FISHING REPORTS July 1 - July 31
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Thread: FISHING REPORTS July 1 - July 31

  1. #1
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    Default FISHING REPORTS July 1 - July 31

    Flying to Belize Sat A.M. for a week at Turneffe Flat, a lodge that specializes in bonefish & permit, with an occasional tarpon. Will be without computer so I am hoping to read some good reports when I get back. Also hope I will have a report or three. Good fishing to all.
    Ron Conner
    MODERATOR SALT WATER FLY FISHING FORUM
    release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough. Sparse

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    Ron, hope you have a great trip and do a lot of catching.

    Didn't schedule any trips for the last few days as the tide has been really poor at prime times. (dawn and dusk) and with the strong winds the last three day I wouldn't of been able to fish even if the tides were good. We had winds in the mid 20's three days straight. This mornings tide was just barely decent if you left really early, but my father and son fly charter was on vacation and the earliest he wanted to leave the dock was 7:00 am. High tide in the back was around 4:00 am so it had been running out for over 3 hours by the time we wet a line. We worked two areas in the back where there was still a half way decent amount of water and caught one small 17 inch striper and had one other hit. Caught on a clouser using intermediate line.

    With the sun getting strong, the water getting low and a lot of green heads (even with the bug spray) we moved to the ocean. Water was fairly clean and 62 to 63 degrees and I switched them to sinking lines and clousers. They were good casters but fishing was painfully slow. They did get one small fluke, one small weakfish, one small bluefish and a sea herring and missed maybe two other hits. With it being pretty hot just fishing and such a slow bite they wanted to head in early at 10:00 am and get breakfast. Water looked really good but no signs of life or bait fish any where and the fishing was just plain slow.

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    Tough fishing Sunday night. Left the dock at 4:00 pm. with a one person fly charter to fish the last of the incoming tide and the outgoing. Headed to the back bay and found the water 62 degrees going into the back bay and 75 way in the back areas. Wind was from the south east at around 10 mph. Water looked nice. Not super clean but great but looked fishy. We worked the heck out of about 15 different good spots catching only 3 small stripers in 4 hours of hard fishing with only two other missed hits. All the stripers were 15 to 16 1/2 inches and they were caught in a 65 degree water temp area. We saw zero decent bait fish anywhere. Only bait fish we saw all night were a few little pods of 1/2 inch bait fish. I believe the fish that were around last week are gone as there is nothing decent to eat and they left the area.

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    And so summer begins....

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    After a few days with the family over the 4th and away from the zoo here at the shore, I got home Wednesday afternoon to be greeted by a 15 to 20 mph north east wind for my afternoon fly charter. My charter was a bit concerned about all the wind. I told him we had a really good top of the tide and start of the out going during the trip and that I had a few areas that we could fish without getting blasted with the wind in the back bay and if conditions were too bad and he found it too difficult to fish, I would bring him back to the dock.

    Water in the back was nice and clean and in the low 60's to mid 60's. First areas we fished he had two hits and missed both fish. 2nd 3rd and 4th areas we hit were dead with out any hits. The water looked super good but not signs of baitfish and no fish. The next spot he got two small stripers to 17 inches.

    About half way through the trip the wind started to ease up a bit and I was able to fish some creek mouths that I wouldn't of been able to fish when it was blowing hard. They all looked text book perfect and all he got was two hits and landed another small bass.

    The last half hour of the trip with it being dark the wind was now down to around 10 mph and we worked one last spot. Here he had a really nice size bluefish hooked up. (looked to be in the 30 inch range) Had it on for about a minute before it bit him off. I really felt bad as one nice fish would make the night.

    We decided to fish for 15 minutes longer and call it a night as he had to catch a plane tomorrow morning at 6:30 am.
    We worked a beautiful out going rip line and right after I told him it just looked too good, that there had to be a fish there, he got a solid hook up. Fish fought really good and took him right to the reel. It made the night and we both headed back to the dock with a smile on our faces.

    It was a great way to end the trip after all the casts he had made under less than ideal conditions. It was a little disappointing that with the perfect tide conditions there were so few fish around and the only bait fish we saw, while covering miles of sod banks was only 1/2 inch long. Hopefully this next full moon cycle will bring in more migrating fish and some more bait.
    rob and Red Eye Nester like this.

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    Thursday night canceled my fly charter as we just couldn't get a good handle on the weather. We had rain on and off during the day with strong winds most of the day and then it cleared up a bit, but looking at the weather radar of heavy storms that looked like they would be coming across Delaware Bay.we decide to play it safe and cancel. Storms never came on strong but who could tell and it wasn't worth getting caught out in something nasty if they were right.

