St. Augustine Offshore – July Fishing Report
With air temps in the mid to upper 90’s this month it’s a good idea to get on the water as early, or as late as possible as the fish will be on the feed during those times and laying low during the heat of the day. Inshore toss your favorite top-water plug at first light for exciting redfish and trout blowups. Some favorite top-water plugs for our area are the Rapala Skitterwalk or Skitter-V. If you’re not an “early bird” check out the dusk bite using the same lures. The fishing right off the beach really comes alive this time of year. Huge sharks, tarpon, kingfish, and many more will be chowin’ down on the giant pods of pogies right behind the breakers. It’s a great time to put your heavier tackle to the test!
When looking to catch some redfish be on the lookout for concentrations of finger mullet or pogies on the flats. You can be guaranteed that at least a redfish or two will be hanging nearby a big wad of baitfish this time of year. During the higher tide stages one of my favorite lures to toss this time of year is Saltwater Assassin inline spinner bait as it nicely mimics a finger mullet. The water is murky right now and the bright flash of the spinners blade and the thump it creates while going through the water will be sure to get the fishes attention. On the lower tide stages a lot of the bigger fish will move to slightly deeper water where it’s a little cooler. Any kind of live or chunked bait will work well for reds, trout, and flounder when fishing deeper. A scented soft plastic fished very, very slow will also be a good bet.
The flounder bite should be good this month at the St. Augustine and Mantanzas inlets and just about all the regular inshore flatty haunts. Fishing around the slack tides will give you the best chance to get your bait on the bottom where the flounder hide. Small to medium sized finger mullet on a fish finder rig can be deadly… Don’t be afraid to use a decent sized mullet to catch the doormats… just remember to let the flounder chew on the bait a few moments before setting the hook.
One of my favorite fish, the tarpon, should be thick along the beach gorging themselves on the bait (pogy) pods just about now. They started to show around the shrimp boats and at the inlets last month and should have pogy’s on their mind now. The best bite will be early morning and just before or after the afternoon summer rainstorms. Rig a live pogy on a large 6/0-10/0 circle hook and fish the outside of the bait pods. Sometimes a little weight to help the pogy get down will help. Don’t forget to rig a rod with a plug for the giant jacks and spanish macs that will be on the pods as well.
Capt. Tommy Derringer