July can be a hot month with water temps high and fish moving to cooler waters. More of your action will result in the early morning and evenings. I like to fish from 5:30 - 6:00 am to about 10:00-10:30. Most of the better bites will come in that time. Especially if you are a lure fisherman. Fishing docks lights at night can very productive with a DOA shrimp. However, you can still catch a good fish in the afternoon sun. It can definitely happen, and it's happened more than once, but, it's a good idea to find some incoming cooler water and fish deeper as the sun climbs. Also a great time to take advantage of the calm still summer mornings with a top water plug. Some good ones include Rapala skitterwalks, Mirro Lure Top Dogs, and BiteaBaits Top walker. All these lures worked with a "walk the dog" action can produce vicious strikes from Redfish, Trout, and all the species that feed on swimming bait. The reason fish hit these style baits in low light is it is easier for fish to look up with no sun blinding them and they can focus on the bait. Harsh sun rays beating down on you is the same thing fish feel. When you move to shade, they will move to deeper water or seek out the cooler temperatures. Moving water will help as well. Most of your traditional methods of fishing will stay the same, but, time of day is important. If your tide is low in the early morning, I would look for backing fish in the shallows, and if the tide is high, I would fish grass lines and over structures and ledges. If you have moving water, bait, and early or evening times, you are in a good situation for success. Beach / jetty fisherman should have a good month with many of the conditions be recognized in these areas. Lady fish, Jacks, blues and mangrove snappers are not as effected by the sunshine as much as other species. So if you want to bend a rod, these species are fairly reliable. Tarpon will be lurking in specific areas, such as deeper holes in creeks, jetties, inlets, areas along the beach, river and areas holding bait. Tarpon are funny, they may come back to a place you found them last year or they can hold up in a totally new area? You have to look and pay attention when out on your trip. If you find them, entice them with a live mullet on a High Seas Fluorocarbon leader. Use the lightest you can get away with for more strikes. Flounder are still showing more and more and will peak in Oct. Typical fish finder rig in structure and moving current along grass lines with bait are good areas. A finger mullet tipped TBS Black Nickel jig working the same type areas is another good bet. Cast out and maintain a tight and "intune" line. Let the bait stay for awhile and slowly retrieve the bait. When you get that "thump" give a couple seconds and come tight and set the hook. Maintain constant pressure and get the net, Flounder come off the hook often! Docks in the Mayport are always a big fish producer. The bigger bull redfish will also be on the rise, soaking crabs, mullet, and cut ladyfish on a fish finder rig, along the St. Johns river channel can be a ticket. Anchor so you are on the ledges of the channel. A big bait on a 3/0 or 4/0 hook and as much weight to just do the job will get results. I totally believe in Fluorocarbon, so I would rig my fish finder rig with it. Remember to resuscitate your fish. Often, those bull reds are extremely exhausted after a brutal battle and they need that. Get out and experience some of North Florida's fishing and enjoy this great place!!
Capt. Tony's expert insight on what you should look for on the water and how to get the most out of the current fishing season.