July Forecast 2013
The heat is on here in the Clearwater and Dunedin fishing area. Summer is in full force and July’s afternoon water temperature in the bay will reach 91/92 degrees. My clients will be catching snook, redfish and trout along with mackerel, sharks, and any other species that is willing to join us. Also, on some of those hot days, we will be catching the inshore slam. It doesn’t matter how hot it is, the tide will play an important role in your success.
I see the same scenario happening this month with snook, redfish, trout and other inshore fish. The waters are very clean and clear on the inside of Clearwater and Dunedin passes. The near shore and beach waters are also very clean. There is bait fish along the beaches and inside all of the bays from Bellaire Causeway to Anclote Key. That's why all of the inshore fish are so active, even during the heat of the day.
What to look for and where:
Snook: The preferred bait for snook is a medium to large live white bait or sardine tossed out in the zone. The zone could mean, on the beaches right up next to the break waters. In other areas, look for ambush spots that the snook can hold on, waiting for food to come to them. Areas like, patches of grass, rocks or even a bend on the side of the channel. It would help if there are some rocks or grass on the bottom and along each side of the pass. Also, a medium size grunt is hard for snook to resist. Remember to use the tides, incoming or outgoing and always keep your bait fresh, lively and in the zone for best results.
If you can night fish, give it a go. Snook love to feed at night under the bridges where the lights shine down into the water. Anchor up current and drop some live baits back into the light edge and hold on. Remember to totally revive the snook before releasing. There's a lot less oxygen in the water when it's this warm so take your time releasing.
Redfish: The reds are out there but have been moving around the flats and inshore waters all spring and early summer in Clearwater and Dunedin bays. Best bet is to use the incoming tides and search along mangrove shore lines with oyster beds present. Also check out some docks because I have found lots of reds hanging out in the shadows of certain docks. Not all docks are equal so search all you can. I have been having great success with live shrimp. To test a spot, break up several shrimp and throw them out with a chum bat along the mangroves or under a dock. Cast your baits in that direction and give it a few minutes. A response should happen rather fast and if not, move.
My success with catching redfish this season has been to keep moving and not spend too much time in any one spot.
Trout: Pick a grass flat inside the major passes of Clearwater and Dunedin and set up on the moving tide. Trout, mackerel, bluefish, lady fish and small sharks have been all over the flats. Use shrimp on a float or 3 inch green backs, aka, sardines, for non-stop action. Some 4 to 5 lb. mackerel and even blue fish have been caught using this method. The larger gator trout will be spread out around the bays but usually found near or in the passes. They could be hanging out in the same areas that you find snook or they may be found on the shallow reefs a ¼ mile off Sand Key. Best baits will be live shrimp or sardines.
In July, the weather and water temperatures will be on the warm side but look for the fish catching action to be much hotter. Follow the tides and you should have a great July.
Capt. Gary Burch