    Friday night everything seem to be perfect. Only the fish didn't figure it out. Left the dock at 5:00 pm. with a one person fly angler to fish the incoming tide the whole night. With the better fishing being in the back this past week, we headed to the normal hot spots in the back. The wind when we left the dock was hitting 15 to 17 mph but it kept dying down to almost nothing by the end of the trip. For 2 1/2 hours we worked good spot after good spot covering almost 2 1/2 miles of sod banks and never got one single hit. The best we had was one small striper follow and another make a big swirl at the boat but never hit the fly. Water in the back back was 67 to 75 degrees, nice and clean and there were a fair amount of very small bait fish here and there that our fly would stir up and I did see one small pod of peanut bunker. (first that I have seen in a long time)

    I couldn't believe with such good conditions that it was as slow as it was. Frustrated I decided to leave the back bay and shoot out to the ocean as it couldn't be any worse. Ocean water was around 67 degrees when we broke the inlet and the water was even cleaner looking than the back areas. Fishing was not hot but at least we got two fish 24 and 26 inches using chartreuse/white clouser and sinking line to salvage out the trip. Don't know why the fishing was so dead with such perfect tides and conditions. Just have to chalk it up as a slow night.

    No pictures as photo bucket has shut down third party use of photos on their site. They now want to charge you a monthly fee to continue using their service. Not worth it just just post pictures on the barn.

    Playing around I figured out how to use the thumbnails.
    Last edited by CapeMayRay; 07-09-2017 at 06:55 PM.

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    It was such a nice night and not having a charter tonight I decided to go fishing last minute after dinner. Left the dock at 6:30 pm. and headed straight to the ocean. Water on the incoming tide was nice and clean and 66 to 67 degrees. There was very little wind and perfect night for fishing. Started off with a quick couple of small bass and then fished for about 3/4 of without a hit so I moved to a different area.

    Did see 3 half decent pods of bunker along the beach but it was just going along slow with no signs of any fish harassing it.


    Second area was more productive and I fished a 100 yard area and kept pulling fish using chartreuse/white clousers on sinking line. No keepers, but caught 11 stripers. 2 were super small.

    Most were in the teens and 3 were decent fish around 25 inches. Also caught 2 sea herring that were actually bigger than the two smallest stripers.

    It was a great night to be on the water and there was a great sunset.

    Actually stopped fishing at 9:30 pm. with the fish still biting, but I had to get in and get ready for remote sailboat racing tomorrow.
    Last edited by CapeMayRay; 07-09-2017 at 06:57 PM.
    rob and fdformicola like this.

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    Got home late Sat from Belize. What a full week. We landed in Belize July 1, Sat around 4 PM. their time which is 2 hours later than our time. Van from the lodge met us at airport & 40 minutes later we were at the docks boarding a 30 ft something boat with all our gear, 14 or so guests, & a handful of crew & lodge workers. Met all & settled into about 1 1/2 hour trip to the Atoll where the lodge is located somewhat on the South Eastern side or Turneffe Atoll. The lodge had 5 or 6 cabanas which had 2 units elevated, plus a couple of larger sleeping units & a main lodge area with dockage for 2 or three larger boats & 9 or 10 flats boats. I fished with Dexter Simmons a guide from Sugarloaf Key who organized the trip & had been doing the same trip for 9 or 10 years. Most of the anglers had made the trip several times & some had also gone to Cuba in April with Dexter. There were mostly couples with a few single guys. Also at the Lodge were a small # of anglers not with us & a 1/2 dozen or so divers. A well rounded diverse group of people who all got along with each other. We fished 2 to a flats boat & we kept the same guide for the six days of fishing. Breakfast was served in the lodge at 6 - 7 AM., & you met your guide after 7 AM at the boat. We met our guide Dion, at 7 each morning ( except 1morning where we fished early for tarpon at 5 AM, stopping after 6 for breakfast & then back out. We fished hard all 6 days, usually the first boat out & the last to return, usually by 5 PM., lunch on the boat wherever you were. Dexter was interested in tarpon & I was after bonefish & permit. We fished for tarpon with 12wt int. line usually anchored in channels, blind casting purple & black toads. One time we found them feeding on a large ball of sardines in 10 ft of water or so, & I really thought we would hook up. I had my floating 12wt. with my long night fly, white with a bunny head.. Really expected to hook-up but not to be. Some really intense casting to cruising fish. There were several hooked by others & many landed, but not by us. Next were permit, sought after by both of us. we would cruise a certain mangrove shoreline (don't really know if this shoreline was the only, best or just the one we used.) but we always did this shoreline. Water was from 18 inches or so down to several ft deep couple hundred yrds off. We would motor, yes motor along until we would see "nervous" water, pushing water or tails & fins. This was the way it was done which was way different than I was used to. However, it worked & worked well. We spent a lot of time doing this every day as both of us were more interested in permit than the other two. We had daily good shots at lots of big tailing, cruising permit, several takes, lots of looks & we did get 2 to the boat, which were the only ones caught as we did spend more time doing this. Floating 9 & 10 wts with crab patterns heavily weighted to sink fast. Lots of frustrating good fun. Now for the bonefish. The atoll was full of flats on the inside of the reef all of them "appeared" to be loaded with many different sized schools of many fish. You would wade a bit, sight some coming, position yourself & cast before them, Hook up & again realize why you need a good reel & FAST retrieve. The bottom was hard with loose & solid coral & you needed good sturdy wading boots. This was my best & really most fun fishing. We did very well with the bonefish, usually olive bitters, Pop's bitters, horrors all in 6 or 8s. I found that the fish would readily take, just not when you thought they should. Runs were long, fast & many. Had to keep rod very high & attempt to avoid large standing coral & a few mangrove shoots. Really loads of fun & usually successful landings. We did okay it really was I that seemed to excel in this. Talking to others I learned to fudge a little on how many I caught. (Had to downsize,) which doesn't happen much. Everyone seemed to enjoy the week. We did have some strong SEasterly winds with serval rain showers that moved through. We were always able to work with the wind & usually stayed out of most of the rain. Most days we traveled 20 - 30 miles total, fishing 7ish to 5ish. The divers apparently had good, interesting dives & the eco boat, which my wife was usually on, did a vast # of interesting trips & their guide was one of the most interesting, knowledgeable person I have had the pleasure of knowing. BTW there was a wadeable flat in front of our lodge, that produced bonefish daily. Sorry for the long post, but it was a very full week. Turneffeflats.com KeyWestFlyFishing.com Capt. Dexter Simmons
    Ron Conner
    MODERATOR SALT WATER FLY FISHING FORUM
    release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough. Sparse

