Man, What A Summer. The striking fish, Kingmackeral, Cobia, Barracuda, Amberjack and Bonita, started showing in force arround the 15th of May. Something was on fire almost every day of the summer this year. As the water temp warmed to the low 70's the Amberjack and Cobia moved onto the local artificial reefs, some days it was hard to get away from them and move on to other species, limits were common. As the temps got into the mid 70's the kings showed with a vengance, a lot of days you couldn't get three lines in the water using live bait without having two fish on. Those are fun days for sure. When we would limit out on the kings we would go bottom fishing and try for a grouper or snapper (there were never enough arround this summer in the inshore water to just go and target them) and we'd usually catch a keeper or two and a bunch of shorts. A thermocline (cold water eddy) moved in about the 15th of July and that slowed the kings down but fired the cobia and amberjack back up, so the fishing went on. As the cold water held in place the baitfish became scarce so I went to traditional trolling with spoons/planers and cigar minnows or bally-hoo. I prefer live bait trolling with the light tackle but traditional trolling sure gets the job done and you can cover a lot more water to find the fish. The weather, this summer, was outstanding (for the most part), we only had to cancel a couple of days for wind all summer long (though as I write this there is a NorEaster blowing that has been with us for 5 days now).
The river (ICW) fishing was very good to outstanding on the days that I fished inside (most of my trips were offshore this summer). We caught good numbers of trout, reds and drum until the water heated up to the mid 80's (yes, the inside water got up to regular temps). When the water temp got up to normal summer highs the ladyfish and jacks took over and there were some very large (up to 5 feet) sharks spawning on a couple of the flats inside. They are a lot of fun on light tackle even if you only land 1 in 5 or so. As of last week the flounder have started to make there fall apperance as well as the bull reds along with the finger mullet run.
Things are looking good for the Fall season. The offshore bite is still going well, the inshore bite is fireing up nicely with the tarpon/sharks still going strong on the beach behind the shrimp boats.