Inshore, offshore and Gulf Stream fishermen can show their guests a good time just knowing that live shrimp catches fish.
There are several good options this month for presenting live shrimp. The traditional adjustable float, quickly changed to suit your depth fished, comes in all sizes from super large to mini. Then there is the ever popular popping cork, which when popped makes a sound just like a fleeing live shrimp. Fishermen near and far have come up with their own special pop sound-designs. Some fishermen swear by popping the cork once, waiting, popping again once, pausing, and then popping twice. The only downside to using the old popping cork is the length of leader used restricts the depth of water fished. The lead shouldn’t be longer than four feet or shorter than 12 inches. I suggest using this float when fishing in depths from two to six feet of water.
Then there is “just fishing naked!” No, I am not talking about taking your clothes off though most fishermen want to do this when the weather is hot. When fishing naked all you do is tie a short leader onto your main line and then tie on a small Kahle hook. Then I suggest placing the hook under the shrimp’s horn located on top of the head and letting the shrimp make its own way. It’s a known fact that shrimp go where they feel safe. Larger fish have already figured out the shrimp’s game of hide and seek.
Our beachfronts and artificial reefs are holding some pretty interesting top water catching opportunities. I call the month of July the “If you can see the fish you can catch them month!”
Top water fish such as Spanish/king mackerel, barracuda, little tunny, jack crevalle, and cobia have arrived. All fish will hit anything from a small trolled lure to a spoon being pulled slowly behind your boat. Another way to get these fishes’ biting attentions is to cast right into the school of fish. I suggest that you “match the hatch!” This means that you match the size of your bait to the size fish your target fish are feeding on. The Spanish mackerel, little tunny, and jack crevalle favorite meal is glass minnows and juvenile squid. Small silver spoons sizes 0 and 00, made by Clark, are the best to use. Now don’t get me wrong, there are lots of different kinds of spoons on the tackle shelves, but the Clark spoon with the red ball is proven by fish many times over.
When targeting the larger fish such as king mackerel and barracuda, I suggest using a large spoon. The best spoon for this job is a 3 ½-inch Drone. When targeting cobia, which is the fish that looks like a shark or a large catfish in the water, I suggest using a six to eight-inch diving plug or some sort of a jig. My favorite jig for cobia is called Cobia Candy, made by WhoopAss Tackle Company. I like using their blue/white hair or chartreuse/white hair three- ounce jig, which I rig with their signature white eight-inch plastic eel. If you happen to have some live bait in your live well, anything from shrimp to small fish work like a charm on the old cobia! It’s this fish’s delight to look bait over before sucking it down! The secret to unlocking or better yet to “locking this bite” is to give it time to eat.
There was an old saying, “When the month of July rolls around the blue water bite slows.” This is no longer true. We Georgia fishermen have a blue water bite year around! When going to the blue water during the month of July, I suggest high speed trolling starting at about 50 feet of water and pulling the lure or lures until you pull the throttles back. In my opinion, the best high speed lures are Bally Hoods. Just buy them. They work!
Also I suggest giving bottom fishing a try. The fish that feed deep down under are bigger and better than you think during this time. As far as bait, you can catch your own with a sabiki rig or just use a belly strip from one of those just-caught top water fish in your cooler. Most blue water fish have moved closer inshore following different temperature changes, because that is where the baits they feed on are. This is where fishermen meet fish!!