GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Ray Markham.
The summer doldrums are upon us, and sometimes the heat of a sweltering day can all but shut down the bite. When water temperatures soar into the upper 80s or lower 90s, fish can get lethargic. By fishing the cooler areas or restricting the time you’re on the water to the cooler times of the day, you’ll likely have more success catching fish.
Descending scuba divers will notice changes in water temperature the deeper they go, but they sometimes also notice layers of cooler water called thermoclines. These cooler layers could be the reason some fish hold at a certain depth. Some bottom machines can be tuned to note these layers of cool water. The fish finder will also show fish staging up at a certain depth, and this might be the reason. Controlled depth fishing with downriggers can put baits where fish are for anglers trolling. Planers are less accurate in getting baits to a specific level but will also work. Anglers trolling Gulf waters landed gag and red grouper, kingfish and Spanish mackerel this week using these tools.
Inshore waters with shallow depths heat more quickly. Dark bottoms absorb heat more readily, as well.
Incoming tides with cooler Gulf waters can sometimes trigger a bite, especially in the afternoon. Early morning incoming tides for this weekend will scatter fish that will be found around barrier islands, oyster bars, in mangroves, under boat docks and on shorelines. These areas will be early spots for targeting snook, trout and redfish. You’ll find flounder, trout, snook and reds falling out away from structure and shorelines as the morning tide drops. Look for them to move to deep potholes and adjacent channel edges as the tide falls out.
A slow incoming afternoon tide will cool inshore areas a bit, and coupled with a major solunar period an hour or two before sunset will likely make the sunset fish worth a shot to target.
Ray Markham specializes in light tackle fishing with artificial lures and charters on lower Tampa Bay out of Terra Ceia. He can be reached via his website at www.CaptainRayMarkham.com, at [email protected], or at (941) 723-2655 for charter.