by Capt. Greg Stamper
Well, it’s still crazy hot, it rains every day, fire occasionally comes from the sky, and the waters almost 90 degrees. With that said fishing continues to be good and this pattern should continue into September. The best bet is to start as early as you can, fish until it starts getting hot or the lightning chases you off the water. The back bays will be all about redfish, snook, trout, and tarpon. The nearshore bite will be good for snappers, snook, cobia, and permit. Those going out deep will have a variety of options depending on how far they choose to go out.
Offshore anglers will be fishing from 70 feet all the way out to 150 generally. The closer runs will be primarily for snappers of many varieties and cut baits or even shrimp will work just fine for that. Most of the big snappers i.e., three plus pounds 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. Should anglers get out past 150 feet then tuna, dolphin, a few sailfish, and even wahoo will be also available to target.
Those fishing the back bays, creeks, rivers, etc... will need to play the tides. Generally, when the water is hot paying attention to when the tides are stronger 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. Start looking for redfish schooling up towards 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 thru this month and will continue that way until things start to cool off. Late September or certainly in October anglers can expect pushes of fish coming down from the North as water temperatures begin to slowly cool off.
The nearshore snapper bite has been good for snappers usually 1-2 pounds. Pilchards, pinfish, and shrimp are the standard baits. 3/8oz and 1/2oz jigs with 20lb fluorocarbon for the snapper works just fine. Snook are still going to be around the wrecks and reefs however you will need at least 30-40lb leader should you target those. Cobia have been showing up mostly when permit fishing. Having a rod with a jig or swim bait ready to throw is a standard as they do not usually stick around long.
Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
Fort Myers beach, Fl