Fishing Report June 2014
Capt. Rick Davidson, Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sea Hag June Fishing Report
They’re heeere….scallops, of course. Things began with a bang. I made sure I was there the first day to take some pictures and give some hints for those of you planning early trips. In spite of challenging water the past few years, the water north of the river was in excellent shape this year. And it didn’t take long for the limits to start coming in when locations were established. After the first day of the season, currently the easiest limits are coming from north of the channel, near the Bird Rack (29 43.438’N 83 34.373’W). On lower tides the water is gin clear. Scallops are being found in the needle grass, not the more common turtle grass, so as you are idling through the areas look for the thin wiry grass like in the picture below, especially in areas with sand. Limits really come quickly when you can locate scallops, and of course you will be able to locate the fleet of scallopers with no difficulty. Here are just a few pictures from opening day.
In terms of fishing, the offshore trips provided lots of red grouper action. There were even some very nice gags being taken in state waters, which will be closed as of July 1….but federal waters will be open. Kingfish have been making a late arrival as have the large schools of whitebait and Spanish mackerel that travel with them. While amberjack are out of season for June and July, they’ve provided lots of action this month for offshore fishermen, and the irritatingly short 9 day red snapper season provided some excellent fish. Inshore, the redfish bite has been very good with both schools and solitary fish being taken in their usual locations near oyster bars and rockpiles. While it’s hard to classify it as a problem, we’ve actually had difficulty finding redfish small enough to be kept. Trout have been a little more challenging because of the low salinity in the shallows due to rains, so the larger schools of trout have moved out to somewhat deeper water (4-8 feet). Larger solitary fish can still be taken closer to shore in the early mornings, especially if the floating grass is not a problem (which it has been much of the month).
The Doug Johnson Reeling for Kids tournament, the biggest in our area, was very successful this year. In spite of threatening skies, there were some excellent catches. For the results of the tournament, go to this link:
And for a gallery with lots of pictures from this great event, go to this link:
Here are some pictures of just a few of the excellent catches from this past month:
Fishing Forecast For July 2014
For the next few months everything will be about mollusks. It’s the most exciting (and crowded) time of the year because scalloping is such a rewarding family activity. If you are unfamiliar with scalloping and what it’s all about, I’ve included two nice references, one from our own website:
…and one from Florida Sea Grant that includes more specific information and gives you information about where you can obtain brochures and specific information about Taylor County.
Because of the large expected number of scallopers, inshore fishing will require some planning. The fact is that scallops are most accessible after the sun is high; that’s when the bivalves move higher in the grass level. That’s an opportunity to fish very early in the morning, when the water is cooler and our inshore target species are more likely to feed. We try and get out just before sunrise and may be back in before noon, which is when most of the scallopers will just be hitting the water. We can also expect an influx of sand trout. Last year was one of the best years in recent memory for these tasty fighters, who can be found around nearshore sand bars, up to 4-5 miles offshore, often mixed with spotted seatrout. Fish with jigs tipped with Gulp or Stinky Fingers tails, and watch out for schools of whitebait and the Spanish mackerel and bluefish that will be giving you a big surprise when you least expect it. There is no size or bag limit on sand trout, and in my opinion they fight harder and taste better than spotted seatrout. Good areas are around 9 Mile Bank, Little Bank, and outside of the Bird Rack north of the river.
Offshore, with the opening of gag grouper season in federal waters, boats will be heading out to fish live bottom and structure. Dead Spanish sardines, threadfins and squid, all available at our Ship’s Store, will make fine bait for bottom fishing, but you will have a much better chance at locating and turning on fish by using some of our Sea Hag live pinfish. Because offshore structure almost always attracts lots of baitfish, there are very likely to be kingfish and cobia in the area, so always keep at least one live bait out under a cork, with a wire leader.
Because July is one of our busiest months, you really need to plan ahead and make lodging reservations. We have a variety of accommodations that you can find at:
We also can provide absolutely everything you need for a family scalloping or fishing trip. We’ve added more of our excellent rental boats, available at a very reasonable price, and we can provide scalloping gear, fishing licenses (needed for scalloping), live shrimp and pinfish, all the hot new lures and soft baits, and rods, reels and all the tackle you would need. Make sure you stop by the Ship’s Store for your needs, and we also have added a ton of new clothing lines.
And now for some of our guide reports…
Capt. Randall Hewitt www.hookedonreds.com 386-208-3823 (C) 386-294-1257 (H)
As expected June was a very good month for both redfish and trout fishing. With water temperatures a little cooler than normal the bite continues to be solid with a strong bite of short trout and most days limits of keepers. A variety of baits are working very well including live pinfish, cut bait, and gulp specially the light colors given the brown color of the shallower water we are experiencing.
We saw a nice run of Spanish Mackerel this month and as bait begins to school up look for birds, a tell tail sign of some non-stop action. Expect the fishing to continue to be strong when the weather cooperates.
Scallop season is around the corner and Steinhatchee is about to move into high gear as families from all over Florida and beyond will descend on the Nature Coast to enjoy some fun on the water and some tasty mollusks!
Hooked on Reds Charters is well equipped to get you out on the water and your belly full of scallops. If you’d like to join us we are ready when the scallops are! Call 386-208-3823 early as we quickly book up this time of year.
Capt. Steve Rassell lastcastras.com 352 3595902
While scallop season kicks off this weekend don’t forget we offer fishing and scallop combos. Fishing has actually been pretty good in June. While not getting limits every trip we are coming very close. Still a lot of big trout out there. Released 2 this month over 30 inches. As always in the summer the reds are moving to the pot holes and rocks off the shoreline. The shallow water is a lot clearer then last year at this time so the scalloping looks very promising. Also still lots of Spanish around the sand bars and some nice sand trout in the same areas. Captain Steve Rassel www.lastcastras.com 352-359-5902
Capt. Brian Smith www.bigbendcharters.com (352) 210-3050
Important matters first: bring plenty of water on the boat. Plenty meaning, if you have a problem on the boat and it takes longer than expected to return to shore, drinking water would never be in short supply. One gallon of water per person is not excessive. Oh, and you brought it to drink it, so drink a lot of it. I drink ~1.5 gallons of water per fishing trip to keep the heat monkey from dancing on me. Seriously, July in Florida is hot, wicked hot. The moment you step into the environment, you start losing your cool. The only way to keep cool is to drink plenty of water, even when you’re not thirsty. Heat exhaustion and stroke are real threats, even to people who work outside. Being on an exposed boat is different. And last, soft drinks and beer make heat issues happen quicker. Also, bring sun block and use it, remember the tops of your ears, feet, above your knees and calves. Let’s go fishing…
Gag grouper season opens July 1st and the crowd yells… Yay! We have encountered gags from 25 out to 85 feet. They have taken frozen, fresh cut bait and live bait of all sorts and one was caught on a piece of smoked chicken (no kidding). Which goes to say, you can’t even sling a dead chicken without catching a gag grouper. Enjoy! While grouper fishing, always setout a ‘Kodak’ pole off the stern baited with anything. You’re giving yourself a chance to catch a smoker king, killer cobia, mango snapper or shark for minimal effort. I refer to that rod as Kodak because anything caught on it will be photo worthy. Florida snapper (white grunt) are running exceptionally larger, weighing more than 2lb. A thirty-minute to hour jam on light tackle will make for a wonderful fish fry. For bait think durability, such as squid and cut bait or mini marshmallows (no kidding).
From Scalloping to Fishing, we do it all, need a trip, give us a call 877-852-FISH.
Tight Lines and Blue Skies, Capt B
Captain Rick Smith email@example.com 352-356-2205