By Geoff Bennett for Island Eye News
July can be one of the most productive months of the year for fishing. The combination of the usual targets like redfish and trout and summer seasonal species like shark, ladyfish and Spanish mackerel make for a very active fishery. Anglers can look forward to lots of different opportunities during all tides. Don’t leave the dock without your cast net. Finger mullet and menhaden are readily available and choice bait for redfish. Target redfish while fishing these baits around structures like rock walls and docks. Hook the bait on a size 3/0 circle hook going up through the lower lip and out through the top. Place the bait on the bottom with a Carolina rig using enough weight to hold your bait in place so it doesn’t snag. While popping corks are always a choice option for trout, don’t forget that artificial lures can be quite productive as well. Trout have been crushing lures that mimic small baitfish. The Z-man 3 ¾” streakz in smoky shad is an excellent choice. Paired with a 1/4oz. jig head, these lures perform best when worked slowly along the bottom. Trout tend to strike as you lift the lures up in a jigging motion. Spanish mackerel are plentiful and are most prolific at first light. If you find schools of fish busting bait on the surface, toss reflective 1/2oz. casting jigs and reel them quickly through the school.
Move your boat slowly around the school; running over a pod of fish will put them down. If you know fish are present but not on the surface, try trolling Clark Spoons at different speeds and different depths. Sharks bite well irrespective of the temperature and our waters are loaded with them.
Even in the afternoon heat, they will be on the move looking for easy prey.
With lots of smaller sharks and other creatures pecking away at live and cut bait, we have at times been fishing an entire live blue crab absent its claws on a 7/0 circle hook.
You’ll have lots of drops but the sharks that hang on are the big ones!
See you on the water!
Capt. Geoff Bennett, owner of Charleston Charter Fishing, is a local fisherman who knows all the angles.