Summer Patterns

It's hot, but the fish be biting

Alright, the dolphin run has about petered out to a whisper, but don’t let all that pessimistic talk on the radio cool your jets. There are still plenty of mahi to be found, you just gotta know where to look. Right now there is warm, clear water in 60 feet off Sebastian and Port Canaveral and there are flying fish and weedlines galore. Now I know what you’re thinking, there’s no way I’m gonna catch dolphin that shallow. But you’re wrong. You will. Here’s some tips:

Right now we have this cool weather pattern where it is glassy calm almost every morning, and if there is wind it’s coming from the west and very lightly. This makes it very easy to tell what’s going on out on the ocean’s surface. Your early morning tactics should be to run out to 50-60 feet and start looking for V-wakes on the surface, weedlines, and schools of bait. There will likely be pods of greenies (aka pilchards, greenbacks, whitebait, etc) and the dolphin, kingfish and cobia may be near them. You should try to sabiki up as many as your livewell can hold. I forgot to mention, it doesn’t hurt to net up some mullet before you head offshore. They are thick in the river right now and everything will eat ‘em.

Once you’ve got some live bait keep looking for signs of fish. If it is glassy calm, look for anything out of the ordinary and check it out. You’ll see lots of turtles that may have cobia on them. There may be scum lines and packs of jellyfish. All these things indicate that there may be fish around. Keep looking and you’re bound to find something. If you come across a nice weedline or rip, even if it is shallow, don’t be afraid to toss out some live baits and troll around slowly to see what’s going on down below.

There’s also plenty of kingfish to be had. I’ve been doing a lot of diving lately on the 60 foot reefs and I always see nice kings over my spots. If you know of any wrecks or reefs, especially between 60-90 feet, check ‘em out, chances are there’s some kings on them. I write for the newspaper and my job is to go to the fishing tournaments held pretty much every weekend this time of year. I noticed a lot of guys were bringing in some really nice cobia, so I asked them where they were getting them. They all said they got them while they were targeting kingfish over the reefs and along the beaches, slow trolling live baits.

One last word about the offshore stuff. My dad and I tried some deep-dropping in 650’ off of Sebastian Inlet this week. We heard about it from some friends. We dropped our electric reel baited with chunks of bonita down to the bottom and pulled up some delicious Golden Tilefish. Oh my they are probably the best fish I’ve ever eaten in my life. Too bad the limit is only one per person. : (

The visibility has been great for all of you who like to dive and freedive. The viz off of Vero Beach and Wabasso has been about 8-10 feet, which is pretty good for beach diving standards. I would try to go on an incoming tide, otherwise if we get a north wind then all that outgoing river water is going to permeate the reef and there goes your visibility. Of course, you are always better off going further south, like down to Ft. Pierce or even Stuart if you want guaranteed excellent viz. This time of year there are usually some nice sheepshead, mangrove and mutton snapper, hogfish, flounder and a few grouper that may be keeper sized. Only a little over a month until bug season…

The river fishing has been pretty good. I’ve been spending a lot of time near the mangroves, because that’s where the snook have been hanging out. I usually target tailing reds and trout on the mullet schools in the early mornings, then I move to the mangrove shade later on. The snook go under there to ambush and lie in the cool, shady water under the trees. A day after a hard rain is best, because the water levels will be higher and the snook will have some new territory to romp around. My favorite lure, actually the only lure I use in the mangroves is the DOA Shrimp, the 3” model. My top colors have always been the gold flake (aka Near-Clear) glow, and rootbeer. I try to stick to the natural colors, even though I’ve never actually seen a real shrimp glowing in the dark.

Speaking of dark, right before dark is THE time to fish. It’s too hot to fish in the heat of the day this time of year. The fish don’t bite and it’s just plain uncomfortable. But as the sun goes down the fishing heats up. The mullet start moving in tight schools and the predators gang up on ‘em. I like to throw topwaters, but I do enjoy tossing out a live, freelined finger mullet. I’ll use 20-30lb test leader and a small silver circle hook. You’ll catch trout, jacks, reds, ladyfish and some mogan sailcats. Hey, there is nothing wrong with catching big honkin’ sailcats. They fight better than any redfish you’ll ever hook into. And I heard if you lick ‘em you can have funky hallucinations [Try at own risk!]

Well, til next time, tasty waves big fish clear water and good vibes,


Matt B

Summer Patterns
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