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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 21, 2021
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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: Hawaii

Second choice: Australia

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The abundance of tuna and mahi in Hawaiian waters keeps plenty of big, hungry marlin in the area, providing ample opportunity for anglers looking for a bragging-size catch to tangle with specimens weighing over 500 pounds. The fishing forecast is quite similar in Gold Coast, Australia, where the big-game fleet also enjoys consistent action with blues of superlative size.

Atlantic Blue Marlin

Atlantic blue marlin
Atlantic blue marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Dominican Republic

Second choice: U.S. Virgin Islands

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In the DR, blue marlin action continues to please big-gamers, especially those looking for 150- to 250-pounders to battle on light tackle or fly gear. This time of year, however, boats often have to make longer runs into La Mona Passage to find a consistent bite. In the Virgin Islands, the world-renowned drops near St. Thomas come into their own now, producing big fish and multiple daily hookups.

Black Marlin

black marlin
Black marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Ecuador

Second choice: Costa Rica

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Off Salinas, Ecuador, cooling waters invite a seasonal influx of big blacks, increasing the odds of raising fish weighing 600 pounds or more, perhaps even a grander. Off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, marlin fishing improves around the seamounts and offshore banks, with blacks leading the charge. The likely 10 or more daily hookups make the long runs—and sometimes overnighting at sea—worth it.

White Marlin

White marlin
White marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Portugal

Second choice: Dominican Republic

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Madeira and the Azores islands shoot to the top of the white marlin fisheries list this time of year, with the season approaching its traditional and reliable peak in the surrounding waters. Meanwhile, in the Caribbean, migrating whites trickle away from the region, bringing the action off Dominican shores down a tick or two. Enough fish remain, nevertheless, to keep things exciting.

Atlantic Sailfish

Atlantic sailfish

Atlantic Sailfish

Atlantic sailfish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: North Carolina

Second choice: Florida

Many of the sails joining the seasonal northward billfish migration reach North Carolina waters, providing excellent prospects for boats fishing the first drop, some 50 miles offshore. Despite the climbing surface temperatures and migrating billfish, seasoned crews still find and hook sails consistently along Florida’s Atlantic coast. Staggering live baits at different depths is the ticket to success.

Pacific Sailfish

Pacific sailfish
Pacific sailfish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Guatemala

Second choice: Costa Rica

Peak sailfish time comes to an end in Guatemala, but the shoulder seasons here produce more fish than other parts of the world do at their best. In fact, some days it’s still possible to tally a dozen releases this time of year. In Costa Rica, now is when waters off the northern ports of Tamarindo and Flamingo really shine. The drier, more stable weather in the region is a nice bonus to the solid sailfishing.

Striped Marlin

striped marlin
Striped marlin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Mexico

Second choice: Ecuador

Although the fishing off Cabo San Lucas and Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands experiences a typical lull during the next few months, both of these perennial striped marlin hotspots yield enough fish to remain among the most likely places on the globe to target them successfully. Days with three or four hookups are not out of the question at both destinations, especially for boats fishing live baits.

Wahoo

Wahoo
Wahoo Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bermuda

Second choice: Mexico

This time of year, ‘hoo heads find more willing members of their favorite target species in Bermuda than anywhere else. The fish stack at Argus and Challenger, the fabled offshore banks, making wahoo fishing as reliable as it gets. Off Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, wahoo action is on the upswing, and it improves quickly in July, the start of peak season for striped torpedoes in the region.

Yellowfin Tuna

yellowfin tuna
Yellowfin tuna Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Hawaii

Second choice: Bermuda

Yellowfins invade Hawaiian waters in early summer, adding excitement to any day of offshore fishing. Even boats targeting big marlin often troll a couple of smaller lures for tuna. Small-boat anglers, and those hoping to tango with 40- to 80-pounders on light or fly tackle, find their quarry off Oahu’s fabled North Shore. Bermuda’s offshore banks also yield plenty of yellowfins this time of year.

