The key for this time of year is shade–for the fish! With the summer heat in full swing and having heat indexes higher than 100 degrees, consistently, humans aren’t the only ones looking for cooler spots to hang out!
If you aren’t getting out before the sun comes up, try to find a mangrove line that gives good shade cover, but easy enough to pitch a bait or lure under. Another thing to do this time of year is to start fishing more docks. Snook and redfish will hide in the shadows and under the docks waiting for the easy target to come into the strike zone.
For snook, you can’t beat greenbacks this time of year. There are plenty on the flats to cast net or sabiki up. I like to hook them in the tail, so it makes the bait swim farther under the dock and rarely they swim back to you, if rigged that way.
Redfish are also found under docks. Use cut pinfish or ladyfish for a lazy bait for them to pick up off the bottom. Shrimp is also working very well under the docks for both redfish and sheepshead this time of year. You can either free line a shrimp or hook it on a lighter jighead, if there is a strong current coming through the dock.
As far as the artificial side of fishing goes, the earlier the better. Get out before the sun is up and start throwing your favorite topwater plug. I like to try to work the lure across moving water where there are ambush points that will make it hard for a snook to resist. Look for finger mullet and baitfish in the area. If you find plenty of baitfish, you’ll find the snook.
Remember that we are still under a catch and release for our three main inshore species of fish. Please handle snook, redfish and trout with care and release them until their seasons are opened.