July temps, fishing remains hot
If there’s one thing I can say about fishing around Anna Maria Island in July, it’s hot out there.
With air temps in the 90s and water temps in the upper 80s you’d better be prepared to deal with the heat.
If you have access to some shade, you’ll want to utilize that as much as possible. If not, make sure you cover up by wearing long sleeves, a hat and polarized sunglasses.
Some potent sunscreen isn’t a bad idea, either.
And, don’t forget to carry plenty of liquids to rehydrate yourself. This is important so drink frequently. And no, alcohol doesn’t count.
Lastly, when fishing in these scorching temperatures don’t forget to pack some patience. Especially if you’re fishing the flats.
With water temperatures reaching 90 degrees on the flats, you can believe fish are feeling the heat. You may find species such as snook, reds and trout not quite as motivated to take a bait in the heat of the day. Your best bet is to fish low light conditions. Early morning tides can be productive as well as fishing at night.
As far as fishing goes, catch-and-release snook are still being caught around the beaches and passes and will take an artificial if it’s presented correctly and if the snook are in the mood.
Redfish are targetable with most being found around mangrove shorelines where oyster bars exist. Casting live baits such as shiners or pinfish works well although don’t rule out casting a piece of chunk-bait in the mix. A fresh-cut chunk of bait will sometimes have the added scent to entice a redfish when they snub their noses at a live bait.
Lastly, spotted seatrout can be had on the deeper grass flats of Tampa Bay. Grassy areas in 8-10 feet of water are a good place to look. Free-lined live shiners with the addition of a split shot to the rig will aid in getting the bait down in the strike zone is advantageous.
While targeting trout on the deeper flats, you can encounter Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle and even some mangrove snapper.
On my Just Reel charters, I’m seeing catch-and-release snook along the mangrove shorelines and beaches. Free-lined live shiners are working best as bait during moving tides. I’m also catching reds along the mangroves when targeting snook.
Spotted seatrout are being caught on deeper flats with a mix of mackerel, jacks and ladyfish. On days with slower tides, I’m fishing in the Gulf around reefs and ledges. In these areas I’m seeing mangrove snapper, porgies, Key West grunts, triggerfish and plenty of juvenile red grouper.