Fishing or boating in Southwest Florida in August means dealing with the hot days of summer. Here are a couple options to cool down and change things up a little.
If you want to have fun and a little fishing while relaxing, then the beaches are a good choice, especially if you are fishing with the family.
Good numbers of snook are roaming the surf throughout the summer and are a sight fishermen’s dream. Most snook are running 22 to 26 inches, but there are much bigger ones. Free-lined pilchards, small pinfish, shrimp, white bucktail jigs and a variety of small white flies are great baits. Look for the fish right off the edge of the beach in the surf or near any submerged structure. Remember snook are catch-and-release only. Trout, mangrove snapper, redfish, whiting and pompano are other species you may hook into. Fish a little, swim a little — not a bad way to spend the day.
Summer days often give us flat, calm seas over the morning hours, perfect for short runs offshore. Our coastline is dotted with artificial reefs, many well within sight of land and GPS coordinates available to the public. If you are an inshore angler, it’s a nice change of pace to make a short run offshore, especially during the heat of summer when the inshore water temperatures are so high.
One cool aspect when fishing around the reefs is you never know what you might hook into. Every-thing from a small snapper to 500-pound goliath grouper calls them home. To get the most out of the day you want an assortment of tackle that can handle the fish you target. Obviously with snapper you do not need super heavy tackle, the lighter the better for the best action. But, if you want to attempt to pull a big goliath grouper from his home you will need a rig extra heavy — we’re talking 200 to 400-pound line. And many times, that’s not heavy enough.
In between snapper and goliaths there’s the possibility to hook Spanish and king mackerel, cobia, permit, barracuda, snook, sharks of all sizes, plus other species. Many anglers fish several different line class rods at a time targeting more than one species.
Armed with a variety of baits is the best way to catch multiple species. Small baits like shrimp, pilchards and small pinfish are great for snapper and other bottom fish, larger live bait is often the ticket for a big barracuda, snook or gag grouper, and big bait, dead or alive, is the choice for goliaths. If you want to catch a permit you need live crabs, this is often the best bait for cobia as well. Anchoring up current of the structure with a quality block of chum is the best way to bring the action behind the boat.
It’s a good idea to use the weather and tides to your advantage, especially over the hot month of August. Our water temperature can change quickly, give us three or four days with bright sunny skies and the inshore waters quickly get hot and the bite can slow. A couple rainy days with limited sunshine and the water will drop several degrees; this can trigger good fishing. If conditions allow, get an early start to the day to allow for plenty of time on the water and back to a safe place ahead of afternoon storms.
If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact Gulf Coast Guide Service at 239-410-8576 (call or text); on the web at www.fishpineisland.com; or via email at email@example.com.
Have a safe week and good fishin’.
As a lifetime resident of Matlacha and Pine Island, Capt. Bill Russell has spent his life fishing and learning the waters around Pine Island and Southwest Florida, and as a professional fishing guide for the past 23 years.
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