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Where to Fish in June & July

Find the best spots to find your favorite species as summer kicks into form throughout North America, the Caribbean, Mexico and more

Updated:

May 31, 2022

The Salt Water Sportsman editors list the best two locations to go in June and July for your favorite saltwater species, plus notes for each location about why the bite there is hot.

Pacific Blue Marlin

Pacific blue marlin
Pacific blue marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Panama

Second choice: Hawaii

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Historically, July marks the beginning of peak blue marlin fishing on Panama’s Pacific coast, so expect the action to improve steadily throughout June and get red-hot by month’s end. In Hawaiian waters, blues—including large females exceeding 500 pounds— will be plentiful from Maui to the big island. Trolled artificials and natural baits both raise fish, but lures enable crews to cover water faster.

Atlantic Blue Marlin

Atlantic blue marlin
Atlantic blue marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Puerto Rico

Second choice: Dominican Republic

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The bite spikes off Puerto Rico this time of year, with waters of La Mona Passage producing much of the blue marlin action, and boats out of Ponce, La Parguera and Mayaguez finding their share. Game fleets fishing from the Dominican northeastern ports of Cap Cana and Bavaro continue to enjoy multiple hookups most days, but the action will start to dwindle as July approaches.

Black Marlin

black marlin
Black marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Panama

Second choice: Australia

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Traveling big-gamers will be hard-pressed to find a better place for blacks this time of year than Panama, where a great deal of the fishing takes place just a few miles off the coast, around underwater pinnacles and along the color change, where forage congregates. Down Under, the fishing still centers around the influx of juveniles and young adult specimens in the 75- to 250-pound range off Exmouth and Townsville.

White Marlin

White marlin
White marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: North Carolina

Second choice: Dominican Republic

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The annual migration brings pods of whites to mid-Atlantic waters. The fish ride the Gulf Stream current in their northward procession, and this time of year they stage off North Carolina shores, wherever prey are abundant. Big-game boats in the DR continue to raise some fish in June and the early part of July, but most of the whites will have moved on after that.

Atlantic Sailfish

Atlantic sailfish

Atlantic Sailfish

Atlantic sailfish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: North Carolina

Second choice: Florida

White marlin are not the only billfish abundant off North Carolina’s coast this time of year. Sails are also moving north, searching for milder water temperatures and food, so most boats troll spreads equally suited for both species. Summer sailfishing in Florida won’t match the spring and fall action, but live baits weighted and staggered at different depths get takes from fish hanging down in the thermocline.

Pacific Sailfish

Pacific sailfish
Pacific sailfish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Guatemala

Second choice: Panama

Despite the extended periods of precipitation this time of year, it’s unlikely sport-fishing fleets anywhere in the world will tally more sailfish releases than in Guatemala, where anglers ignoring the potential for wet weather find marlin as a bonus. In Panama, now is when the best sailfishing of the year occurs. Trolling a spread of three or four small, live bonito along the color change is a surefire way to garner strikes.

Striped Marlin

striped marlin
Striped marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Mexico

Second choice: Ecuador

Fishing for stripes may be a year-round proposition along Mexico’s west coast, but the action usually peaks in early to midsummer, when boats get to pitch baits at an increasing number of marlin found right on top, surfing the waves. In the Galapagos, standard trolling remains the name of the game. And though the bite there might be past its prime, any boat releasing a dozen or more fish won’t raise any eyebrows.

Wahoo

Wahoo
Wahoo Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bermuda

Second choice: Panama

Bermuda is a premier destination for wahoo in June and July, when Challenger and Argus, the fabled offshore banks, are simply stacked with the striped torpedoes. Dark feathers and Islander lures rigged in combination with horse ballyhoo and trolled at 7 to 10 knots will get plenty of takers. In Panama, packs of aggressive 20- to 40-pounders will pounce on swimming plugs trolled around underwater banks and pinnacles.

Yellowfin Tuna

yellowfin tuna
Yellowfin tuna Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bermuda

Second choice: Mexico

Wahoo may get more publicity, but the yellowfin fishing off Bermuda this time of year is also world-class. To the delight of light-tackle anglers, most of the tuna fall in the 50- to 100-pound range, and anchoring and chunking often has hungry fish eating right behind the boat. The west coast of Mexico continues to host yellowfins of all sizes, but the offshore banks are known to produce hefty 200- to 300-pounders.

