Anglers finally got some relief from the heat last week, giving them the opportunity to get on the water for some fishing and scalloping. This area of the Nature Coast has a lot to offer right now.
The scallops are thick in the northern waters off Hernando Beach and gag grouper season began July 1.
Scallop season is off to a great start. The better numbers seem to be a little further north in 5-7 feet of water. Plan your trips around a low tide for easier snorkeling. Don’t forget your diver down flag and be sure to navigate these areas with caution.
Target red fish early. Plan your trips around the higher moving tide and look to the mangroves with mullet activity. Cut mullet or live pin fish tossed into the middle of schools of mullet should produce. If there is no action within a half an hour, be ready to relocate until you find fish.
The best trout bite has been in 7-10 feet of water. Drift these depths over grassy bottom on a moving tide. Use a 1/4-1/8 ounce jig with a white Gulp shrimp and keep your offering close to the grass. Be patient when drift fishing because this technique allows you to cover ground which means you should eventually find fish. If you find a hot area holding trout be sure to mark it on the GPS and be ready to come back and drift it again.
Offshore fishing for gag grouper is excellent right now. I am getting reports of good numbers of gags in 20-60 feet of water. Target structure and be ready to try a variety of baits. Frozen thread fins or live pin fish on a traditional bottom rig are producing. The gags seem to like the frozen baits one day, and will only feed on a live bait the next.
Good luck out there and tight lines!
Capt. Keith Tomlinson runs Bulldog Fishin Charters out of Hernando Beach. Reach him at (352)238-3581.