The August September time frame is generally a time of reduced fishing activity for most Tampa Fishing Guides. Yes, good days of fishing can be had...mostly those days during the better tide phases...but it's a great time of year to regroup, assess tackle and boat needs, and get prepared for the improving fishing that will inevitably be right around the corner as fall approaches.  

August Fishing for Snook and Redfish

Even a week or two off the water can lead to tackle issues if good maintenance practices aren't used.  Reels that have received heavy use through the earlier part of the season may require service . Any reels that are making any extra noise or have drags that are becoming less than smooth should taken to local shops known to have quality repair facilities. Check line levels as well.  Inshore fishing requires long casts and spools low on line will definitely shorten casting distance. Lastly, tackle that is stored on board at a marina or near salt water should be removed and cleaned.  How many times has someone opened their tackle box after not fishing for several weeks only to find a mass of rusted hooks, a rusty lure, a pair of pliers that are locked up or a rusty fillet knife. Remove tackle boxes from the boat, clean and oil pliers, scissors and fillet knives and open and clean hook boxes so that everything is dried out.  This insures a good state of readiness for all tackle for the next fishing trip..

Make sure that all service is done on the boat. When was the last 100 hour service? Check dates on batteries for both trolling and cranking batteries.  If batteries are old, load test them. Replace them if required. One weak battery will cripple a trolling motor's effectiveness. If trolling motor batteries are of the same age, don't just replace the weak one as another will fail shortly after. Replace them all. Other critical items include cast nets, bait nets and landing nets.  Repair or replace any nets that have excessive amounts of holes. Lee Fisher International's makes a quality line of cast nets called Humpback.  Aside from being well made, these nets can be returned for repair to have holes patched for reasonable price...greatly extending the life of a net. Make sure supplies for chumming up bait are well stocked as well....powdered chum, menhaden oil etc.  

Big Redfish off Clearwater

Empty all hatches and evaluate condition of all equipment.  Invariably, there will be things on board that have corroded beyond usefulness, items that need maintenance as well as items that just aren't used any more. Clean all hatches, do necessary maintenance on any items required, and have the boat ready to go. When the fish are biting, it's time to be fishing, not fixing things.

Below is a fairly complete list of gear carried by most Tampa Fishing Captains on an inshore boat. A review of this list may highlight additional items needed before the next fishing trip. 

Rods and reels, fully equipped tackle box, Boca Grip, fillet and serrated knives, fighting belt, inshore dehooker, pliers, cutting shears, regular gaff, light weight gaff, spare prop, dock ropes, all Coast Gaurd required safely equipment, toilet paper, large trash bags, small plastic bags for fillets, cleaning supplies, First Aid kit, basic tool kit (with fuses, zip ties, etc.) extra engine and Power Pole oil, extension cord and dock conversion plug (for charging), anchor and back up anchor, large and small bait net, landing net, 2 cast nets, chum powder, menhaden oil, rain gear, measure stick, fish club, handheld spotlight, long metal dehooker (sharks), dock bumpers, radio, back up hand held GPS unit, Epirb, Binoculars, Extra pair of polarized sun glasses, all licenses and required paperwork (fishing and Captain's license etc), extra boat plug, remote controls (2 each) for spotlight, Power Pole and Trolling Motor, and sunscreen.

For a little late summer entertainment, visit Big Cat Rescue near Tampa, Florida.  See most of the worlds largest cats in their spacious outdoor environment.  If beer and cigars are of more interest, visit historic Ybor City, where both are readily available.  Good luck and good fishing.






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