July is a great month to take advantage of flat seas out of Sebastian, but the fishing can be tricky. Water temps this month can range from hot to freezing cold. The key is to adapt your fishing to match the conditions. The tricky part comes into play when the cold-water upwelling occurs. Each summer we get cold water that pushes in from the deep ocean. It comes in under the warm surface water and varies in temperature, depth and timing. Bottom fish become lethargic at these cold temps and are difficult to catch.
When the bottom temp is cold, try bottom fishing somewhere else or try fishing on the surface for different species. You can detect cold water by feeling your lead sinker. The reefs in 60 feet and along the beach can have warmer water and can be productive for mutton and mangrove snapper. Some fish are more resilient to the chilly water. Amberjack, cobia, and even snapper will rise easily to a chum slick on the 60-to-100-feet reefs. Look on your sonar for big fish way up in the water column. The cobia and AJ’s will swarm around bull sharks this time of year on certain reefs in the 90 feet range. They will slam a buck tail with a twisty tail worked very aggressively. The challenge is to get the fish boated before the bull sharks get them. Also, troll ballyhoo and big plugs where there are flying fish, scattered weeds and baitfish in the area. Kingfish right off the beach in 30-to-40-feet can be a good bet this month. Try a chum line and some live bait if trolling doesn’t get it done.
In the Gulf Stream, there will be plenty of dolphin, wahoo and sailfish caught this month. Usually there is a good run of summer sailfish in July. Watch for the free jumpers and change your spread up a bit to include some naked ballyhoo. Calmer waters call for less commotion on the surface and a sneakier presentation. A good teaser will bring them into the spread.
This month, the two-day lobster mini season is July 25-26. The lobsters of Sebastian are not as numerous as they are in south Florida, but they make up for it with their size. Five- to 10-pound lobsters are common in our waters. Any of the reefs from the beach out to 100 feet will hold them if the right kind of cracks are present. Have fun and dive safe. Don’t let lobster fever make you take risks.
This time of year, it’s good to get on the water early and get home early. Watch out for those days when the severe thunderstorms are predicted to form early and move offshore or along the coast. These offshore moving storms can be severe and can quickly get between you and the inlet. Be safe and enjoy those flat morning seas this month!