Hot air temperatures for a couple of weeks now have warmed our inshore waters to a balmy 85 degrees, and midday temperatures on the shallow flats can be close to 90 degrees. These warm temperatures can make for some pretty tough fishing.
Targeting deepwater flats and structures in and around the passes will definitely put you in position to catch more fish. Trout and mackerel can be found just inside the passes hanging on grass edges that have good concentrations of bait.
Productive areas can often be located by the presence of diving pelicans and dipping terns. Newly hatched sardine and threadfin fry is the cause for all the commotion.
Most of this bait is too small to be cast-netted and used for bait. Your better option would be the use of small artificial lures. Soft plastic or buck tail jigs in white or silver should do the trick.
The many spoils islands that dot the Intracoastal Waterway are excellent places to find redfish and trout year-round but are especially good when the water gets as warm as it is. Their close proximity to deep water provides good current flow with water that might be a degree or two cooler.
Deep bridges with good current are good places to find snook, gag grouper, black drum and flounder. Targeting the first couple of hours of the tide change with a variety of baits can be very productive.
The snook and grouper love big pinfish and grunts. Be sure to drop them down on some heavy tackle at least 50-pound test with an even heavier leader. For the flounder try fishing a small grunt or pilchard on a jig head.
Shark fishing also can be a good option this time of year, especially when you’re taking kids fishing. Small blacktip sharks can be found roaming the bottom in many deep cuts throughout the ICW.
Almost any cut bait will work when targeting these pup sharks, but oily baits like mullet, shad or ladyfish seem to work best. Be sure to take a couple of chum blocks to help attract the sharks.