Summer has arrived and plenty of long, hot days lay ahead. That's OK; there are plenty of fish to catch and very few anglers competing.
This time of year really takes me back to days gone by, or the "good ol' days" as some would say, when you could spend most of the day around the waters of Pine Island without another boat in sight. In reality, I guess not seeing another boat is a pretty far stretch, but it's about as close to the 'good ol' days" as we are going to get.
Look for the best fishing early and late in the day when temperatures are coolest, try to coordinate the better tides with this part of the day. Of course, thunderstorms are a strong possibility on any given day, fishing the morning tides is a lot more predictable. However, fishing after an afternoon thunderstorm can be very good. If the sky clears a few hours before the sun sets, this is a great time to hit the water.
Shark fishing is at its best this month. Shelby Russell out muscled this big bull shark while fishing in Charlotte Harbor with her dad, Capt. Bill Russell.
Redfish and mangrove snapper will be in the sights of many inshore anglers, both thrive in the warm summer temperature and fishing for both should only get better as the month progresses. Anglers will score with redfish using two very different techniques: first, and this is generally a very early or very late in the day strategy, is sight fishing.
The second method, much easier and also very productive, is fishing under the mangroves islands over the higher tides. Not as much stealth is required here, fish are a lot more settled with the added water over their head plus they feel the security of the mangrove roots and over hangs.
While mangrove snapper will be caught targeting redfish under the mangroves, anglers targeting the tasty fish will look to areas with structure. Inshore this includes the gulf passes; Redfish, Captiva and Boca Grande all have rocks and ledges that attract snapper and other fish. Also, as we mentioned last month, docks, piers, jetties, artificial reefs and any other submerged debris piles are sure to be likely snapper hotspots. In the gulf, most of the near shore artificial reefs and underwater structure also will hold mangrove snapper and some big ones.
If you are looking for something more challenging, there will be plenty of sharks around to test your will. Sharks ranging in length from 3 to 10 feet will be roaming inshore waters and often in water shallower than you think. Look for sharks in areas holding other fish. If you have a spot that's good for mackerel, ladyfish, bluefish, trout, etc., chances are good sharks are nearby. Make sure to use a wire leader and fresh bait always works best. It's a good idea to leave sharks in the water and either unhook or cut the leader, it's safer for both fish and anglers. We have a lot of different shark species with different regulations; some are illegal to remove from the water. If you plan on inviting a small tasty blacktip home for supper, do your homework and learn to identify the different species.
While the height of tarpon season is winding down summer is still a great time to hook a silver king if you are targeting them or not. Don't be surprised if one blast a shark bait or a big one blows up on your lure while targeting smaller fish.
Load up the family and go catch some fish; it's hard to beat a mess of fresh fried snapper or blackened redfish and an ice cold beer in the summer.
Have a safe week and good fishin'.