St. Augustine Inshore – June Fishing Report
Schools out for summer!.. High tail it to the beach! This time of year the pogy pods start to show up along the beaches. More importantly, some really big fish will also be showing up to give chase to those giant pods of baitfish. Locate the pods from a few hundred yards off the beach out to about 50 feet of water. Look for crashing on the surface, as there will be predatory fish in hot pursuit of the baitfish pushing them to the surface. Sharks, cobia, bull reds, spanish and king macs, giant jacks, bluefish, and one of my favorites the silver king, a.k.a. tarpon, will be crashing the pogy pods in an exciting free-for-all that you have to see to believe. A favorite way to fish the pods is to rig a live pogy on a medium to large circle hook (5/0-10/0). Use about 5 feet of 60-80lb fluorocarbon leader then add a split shot or two a few feet above the hook. This will keep your pogy slightly under the pod and make for an easy meal for lurking predators. Bring some heavy tackle because you never know what may lie underneath.
Just like last month inshore, some of the best redfish and trout catches will come at daybreak and at sunset. A top-water plug will be the lure of choice at these times when worked around mullet schools. If the fish seem to be short striking try to vary your retrieval rate. Sometimes they like it fast and sometimes a little slower. If they just don’t seem to want to inhale the top-water, switch to a sub-surface lure like a Rapala Twitchin Mullet or a soft plastic jerk bait. These lures perfectly imitate a wounded mullet or small pogy and will stay just under the surface when worked correctly. It can be just the right look for those fish that seem to be “sniffing” your top-waters. During the heat of the day, switch up your presentation. Again, locate the mullet schools and jig a little deeper with soft plastic paddle tail like a Saltwater Assassin Lil Boss paired with a 1/8-1/4 ounce jighead. A live mud minnow or shrimp on a jighead will also be a great all-around setup for our summertime fish (trout, jacks, ladyfish, flounder, and reds, just to name a few). These will all be hiding around the schools of mullet and pogys waiting for one of the baitfish, or better yet your presentation, to get out of line for an easy snack.
With the water turning towards that summer “yoohoo” color using baits that have some good scent, or “stink” in this case, are a good bet. I like to use a cut mullet or ladyfish for redfish around oyster bars and in creek holes. These baits give off a strong scent and make it easy for the fish to find them in murky water. Another way to attract fish in murky water is to use a gold spoon… tossed along grass edges and oyster bars during the higher tide stages is sure to get the attention of a few reds and flounder. Another option for our murky summer water is a lure that has gained a huge amount of popularity with pro tournament anglers and many hardcore inshore fishermen, the spinnerbait. Sometimes spoons and spinners will have just enough vibration to call out those hard to find fish! Tight Lines!
Capt. Tommy Derringer