It’s no secret that the month of June and the first few weeks of July have been wet ones! Here on the Nature Coast, we’ve settled into our typical summer pattern of afternoon thunderstorms, high temperatures, and heavy winds. We recently had a close call with our first hurricane of the season to grace us with its presence, although we were very lucky that it stayed offshore just far enough to spare us any major damage. I hope you all fared just as well!
Water temps are in the mid to upper 80s inshore, slightly lower closer to the gulf and in deeper water. With these higher water temps, you should be looking for that deeper, cooler water to find the fish! Look for deep cuts, passes and holes. Find points and mangrove lines or oyster bars where the current is flowing strong. A steady flow will help to lower the water temperature a bit, making it more comfortable for the fish.
You’ll find the most active bites in the cooler, early hours of the day, or later in the day when the sun is on its decline. Redfish are on fire during these hours, with many upper and over slots showing their faces. With higher water levels, you’ll find them hanging close to the oyster bars and cruising the roots of mangroves. When the water level is low, they’ll move further out. Shrimp on a jighead, or under a cork are producing well, as is live or cut pinfish on the bottom. This is the time of year for a lot of catfish, so if you’re using live bait on the bottom, expect to reel in your share of “whisker trout”….aka Catfish. Larger baits will help to avoid some of those pesky catches. If you prefer to use artificial, the Mirrolure Lil John and the Slam Shady Paddletails have been taking turns in producing some great catches.
We’ve been having a Snook-topia here on the Nature Coast, too! They don’t mind the warmer water, and they’ve been stacked up. From little underslots to huge overslots, you can find them at most every point with moving water. During low water levels, they’re hanging out in deeper holes and channels, hiding out in the grass. When the water rises, they’ll be cruising mangrove lines and pushing up into the mangroves. This is a great time for using live shrimp or pinfish under a cork and letting it drift at the edge of the mangroves, or if you prefer artificial, either of the above mentioned soft plastics on a jighead are productive. Early morning topwaters are great for that big blowup, too.
Most of the trout are further out in deeper water, but we’re still finding some in the 20” & up range in deeper, grassy flats and holes. Whether using live or artificial baits, you’ll have better luck getting the bait close to the bottom, so soft plastics or shrimp on a jighead should yield some decent catches.
The Nature Coast is on fire and it’s only going to get better, so get out there and get your rods bent! Until next time, Tight Lines and Good Times, Y’all! Catch em up!
Hey y’all! My name is Jacinda. I live in Citrus County, and am a Kayak Fishing guide out of Ozello, Florida.
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