Snook fishing remained fairly strong well into July but, as is always the case, warming waters and the ending of the summer spawn have slowed this great near shore fishery once again.  Snook are still available along the beaches and, at times, large congregations of quality fish can be found both close to the beach and in highly visible locations, but  triggering bites, especially from the biggest fish, can be challenging. That said, catching a half dozen or more snook is still a possibility during August and September.  As the summer progresses, snook will continue to be available, but will become even more scattered.  The two reasons for this are that many of the big breeding females will retreat back offshore a bit and the fish that remain will start to be seen in a broader range of locations. In the next few months, fish will begin to re-populate mangrove shorelines, spoil islands inside the sound and their always predictable backwater locations. Bigger than average pilchards will be the most preferred bait during this transition.

Big Snook in July

Redfish, due to their tolerance of a broad range of temperatures, still represent a viable target species right on thru the hottest months of the year. Some anglers will target these fish during the last parts of daylight as cooler temperatures and less boat activity can improve the fishing. Others stick with the tried and true method of fishing onshore structure during the highest phases of the tide. Oyster bars and flooded mangrove shorelines are always good location choices. A healthy chunk of cut fish or a cut tail pinfish are among the best baits right now. Both of these baits can be fished free-lined, with a split shot or under a bobber, depending on wind, shoreline type and bottom. Drifting a live pinfish down a wind blown mangrove shoreline can be highly effective when the wind is blowing parallel to shore. Split shots are obviously best avoided when fishing over oyster bottoms.

Smaller trout are abundant over grass flats near the passes as are small blacktip and lemon sharks in the 2 - 4 foot range.  Although many local anglers have no interest in catching a shark, they seem to be a favorite for some and always put a good bend in the rod.  Hanging a chum bag and dropping live and dead bits back will generally get the job done within 15 minutes to a half hour. Obviously, using a steel leader will greatly improve the chances of landing these small sharks.

Cathcing Summer Redfish

Looking forward to September and October, waters will again start to cool, which will improve a variety of fishing opportunities. Larger redfish schools will hopefully start to be seen. Snook, as mentioned above, will take up predictable inshore locations and will be available.  Although these fish are smaller, occasionally larger specimens show up and the season will open again in September. Cooling waters will improve the near shore snapper bite and eventually the Spanish Mackerel and hopefully, following these, the Kingfish in November. Unlike many parts of the country, our region offers fishing opportunities 12 months a year and come late September, the range of available species will broaden once again.  Good luck and good fishing. 

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