by Capt. Mike Manis
As we approach the two hottest months of the year, it’s a good time to head for the bars. Of course, I’m referring to the kind made of sand and grass. In particular, bar systems lining the harbor’s outside edge. With the exception of night and very early morning, the heat and resulting water temperature will push redfish and snook off the flats and onto these outer edges. For instance, the entire bar that runs from Cape Haze at the lower end of the West Wall to the southwest tip of Cayo Pelau at the bottom end of Gasparilla Sound is good water. Moreover, lots of anglers take the opportunity to wade. Because of the solid bottom, from Gallagher’s Cut at the western edge of Turtle Bay, down past Bull Bay is convenient. They’ll wade up close to shore and cast out toward deeper water. It’s also a good idea to keep your baits down and work slow as fish aren’t going to be very aggressive. I like small baitfish patterns and I’ll strip extra slow. Across the harbor, the bar systems around Smokehouse Bay and the northeast end of Pine Island are also good.
Tarpon will still be holding in the deeper holes off the West Wall and outside Pirate Harbor and the D.O.A. Bait Buster is still a good bet. If you see them rolling; a slow retrieve anywhere in the area is worth a shot. Also, don’t forget about the bridges. In particular, the U.S. 41 bridge can be good. If you still feel like looking for snook and redfish on the flats, it’s not a bad idea to look for shorelines that are not too far from the intracoastal and be prepared to fish up under the bushes. Typically, anywhere along this waterway from Placida to Cabbage Key in northern Pine Island Sound has potential. There will still be snook in the surf along the beaches, with the smaller fish up tight and some larger fish out a bit deeper. Even though it’s a bit hot, spotted sea trout are still active. A good bet is the deeper water in Pine Island Sound, 5’-6’, off the edge of a grass flat anywhere around the intracoastal.
The snapper bite in Boca Grande Pass is also still good this month, as well as just about anywhere there is structure. This includes canal and dock systems. Jack crevalle should also be moving in and out of the canals of Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte. They’re always on the move, but just about any offering put in their path should be sufficient. Spanish mackerel could be just about anywhere in the harbor with the best bet being just inside Boca Grande Pass.
Until next month, good tides.