Fishing Lines: Go where fish are, but watch the lightning

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By Capt. Dennis Voyles

Scallop season is now in full swing and reports from both the north and south of us sound good. Homasassa and Crystal River both reportedly are having a banner year with scallops plentiful in many popular areas. To the north reports of scallop limits in just an hour or two are common. With inshore fishing waning this time of the year, scalloping is a great alternative to fishing in Florida's July heat. I have never really understood why this area is so good for raising clams, but the main scallop run always seems to avoid us. I guess you can't have it all.

Inshore the trout bite is becoming more difficult each week. Sure, there are success stories out there of boats finding active trout and getting their limit, but most anglers will find trout fishing in July and August more challenging than they like. Shark fishing is just the opposite. If you like to tangle with big, strong fish...this is your season. The sharks are plentiful this year and there seems to be an abundance of trophy-sized fish. These fish demand extreme care and I find it best to release them boatside for the safety of all involved, including the sharks.

Offshore angling continues to be great but requires a full tank of gas to get to where the fish are. Most anglers are concentrating their efforts in water deeper than 60 feet, which is a considerable run from Cedar Key.

The weather plays a key role in offshore fishing this month as dangerous thunderstorms can occur at any time of the day now, packing some serious winds and big sparks that get everyone's attention.

I watched in amazement last week as two boats left, heading right into a large thunderstorm. Maybe they are research scientists studying the probability of surviving when making poor choices.

These hot calm days can dehydrate anglers quickly so take along plenty of water, and of course, leave a float plan with familiy on shore, it could save your life some day.