Hello SW Florida! So is it hot enough for ya out there yet? Boy, August can be brutal. Late summer fishing can be hot so make sure to keep plenty of drinking water on the boat. Folks often underestimate how fast you can get dehydrated out there. Many times I’ve offered those words of wisdom to folks that are visiting and it’s usually fallen upon deaf ears or forgotten when caught up in all the action. The latter is not too hard to do when you are battling a huge goliath or working on wrenching that 20th grouper to the surface.
Red tide is the topic these days and it’s hard to overcome, but for the offshore folks the grouper bite has been awesome for reds. You may have to push out a bit further to find some cleaner water but it’s well worth the extra fuel you might burn. On the other hand, mangrove snapper remain on the prowl and are very abundant on most of our locally published reefs. If you’re marking fish but having a hard time getting them to bite you may have to move to a new spot or try chumming. Chumming is a bit of an art if ya know what I mean, too much and you’ll run the risk of feeding your target species instead of getting them fired up. It works best when the current isn’t carrying it off to Key West. If there is a strong current, try weighing the chum down by mixing it with some sand. We’ve been seeing a great bite, on the first few drops and after about 10 minutes it seems to shut off. Spot hopping is the most effective way I have been able to keep my anglers on fish lately. Snapper have very keen eyesight so if you are after these tasty adversaries you’ll need to downsize not only hook size but your line as well. Needless to say this leaves a very small margin for error. Like I always say it’s a balance between getting bit or getting broke. I run a larger 8 foot Penn 6500 Spinfisher V for my spinning outfit and spooled with 15-40 lb braid and for my conventional set I have Penn Fathom 40 spooled with 50 lb mono. For the snapper a light wire 2/0 or 3/0 circle hook and a minimum 3 ft of 20-25 lb fluorocarbon leader. For simplicity the old school bottom style rig is the best all-around rig. The key here is to keep the bait at a good distance from the sinker so the bait has the ability to move freely. This paramount to catching better fish. Snapper are a bit cunning and will rob you blind if you’re not playing an active role. Because of their keen eyesight, the best way to catch these guys are to anchor on your favorite reef or “secret spot” and chum to get them fired up and then free line a 1-2 inch chunk of cigar minnow or threadfin down in that chum slick. Lots of factors involved with getting this technique dialed in but once you do, its money!
On the inshore side, the red tide is still affecting our waterways. The trick is to find those areas that have been less affected by the red tide. There are spots where no fish are present and other spots where fish are plentiful. The areas around Gasparilla have been holding less fish than those spots around Bull and Turtle Bays. Getting further away from the affected waters is key. Also, you may be able to catch bait, but being able to keep it alive in your well will be more of a struggle. Try getting out early and throwing artificials along the mangrove shorelines instead. Both topwaters and popping corks rigged with a soft plastic have been producing snook and trout in the 1-4ft range.
If you’re ready to get out and see how Kelly and me do it, give us a call or find us on Facebook, Instagram or our web page. Well folks, you know the deal…gotta get on out and get my FIX on!