Monster Snook in Clearwater Florida

Although July has just arrived, it feels like August. A water temperature of 87 degrees was recorded at the conclusion of a Tampa Fishing Charter just 2 days ago. Snook are still in their spawning phase out on the beaches and there are still numerous locations where groups of fish can be sighted and fished every day.  There are notable changes in snook behavior as summer wears on however. Fish that generally fed aggressively in late May to mid June have become less accommodating, maybe because of the heat, but equally likely because of the fishing pressure. Snook can be found, year after year, in predictable locations, and therefore get plenty of fishing attention. Tampa Fishing Guides will use a variety of tactics to deal with this situation. As snook are somewhat nocturnal in nature anyway, fishing very early or late in the day, or after dark, will generally yield better results  and bigger fish. If fishing during daylight hours, approach fish very cautiously, stay as far away as possible (maximum casting distance), be quiet and, most importantly, be patient. Get properly positioned, chum lightly and wait to see how fish respond before even casting. Let fish settle down and then cast accurately, trying to place baits either upstream of stationary fish in current, or in front of fish moving down the beach. Dropping baits on visible fish will often scatter them. Casting multiple baits into groups of fish is also ill advised...better to make a well placed cast and have another angler waiting, bait ready, to see how fish respond or where they move.  Finally, look for locations that are less obvious snook hangouts... where fish get less pressure.  These may be hard to find but will continue to produce fish when other pressured locations all but shut off.

Tampa Fishing for Redfish and Snook

Redfish, fortunately, seem to get a bit less pressure this time of the year due to a variety of factors, from red snapper and grouper being open, to tarpon and snook being available on the beaches. Fishing patterns for these fish haven't really changed from the past few months.  Fish are still frequenting mangrove shorelines on the high tides and are also being found in St Joseph's sound around spoil islands and under residential docks. A few schools of fish have been seen in the last few weeks, but most fish are being caught "one here, one there". Slot fish have been the norm but occasional over slot fish in the 30 inch range are still making sporadic appearances. Redfish are still a dependable species to catch as summer gets hot, just be prepared to fish a variety of spots in order to locate fish consistently. Big summer high tides will continue for several more months and, with these, redfishing will remain productive as these fish are among the most heat tolerant of our inshore species.

Big Summer Redfish

The larger seatrout that fill the sound in the winter and move to the beaches during spring and early summer have all but departed. Small trout remain scattered on shallow flats with decent flow but keeper fish are harder too find now.  Tarpon are still running the beaches in decent numbers as of a few days ago and will likely stick around for a bit longer. Inshore fishing for small sharks in the passes is another option for "the heat of summer" fishing. Set a chum bag out along grassy edges and wait for them to show up. Good luck and good fishing.

 

 

 

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