Summertime fishing can be incredible. Kingfish, Wahoo, Mahi, Tuna, Grouper, Mutton, Yellowtail Snapper and many more species are thriving and begging to be caught. Unfortunately, even by mid-morning, temperatures can rise into the 90's - which is hot enough to make anyone wilt.
While fishing during the summer heat can be challenging, if you plan and properly prepare (like Charter Captains do), you'll make your fishing trips successful, and yell -GOTTEMONDOOD - like we do!
TIPS FOR FISHING ON THE HOT DAYS
Here's our best tips (and a few secrets) to successful fishing excursions when it's hot, hot, hot.
Fish Early or Later in the Day (if you can)
- Picking the coolest times of the day to get on the water is the most obvious and simplest solution to beating the heat. We leave no later than 7am and our afternoon charters start later and extend to the cooler hours during the summer. Spend the majority of your time fishing early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the temperature and sun are more forgiving is the easiest tip of all.
- Another huge benefit of going fishing earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon is that typically, this will be when the fish are most active. Fish are highly affected by water temperatures, and many are affected by the brightness of the midday sun.
- Starting your fishing trip just before sunrise or just a few hours before sunset will increase the likelihood of catching fish and yelling - Gottemondood!
- Fishing at night is not for everyone. It presents a whole different set of challenges, including the most obvious, which is limited visibility. But the one challenge that isn't present - is the sun or heat. Fishing at night will open up a large number of new fish targets. Many game fish are actually more active at night - which can make for an exciting and challenging change from your daytime fishing.
- When water temps start getting into the upper 70's and 80's, most fish species will be searching for shade or where the water is the coolest. This is simply not an issue during the night.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
Whenever you'll be fishing in the daytime, it's critical that you protect yourself from the effects of the sun's heat and UV rays. The effects of the sun's rays are reflected when you are next to the water.
- Invest and slather high quality SPF sunscreen, like Elta MD Skincare with the active ingredients zinc oxide & titanium oxide. Apply liberally on any skin that will be exposed to the sun. And keep reapplying it throughout the day. Every 2 hours is a good rule of thumb. Don’t forget to protect your lips with an SPF lip balm.
- Wear quality apparel that has sun protection - like UV 50+ shirts that will shield your skin from damaging rays. These garments will also make you feel cooler.
- Sun gloves, hats and neckwear will not only protect your skin but also prevent you from becoming overheated. Remember, your head is your heat center for your body. Protect your head and neck at a bare minimum to keep yourself from heat stroking.
- Protect your eyes with quality sunglasses that keep out UV rays and also help you see INTO the water. Different color water requires different colored lenses. I carry three different pairs of lenses to improve my vision into the water. When we're in the deep blue water - you guessed it - I have my blue lenses on. Green water - bingo - green lenses. Around the dock or in the brown or brackish water, I use my grey lenses. Fishing is already difficult, don't make it harder by limiting your vision.
Captains Tip: Avoid sunscreens that don't have the two active ingredients of zinc oxide and titanium oxide. And definitely avoid all sunscreens with the active ingredients oxybenzone (very bad), avobenzone, benzophenene, 4 MBC, homosalate, otocrylene and octinoxate. And yes, Coppertone, Banana Boat and even Neutrogena contain some of these very sketchy ingredients. Let me put it to you this way. Some of those chemicals will remove paint off a boat.
Here's what we use and wear:
One of the more unpleasant experiences while on the water is being seasick. Dehydration can be a contributing factor to seasickness. Don't let that happen. While it varies by individual, you can be easily losing 16 oz. of fluid per hour from sweating when you are in the hot sun and active. That fluid needs to be replaced. So, when you're fishing on the water during the hot days, stay hydrated.
- Be sure to drink plenty of water. When working in the heat, drink 1 cup (8 ounces) of water every 15–20 minutes. This translates to ¾–1 quart (24–32 ounces) per hour. Drinking at shorter intervals is more effective than drinking large amounts infrequently. Do not drink more than 48 oz (1½ quarts) per hour!
- Also, if you are sweating a lot - drink something that replenishes electrolytes like Pedialyte, coconut water or Gatorade.
- This will sound crazy to many of you, but it's best to avoid beverages containing alcohol and sugar. They WILL contribute to dehydration.
- I’m sure you've neglected to hydrate yourself and nourish yourself when fishing, because you’re caught up in the action or enjoying hanging out with your mates. You sweat and use a ton of energy when fishing, so use a reminder app on your phone or watch to keep drinking water (every 20 minutes).
- If you take care of your body, you’ll be sharper and stronger when you get those tugs on your line and it’s time to yell - Gottemondood!
Find Temperature Breaks in the Water
- Areas where streams, rivers, and currents meet another water body will often cause temperature breaks - these can be great locations for finding fish.
- Temperature breaks are noticeable; just keep an eye out for slightly darker shades of water. These “pockets” are known for holding bait fish, which attracts game fish.
Fish Deeper Waters
- For the majority of the year, shallow water is the most productive. When the summer heat sets in, fish swim deeper to avoid the sun and heat.
- Look for those darker pockets. They could be the only places you have a chance to catch fish during the hottest portions of the day
Captains Tip: Getting fish on the line and in the boat can make even the hottest day totally enjoyable. Learning to put yourself on the fish - especially when they're also protecting themselves from the sun is a total game changer. Without fail, if we're yelling GOTTEMONDOOD, we don't hear a peep about the heat.
If you follow these commonsense tips, you'll spend way less time worrying about the sun and way more time catching fish.