Captain Don Taylor, Jr
Last month produced some fantastic fishing and as we roll into July the heat wave is going to be in full swing. Get out early to beat the heat and late afternoon thunder storms. I always carry more than enough fluids in my cooler to keep myself and my guests hydrated. Also, don’t forget the rain gear. North East Florida weather can change every 5 minutes… so be prepared!
This time of year, there is a variety of bait in the waterways - finger mullet, glass minnows, mud minnows, crab, pogies and shrimp are on the menu every day. Which bait to use is the difference between a good day and great day. I personally try to always have blue crab, mud minnows and shrimp on board every trip. If one of those three are not available, I will cast net finger mullet.
Redfish, Trout, Flounder, in fact, most fish will always hit shrimp. Finger mullet or mud minnow will produce Redfish, Trout and Flounder. A variety of baits in your arsenal will increase your success on the water.
Target Reds this month in the creeks, mud flats and around the oyster bars. With all the rain in the forecast, the ICW is very productive on the last of the outgoing tide and first of the incoming tides. Set up on creek mouths in front or behind the sand bars depending on tide direction. Doing so, will produce good numbers of reds, trout and flounder.
A ¼ oz. jig head tipped with a mud minnow or shrimp bounced across the creek mouth will put fish in the boat.
A popping cork drifted with the tide will result in fish also.
And as the sun gets high, hit the creeks and target the deeper holes. Use your electronics to locate the holes. Most bends of the creek will be the deeper areas.
Pogies are thick on the beach right now. A quick way to locate the bait pods is to watch for the crashing birds or you might see several boats in close proximity or even violent top water action. Grab your cast net, fill the live well and start looking for rolling Tarpon. Be sure to get an early start. A float rig is very effective or free lining a bait will also work.
The Bull Red bite continues to be strong. Please handle these fish with care and release them properly. The fishery is heavily reliant upon them. A bottom rig with enough weight to hold in the current is a must. Remember these monsters are fighting you, the weight, and the current. Go extra heavy on the tackle to end the fight quickly to ensure a healthy release.
July is a special month. Our country celebrates its independence. I am so thankful to live in the greatest nation on earth. Make sure to tell the men and women in the armed forces how thankful we are for their service… both past and present.