by Capt. Greg Stamper
It will be hot, and we can expect that pattern to continue thru month end. There has been good fish caught last month when fishing early, so I’ll expect the same thru September. Water temperatures are in the high 80’s too low 90’s now making midday fishing tougher. Those going out deep will have a variety of options depending on how far they choose to go out, and obviously, the weather cooperating. The back bays will be all about redfish, snook, trout, and tarpon. The nearshore bite will be good for snappers, snook, cobia, and permit.
Starting with the offshore bite anglers will be fishing 100 feet of water, all the way out to 200. The closer runs will be primarily snapper trips. Most of the bigger snappers will be caught on nighttime trips where they get out there at sunset and chum for an hour before fishing. Grouper fishing will start in about 100 feet of water with the bigger fish typically found deeper. Red grouper, gag groupers, scamp, and black grouper will be targeted more and more till year-end. Amberjacks will be another common fish to run into throughout the area. Occasionally those that venture out some 80 miles will find tuna, dolphin, a few sailfish, and even wahoo to target.
Those fishing the back bays, creeks, rivers, etc… will need to play the tides. Generally, when the water is hot fishing, the stronger tides will increase your chances. Incoming or outgoings does not matter to me, but I want them early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Slacking tides in the middle of the days heat makes things very tough. Another great thing to do to beat the heat is to fish at night. Bridges, dock lights, or just your favorite spots in general. Start looking for redfish schooling up toward month end, as Red October is coming. Snook will continue to be found on the beaches, river mouths, passes, and sandy mangrove shorelines. Our juvenile tarpon fishing will remain good and will continue that way until things start to cool off.
The nearshore snapper bite has been good for snappers up to two pounds. Pilchards, pinfish, and shrimp have been the best baits. I prefer 3/8oz and 1/2oz jigs with 20lb fluorocarbon for the snapper and 40lb leader for the snook. Snook are still going to be around the wrecks and reefs. Using side scan anglers can see these schools of snook laying up near the structure, not on it.
Cobia has been showing up mostly when permit fishing. Having a rod with a jig or swim bait ready to throw is a standard when permit fishing as when that cobia shows himself, you better be ready. Tarpon are definitely around, and the Fall push of schools from the north will start up next month.
Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
Fort Myers beach, Fl