Capt. Pete Rapps
The mid-summer heat is on, and some proper planning can equate to some of the best and most productive fishing our area has to offer. By mid-day, air temperatures are now averaging around 93 degrees. Water temperatures are warm — right around 88 degrees. With the daytime air temperatures being where they are at now, be sure to pack a good cooler with lots of ice and water. We count on our “Grizzly Coolers” every day to keep our ice frozen and drinks cold all day long no matter how hot it is.
Snook typically bite best on an outgoing tide around the outside islands and cuts. If you can get some live pilchards, thread herring or finger mullet, you will be rewarded with some nice big momma snook! Remember to give them a thorough revival after a quick photo. Since the water is so warm, they get tired quickly. Be patient, and expect a proper revival to take several minutes.
Speckled sea trout will usually bite best on an incoming tide on the near shore and outside flats in about 3-5 feet of water. I really like to use a 1/4 or 3/8 oz. bucktail-type jig with a little flashin its tail. Tip the jig with a very small piece of shrimp for awesome results. Another great rig is the DOA Deadly combo with a rootbeer colored Shrimp!
Redfish will bite best on an incoming tide on the near shore oyster bars on live shrimp, pilchards or thread herring. Try a popping cork with about 3 feet of 25 lb. fluorocarbon leader and an appropriate sized circle hook to match your bait. Many artificials are equally as good, and I really like a Gulp! shrimp — natural or new penny color — on a 3/8 oz red jig head.
Shark are now around in good numbers: bull, blacktip, lemon, nurse, sharpnose, bonnethead and others. Use 4-5 feet of 80 lb. wire leader and cast out a chunk of mullet or ladyfish where the water is moving in a river mouth or channel. Hang on because they usually arrive pretty quickly.
Tarpon will bite best on an outgoing tide on the outside flats and deep channel cuts. If you have the opportunity to sight fish for them, try a large soft plastic bait like a DOA swimming mullet. Live baits such as ladyfish, thread herring and pilchards are tarpon candy! Fish for tarpon at first light and again near sunset.