A Nice Change of Pace

By: Capt. Mike Manis

After waiting for like what seemed forever for our water temperatures to reach the upper 70’s anticipating tarpon season, it may or may not be hard to believe that May and June have passed. Now, the wind should lie down, and the air and water temperature rise. There is still a good tarpon bite as this is one of the best months to fish the harbor.  It’s also a great time to break out the D.O.A. Baitbuster. The deep runner is best and the silver body with the black back is a good go to combination. It’s a cast and slow retrieve.  There could still be tarpon on the beach, and this is still prime time for snook in and just outside the trough; so, don’t hesitate to take a look on those calm mornings.

In some ways, after spending the last two months near the beaches with everyone else, it’s actually a nice change of pace to get a little closer to the backcountry. It’s a good time to put in some effort hunting redfish and snook. Rising water temperatures combined with daily rain provide two beneficial patterns.

First, I’ll spend as much time as possible working shorelines in close proximity to the intracoastal. This is simply a matter of looking for cooler oxygenated water. The clean water being pumped in from the Gulf through the passes into here shouldn’t be underestimated. Second, creek systems flushing more volume than normal with somewhat cool rainwater are natural holding spots. Particularly on an outgoing tide, the outside edges around the mouth can be productive. Therefore, I’ll look for creek systems or any kind of mangrove lined drainage associated with the intracoastal and fortunately, there are lots of spots that meet this description.

By contrast, on the other side of the harbor, even though it’s away from the Gulf, the waterway that flows north and south pushes by some of the best creek systems anywhere and should fish well this month. In either case, the fish will be tight to the bushes, mangroves, and your presentation or cast should be also. As a rule of thumb, if you’re not sticking your fly or lure into a root every once in a while, you’re not fishing close enough. It goes without saying that when this does happen, you need to take the time to get your rig and line back. Never break it off and leave it behind. Most likely, the visibility to sight fish will be a bit easier closer to the Gulf. However, keep in mind that the better you see the fish the better they’ll see you.

There are a couple other good bets this month. If you’re looking to get the family out, the snapper bite in Boca Grande pass should be picking up. Conversely, if you’re looking for a fight, it’s a good month to target sharks in the harbor. Until next month, good tides.