FOLLOW THE FISH
Capt. Pete Rapps
Here in the Ten Thousand Islands, the weather in July is somewhat predictable, as are the fishing patterns. Expect the bite to drop off during the mid-day heat and slack tides. The bite is early in the day, and again late in the afternoon/early evening after the mid-day storms cool things off a little.
Day time air temperatures are now hovering around 90 degrees each day, bringing the water temperatures up to 87 degrees.
Anglers can get into some nice snook on the outside islands. Top water plugs and suspended soft plastic artificials will produce some nice morning action. Of course, nothing beats a livewell full of pilchards and thread fin herring. You can live chum with a handful of these guys; then follow up with a nice one on your hook.
The trout bite will remain steady. They are generally smaller than the winter trout, but are around in good numbers. They will take anything from a live shrimp to a buck tail jig to a topwater plug. Fish early on the incoming tide for your best results. You can count on the redfish to take a 3-inch Gulp shrimp on a ¼ oz jig head on the last half of the incoming tide around oyster bars or mangrove lined shorelines. Live shrimp under a popping cork works great for reds too.
Triple tail are hanging around markers and structure, and will happily take a live shrimp on a circle hook. Permit and cobia are hanging around offshore structure. Bring some small silver dollar sized crabs with you for the permit. Cast net some nice 6-inch mullet to present to the cobia.
Mangrove snapper are larger in size than most of the year and are hungry for a live shrimp around the Mangrove roots. Shark are all over the place and love ladyfish. Some tarpon will be around on the flats early in the morning and in the evening. They are looking for live ladyfish and mullet. Be sure to use a heavy wire leader!