sunrisecropwebCapt. Rick Davidson, Editor   Grassflats2@yahoo.com


July Fishing Report

When the weather’s hot, so is the scalloping—AND THE FISHING.  And there’s no better place to have a summertime adventure than in Steinhatchee at The Sea Hag Marina!

July was HOT, with Gulf water temperatures in the high 80’s, almost like bathwater and perfect for snorkeling.  It looks like everyone got their limits of scallops and had a great time ‘cooling off’ while searching the grass beds for the tasty mollusks.  Hook-and-line anglers did well in July, with some nice catches of redfish and sea trout showing up at our cleaning tables.  Most reds were caught close to shore, early in the day and on flood tides.  Sea trout anglers were successful in deeper, 8-to-10-foot waters, 

There are a few photos of recent catches at the end of this page….Enjoy!


August forecast

You can certainly expect some great scalloping and fin-fishing throughout August.  But, again, it will be hot. It’s also a time to take care of your bodies when on the water.  Hydration is critical and alcoholic beverages don’t count.  I recommend you drink at least a bottle of plain ‘ol water after each cold beer.  And take care of your skin!  In the past, sunblockers with 30-50 SPF were considered adequate, but for sunny August days get some of the new 70-100 SPF blockers.  Some blockers are advertised as ‘waterproof’ and ‘sweatpfoof’, but taking care to apply them several times during the day will keep you from having the dreaded ‘lobster look’– and keep you away from the dermatologist’s office.

Scallops have been found both north and south of the river and the fleet is easy to find.  It’s important to follow all the rules and regulations regarding bag limits, licenses, and dive flags, as well as navigation rules.  If you’re in doubt, and within a few hundred yards of another boat, slow down to idle speed and keep a careful watch for snorkelers. Once you find scallops looking up at you from the sea grass, anchor up and get your crew into the water.  And be sure to have at least one person stay on the boat, alert and at watch to keep your snorkelers safe.  It’s also a good idea to have a short safety talk with your crew before they get into the water. Encourage them to stay within shouting distance of the boat, and to pop their heads up every few minutes to know their location in relation to the boat.

Inshore fishing will continue to be good, especially early morning. The water temperature this past week was in the low 80s in the morning, perfect temperature for redfish to actively feed. If you have a choice, pick a day with a morning high tide and fish inshore rocks, rocky points and creek mouths with topwater plugs (Heddon Super Spooks) or suspending lures (Live Target Suspending Sardines). On the flats, there’s more floating grass, but if you can find an area with mixed sand and grass, fish popping cork rigs with live shrimp or Gulp baits. And keep your eyes open for tarpon on the flats as they are migrating through. As the temperature rises later in the day, head to deeper water over grass and fish jigs over sand holes for spotted seatrout.  Remember that our grass flats can easily reach 25-foot depths, where cooler water keeps the trout frisky.  Deeper might be better!

Deeper is good for reef species, too. Red snapper season is over for the summer, but there are a couple of open days planned for October.  The best species to target in August is probably red grouper, and there have been some great catches by our guides recently. You may also find cobia lurking over rockpiles or on the deeper flats, so be prepared for them with a ‘rigged and ready’ big spinning outfit with a rubber eel look-alike lure. 

Finally, watch the weather.  Most of the bad storms we have during the summer are not the result of weather fronts, but are pop-up thunderstorms.  The hotter the day, the more likely storms will arise.  On the Big Bend, morning storms can build up offshore, and then move towards the central ridge of the state (think: I-75).  It’s easy to keep an eye on the weather, visually or on your smart phone with an app like Weather Bug or MyRadar.

When your day on the water is done, don’t miss all the action at the newly updated Sea Hag Marina.  We have a great table where you can clean your fish or shuck your scallops, as well as plenty of adult beverages at our Tiki Bar! We also have a huge selection of everything you need for scalloping: masks, snorkels, fins, bags, cleaning knives and lots of ice

Bon Chance & Bon Voyage!

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