Bonefish

bonefish

Bonefish

Bonefish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bahamas

Second choice: Turks and Caicos

Summer brings stable weather to the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, and winds come down a few clicks, providing excellent conditions for stalking tailing and cruising bones on shallow flats. Midday heat, however, will warm up skinny water beyond bonefish’s tolerance, so it’s best to fish early and late in the day, or simply move out to 4 or 5 feet of water to look for mudding fish during the heat of the day.

Snook

snook
Snook Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Mexico

Linesiders in Florida are widespread across their range, and they’ll start forming pods in preparation for spawning later in the summer. That means the fish will be easier to find, will compete for food with other group members, and afford anglers chances for multiple hookups in one spot. In the Yucatan Peninsula, mangrove lagoons to the north and south, and the backcountry of major bays yield plenty of snook.

Tarpon

Tarpon

Tarpon

Tarpon Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Belize

The big annual migration in Florida continues, but most fish turn and head back sometime in June, while others linger until July. Of course, not all tarpon embark on the great pilgrimage. Many are resident fish that stay close to home until the first cold snap sends them to their wintering haunts. In Belize, tarpon stage a similar run, with pods cruising the coastal flats and shoals.

Permit

Permit

Permit

Permit Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Belize

Second choice: Florida

In Belize, this is a great time of year to chase permit on the flats sprinkled from Ambergris in the north all the way to Punta Gorda in the south, as well as the shoals around the outer atolls and those stretching along the southern half of the coastline. In Florida, permit return to the flats after congregating around nearshore wrecks for spawning. Biscayne Bay and the lower Keys flats are consistent hotspots.

Red Drum

red drum
Red Drum Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Louisiana

Second choice: North Carolina

In Cajun country, reds take to the shallow marshes to forage. Anglers in shallow-draft skiffs should find plenty of tailers and slow cruisers to target. Bay-boat crews also get their shots, fishing outer shorelines, and bayous connecting marsh ponds and lagoons to open water. In North Carolina, redfishing heats up from Swansboro to Pamlico Sound. Look for trophy fish around river mouths and deeper shorelines.

Striped Bass

striped bass
Striped bass Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: New Jersey

Second choice: New York

Striper fishing in the Northeast becomes more predictable and productive. Forage is the ticket; find baitfish schooling and the bass won’t be far away. New Jersey and New York beaches and inlets should hold plenty of both the prey and the predators. A cruise along the shore is all you’ll need to spot the telltale signs: birds diving, surface flips or splashes, and boats fishing the outskirts.

Swordfish

swordfish

Swordfish

Swordfish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: Cayman Islands

In South Florida, broadbill chasers experience solid action as well as comfortable sea conditions as gentler southeast breezes become the norm. Soon, however, summer heat will start to have an effect on the fishing, making the night shift increasingly more productive. In the Cayman Islands, the local fleets benefit from similar conditions and techniques picked up from Florida crews to catch their share.

King Mackerel

king mackerel
King mackerel Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Louisiana

Second choice: Georgia

Oil and gas platforms along the Louisiana coast—in less than 250 feet of water—draw plenty of kings this time of year, and so do anchored shrimp boats and the mouths of the major passes, where baitfish congregate. In the South Atlantic, Georgia reefs like the KC off Savannah, the F off St. Simons Sound, and KBY off Cumberland Island are top summer spots for the “Big Macks.”

Bluefish

Bluefish
Bluefish Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: New York

Second choice: New Jersey

Summer is bluefish time in the Northeast as schools of the voracious, toothy critters arrive on the scene with a single purpose: gorging themselves. Much like the game plan for striped bass in the region, locating baitfish aggregations along New York and New Jersey beaches leads anglers to the action. Expect beaches adjacent to the inlets to be prime areas to intercept some blues.

Dolphin

mahimahi
Dolphin Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida

Second choice: North Carolina

South Florida waters are flush with dolphin this time of year as waves of fish riding the Gulf Stream hang around the weed lines and flotsam pushed close to shore by seasonal southeasterly winds. The spring migration brings an increasing number of fish to Carolina waters. Boats out of Crystal Coast and the Outer Banks, where the Gulf Stream comes close to the coast, should find plenty of takers.

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