Welcome to the July Edition

Welcome to the Okeechobee edition of Coastal Angler Magazine. Typically in July we talk about the dangers of lightning and late afternoon thunderstorms and where to find bass in rising lake waters. But this year winter never brought an end to our rains and this whole year seems to be one rain event after another. So besides a more intense sun and hotter temperatures, our weather pattern seems to be just more of the same.

One thing I did notice over the past few weeks is the huge number of mosquitos that all this standing water has brought about. The other day I stopped on the side of the road to make a few casts in a small lake and when I got back to my SUV it was totally covered in mosquitos and the buzzing sound emitting from the grass warned me not to approached the vehicle they just commandeered. I bolted for the truck, threw the rods unsecured onto the roof and drove off to a point where I was on a dirt patch and then got out to put my rods away. And yet those little buggers still found their way into my truck. So for the next few months, it’s chemical warfare time against these summertime blood suckers.

Being an outdoor minded person, there is always something to do outside in south central Florida. During the summer months the local streams and rivers are flowing nicely and it’s a great time to go canoeing or kayaking. Our state parks are on extended hours so take advantage of this by packing up the car and taking the family to a park for a fun filled day in the outdoors. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about the history and environment of Florida by visiting our parks.

For local fishermen, the key will be to get any early start on the water. The pre-dawn hours will be the best time to fish both in fish activity and your ability to avoid the summer sun and heat. If you can, pay particular attention to the week of July 17th – 24th where there will be a full moon setting just around sunrise. If Mother Nature provides clear overnight skies, this will be a chance to get out extra early that week and work those top water frogs against the back light of a full moon. Bass coming out of the dark water to blast a top water bait under a full moon is just a great thrill. For those anglers getting a later start in the day, the keys will be to look for moving water and areas with good oxygen levels. Summertime’s intense heat and aggressive vegetation growth can quickly turn areas stagnant and void of oxygen so learn to recognize these areas and pass them by.

For benefit fishing tournaments, the Highlands Bass Anglers Tournament Trail will be hosting a benefit open tournament on Lake Okeechobee on Saturday, July 16th to raise funds for some wounded warriors. The event will launch from the Harney Pond boat ramp in Margaret Van de Velde Park in Lakeport FL. The event is open to all boats with a working aerating livewell so pontoon boats, jon boats, and kayaks are welcome. Refer to the announcement on page xx for details and contact information. It’s for a good cause and all funds will be locally distributed.

For event goers, July starts off with a big bang, literally. There are Fourth of July events scheduled all across our nation, cities and local towns. So pack a picnic lunch and join your friends and neighbors to celebrate the 240th birthday of our great nation. For events scheduled later in the month, refer to our community page and remember to support your local businesses.

Until next month, stay cool, hydrate yourself, and defend yourself against those blood sucking mosquitos.