The Early Bird Beats the Heat

The Early Bird Beats the Heat

  • Posted by Capt. Mike Haines
  • On June 17, 2019
  • Comments
  •  3

Ask a group of fishermen in South Florida about their favorite time of year to fish and the majority will say summer.

Now, it’s not quite summer yet, but it’s aaallllmoooost heeeerrreee….and I can’t wait. It goes like this, the winds start laying down, schools of bait start to show up and bigger fish show up to eat them. Find the bait and you find the fish, pretty basic stuff!!

For the inshore guys, snook and tarpon become the main focus. Both species love the heat and humidity and are usually very willing to eat over the next several months with snook being less moody than the tarpon. I do prefer live bait over artificials for both near more populated areas, these are fish that see a lot more anglers and are much more cautious. I will generally use undersized strong hooks 1/0-3/0 circles for snook and 3/0-5/0 circles for the tarpon, along with 30-40lb fluorocarbon leader in the cleaner water near the coast and bump it up a little when fishing darker water further inshore. Mullet and pilchards make up the majority of the live bait used and are usually readily available for those who can throw a cast net.

If you are lucky enough to fish some of our more remote areas, then lures, soft plastics, jigs and flies all work well. These would be fish along the southwest coast into Everglades National Park, areas of the Keys and some of the lightly traveled bays and rivers away from suburbia. Remote areas are fun because they are great for surface plugs or soft plastics with much more aggressive fish and very few if any other boaters. If you find yourself fishing these areas without a guide, fish as if you were looking for freshwater bass, snook feeding habits are very similar. They love structure and the edges of current.

For you offshore guys/gals, you need not be jealous of the inshore action, the Mahi are ready to roll all along the south east coast and the Keys. Many will just troll until something hits, but I will either free line live baits along the drop offs (150-300 ft of water) or take the “run and gun” approach and look for birds, bait or debris. Once any of these are located, I will troll the immediate area until we get a take down. Tuna and false albacore are very common with both methods of Mahi fishing but I will have one lure further back then all the others, which usually takes the tuna. Once you find Mahi, you tend to catch a lot in a short amount of time, so be mindful of how much meat you actually need and let a bunch go for next time.

People tend to stay away from South Florida during the summer, but the locals know it’s the best time to fish. Fish early or late if you don’t want to cook and enjoy the spoils of your labors on the end of the line.

Until next time,

Capt Mike Haines
305-505-2772

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