Hernando County Report By: Capt. Joel Gant

Summertime fishing can be the most challenging time of year. With the very warm weather, you need to not only change how you fish, but how you go fishing. Make sure you take plenty of water and hydrate. Bring sunglasses, a hat and use plenty of sunscreen. The sun and heat can become quickly overwhelming–always be prepared. An easy trick I use is to keep a couple of small towels in the cooler in the ice water and wrap them around your neck. This will help bring your body temperature down tremendously. Give it a try on your next trip out. Always look at the weather before each trip.

Fishing can be tough this time of year. The water temperature is up near 90 degrees now. The fish can get somewhat lethargic and not want to exert a lot of energy. A few tips that might help the bite is to slow down the baits and try more chumming and, maybe, start your trips a little earlier when its cooler. This will also help you to stay cooler.

Offshore fishing has been steady with grouper, cobia, snapper and grunts. When grouper fishing, you may need to mix up your baits to see what they will eat. Live baits, frozen threadfins, squid or fresh cut bait might get them interested. With the warm water temperature, you might have to move to deeper water, but there are still some on the near shore rocks. Mangrove snapper are being caught right now. Cut bait or shrimp are the baits of choice. Use a 2/0 to 3/0 hook on a knocker rig–chumming helps.

Inshore fishing is still good. Start the day as early in the morning as you can. With the day just starting, the water is cooler and the fish will be a little more active. Redfish and trout can be found near deeper water or creeks. Try using shrimp or cut bait under a strike indicator around these areas.

Scallop season is in full swing. The start of the season has been a little slow. Anywhere from Bayport to Crystal River can be productive areas. Daily bag limit is two gallons whole or one pint of meat per person. Maximum 10 gallons whole per vessel. This is a fun time for the whole family. Snorkel in 4 to 6 feet of water–it’s like an Easter egg hunt. Anytime you have people in the water, please keep safety in mind and use a dive flag. Make it a fun day, and you and the kids will remember it for a long time.

Get out there on the water and make some memories with friends and family!