June was a very active month for fishing the flats and inshore waters. July shouldn’t be any different. Clearwater Bay and St. Joseph Sound in Dunedin have been on fire with all of the shallow water species showing up on the incoming tide. The water temperatures will be near 90 degrees and the afternoon air temps are reaching 95. Moving around to different flats at various stages of the tide will be July’s most productive pattern.
What to look for? Snook, Redfish and Trout. So many of my clients want to catch all three and secure the fame of catching a “Slam”.
This time of year, look for snook to be on the beaches and in the passes of Anclote, Dunedin and Clearwater. The water is so clean that you might be able to spot the fish before you spook them. If so, back off and set up in casting range. A nice 3 to 4 inch green back will be your best bait. Don’t pass up a small pin fish, grunt or large shrimp; they have all caught their share of snook.
Redfish are out there but have been moving around the flats and inshore waters of Clearwater. Best bet is to use the incoming tides and search along mangrove shore lines with oyster beds. Cast your baits in that direction and give it a few minutes. A response should happen rather fast and if not, move. I've been having great success with live shrimp.
Pick a grass flat inside the major passes and set up on the moving tide. Trout, mackerel, bluefish, lady fish and small sharks have been all over the flats. Use shrimp or 3 inch green backs on a float for non-stop action. Some 4 to 5 lb. mackerel and blue fish have been caught using this method along with some 20+ inch trout.
So get out there and catch a slam. Have your camera ready to snap a quick picture and release alive. Catching a trophy in our pristine waters in July is waiting.
Capt. Gary Burch guides in the Clearwater and Dunedin areas. Visit web site for further information.