July 29 to August 4th 2016 Fishing Report
CONDITIONS: Wish we could report something different but it’s just staying very hot and wet. Those heat indexes which compile air temperature, humidity and wind into a comfort number are all forecast above 103 degrees every day this week. So as we’ve said before “start your fishing day early and quit early”. Good chance there will be some unfavorable impact from all the fresh rain water being dumped into our salt this past week. Salinity is an important factor for our piscatorial friends and will repel various species and send them scattering to deep water. Thankfully, the winds will not be a factor this week as they will stay sub-double digit all week. That adds to the heat factor but keeps the sea conditions flat. The tides are heading to a new moon pull late week and will be picking up strength all week. Look for a 4′ afternoon incoming late week.
BACKWATER: With the heat conditions and the very strong tides this week would recommend working specific times in that tide cycle for best results. If you can get going early, the first light morning incoming tide should give you best chance for action in any of the Passes for snook working live bait along the shore edges as the current picks up speed. Pilchards are usually the best draw for the snook……most will be juveniles but you may run into a slot snook or two. All must be released as the season is closed until 9/1. Pompano are active in the heat but are sensitive to water clarity. If the rains ease off a bit, we should have the best pompano conditions on the morning incoming working either Hurricane or Capri Passes early on a drift with tipped jigs bounced off the bottom. Try to be in action during the first hour of the incoming…..the pomps scatter inshore after that. Top action however continues to be on the mangrove snapper. They are feeding heavily even in the hot conditions and will jump on the smallest tad of shrimp. Most of your catch will be undersize but there are usually enough snappers in the 10-12″ class to put a nice meal on the table. Again, the best action on the bigger fish will be just before and after both tide turns.
NEARSHORE: Stormy weather pattern permitting, there should be some good morning action along the first and second reefs for mackerel et al either staying mobile and working spots where the birds are working the surface or at anchor on structure using chum to draw the action. If you stay mobile you can work the perimeter of surface action spots with tipped jigs or set up a 4-5 kt troll of using same. Anchored it’s getting the chum in the water and working jigs quickly on the surface just over the chum. Inshore reef spots like the Walton Reef just off Caxambas Pass or the Five Mile Reef hold bottom action on both lane and mangrove snapper working weighted tipped jigs under chum. Good method to draw the bigger fish is to bait up with just a bit of the chum freelined on a small hook right into the descending chum flow……the bigger snapper will come up to engulf the morsel.
OFFSHORE: We should be thankful here that we have such a great shallow water grouper fishery. The red grouper action is enhanced with the heat as the fish continue to move east over hard bottom spots. Don’t need to go much further than 7-8 miles offshore to find the hard bottom that is home for huge numbers of fish. Working a live pinfish or cut ladyfish tight to the bottom outcroppings on a tide induced drift will get you all the action you’re looking for……..red grouper have a 20″ harvest size. Gag grouper are also active and hold a bit deeper this time of year. You’ll need to be working in 60-70′ of water to get sustained action. Gags are a bit larger than the reds and have a 24″ minimum harvest size. Other deep action is on the wrecks where pelagics hover feeding on the immense bait schools. You’ll need live bait worked over a good chum effort here for kingfish, cobia and permit.