Summer is officially here and the fishing is good throughout the inshore waters of East-Central Florida. I always love June and this past month was no exception. It was a shortened month for me, but I still fit in 10 charters and nearly 20 days on the water before I took off for a week long vacation in the Turks and Caicos. Upon my return I took another week off of chartering to prepare for the IFA Redfish Tour that was in Titusville on June 28th. We dialed in a great pattern and found lots and lots of happy feeding redfish every day...the prep work paid off as my teammate and I took 12th place (out of a IFA record of 131 boats) and took home a nice paycheck for our efforts. Not to be forgotten was a photoshoot with a friend of mine from Florida's West Coast. We spent a day taking photo's of tailing bull (20-40lb) redfish in the Lagoon, and what we captured was priceless! Some photos are shown below. July is starting out with a bang, and it's hard not to get excited seeing slick calm waters greeting us at the ramp each morning. So let's get to the report...
There are still good numbers of 20-50lb juvenile Tarpon scattered around the area and they are starting to push their way into the Mosquito Lagoon. We've jumped nearly 30 fish of this size so far this year, and landed close to 10 or so, right on par for tarpon fishing. Some migrating adult fish (60-100lb) have made their way in through Ponce Inlet and more are staged or working their way north along the beaches in the Atlantic. Chances for these giant tarpon will increase over the next two-three months. We're finding tarpon in a variety of depths which gives fly anglers a better opportunity, but a jig or live bait will also work when they are down deeper or being reluctant to bite. The summer patterns have kicked in for Redfish and ther's generally consistent action in every location I fish. Slot size (4-8lb) fish are providing excellent targets for sight casting as they cruise the shallow flats and tail up once they find a food target. The water is still really clear and we're catching these fish using soft plastics, topwater plugs, and suspending twitchbaits. Crab flies have been great for tailing fish and a clouser or mullet imitation have been a good choice during the early morning hours or for laid up fish. There are lots of GIANT redfish schools working the deeper flats each day, and the sight of 20-40lb redfish tails bobbing up and down at the surface is sure to weaken the knees of any angler. Gulp lures and live/cut bait have almost a guarantee hook-up, but now is a good time to break out the topwater plugs for some explosive bites. Some schools are spawning around the full-moon cycles, while others are are a month or two away. Next month we'll begin to see the first cycle of GIANTS start to school around Ponce Inlet.
The best chances for giant Spotted Sea Trout is centered around their spawning cycles when these trophy gator trout school up. The best general trout bite has been around daybreak, however because tarpon and snook have been biting at the same time we've skipped most of the action, instead coming back later to sight cast them during the mid-morning hours. Up around Ponce Inlet, New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater we're targeting Snook in the early morning hours around docks, mangroves, and creek mouths. In the process we're also catching a bunch of Jack Crevalle as well. A topwater plug or twitchbait worked tight to a mangrove shoreline is sure to bring a strike from something. Anytime we’re near the inlet the mangrove backcountry is a good place to look for some inshore Shark fishing. I personally like drifting a piece of fresh cut bait near the inlet channel or just outside it. If the weather conditions are right and the ocean is smooth, I'll take some live mullet and troll them behind the boat and often times a Kingfish will be game for a battle while we are out there.
I only have about a half dozen openings left for July, and August and September are also filling quickly. Hard to believe that in three months the fall bait run will be underway and we'll be waving good bye to the summer months. Book a trip with me now to experience some of the best fishing of the year. I look forward to fishing with you soon, 386-212-4931. Here is a sample of recent pictures just added to the Galleries. You can also read reports from the past year by visiting my Report Archive.