Fort Pierce Inshore: July 2022

Vinnie with a nice mutton caught in 18 feet of water. Photo credit: Capt. Adam White.

I can’t believe it is July already. Time has been flying by this year! Be sure to have a safe Fourth and spend the day out on the water. Look for hot weather as things heat up for summer and water temperatures will approach 90 degrees.

Start watching for the glass minnow schools to flood into the river and you will find lots of action surrounding these small baitfish!  Spanish mackerel, bonito, snook, and tarpon are a few of the fish that love to feast on the glass minnows. Bridges will be holding snapper, along with the occasional drum or sheepshead during July. Live or dead shrimp will be hard for them to resist. Larger snapper will be in the river around structure and along channel edges. Small pilchards or mojarra will generate bites from the larger mangroves.  Whiting and croakers will continue to be in the surf with the occasional Spanish mackerel.

This is time to start looking for large mutton snapper in shallows off the beach.  Anchor just off the first reef in 15-to-30 feet of water. I like using heavy spinning rods with at least 6000 size reels. They will be rigged with 30-to-50-pound braid, a leader approximately 15- to 30-feet long and finished with a 3/0-5/0 circle hook. Most of the time there will be very little current. Using smaller split shots or even no weight at all has been the best approach for me. Make a good long cast away from the boat and pay out line as the bait is sinking. Once it comes to rest on the bottom, I let the rod holder do all the work. Cut bait seems to be more effective for these shallow muttons.  Fresh cut or frozen sardines, grunts, pinfish, or greenies are all good bait choices for big beach muttons.

FORECAST BY: Capt. Adam White
(609) 820-6257