July is a hot month, so I find the fishing is the best usually in the morning or the late afternoon. My favorite fish to target in July is typically flounder. They are coming in from offshore to get food and bulk up for the summer before they move back out again towards the fall. These fish are tricky to catch, but once you get the hang of it it’s something you will learn to love!
Flounder typically grab and hold bait so it’s important to not try and set the hook hard. If I feel a thud or the line is heavy, I will actually take some tension out of the line and entice the fish to swallow the rest of the bait in his mouth. Then I simply reel slowly until I get them to the boat. I also always net my flounder vs. trying to flip them into the boat as I have lost my fair share being lazy and not grabbing the net.
My main baits for flounder are small finger mullet, mud minnows, and medium-sized shrimp. I will target sandy and muddy bottom and slowly work the live bait, almost lightly dragging the bait a few inches and pausing for 30 seconds or so before I drag again. A fish finder or Carolina rig with a circle hook, about 12-15” in leader and the lightest weight I can get away with works best in my opinion. Those of you with no boats can also do well at our local piers such as Main Street and Sunglow with the same bait and technique.
The mangrove bite should also be good in the river in July. Live shrimp and mud minnows will produce the fish. Find yourself a deep hole and get on them!
Lastly, just a heads up they have started working on the Ponce jetty rock replacement project again, so if you intend on fishing the Inlet you may want to get there extra early. They have two barges and will ask you to move so they can get to work; they usually get out there around 9 a.m. or so.
As always, good luck out there—and if you see us on the water say hello!
Capt. Jamie Thrappas
Yellow Dawg Fishing