Hernando County

June is another solid month for fishing. The water temperature is remaining stable due to the long, hot days. Start your days early to try to beat the heat. Having a reliable local bait shop that opens early is a priceless tool for fishing guides and recreational anglers alike. In Hernando County, many of us stroll into Dixie Lee Bait and Tackle to gear up and get the supplies and bait we need. At Dixie Lee, you can expect the doors to open every day at 6:00 AM sharp. The knowledge, statistics and techniques you hear from local bait shops can really help your productivity–especially specifics to your area.

In our area, the sea trout are on the move into deeper water. There will still be a few large trout in the bays and at the mouth of the tidal creeks, but most of them are moving off-shore. Don’t let the deeper water deter you. You can still catch them in about 6 to 8 feet of water near rock piles. Use popping corks with shrimp or a 1/4-ounce jig head with a white soft plastic.

Because the trout are moving out, I tend to shift focus onto redfish and snook this time of year. The snook bite has really turned on! We use plenty of free-lined greenbacks (bait fish) around the rocky points and at the mangrove lines. You can also catch them with big creek chubs or live shrimp. Fishing the highest point of the high tide is a great technique, since snook prefer moving water to feed. “When the water is movin’, they’ll be chewin’ !”

My last snook trip had lots of action, despite a few hiccups. Due to unforeseen problems at the dock, I didn’t have a chance to retrieve bait as I usually do. So, I made a call to a fellow guide and friend of mine, Captain Dencil Powell with Rajun Cajun Fishing Charters, to see if he had any luck finding bait. Well, of course, he did. He had filled his bait wells to the brim that morning. Since he had plenty to share, he offered us a portion of his bait, which loaded my wells, and off we went. We must have boated over 10 good snook that day–with the largest fish measuring over 31 inches!

The redfish bite remains strong. You have to follow the mullet–look for large schools and fish that are jumping out of the water. Over the last few weeks, I have noticed that the mullet are displaced way off the islands and mangrove banks. Instead of fishing close to the banks, as we typically do, we are casting about 50 yards off the banks which results in non-stop redfish action. Most of the redfish were caught using live shrimp and a cork, white bait and pinfish. Many of our inshore species will eat a wide variety of bait, so don’t stress too much about bait choice. Rather, focus on timing the tide and finding the right location.

I hope everyone has a great month of fishing! Be safe and tight lines.