Captain Justin and I are hoping that the fishing will be as hot as the weather this month along the beaches outside of the Port. July is usually a month where “the bite” is determined by the availability of bait and the water temperatures on most days. We will be looking for pods of pogies, greenies, pilchards, and glass minnows, because these are the food sources for the predators we pursue with our fishing charter customers. Those species generally include: Blacktip and spinner shark, bonito, cobia, tarpon, jack crevalle, and king mackerel. We often try a variety of methods to ge tthese specis to strike. Jigging around these pods with cobia style jigs, or a large jig heads tipped with a live baitfish can be effective at times. During morning and evening periods you can cast other types of lures like Storm or Assassin swim baits, or Rapala lipped diving or sinking plugs, and often get one of these species on an artificial lure. Look for pods that are shifting or moving erratically in the water. This often is an indication that the baitfish are being attacked from below by the previously mentioned predators. Most of these fish are 15 to 30-pounds, but some like the tarpon and sharks can run over 100 pounds.
Capt. Jim Ross lipped this tarpon for his customer after it hit a live pogie near a bait pod and then proceeded to put on a battle before coming boat side.
Near-shore reefs and wrecks in the 50 to 90-foot depths should hold mangrove snapper, flounder, king mackerel and sharks. Red snapper which will be legal to take this year during a few dates in July, are another species that anglers can look forward to targeting on these structures. The South Atlantic Marine Fisheries counsel has designated July 10-12, 17 as official dates that red snapper may be harvested along the east coast of Florida outside of state waters.
One of the endangered unicorn (A.K.A. red) snapper that anglers will be able to actually harvest on select dates this month.
INDIAN and BANANA RIVER LAGOONS- Speckled trout catches should remain decent in the flats during the cooler morning periods. Once the sun get up in the sky they will generally shut off though. Look for areas that mullet are congregating in and use Rapala Skitterwalk or Twichin’ Mullet lures around these schools of baitfish. These imitate injured mullet and have been very effective in targeting larger slot sized and even some “gator” trout over the past few months. Later in the day look for fish in deeper areas where cover and baitfish are present. Bridges, docks, and channel drop-offs are all good places to look during mid-day periods. Use Saltwater Assassin tails on a 1/8 to ¼ ounce jig head for the deeper holding specks. Black drum and a few tarpon and bull shark may be possible in the upper Indian River as well. Jigs tipped with Fish Bites or live shrimp and cut crab are working for the drum and the tarpon usually like live or cut mullet, pogies, or ladyfish.
Upper slot-sized trout are suckers for noisy top water lures like this Rapala Skitterwalk during early mornings in July.