By Neil Taylor and capmel.com kayak fishing staff contributors
Around the state:
Heat, humidity and humongous fish: July has the goods. The kayak angler will tell you that they are in love with and hate the month of July for various reasons. July is a time to fight storms, night and day, in trying to get in kayak fishing trips. The intense heat and convection make for interesting outings but the anglers with a good plan are going to cash in on what the seventh month has to offer. It is a victory: June is gone. We have July, August, September and then sometime in October we start to get a break. I will rejoice when it gets to Fall again.
Success in July: It can be had. In general, tougher than the rest of the year, if you make the right plan you will find fish eating. At the bottom, the tip of the month: Two big items to consider. The six to ten rule and being near passes. Moving water is important. Fishing midday, a terrible idea.
The Tampa Bay region–
Trout: Good if you go to the right spot. Pompano, excellent if you go to the right spot. I suggest sunrise trips for this species. Silly Willy, yellow and an Uncle Neil teaser. That is all you need for pompano. Flounder second straight year: They just aren’t a great option. I’m not sure why. They were great for ten years. 2017 and this year: Just not good.
Snook stocks will continue to get better and keeping them closed will help that process go faster. They are an amazing fish and it will be a great day when they return to 2009 levels again. It is a precarious situation. We need proper management. They didn’t do it after the 2010 freeze. Now we have a chance to protect juvenile fish to adult status. Will they do it right?
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In the Southwest “Suncoast” area of Florida, Lots of action. Plenty of fish around Sarasota Bay. Go early. It is going to be a challenging month but if you go early and you find moving water you should capitalize on some good action.
The East coast of Florida,
The super low water levels all over the Lagoon system have made it easy to find fish concentrated on the flats just as you start getting into 1 -3 ft of water quite a ways from the shoreline but still in the same areas as you had success in last month. Redfish and trout will be cruising in search of food in less grassy areas like the Banana River where locations like the Mosquito Lagoon, you will find them tailing, digging for crustaceans and worms. Water clarity is getting better in the Mosquito Lagoon with all the rain but the floating grass will make it hard to use topwater baits. Snook can be found in many areas now. For all 3 fish, depending on location, use topwater plugs in bone, mullet or white with a red head and then switch to submersible soft plastics rigged weedless when the pressure rises mid-day. 12 Fathom Fat Sam 3 inch mullet or Buzz tail in Arkansas glow, Glow Shrimp, or New Penny rigged on a 1/16 – 1/8 oz 3/0 Edje Joe weedless hook or 1/8 oz Joe jig will work best. As the sun heats up the flats, look for trout and reds in waters 3 – 4 feet. Soon the huge schools of redfish will be finished spawning and will begin to disperse into smaller schools but you still have time to catch that trophy red. Big black drum and bull redfish can be found in 4 -5 ft waters. Tossing a chunk of crab, mullet or lady fish on a 4/0 circle hook will work best.
In the Big Bend of Florida’s Panhandle, Robert Baker at TnT Hideaway on the Wakulla River: http://www.tnthideaway.com/ . If you are going to be in Panama City, stop in and see Brad and his staff at Sunjammers: http://sunjammers.com/ The guys are reporting great action throughout the region for trout, redfish and flounder. Kingfish, cobia and pompano are also options for the kayak anglers.
In Northeast Florida: It is trout and redfish. Good numbers and pretty good action. Don’t forget we have flounder up here too! Big flounder. Most of the fish have been caught early and action tailing off mid morning.
In the greater South Florida area:
Heat, bugs and kayak fishing. The Everglades, Flamingo anglers are planners. But do it, it can be worth it. Get a bug suit and load up on repellent, we’ve got great action down here. Tarpon are a great bet. Around the rest of the region, you can pick your poison. Beware of stormy weather on extreme trips. Kayak anglers have faced some perilous situations, something that is best to avoid. But the deep water game is addictive.
The tip of the month:
The rules of summer. Kayak Fishing Skool attendees will recite them to you. “Six to Ten” and “300 Yard Rule”. Combine the rules and you probably have a winning equation. Six to ten rule: Work your kayak fishing trade from six to ten in the morning or six to ten in the evening. The 300 yard rule: Stay within 300 yards of a major pass and moving water. This will be helpful for the next few months. Lower light conditions win but so does staying near higher oxygen, faster moving current.
Need help learning how to kayak fish? Hire one of our guides on staff for your region and take advantage of their knowledge and sharpen your own skills!
Get out and into the action but as always: Be careful out there!
Neil Taylor, www.capmel.com site administrator