Fishermen always say, “When July rolls around fishing can be a little tricky!” The bottom line when it comes to this month is that all fish that are going to migrate here during the spring and summer have arrived, meaning more fish catching opportunities! The reason for the term “tricky” is because of our hot fishing conditions. This is admittedly more for the fisherman than the fish!
For those inshore fishermen that just want to catch fish, I suggest purchasing or catching some live shrimp. This is the number one bait that all fish like. Like I like to say, “Your chances for hooking up when baiting up with live shrimp are very good!”
When it comes to fishing with live shrimp there are several good presentations. There is the traditional adjustable float, which comes in all sizes from super large to mini sizes. And there is the ever-popular popping cork, which when popped makes a sound just like a fleeing live shrimp. The only downside to using this float is your length of leader used restricts your depth. It shouldn’t be longer than four feet and can’t be shorter than 12 inches. I suggest using this float when fishing in depths from two to six feet of water. Then there is “fishing naked!” Most fishermen want to do this, because the weather is so hot. Just kidding – no I am not talking about taking your clothes off. When fishing naked, all you do is tie on a short leader to 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 let the shrimp make way its own way. It’s a known fact that shrimp go where they feel safe and it’s also a known fact that larger fish have already figured out the shrimp’s game of hide and seek.
Offshore Options: Trolling and Strolling!
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 the fish” month.
Top water fish such as Spanish/king mackerel, barracuda, little tunny, jack crevalle, and cobia are making their way to this area. These fish will hit anything from a small trolled lure to a spoon being pulled slowly behind your boat. Another way to get one of these fish’s biting attentions is to cast right into the school. The best thing that I can suggest is that you “match the hatch!” This means that you match the size of bait you use to the bait that the fish targeting are feeding on. Let’s start with Spanish mackerel, little tunny, and jack crevalle – their 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 many times over. When targeting the larger fish such as king mackerel and barracuda then I suggest using a large spoon. The best spoon for this job is a three and one-half 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 with hair tipped with some sort of a plastic worm.
Now get out there and get catching! Thanks for reading! –Capt. Judy.
Captain Judy Helmey operates Miss Judy Charters out of Savannah Georgia. She puts out a regular fishing report online, and contributes regularly to All At Sea Southeast. Capt. Judy has been “kicking fish tail since 1956.”