August in southwest Florida means hot sticky days, plenty of rain, and often thunderstorms. If you don’t mind working around the weather the fishing is often pretty good and competition from other boats is scarce.
Redfish should become more consistent as summer progresses; most are legal size averaging twenty to twenty five inches with a few over size fish going over thirty. Look for good fishing on days with extreme high tides; this is the time to fish the baits deep under the shade of the mangroves. Floating a silver dollar size live pinfish or pilchard under a cork or soaking dead bait including cut ladyfish, pinfish, and mullet are all excellent redfish baits. These redfish are tight under the mangroves on the higher stages of the tide, it’s important to keep the bait as tight to the mangroves as possible. Cut bait often makes a better choice than live under the bushes, as redfish are scent feeders and fresh cut bait oozes plenty of stinky aromas. By the end of the month schools of large reds should begin bunching up on the flats for their fall run.
The mangrove snapper bite should continue strong throughout the inshore and near shore waters. Up to this date, this is one of the best summers for inshore snapper in recent memory. Look for them schooled up around structure with good water movement; this could include any of the Gulf Passes, docks and jetties, bridges, piers, and natural or man-made reefs. For bait, live shrimp, pilchards, and small pinfish, plus small cut bait with a small circle hook and twenty to twenty-five pound fluorocarbon leader is a good choice. Snapper are not only hard fighting for their size, but also one of the absolute best tasting fish in our waters. If you have visitors over the summer, snapper can make a great target and reward you with a fine dinner.
Tarpon have broken apart from their big pre-spawn schools and are likely to show up anywhere. They are most active very early in the mornings and the last couple hours of daylight. Look for them rolling when the water is calm, they will take a wide variety of artificial baits, and natural, both live and dead. Sharks of all sizes are roaming the waters throughout southwest Florida. For the smaller blacktips, a live pinfish a couple feet under a bobber works great and for the big boys fish a large chunk of mullet or ladyfish on bottom or suspended under a balloon. The cooler parts of the day, early and late, are generally best.
Use the weather and tides to your advantage and fishing can be good during the hot month of August. Our inshore water temperature can change quickly, give us three or four days with bright sunny skies and the inshore waters quickly get hot and the bite can slow. A couple rainy days with limited sunshine as we have experienced recently and the water will drop several degrees; this can trigger very good fishing.
“Catch the Action” with Captain Bill Russell