July and August are the prime months for targeting blue marlin in the East Region, particularly because one of their favorite foods—little tunny—are here in abundance. The little tunny (bonito) schools start showing up in early June, and but the first week of July are thick as can be offshore. The marlin hunts these bonito on a daily basis.
Late June and early July are a great time to target spotted seatrout anywhere in Florida. The thing to remember here is that seatrout, like humans, are affected by the hot summer weather, so they’re less active during the heat of the day. Even late in the afternoon, the sun has heated the water up all day to the point that it’s still very warm when the sun is low on the horizon. That’s why the best time to target seatrout in the summer is right at dawn, when the water has cooled overnight and the fish are most active.
In my region we have a bunch of great things to do to expose kids to fishing. One of them is a program put on by longtime guide Capt. Johnny Walker who does a clinic and free fishing day for underprivileged and handicapped children that all the local guides help out with. He has a saying that goes, “Take a kid fishing today, because he might take you fishing in the future.”
June is probably the best month of the year for snapper fishing in the Florida Keys. There’s a very good bite for yellowtail snapper on the edge of the reef in 50 to 70 feet of water. Anchor on the edge of the reef, and make sure there’s some current flow. If there’s no current, there’s no fish feeding.
We use lots of chum, often 25 pound blocks of ground chum in chum bags which we supplement with horse oats to draw the fish towards the surface. Anywhere up and down that reef line from Key Largo to Key West you’ll find fish.
June is a great month for bass fishing in Florida-well just about any month is outstanding, but June is great because it’s the time of the year when the bluegill are spawning. That means there’s a lot of bluegill in the shallows, and the big bass will be up there eating them.
In the northern end of my region up around Boca Grande and Sanibel you’ll find good concentrations of baitfish on the beaches and grass flats. The majority of the baits will be pilchards, but as we get late into the summer you can chum the grass flats and catch pinfish.
May is still a little bit early for our best dolphin action, so most of the time we’re fishing the edge in 120 to 300 feet of water. The majority of fish we catch this month take place while we’re kite fishing. May is really when we get our first big push of fish, and they come in to eat the flying fish.