July's Best Bets

I think it’s time to talk about the old situation in the Gulf. The news media has been the worst enemy of all of the Gulf fishermen. I guess they are just trying to make big news out of a problem that is going on daily, and when the problem does not get large enough to make big news, they make the news themselves. What I am trying to say is that the Florida beaches are mostly clear and the fishing is still available, and I might say the fishing is as good as I have seen it in several years. At this point, the only problem I foresee for fishing out of Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe area is the government and the news media.

Inshore fishing during June has just turned on big time in spite of a summer that is hotter than usual, especially after a colder winter than normal. The king mackerel are more plentiful and larger than I have seen in several years. Also, the pompano, whiting, speckled trout, and redfish are just looking for a good bait to grab and run off with. All of the beach fishermen and small boat fishermen are having a blast and producing great catches of inshore fish.

We still cannot get a bait through the many, many red snapper to try to hook a grouper or a big amberjack. We have been bringing home the limit of large red snapper on every trip, and all of our recreational fishing friends are doing the same on their boats. You would think that as many boats as were fishing Memorial Day weekend and the middle of June, that we could thin out the red snapper just a little bit, but it has not happened. The amberjack are coming on strong and the average size is larger than I have seen in several years. There are plenty of gag grouper and scamp available in the deeper waters if you can get your bait past a big ‘ole King or large red snapper. It is hard to think that you have a problem of this size, but if you keep on trying you can throw back enough red snapper that you will get a good mess of grouper and scamp. The large king mackerel and wahoo are likely to grab your bait at any time. The black fin tuna also appear to be more plentiful this year.

Unless we have a strong tropical storm or hurricane coming into the Gulf from Mexico, I don’t really see a problem with the oil shutting the fishing down in our area--just my personal experience and opinion.

Don’t forget to file a float plan, and let somebody know when you are going to return.

Be safe. Good fishing and good luck.