon thunderstorms.
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. My preferred method for targeting these species is slow trolling live bait (pogies) on steel stinger rigs dresses with King Duster skirts.
On the Port Canaveral buoy line and along the beaches, an assorted beach bag is available with smoker kings (large king mackerel), silver kings (tarpon), cobia, sharks, and colossal jacks (school busses) all available at any given time. To target these species, focus your attention in areas of bait concentrations. This past week some pods of 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 off the bight of the Cape.
In closing, lets remember to be patient and respectful to our fellow anglers while enjoying time on the water during our Nation’s birthday, and let us not forget to give thanks to our essential workers and those overseas fighting for our freedom.
As always, if you have any questions or need information, please contact me.
Good luck and good fishing,
Captain Tom Van Horn