JUNE 2019 Fishing Report and JULY Forecast

JUNE 2019 Fishing Report and JULY Forecast

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Capt. Rick Davidson, Editor (grassflats2@yahoo.com

Sea Hag JUNE Report

It’s that steamy time of year when inshore fish head to deeper water, offshore fish become really hungry, and people come to Steinhatchee to frolic in the water and pick up the Big Bend version of underwater Easter eggs, bay scallops.  Some pretty heavy rains have left a fair amount of water darkened to the south of the river, but the further north you go, the more scallops can be found. Many are running up to Keaton to get their limits, but I’ve heard some reports of clear water north of the Bird Rack and outside of Fish Creek with scallops present. At this point it’s simply a matter of finding the clearest water, with mixed turtle grass (the wide stuff) and manatee grass (the fine-needled stuff) and sand.  Inshore fishing has been tough, with darkened water and lots of nearshore widgeon grass, which we only see after a lot of fresh water comes out of the river and creeks. It’s still possible to catch fish in close, but most are now out in deeper water, in spite of lots of baitfish available in close. Offshore, however, things are as hot as the temperatures. Offshore boats have been bringing in limits of huge red snapper, as well as gag and red grouper. Here are some of this month’s pictures from the Sea Hag docks:

Does this guy look familiar? Wyatt Dudley, master mechanic at Sea Hag, keeps my boat going, and also knows where to find big red grouper.
Will Faulk went up to Keaton Beach to find this really nice trout.
New offshore captain Shan Roper knows where the snapper are.
Shane Morris took this fella home for dinner as well.
Mason and Michael Ross with a giant cobia.
Kris Pendergraft with two highly sought after dinner guests…gag grouper and red snapper.
Jake Clements and his family were all about the snapper and the grouper.
Holly Rust caught this redfish in shallow water.
The Hedgecock crew took the Masters Offshore Championship at the Reeling for Kids tournament.
Heather Carver from Callahan was glad she made the trip over to find these scallops.
Harper Rust and Kelly Baggs found this nice redfish.
Hanna Sullivan had no problem finding a nice bag of scallops.
Clint Mizell found this massive 60 pound cobia in 45 feet of water.
The snook migration north into the Big Bend is continuing. This one was caught by Clay Kicklighter.
Claudia Green with a pair of tasty red snapper.
Christopher Moody Jr. with a huge bag of scallops.
Charlie Philmon teaching Pasleigh about red snapper.
Bradley English caught this nice kingfish on a live bait.
Ashley, Nicole and Ty Mock got their scallop limits.

Sea Hag JULY Forecast

We expect more of the same, but hopefully some clearing of water to the south of the river; there are plenty of scallops there, but very hard to see in the stained water. If we can avoid any major storms, things should be better in a week or so. Offshore, the recreational red snapper season ends July 12th, but charter captains  have the whole month of July available. We have several offshore captains that can put you on snapper and grouper while they’re still in season. See our guides page for contact information.  Fish over live bottom in 40 to 60 feet with any kind of cut bait….squid, sardines, mullet….and put out a live pinfish or grunt under a bobber for kingfish or cobia. Inshore, the best bet is a few miles out in the deeper water around the nearshore banks….Little Bank, Nine-Mile Bank and west of the bird rack. There’s a fair amount of floating grass so in some areas you’re better off using jigs than sinking plugs. Aim for depths of 6 to 9 feet over mixed grass and sand, and fish near the bottom. Look for schools of whitebait. I’ve seen schools of all different sized baits, from tiny rainbait to larger pogies. Expect to find Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and even the occasional cobia in these areas, along with sand trout and spotted sea trout.  The redfish are very lethargic in this warm water, but fishing very early near shorelines or inside creekmouths has been successful. Look for mullet in these areas and be as quiet as possible. There’s a special tournament coming up.  The Sea Hag Marina will be hosting a fishing tournament in honor of Logun Nowell. Logun passed away in a four-wheeler accident a month or so ago and was very dear to our hearts. His parents said his favorite thing to do was to go fishing in Steinhatchee so they decided to host a fishing tournament on his birthday, July 27th, to raise money for safety training classes for children using four-wheelers & ATVs. Here’s some information; put this tournament on your calendar; it’s for a great cause.

Remember: the Ship’s Store at the Sea Hag Marina has everything you need to go scalloping, from accommodations to fins, snorkels, dive flags and gloves.

And of course we also have a fleet of perfectly maintained rental boats for you to take your whole family out for a trip. We’ll even tell you where to start.

Capt. Kyle Skipper, www.m1fishing.com (352) 317-1654

Contrary to popular belief the scalloping has been great. The water is clear and we aren’t having trouble getting limits. I still have plenty of availability in July and would love the opportunity to prove the naysayers wrong. Give us a call here at Marker One if you want to come give scalloping a shot.

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