Bonefish

bonefish

Bonefish

Bonefish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bahamas

Second choice: Belize

June is a great month to stalk bones on Bahamian flats, but come July the fishing slows down considerably during midday hours, when temperatures soar in skinny water. Fishing early and late solves the problem, and a cooling shower or incoming tide will often extend peak fishing hours. In Belize, there will be no shortage of active fish around the outer atolls or the vast flats between them and the mainland.

Snook

snook
Snook Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Mexico

Florida linesiders congregate for spawning about this time and often stage in inlets and passes, as well as along the adjacent beaches. Some, however, continue to man their posts at various ambush spots around mangrove island troughs, dock pilings and bridge abutments. In the Yucatan, the northern mangrove lagoon systems and the bays to the south should all offer solid snook action.

Tarpon

Tarpon

Tarpon

Tarpon Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Belize

The hordes of silver kings that traveled east and south in April and May turn around in June. While the migration winds down in July, a few tarpon strongholds, like the Everglades, Boca Grande Pass, St. George Sound and the Panhandle beaches, still offer plenty of chances. In Belize, the action peaks a little later, so visiting anglers can expect to still find plenty of fish cruising the flats or hanging out in deep holes for a while.

Permit

Permit

Permit

Permit Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Belize

In South Florida, spawning permit will have finished their love interludes out on the wrecks and returned to the flats. Look for the sickle-tailed phantoms foraging along sandbars and mixed or hard-bottom flats, especially during the stronger tides. In Belize, the coraline shallows surrounding the atolls, the lush grass flats near the mainland, and the patchy shoals in between will all hold a lot of permit on the prowl.

Red Drum

red drum
Red Drum Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Louisiana

Second choice: North Carolina

Reds remain widespread throughout Louisiana’s marshes, but pods and schools of the big bulls stick to outer islands and outside shorelines where food is easy to come by and escape routes abound. In North Carolina, now is a good time to start looking for big bruiser red drum in Pamlico and Albemarle sounds, as well as the Neuse, Pamlico and other coastal rivers.

Striped Bass

striped bass
Striped bass Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: New York

Second choice: Massachusetts

With baitfish schools abundant, stripers go hog wild in New York and Massachusetts coastal waters. Finding the action is as easy as looking for birds diving or bass busting as they embark on intermittent feeding frenzies. Areas near the inlets are great starting points, and renowned spots like Montauk, Long Island’s beaches, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Chatham and Shinnecock are all worth a look.

Swordfish

swordfish

Swordfish

Swordfish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Cayman Islands

With the increasing popularity of daytime swordfishing in South Florida, it’s easy to forget how good the broadbill action is there after dark. And with summer weather keeping seas mostly subdued in June and July, even small boats can easily partake. In the Caymans, swordfish catches are more sporadic, but the deep trenches near the islands are bound to yield some nice ones this time of year.

King Mackerel

king mackerel
King mackerel Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Louisiana

Second choice: Texas

Much of the Gulf of Mexico kingfish population heads northwest toward Louisiana and Texas for the summer. The larger specimens, from 12 or 15 pounds on up, tend to gather around the mouths of major passes and certain oil platforms, usually in less than 250 feet of water. Trolling rigged cutlassfish or live hardtails (blue runners) and menhaden is the best bet, but swimming plugs and spoons claim their share.

Bluefish

Bluefish
Bluefish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: New York

Second choice: Massachusetts

Peak time for chopper blues in the Northeast begins now. Count on the fish to be plentiful, aggressive and spread out along the New York and Massachusetts coasts, where many striped bass hotspots are also top bluefish producers. Always ravenous, hunting packs of bluefish are likely to eventually show up wherever bait abounds. So, if you locate a large baitfish congregation, it often pays to hang around.

Dolphin

mahimahi
Dolphin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: North Carolina

June is still a superb month for dolphin in Florida waters, especially from the Keys north to Palm Beach, where the Gulf Stream comes closer to the coast. In July, however, North Carolina jumps to the forefront as dolphin push up the Eastern Seaboard with the Stream, and schoolies and small duos and trifectas of big bulls and cows feast in the mild and fertile Tarheel waters.

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