Summertime has officially arrived as the mid-summer doldrums are currently amongst us. It is the time of year when tropical weather systems and offshore water temperatures are as hard to predict. Just when you think you’ve got things figured out, a summer squall will blow in and kick up the seas, or the cold-water Labrador Current will move in and shut down the seaward bite.
Near-shore, kingfish will be the staple on the reefs and wrecks in 70 to 90 feet of water, with a mixed bag of three, wahoo, dolphin, and an occasional sailfish, thrown in. The preferred method for targeting these species is slow trolling live bait (pogies) on steel stinger rigs. Ballyhoo trolled for pelagic is good, but live bait trolled very slowly will yield a trophy sized kingfish!
On the Port Canaveral buoy line and along the beaches, an assorted beach bag is available with smoker kings (large king mackerel), silver kings (tarpon), cobia, sharks, and colossal jacks all available at any given time. To target these species, focus your attention in areas of bait concentrations. A good cast net is needed nearshore, 3/8 mesh and 1.5lbs. lead per foot should do the trick.
Inshore, July is one of the best times of the year to catch seatrout in shallow water. Fish your favorite top water plug in the early morning, late evening after the storms and at night targeting areas of active bait schools. Also look for snook, and juvenile tarpon in the creeks, canals, and backwaters. In deeper water, look for ladyfish and small trout to be shadowing schools of bay anchovies (glass minnows). Soft plastics cast to the sides of bait schools can get multiple hookups.