CONDITIONS: Staying hot with afternoon temperatures tickling 100 degrees real feel. Winds are mild all week expect the blasts that come at you in storm periods. Most from an easterly direction which give the water clarity a chance to clean itself up. Have periods of summer storms moving east to west out of the Everglades on four of our seven days with most all the disruption occurring in the afternoons. Mornings really better to fish this time of year……avoid the scorching heat and the electrically charged downpours. The tides are without a full or new moon pull this week with the morning outgoing just a bit stronger than the afternoon incoming. Both tides should work well especially for the backwater fishing. Water temps that got to 90 degrees last week have faded to the mid eighties but will be inching back up. Expect close to 90 again by this week end.
BACKWATER: Typical hot water fishing back here. Fish will be looking for shade once the sun gets up to a 45 degree angle and holding there feeding on the immense bait schools now evident in most of the backwater edges. Mangrove snapper love the heat (Thankfully) and will be active if you take into account three factors: 1) moving water. The tides moving food across the bottom for them 2) shade. prefer the shade provided by overhanging trees and shrubs where it could well be few degrees cooler and 3) lots of white bait action. Look for those rain like dimples in the water surface that telltale the bait action or the terns and skimmers working the water surface. Work the snapper with a half shrimp (more economical) worked under a 3/4 oz weight on a smaller hook. Remember that snapper school by size – catch a nice 12″ keeper go back to the same area and there could be quite a few more waiting for a bait. The other active fish in this heat in the backwater is the legendary snook. They will jump on most any bait or artificial presented on those faster current points on both tides. Now snook are out of season till 9/1, so please work them with circle hooks which will enhance a safe release. Most of the snook you will see are juveniles and full of pep. With the heat, most of the other species (save sheepshead that are always there) will be occasional. You might see a flounder, or a mutton snapper (16″ minimum take size), or a pompano or a Spanish mackerel….they are all around and selectively feeding.
NEARSHORE: Always a note of caution here……you’re offshore and summer storms move quickly. Keep a eye on the sky or on your smartphone weather app. Water temperatures are a bit more friendly here and you should find some upgraded action. If you’re out early (recommended) keep an eye on the sky for bird action….diving terns, gulls and Pelicans mean an assemblage of bait with a good chance of marauding pelagics (mackerel, bluefish, jacks) beneath that can be had working top water tipped jigs on a fast retrieve over a good chum effort. While there suggest you keep a large cut bait soaking on the bottom on wire leader……we have had an infestation of black tip sharks around this year and the chum just might draw them in. They are OK to keep (careful handling) and make great table fare…..one of the only sharks you can say that about. Bottom action on inshore reef spots offer the same snapper action that you see backwater only the fish may be a tad bigger. Worth a shot on tipped weighted jig heads worked under that pelagic intended chum.
OFFSHORE: Don’t want to repeat but keep an eye on the sky. Storms form and move quickly and you’re usually a long way from home. Getting red grouper now regularly in the 8-11 mile range offshore as the water continues to warm. Need hard bottom which should show up on your bottom machine and the work a live pinfish, if available, or a cut lady fish tight to hard bottom outcroppings with the drag set hard…..grouper, once hooked, will make a b-line right back to their lair. Gag grouper which are now harvestable are a bit deeper (think 60+ ‘) and taking the same bait with the same technique. Note: they upped the harvest size on the gags to 24″. Wrecks continue to draw nice size kings and cobia. Kings on live runners on wire at about 10-20′ depth; cobia will show on the surface (curious) and will take a well presented sight cast threadfin and present you with a heck of a tussle.