Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

On the Water: Be prepared for July heat, humidity

July 4, 2018
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

Summer is in full swing bringing hot, humid days and the possibility of thunderstorms almost every afternoon. That does not mean fishing is poor, it can be very good if you plan accordingly. Red tide outbreaks were pretty bad the last couple weeks of June along our coast. This may or may not affect fishing in July; fingers crossed the deadly toxin subsides and the month turns out good.

Look for the best fishing early and late in the day when temperatures are coolest - try to coordinate the better tides with this part of the day. Of course, thunderstorms are a strong possibility on any given day, fishing the morning tides is a lot more predictable. However, fishing after an afternoon thunderstorm can be very good. If the sky clears a few hours before the sun sets, this is a great time to hit the water.

Redfish and mangrove snapper will be in the sights of many inshore anglers, both thrive in the warm summer temperature and fishing for both should only get better as the month progresses. Anglers will score with redfish using two very different techniques: first, and this is generally a very early or very late in the day strategy, is sight fishing.

Article Photos

Summer is a great time to catch mackerel. Cathy Foley of Matlacha hooked into this Spanish mackerel in Charlotte Harbor along with several trout. Fish around bait schools for the best action.


The second method, much easier and very productive, is fishing under the mangroves islands over the higher tides. Not as much stealth is required here, fish are a lot more settled with the added water over their head, plus they feel the security of the mangrove roots and overhangs.

While mangrove snapper will be caught targeting redfish under the mangroves, anglers targeting the tasty fish will look to areas with structure. Inshore this includes the gulf passes; Redfish, Captiva and Boca Grande all have rocks and ledges that attract snapper and other fish. Also, bridges, docks, piers, jetties, artificial reefs and any other submerged debris piles are sure to be likely snapper hotspots. In the Gulf, most of the near-shore artificial reefs and underwater structure will hold mangrove snapper, and some big ones.

If you are looking for something more challenging, there are plenty of sharks around to test your will. Sharks ranging in length from 3 to 10 feet are roaming inshore waters and often in water shallower than you think. Look for sharks in areas holding other fish. If you have a spot that's good for mackerel, ladyfish, bluefish, trout, etc., chances are good sharks are nearby. Make sure to use a wire leader and fresh bait always works best. It's a good idea to leave sharks in the water and either unhook or cut the leader; it's safer for both fish and angler. We have a lot of different shark species with different regulations; some are illegal to remove from the water and some have size restrictions. If you plan on inviting a small tasty blacktip home for supper, do your homework and learn to identify the different species.

While the height of tarpon season peaked last month, July is still a great month to hook a silver king if you are targeting them or not. Don't be surprised if one blasts a shark bait or a big one blows up on your lure while targeting trout on the flats.

There's a lot to catch in July without much competition from other anglers. Fish the best tides if you can, prepare for the heat and watch for those thunderstorms, and you will learn it's a great month on the water.

If you have a fishing report of for charter information, please contact us at: Gulf Coast Guide Service, phone: 239-283-7960, Website: or email:

Have a safe week and good fishin'.

As a native of Pine Island, Bill Russell has spent his entire life fishing and learning the waters surrounding Pine Island and as a professional fishing guide for the past 18 years.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web