Hernando County By: Capt. Gary Strickland

The heat is on! With July being one of the hottest months here in Florida, getting out early should start being a priority. The soaring mid-day temperatures, can really affect the bite. Most, if not all, of our inshore fish species are affected by the warmer water temperatures which make them lazy and lethargic. Just like us, they don’t want to expend energy during these hot periods to work for a meal–they’d rather lay low and try to stay cool. The cooler night air will slightly drop the water temperature and this can be key to catching redfish, snook and trout. Plan to fish early mornings or late evenings. These fish are looking for an easy meal during the Summer, so cut bait is a great choice, especially for redfish. Cut mullet, pinfish or ladyfish are working well; an easy bait choice that is hard for them to refuse.

Snook seem to be a bit more tolerable of the hotter months, but it’s definitely a good idea to target them during the cooler time of day. Live green backs are my go-to live bait for snook during the summer. If you like to throw artificial baits, MirrOdine and other top water lures are also enticing to these fish.

Trout are kind of tricky around here in July. There will still be a few big ones hanging in the bays near deeper channels or pot holes, but getting them to bite can be a challenge. Artificial baits are my first choice for trout year-round. Soft plastics that are white, root beer, or something with a chartreuse tail are the usual go-to. Recently, I’ve been using the gold Dartspin Pro 3.5-inch soft plastics with a gold spoon on the back–made by A Band of Anglers. Slower retrieval during hotter temperatures has been working for large trout. These baits are tough and very good quality! If you’ve been contemplating this brand of baits – try them! If live bait is your preference, there have also been great reports of anglers using a popping cork and live shrimp.

As always, be safe out there and good luck on the water. Tight lines, everyone.