By Neil Taylor and capmel.com kayak fishing staff contributors
Around the state:
The summer heat has started. In the high 90’s for four straight days, the rains should start and be daily through September. High winds with dominant tropical air streaming in from the southern Gulf and Atlantic will make the start of June difficult for anglers all over the state, but things will settle into a more settled pattern eventually and excellent action will ensue. Hopefully.
With the maturation of the mullet fry, topwater action will explode in most areas of the state. If it matches 2012, the late spring and majority of summer will have fun opportunities with topwater lures. If you need to restock on topwater lures, you should try to locate new designs offered by Mirrolure. Try the C Eye Pro Dog Jr “Trout” style if you can find it.
Pompano will become prevalent off the beaches in some areas and at the bridges in other parts of the state. With the pending heat, action will be best in the periods just before and after sunrise and during the night-time hours. The midday fishing should be for the deep water species (or just head on home into the air conditioning.)
The long stretch of summer is ahead. Best wishes for a safe, successful fishing and no hurricanes! Stay safe and keep your eyes open: June marks the return of thunderstorm activity statewide. Pay attention and take appropriate action to stay safe.
The Tampa Bay region–
The worst fishing I have seen my entire time in the Tampa Bay area. Sorry, that’s my opinion. It just hasn’t been the same. I think we face some management challenges. Was it Red Tide? Is it the pressures of more people fishing? Whatever it is, things aren’t good.
Mentioned previously: The usual action would include snook but for the tenth straight year, I will not be offering them as an option for my charters. Having a few more snook around is not evidence of a recovery. Numbers are deplorable and the angler pressure causes attrition on the species. The likelihood of dolphin eating a released snook makes it better to avoid the species altogether. There is a population of 15-inch snook that makes the future potentially good again. Can it get back to where it was? My 2009 numbers: 12 snook per trip, average size 32 inches. I haven’t seen a 32-inch snook in about a year.
Flounder will hopefully become a better possibility. We can catch a few but they aren’t like they have been in years past.
It is pompano time! Not in “yet” this should happen any day now. The number of pompano caught on the flats in April and May indicates that it should be an exceptional year for pomps. I use the 12 Fathom “BLING” Mullet or the Silly Willy (yellow) with a teaser (pink) for pompano. The Silly Willy/Teaser bumped along the bridge pilings will connect you to many pompano. Be prepared: Black drum live there too and they are huge. Pompano for dinner? If you don’t want them, call me and I’ll take them off your hands. The Silly Willy, yellow, with an Uncle Neil teaser (pink) and you will catch pompano.
Redfish and trout action will definitely shift to “early and late.” The savvy angler will be getting out on the water at five in the morning instead of seven. Depending on the tides, the action at about 7 to 9PM could be best for these species. Trout will likely eat topwater lures and 12 Fathom jigs later into the day than the redfish but they too will be most aggressive around sunrise. Redfish: Unfortunately, not in good shape. I don’t know anywhere in the Tampa Bay area where redfish numbers are good. I say, you want them, go two hours north. The opportunity is better there. Here: They have faded over the last five years. Disturbingly, trout are showing signs of stress as well. A twelve month closure on both species will be an interesting test.
In the Southwest “Suncoast”
area of Florida,
June forecast: Beach snook will be the name of the game around Southwest
Florida, with numbers of fish on the increase as the air and water warm. This
is excellent sight-fishing for both spin and fly anglers.
In the bays, we look for improved redfish on the shallow flats early and late.
Night snook activity around lighted docks should remain good — especially
around strong tides.
Best bet just might be sight-fishing shallow sand bars for redfish, snook, jack
crevalle, spotted seatrout and shark in southern Tampa Bay.
The East coast of Florida, the heat of summer, it is tougher. Hit it early. Starting at 5:30AM and working it the most until 8AM will lead to the best results. Then, go home before it gets hot. No question, the challenges of summertime fishing are here. It’s hot. The fish are still in decent shape now but it could get tougher as time goes on and the water temperatures climb.
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: The fun in the sun of NE FL is here. We are catching flounder, trout and redfish. The afternoon rains may change the conditions but the action should be very good in the month of June. Sheepshead can also be caught, along with some black drum. Down the coast a ways: Pompano and whiting can be caught from the troughs in front of the beaches.
In the greater South Florida area:
The heat is here but the kayak anglers are staying cool and enjoying the action! The Everglades has a lot of opportunities around Flamingo in the month of June. The access to remote areas by kayak creates incredible opportunities. Buy and wear a bug suit or you will feel like you endured multiple transfusions. We have the offshore targets for those with the right equipment and knowledge. Too many people are taking risks that they are not ready for. To get out into the deep water and fight offshore species, you should have a safety plan in place. Wearing a life vest is simply not enough. Can you successfully achieve a deep water re-entry? Do you have your gear secured so you do not lose everything when you flip over? Do you know how to handle an angry fish in a tiny boat? For those who have the right skills, this is a thrilling way to try out some extreme fishing. Our kayak anglers get some exercise, catch some amazing fish and have some great stories to tell. But this kind of fishing is not for the beginner.
The tip of the month:
Nocturnal Neil returns. June marks a time when many trips will be pre-dawn or post-dusk. The adjustments are pretty simple. Be organized. Have you stocked up on all the batteries that power all your various headlamps and flashlights? Dry storage of spare batteries is not difficult. You can store them in your crate or do like I do and dedicate a dry box or bag exclusively for batteries. Test your lights before you go and check your supplies of replacement batteries so you don’t find yourself “in the dark” out on the water. This may also be a good time to check to see if you have your insect repellent. With summer rains and night-time fishing: Buggy conditions are more likely than any other time of year.
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!