July 2020

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.   Will it be good?   Will it be bad?   Every year is different.   

Get out and try.   Hope for no Hurricanes and get into the action!

The Tampa Bay region– 

The seventh month of the year, July: A time of heat and thunderstorms in the Tampa Bay area.   Also a month of great fishing, Local anglers can enjoy success by switching techniques to “beat the heat” and find fish in their best feeding patterns.    Pre-dawn outings lasting until 9 AM are a great option.   Another is trying out the sundown fishing, going well into the night.   In addition to the inshore species mentioned below, expect great opportunities for flounder and pompano this month.    Pompano will be at the bridges inside Tampa Bay and flounder should make a strong showing around area passes, bridges and deeper sand patches.   Flounder “need to come back.”   In three months ago, where have they gone??  

Be wary of thunderstorms and stay safe but get out and enjoy some great action in the low-light to zero-light situations.    Redfish will be most active on the good tides just as the sun begins to create a glow in the east.    Once the sun gets up, your best chances for redfish will be casting to deeper water or the shade of docks or the shadows of mangrove trees.   For fishing that extends into the later morning hours, a live bait placed in front of the fish or a fresh dead natural bait may get eaten when a lure will not.

Speckled trout will be available but primarily at night.   Casting the 12 Fathom SlamR rigged weedless or the Fat Sam Mullet, trout will thump the lure hard during times of maximum tide movement.   Use very light jigheads and flutter the lures down in front of the fish for some light tackle fun.  

Black drum have already been on the big bridges for a long time now.   Their average size over 60 pounds, I have taken a lot of my clients out to get their photo with these stinky beasts.    No easy task, they have no food value and the photos are pretty popular.     They are pretty amazing really.   Feeding machines but a diet different from the norm, they achieve a great size.    Fish them but respect them:   Put them back so that someone else can enjoy them.

In the Southwest “Suncoast” area of Florida, Steve Gibson with Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing: 

We look for improved beach snook action as the fish go into post-spawn mode. Shark action should continue good in southern Tampa Bay. We
also look for good redfish, snook and spotted seatrout in Tampa Bay. Closer to home, spotted seatrout and redfish should be the best bets in Sarasota bay. Night snook fishing should be good around lighted docks on the outgoing tide. It’s hot in Florida in July, so a night snook trip is a good way to beat the heat. We love to combine a day/night trip by starting two or three hours before dawn around lighted docks and then heading out into the bay to get the early
bite and first light.

The East coast of Florida,   Not the easiest month of the year, we hope that the fish are happy and heartily feeding but know that some days just won’t be great for easy action.    We don’t think that will be different than what others have to deal with.    There will be good opportunities to get a drum or redfish if you know where to look.    Other species may be more difficult but options.   

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 administratorThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Neil Taylor

Full time kayak fishing guide, Neil was an advocate for conservation since before the time he started guiding.Outdoor writer, speaker and radio show host, Neil connected closely with Captain Mel Berman and did many positives with Mel to promote ethical angling. After Mel passed away, Neil managed www.capmel.com and eventually became that web site’s owner.
Neil Taylor

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