August will be a lot like July
by Capt. Charlie Phillips
Hello again and welcome to another earth scorching Everglades August. Every year I catch myself talking about how I can’t remember it being this hot last year, but I think it’s just that; old age and not being able to remember!! It’s a normal patter and while it can be a little challenging this month can hold some real opportunities for quality fish if you are looking in the right places, at the right time.
On both the inshore and offshore hunts, the keys this month will be to get an early start. Hit the ramp as early as possible and try to be getting close to your fishing area as the sun crosses the horizon or shortly thereafter. The water has had all night to cool down, the light is dim, and typically the water is glass. This is prime time to target some predators. If you were fishing in July, August is going to be pretty much the same with some slight changes as we move later in the month.
Look for some good mangrove snapper bites coming from most all deep cuts, and deeper mangrove edges, especially those with good oyster or coral bottoms. You will certainly have to pick thru some shorts, but good slot fish are always around. I like to use a small buck tail jig tipped with live shrimp chunks bounced slowly back to the boat.
Don’t be surprised if you don’t catch some other variety’s using this method. Ladyfish and Spanish higher in the water column, along with snook and reds along those edges. These little jigs really do a great job imitating a small baitfish and the shrimp chunk gets the scent side of the equation covered.
Give it shot and put some mangos in the boat for supper. 10” minimum with 5 per person, but I would urge caution on keeping a fish that’s right at the minimum. If they go on ice, they will not be legal before you get back to the dock. I always look for ¼ to ½ over the minimum size before I will consider putting them in the box. This is good habit to get in for all species actually that are going in the box, none are worth a ticket.
I have been hearing some good reports about lots of fairly decent sized sheepshead in the small creeks of our area lately. These guys are always a blast and for the newer angler trying to get into sight fishing, they make a great target that you can easily pick out against the bottom. That same jig used for snapper will work if you tip it well with shrimp. I also have folks that like to try and use shrimp imitating flies. Sheepshead on fly is a good notch in the belt.
Of course the snook will be on most of the outside points and cuts that have good flow. That early morning window is the perfect time to go for some top water action. I like any walk the dog type lure that I can work back to the boat in a slow fashion, changing up my rhythm from time to time to try and draw a strike. Always lots of fun. All catch and release for this month, so treat them with care and send them on their way.
The redfish have been decent all summer and this month should be more of the same with some of the fish starting to be found in some better sized schools. Look for them around the same areas you are hunting your snook as well as the oyster bars one bay back from the open gulf. Artificals are a given as well as the tried and true ladyfish chunk on a 2/0 circle hook.
Offshore we still have a pretty strong permit, and cobia bite going on around the structures of the area. Live crabs will catch either one, so make sure to stop by and pick some up. Red Grouper have been biting well out in the deeper live bottom areas off to our west, along with some bigger lane snapper and good eating grunts.
The key is be back in before lunch, grab a siesta and then hit it again after the storms roll thru and once again cool everything back down. Always something to do down in our slice of paradise, just gotta know when to go a looking.
Yall have a great time out there and get ready to start getting serious as we roll into one of my favorite times of year, Sept equals the start of fall fishing!! ee yall out there
Capt. Charlie Phillips
1. Mike from St Pete with a tripletail caught on a live shrimp
2. Adam from Wisconsin with a black drum caught on a bass assassin grub and jighead
3. My wife laura with a nice Red Grouper we caught trolling our live bottom on a rare day off charters.