Many fishermen believe that reds spread out and don't put the feed bag on when temperatures rocket upwards, but the folks who don't stay home have figured out some sure fire ways to put redfish on the business ends of their rods.
"Fishing in the heat of the summer can be tough, but the early morning bite has been hot," said Capt. Owen Plair of Bay Street Outfitters.
Rains over the past week have helped keep water temperatures in check and are likely partly responsible for the productive fishing, but knowing where to look and what to use is paramount to success.
"I find that the fish are moving around a lot and cruising the banks feeding on shrimp or mullet, so targeting oyster bars on the low has been very productive," said Capt. Steve Roll of Seas So Shallow Guide Service.
Roll's most productive bait on the low tide is live shrimp. Mud minnows and cut bait are also working, and when things get really tough, he said, "A cut up blue crab is awfully hard for a redfish to turn down!"
Roll starts each day by putting out different rigs to determine what will be the most productive and says, "I'm using a No. 1 or 1/0 Owner circle hook or an eighth-ounce red or chartreuse Slipper jighead from Bass Pro, and (I'm) fishing two rods with rattling corks, two rods on the bottom and waiting to see which is going to work best on that day."
All kinds of baitfish are abundant, and bigger shrimp are starting to move in.
"Using bait right now is kind of like throwing another little fish in the lottery and trying to get lucky," said Plair, who prefers to offer reds something that stands out from the crowd of baitfish.
He is finding success using flies such as the Raz Mataz and Spoon fly, and his flats boat allows him to get in the skinny stuff on the low tide when the reds are bunched up.
"During those early morning low tides, we are seeing schools of 20 to 50 redfish so shallow that their backs and tails are out of the water, which makes them very easy for us to see," he said.
The high tides, especially the higher-than-average tailing tides, are also productive. Redfish are easily spotted wagging their tails on the flats. Plair primarily throws Spoon flies at tailing reds and Roll prefers Gulp! crab in either natural or molting colors.
July fishing usually tapers off during the hottest part of the day, but it turns back on late in the afternoons.
"With the heat of the summer, it's important to focus on the early morning or late afternoon high tides when the fish are the most active," Plair said.
Redfish aren't the only thing biting; trout numbers are much improved over the last few years, and flounder are just as numerous as ever. Roll will often go for a grand slam during the summer.
"It seems only smaller reds are hanging around the docks, but so are trout and flounder, and that's a big bonus," he said.
Plair also reports catching trout on bait.
"The trout bite has been great," he said. "A lot of trout are 12 to 18 inches, and (there are) even some over 20 inches. It's good to see the trout making a comeback, and when the fishing (for reds) is slow, trout have come to the rescue."