An early start to the fishing day allows the angler to beat the July heat and also guards against being caught on the water during the afternoon thunderstorms, which can be an everyday occurrence this time of year. The early morning is the best time to target some species, in particular trout, reds and Sebastian River tarpon. Fishing snook and reds at Sebastian Inlet is based more on tides, with outgoing being preferred. Nearshore Spanish and king mackerel may be taken advantage of throughout the day, but again the thunderstorms make being in by 1 p.m. advisable.
Looking for rolling tarpon in the predawn gray light in either fork of the Sebastian River is a great way to start any day. Sight casting to rolling fish with flies, D.O.A. TerrorEyz jigs and small plugs is an exciting way to target these 5-to-50-pound tarpon. Live mullet are also an excellent option once you find the fish. Once the sun is up, fishing the docks and shady shoreline cover with D.O.A. shrimp, jerkbaits or plugs is a good way to target snook in the Sebastian River.
Finding a shallow water area with a school of mullet milling around on it in the early morning is the key to topwater plug fishing for seatrout and redfish in the Indian River Lagoon in the summer. Super Spook Jr. and other 4-to-6 inch topwater plugs fished around and through these milling mullet will get the attention of predators shadowing the mullet schools. Later in the morning, fish drop-offs and deeper cuts with jigs for trout and ladyfish or hit the shady shoreline cover and docks for snook and reds.
The first few hours of an outgoing tide are historically the best time to find snook stacked up at the end of Sebastian Inlet’s north jetty. Anglers fishing from boats and from the jetty have a great shot at catch and release action if they are using live croakers or pigfish. Big redfish will stack up at the mouth of Sebastian Inlet on outgoing tides throughout the summer. They will hit live baits of all types fished on the bottom. These bull reds will move inside the inlet and pick off small crabs floating out with the tide especially around new and full moon periods. Topwater plugs, live crabs and flies will take these brutes. With snook out of season, this is a great time to try fishing some new areas of the inlet or testing some new methods or lures.
This is the fishing that I have always looked forward to in July. The consistently calm ocean conditions in the morning allow small boaters to venture out into the open ocean. The warm clear waters and the glass minnows and greenies that normally abound in them draw oceanic predators such as king mackerel, bonito and cobia close to the beach. Full grown tarpon, Spanish macks, big jack crevalle and the occasional sailfish are also a possibility. Having a livewell full of mid-sized mullet and/or greenies is a must. These can be cast to rolling tarpon or any other species that show themselves. If nothing is showing, slow trolling a live mullet or greenie, especially on a downrigger set at mid-depth, can be a very productive way to get some kings for the smoker or any of the other mentioned species. It’s a big ocean and slow trolling is not the best way to cover ground, so look for bait pods, bottom structure, current edges or even weed lines to narrow your search.
Early to bed, early to rise, is a good rule of thumb for fishing in July.
FORECAST BY: Capt. Gus Brugger