A bad day on the water is better than a good day in the office. The old saying might not be true with this mid-summer heat. High temps are sending a lot of us running back inside to sit in air conditioning and sip on an iced tea.
Even though it’s uncomfortably hot, running for AC is not an option for this lady angler. With the summer heat, it can be a little more challenging to hook up, but there’s still plenty of good inshore action.
When to Fish
This time of the year, the bite is better early in the morning and right before the sun goes down. I specialize in sight fishing redfish on the grass flats of Mosquito Lagoon. The great thing about reds is you can find them year-round in our estuary. Fishing the tides is key, especially this time of year.
I prefer high tides, which push redfish up under the mangroves as they seek shade and protection from the heat. It might be a little more challenging to lure these fish from hiding, and that’s when pitching the right bait comes into play.
Baits to Use
I am all for artificial. My basic go-to when casting for reds is a 3-inch paddletail on a weedless jighead. I cast and work it alongside the mangroves. Also, D.O.A., Vudu Shrimp, Bomber lures such as the Bodank-A-Donk, popping corks, Mir-O-Lures and Super Spooks are all personal faves.
If all else fails, switch to live bait. A jumbo shrimp fished in deeper and cooler areas is a good idea, but right now I’d recommend a bait with some stink, like a pinfish or finger-sized mullet. I snip their tails to release scent and attract fish.
Where to Find Fish
You will find fish scattered in this heat. Redfish will be in the mangroves, tarpon under bridges and snook against the pilings. I look for vegetation and structure. When targeting tarpon and snook, I prefer fishing at night. Tarpon are mostly nocturnal feeders this time of the year, and the night bite can be fire. Same for snook. These species like structure.
I target them by posting up under bridges and docks. You can freeline live bait for an almost guaranteed hit or work an artificial, which is always a little more challenging.
Don’t be that Angler
How many of you were excited to get on the water and were certain you had everything you needed? All you brought were lures, and you tried everything in your tackle bag but nothing hit.
I’m guilty of being that guy, and the summer heat makes it a little more challenging to bring fish to the boat. I recommend bringing live and artificial baits because one day you might pluck all your catches on artificial, and the next day they won’t chew. It’s always best to be prepared and have choices to give you a successful fishing trip.