Fishing Report July 16, 2017

Storms put a damper on afternoon fishing, morning fishing remains hot


Although the afternoon outgoing tides look nothing less than stellar for fishing the flats, the pop-up thunderstorms we are experiencing are making it tough to be out on the water.

Don’t be discouraged — the morning tides are producing a bite. I’m finding limits of mangrove snapper around residential docks and on the deeper grass flats. These snapper may not be the 18-20 inches you’ll find on the reefs and wrecks, but it you can get a limit of 12-15 inchers you’re doing all right. To catch these feisty little fish, you can try one of two methods.

When fishing around the docks, a small knocker rig made of a 1/4-ounce weight and a size-4 circle hook will do the trick. When on the flats, omit the sinkers and try free lining the bait. And speaking of bait, the small shiners or “hatch bait” are perfect. It’s like they were meant for this type of fishing.

Since we’re talking about “hatch bait” don’t be discouraged about their size when targeting catch-and-release snook, trout and redfish on the flats. I’m finding all three species don’t seem to mind. In fact, they’re biting the small stuff better than the huge shiners.

To cast these small shiners, you may want to add a popping cork to aid in casting. This is working especially well for trout fishing. For the snook, the free-line method is working, especially when the fish are shallow and the water is clear. For the reds, try putting two baits on one hook and see what happens.