By Jimmy Tomazinis
Oh my goodness, is it hot outside. I recorded water temperatures as high as 96 degrees in the river last month and while that’s still a little cooler than what the air temperatures have been, the fish aren’t going to be as energetic and less likely to feed because of it. Warmer water holds less oxygen, so fish can become lethargic and even die if oxygen levels get low enough. It’s kind of like when you or I leave this state that’s practically at sea level for the mountains. Any activity the first few days is going to be harder since you have less oxygen at the higher altitudes. You will acclimate eventually, and some fish will too, but they are much more likely to move or change their habits to be more comfortable.
Best advice I can give considering this is to fish when and where the fish are comfortable. Early or late and even at night can be very productive because the fish will have less heat to contend with. Shallow water cools the fastest and holds more oxygen because it’s inherently closer to the surface, so try fishing shallower. Also look at the winds. If the winds are blowing out of the west, then the cooler water will be on the west side of the river and if it’s blowing out of the east, it’ll be on the east side. Shade is also never a bad thing either.
Redfish, bass, stripers, and some small sheepshead are still hanging around the docks and bridges. Live shrimp have been the best ticket for all of them. The shrimp have been consistent, but I have yet to see one bigger than what I call medium. I will say that the sizes can be different at one spot or another so if all you’re catching are smalls try a different spot.
The mullet should be moving in the river and the surf, so don’t neglect any large schools you see. Fish around them — and where you see them moving through — and larger fish are likely to be there as well. Fingers crossed we get a good migration this year.
I hope all of your fishing goals are getting accomplished. I have yet to get my river tarpon, but September is still a great month for that so hopefully I’ll have some good news in October. Stay cool and stay safe. Tight lines.