  11. #9
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    Great story. Looks like you used every opportunity you could to get out and fish and the accommodations sounded great. (I would bet you even ate well too) You might need a vacation to recover from your vacation!! Good to here you had a fantastic time. Were the bonefish bigger than the ones you see down in the keys? To bad the permit didn't co-operate for you. Guess that is why everyone wants to get one as they are just plain difficult to catch.

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    Too windy to do charter last night with the wind blowing hard off the ocean so I contacted a guy who wanted me to teach him and his 11 year old daughter how to fish. They wanted to learn how to cast a spin rod, tie rigs on and a general 101 in fishing including learning how to fly cast.

    Grabbed some bait rods, blood worms, bunker and clam and we headed over to Delaware Bay side to the beach to have the wind at our backs. Started them out with bunker on floating rig to teach them both to cast. The daughter was doing better than the dad as he was trying to put too much power in his cast. Something small was chewing up the bunker so broke out the lighter rods, put on a float with a smaller hook and used blood worm. These were a lot easier for them to cast. First cast the young girls bobber went down and the drag was just spinning off the reel like crazy. With almost the whole spool of 12 lb test line almost gone I was forced to break the fish off as we couldn't follow it.

    Think it was a large brown shark as there were two guys fishing next to us with big surf rods fishing for browns with big circle hooks and using half a bunker for bait. (They caught 3 while we were there 5 to 6 feet long)

    Luckily we didn't hook up any more spoolers but we did catch some small croakers. Girl and dad had fun and were happy to catch their first few fish. I was surprised we didn't get other varieties of fish as we were fishing in tight to the wash and would normally get some fluke or sand sharks.

    Dad wants to me to teach them how to use a fly rod. I told them they are not quite ready for that yet as their general spin rod skills need a bit of work and that casting a fly you have to relax a bit and let the rod do the work. If they want to try the fly I said we should go to a park area where there is some grass to try and learn how to cast as you can't really learn to cast and fish at the same time, that they need some basic casting skills before they can fish. (especially in salt water) The dad said he had once freshwater fly fished in a stream that was 10 foot wide. I told him that in saltwater a decent cast is needed. You just can't hang 15 feet of fly line out the end of the rod and flip it like you can in freshwater.

    Dad really wants to get this fishing thing down for him and his daughter and wants to learn about lures and how you use and catch with them. Again I had to tell him he needs some better casting skills to try that other wise he would be constantly hooking lures on rock piles, sod banks etc. that it was important to learn to control just where you want your lure or fly to land.

    Think he wants to try fishing in the boat next.
    rob likes this.

