Fish early to find the fish and avoid the heat
With temps in the mid 90s and the heat index topping out at 110 degrees, Anna Maria Island fishers are heading out to fish early in the morning to beat the heat.
Leaving at sunrise and returning to the dock before noon not only will keep you slightly cooler but you may find the fish a little better too, especially on the flats. When summertime temperatures are where they are now, I think the heat not only affects the anglers, but the fish, too. Try fishing early when air and water temps are cooler.
A couple other things to keep in mind when summertime fishing is shade and plenty of water. When outdoors, in direct sun fishing for hours at a time, shade is always a welcome sign. If you’re on a boat where shade is scarce, make sure you have a hat, sunglasses and a long sleeved shirt to protect yourself from the sun. Also bring plenty of water to drink. The last thing you want to do is get dehydrated out in the heat of the day. Once you’re dehydrated fishing doesn’t seem to mean as much anymore nor does anything else except getting indoors to some AC and sipping water the rest of the day.
Lastly, if you’re not used to the heat, small doses of it is recommended. I don’t know how many charters I’ve run where the clients wanted to stay out all day but by noon they’ve had enough. Fishing in the heat for 4-5 hours is usually enough. If you need more fishing time to get your fix, try breaking up the day. Fish the early morning for a few hours and then go back out again just before sunset and fish. It’ll be easier on you and you’ll probably notice the fishing to be a little a better, too.
On my own trips with Southernaire Fishing Charters, we’re trying to heat the heat, too. I’m leaving the dock around sunrise and usually coming back around noon. This way we are off the water before the peak temperatures have a chance to rise. On these early morning trips we’re catching mangrove snapper, flounder and cobia on nearshore structure. After catching snapper, we’re moving inshore to deep grass flats to catch spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Despite the heat, both bites are decent, although sometimes a little moving around is required.
On a final note, Gulf recreational red snapper season closed July 11. The season will reopen Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October and on Labor Day. For more information on the closure visit MyFWC.com/fishing and click on “saltwater”, “recreational regulations” and “snappers.”