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July Fishing Forecast

By the time you read this article it will be somewhere around 75 days into this oil spill catastrophe off the coast of Louisiana.  I grew up fishing some of the hardest hit marshes around Barataria Bay and the oil rigs south of Venice and Grand Isle.  From the best redfishing in the country to world-class tuna fishing and duck hunting, it’s going to be a long-term threat to a way of life for Gulf residents and visitors.  

The latest projections are looking more optimistic for waters on the Atlantic side of the Keys and South Florida. The warm waters of the gulf should break-down the oil before it makes it down here.  As of now, the water is clear and the bite is just as hot as the weather.  In the backcountry, the redfish are tailing on the flats with plenty of big trout hanging in the potholes and a few snook in the mix.  The snook bite has continued to improve near Key Largo and on the western side of Flamingo.  This is a welcomed sight after the cold weather in January but a dampening on the population in the Everglades. Finding the bait is key to finding the fish so look for the mullet and the fish will be somewhere in the vicinity.  On the Oceanside, there’s still plenty of tarpon and bonefish on the flats.  Most of the permit are still out on the deeper reefs and wrecks for their annual spawn.  The spawning permit are 20-40 pounds giving anglers all they can handle on spinning gear.  The shallow-water patch reefs continue to produce some great catches of all species of snapper including the elusive hogfish.  There are also plenty of grouper and mackerel on the coral heads and patches in 12-30 feet of water.  The live shrimp are getting smaller as always for the summer, so it’s important to know how to catch baitfish.  There’s plenty of pinfish on any grass flats all you need is a block of chum, some small gold hooks and a sliver of just about anything to flavor the hook.  Try using a small piece of any Berkley Gulp, it’s easy to cut and stays on the hook for multiple pinfish.   You can use this same technique for catching ballyhoo on the reefs.  Whether it’s pinfish, mullet, pilchards, ballyhoo, etc. good bait is the key to a productive day on the water. 

'Til next time, Tight Lines and Light Winds…….

Captain Lain