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    Sometimes it's easier to teach someone fly casting who has never fished anything in their life, instead of trying to "unlearn" a bunch of spin or casting skills they have. Most times newbies try to overpower the fly rod with rainbow casts because that's how they learned to cast with the spin rod.

    Your run off could have been a big drum, too. I'm sure it's happened, but I've never heard of someone getting a brownie on worms. But drum, for sure.

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    Gave the girl a good thrill just hanging on as the line ran out, but we will just never know.

    Yesterday was one of those days where I felt I was loosing my touch. Had that same father and daughter only out on the boat this time. Figured I would take them out do a little back bay chumming and get them use to at least catching some sand sharks and maybe get lucky and get a striper or two. Since we had crappy tides both in the morning and evening we were to leave at noon to fish the out going tide which seems to always work well no matter when you chum.

    With them running a little late I decided to use a float rig and float a blood worm under the dock just to see if there was anything around feeding on the grass shrimp. After a couple of casts I had a 15 1/2 inch striper. When they came down to the dock I suggested she fish with the worm float rig till we used up the last 5 blood worms. She ended up catching 4 small stripers up the 17 inches in 15 minutes.

    With the bloodworms gone it was time to head out and catch some real fish (so I thought). We headed out to spot that I always find action and the wind was not coming from the direction that they predicted and I could not get the boat to lay right at anchor as the wind was blowing across the tide. We fished for about an hour without a hit. (seemed impossible, but true)

    Moved to spot two where I had both the tide and wind in the right direction and fished for about an hour without a single hit other than some crab action. I had 4 rods out. Two with clam and two with fresh bunker. I was chumming with clam bellies and small bits of ground bunker and not a single hit on any of the 4 lines. (impossible)

    Then one of the rods bent over and the line started peeling off. I was using 25 lb test and the drag was set good and the line was taking off like a crazy. I am thinking nice striper, as it is swimming near the surface and taking line out good. After about 75 yard of line off the reel I had the other lines in and was off the anchor to chase. Just holding the rod was about all the young girl could do as we would catch up close and then it would take another big run. Realized it wasn't a bass and it had to be a big shark or a big ray. Turned out to be a huge cow nosed ray. Not sure how big they get but this guy had a 4 to 5 foot wing span and it pulled us all over the place. We ended up going into the main channel and up on the flats three times. Her and her day fought the fish for about 3/4 of an hour. They would get it about 15 feet from the boat just enough to see it and it would take off again like it was fresh as a daisy. Finally after they where both exhausted I cut the line and we were almost a 1/4 mile from where we hooked the fish.

    Moved to one last spot to end the trip and it was dead the whole rest of the time and we got zero hits using bait, chumming with a good tide, clean water, not much weed. I have no idea why it was so poor. I feel like I never want to do another chumming trip again. 4 hours of fishing with one bite!!!! I give up!!!!!
    fdformicola likes this.

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    You might think a ray and some small stripers aren't exciting, but I'm willing to bet that's a day they won't soon forget... Sometimes the "junk fish" can be fun too, especially when you've never gotten something that big.
    rob likes this.

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    Yes, they had a good time, but to bait fish for 4 hours with only one bite is super bad. We did better under my dock in 15 minutes than fishing in boat for 4 hours. You could be a newbie and drop a line anywhere and I would expect to catch at least a few junk fish. It should of been a no brainer easy trip. No sand sharks, skates or anything with chum and bait. I bet I could of dropped a hand grenade in the water and only got wet from the spray!!!

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    After the last painful fishing trip in the back bay I was excited to get back to fly fishing this morning. We left the dock at 6:00 am in light fog with a fly and spin angler on board to fish the incoming tide. Water at the dock was 71 degrees as we headed to the inlet. Incoming water was 60 to 62 degrees and nice and clean with little to no wind and should of been perfect fishing conditions.

    The fishing just plain sucked had the fly angler using sinking line and a clouser and the spin angler switched between lures and a jig head with gulp bait. I have no idea why fishing was so poor. We fished for 2 1/2 hours at 4 different areas without getting a single real hit and foul hooked a cow nose ray that swam through our line. I fish with a no quit attitude, but I had enough. When you have ideal conditions and can't even get a few bites, you have to know when to fold them. We stopped fishing and I took them back to the dock as I believed conditions would not improve and it would of been a waster of their time and money. (the fishing was that bad)

    I have no clue as to why the fishing is so dead. No bait fish anywhere, no birds and no fish anywhere with all the perfect other conditions at you would want. Will probably just cancel trips till something changes and the tides get better at night. If there were any fish around we would of gotten a few hits. I see more life at my dock. At least there is some grass shrimp and some 1/2 inch bait fish.
    Last edited by CapeMayRay; 07-14-2017 at 01:21 PM.

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