by Capt. Greg Stamper
Yep the waters hot and that’s going to be a factor, but planning will give you the most bang for the buck. Based on tides some days will be better than others to fish. Days when low tide is mid-day means fish early or fish late. Low water from one till the afternoon thunderstorms finish will be the toughest time to fish. Afternoon rains help cool down the water and add a bit of oxygen. Snook, redfish, trout, tarpon especially the juveniles, as well as sharks, and permit will be the targets for most of this month’s trips.
Snook fishing along our beaches is the standard around here, as long the winds are low. Here in Fort Myers I certainly prefer winds from the Northeast clockwise to Southeast when fishing the beaches. Sight casting snook is hard to beat when the waters clear, and an assortment of lures and baits will work well. Slow rolling on a trolling motor within casting distance of the beach is the way to go. I prefer moving with the current as I sight fish, as most fish will be swimming at you. Generally, the snook will be within feet of the shore as they beat up on the schools of bait moving along.
Juvenile tarpon will be plentiful throughout Southwest Florida during August. When targeting small tarpon, it’s best to start early. Being on the water before sunrise is important on the good tide days. Usually, anglers will have about the first two hours to be on the good bite. Small tarpon are anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds and can be handled on the same rods that we redfish with, so if tarpon aren’t eating that’s what we’ll go for next. The tarpon will take a variety of baits from shrimp, livebaits, and crabs, to a bunch of different artificials.
When the tides begin to slow down that’s a great time to head to the passes and cuts. These areas have current first or last during the tide shifts. Pompano, ladyfish, mackerel, sharks and trout are the usual suspects. A simple jig tipped with shrimp should do the trick. On days when the ladyfish are thick you can always keep a dozen of them and head off for some shark fishing, as there will be plenty of them around up to eight feet.
Shark fishing is a fun time especially for anglers that want to catch something big. When targeting sharks, use heavy spinning outfits with 80-pound fluorocarbon leaders and 6/o circle hooks. Yes, we’ll miss a few as some of the sharks will cut through the leader, but you’d be surprised how many you land, not to mention how many hits you can get. Bullsharks, hammerheads, blacktip, gray reef, and spinner sharks are the usual suspects. While shark fishing have your clients throw jigs for anything that’s around. Catching anything from mackerel to catfish causes commotion and vibrations in the water that brings the predators in quicker. Tight lines.
Capt. Greg Stamper