The Heat is on . . .
By Capt. Greg Stamper
July is now upon us and its getting hotter, so as we move into the dog days of summer, the water will be much warmer. Redfish, snook, trout, and the transition back to our local tarpon will be a big piece of the backcountry fishing through July. Nearshore waters should also be very active with Spanish mackerel, pompano, seatrout, jacks and ladyfish -- just to mention a few species. Likewise, as you venture out deeper to the wrecks and reefs, all kinds of snappers, groupers, cobia, permit, etc… come into play. Fishing is great this time of the year as long as you keep tabs on what Mother Nature offers you.
Most of the time, it’s best to get an early start and beat the heat, particularly as we get low tides in the mid-afternoon. When the rain starts to pattern, as it often does throughout the summer, you’ll be blessed with nice, low East winds for most of the mornings, followed by an hour or so of almost still conditions before the afternoon sea breeze and storms start to develop. So starting early in South West Florida gives anglers great opportunities to site fish laid up fish, or make that long run with relative ease, pre thunderstorms.
Red fishing can be very reliable this time of the year as fish ambush the flats during the first part of the tides foraging for crabs, shrimp, and pin fish as they slowly work their way into the mangroves on the higher water. I personally love the opportunity to throw top water plugs or spoons during these times as they cover vast sloughs of water and come on who doesn’t love a top water bite! Snook fishing will be great as fish cruise almost all of the beaches attacking the schools of pilchards swimming only feet from the water’s edge. This is the time of the year to throw small swim baits, flies, or feather jigs parallel to the beach and be ready. Besides snook, many of the beaches will hold redfish, trout, tarpon, and certainly sharks.
The nearshore waters and passes will be a great place to find action during the summer, as the moving water tends to hold fish longer. The passes can be a hodgepodge of different species, and if you see birds diving in these areas then there will certainly be fish there as well. Most pass fish won’t be that big, but there will be a lot, so if action is what your looking for you'll do just fine! If you lose a jig quickly then you’ve got mackerel, so a small tip of wire should suffice to allow for some fun without losing all your gear.
The offshore wrecks and reefs can be super in July. There’s something to be said for a smooth run out to your favorite wreck and being able to see fish swimming all around you in pristine clean water. Be ready as you approach your spot as cobia may be greeting you as soon as you pull up. I like to have a large jig already to go as soon as I come off plane, or at least a nice shrimp on a 3/0 circle hook for you never know what might just pop up. If its snapper your after, they may be a bit deeper this time of the year, but chumming for a while along reefs or drop offs then dropping cut threads, pilchards, or shrimp on an extra-long 20lb leader can put some very nice mangrove snappers in the box or perhaps a few yellowtails. The grouper are moving out deeper and deeper now, however trolling some deep diving plugs in 30 to 40 feet of water may still get you that big gag grouper.
Captain Greg Stamper
Snook Stamp Charters
Fishtale Marina on Ft Myers Beach