With day time temperatures reaching ninety degrees pretty consistently and with water temperatures almost as high, some creativity is required to put fish on the deck. The heat tolerant redfish is certainly one option. Several large schools are patrolling local waters but they are not necessarily easy to catch. These fish are easiest to see on lower water when their movements cause a visible surface commotion. A cautious approach is required to get within casting range and, in some cases, it’s necessary to just anchor up in the general area and let the fish come to you. Cut baits and whole pinfish both seem to be effective. A recent trip on high water along the mangroves did not produce many strikes so this lower tide approach may be best right now.
Another hot weather tactic is to head outside to the open ocean. Recent trips into water depths of 25 to thirty feet have yielded a variety of species. Artificial reefs and larger structures are holding mangrove snapper in the 12 to 16 inch range…a fish that has been somewhat scarce in near shore waters the last few years. The crafty fish require heavy chumming and carefully presented baits to elicit strikes. After fish are visible in the chum slick, cut chunks of whitebait should be drifted on slack lines back to the fish so that these baits drop to the bottom completely naturally. When the slack line jumps or begins to tighten, the bail should be flipped over and the angler should reel down to set the hook. Although still a bit warm for Spanish mackerel, these fish have shown up on a few occasions in the last week. In one instance, the mackerel attracted a few barracuda, which resulted in a 25 lbs fish being brought to gaff. There’s always the possibility of a shark or cobia joining the party as well. That’s one benefit of fishing the open ocean. You can never be sure what might show up.
If the snapper don’t co-operate, there are a few legal grouper swimming around in these same water depths. Expect to have to sort through numerous shorts to find one or two keepers per trip. Although the numbers of these near shore grouper appear to be dwindling, reinforcements should arrive once water temps start to drop later next month. The good news is that the water temperatures should begin to drop in the next few weeks and this will ignite better fishing in near shore waters.
Captain Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters