Tampa Fishing Reports

August 2008 Fishing Report

August snook fishing can represent a challenge to even the most skilled angler. Fish tend to eat a bit less aggressively than in June or early July, but they are still out there and can certainly be caught. You must be willing to change your approach to catch snook in our warmest months however. Fish strong tidal movement, preferably during low light periods. In order to be fishing at first light, plan on securing your bait the previous night or before first light in the morning. This preparation will allow you to get to your fishing spot both first and early, which is important as the bite may end shortly after the sun rises. If you can't struggle out of bed in time to catch this early morning bite, just wait for A strong outgoing tide. Set up at your favorite snook hole and repeatedly drift baits through the zone where you believe the fish to be. Be prepared to fish at least an hour or two of the outgoing tide. The best action usually starts about an hour and a half into the outgoing tide. Look for the biggest fish to be in the deeper parts of the cut that you are fishing, especially if there is an area that has slightly reduced current, like an eddy. Once you begin fishing, pay careful attention to your drifted bait. If you feel a slight tap or simply see that your bait has stopped moving with the current, reel down and feel for weight. Chances are, your bait is already in a snook's mouth. Once you come tight on the fish, it will be off and running. Redfishing in August can be very productive; however schools of redfish were elusive during the last few weeks of July. Nevertheless, most trips yielded a half dozen, slot-sized fish. Local guides normally prefer to fish open flats, spoil islands and mangrove shorelines in search of redfish but docks are a structure to target when it's hot. They do present some additional challenges, however. First, they require very accurate casting and second, they provide lots of structure for fish to break off on. Nevertheless, if that's where the fish are, then that's where to focus your efforts. If you're interested in only pursuing redfish, no need to get up early and throw your cast net. Plan on being on the water about two hours before the high tide. Catch a couple dozen pinfish and pick up some shrimp at your local marina and you're ready to go. Better yet, if you can get your hands on some fresh mullet or ladyfish, both of these make excellent cut bait and are perfect for dock fishing. Preferred tides for this type of fishing are about and hour and a half before the high tide until about an hour and a half afterwards. Fishing these docks is fairly simple. Anchor on the upwind side. Use a large split shot (PSS2) and secure it right above your hook. Pitch your cut bait, shrimp or pinfish under the dock. It is critically important to be in the shadow of the dock so if your cast falls short, reel in and cast again. Once you're bait is positioned under the dock, leave it there until you get a bite or you feel that the pinfish have removed your bait. This will happen much more quickly with the shrimp. If fishing pinfish, cut their tails off as this will both put off more scent and will prohibit the pinfish from dragging your line around a dock pole. Once your baits are properly positioned wait no longer than ten minutes for a bite. Dock redfish bite fast so there is no point in lingering. Move on to your next dock and repeat the process. Usually, when you find a dock with redfish, it will have more than one. Although this approach takes a lot more work than fishing some of the more open redfish habitats, it will produce when other areas will not. Larger trout can still be found in a few spots off of our local beaches. Throwing live whitebaits into some of the deeper swash channels can result in legal fish but this fishing is hit or miss this time of year. There are two other rod bending summer fishing options if you want to try something a little different. The first of these is near shore fishing. Many inshore boats are fully capable of going out five or ten miles from shore on our calm summer days. Fishing near shore artificial reefs and rock piles almost always results in a variety of smaller fish being caught. As with any open water fishing, there's always a chance that something bigger, such as a shark, barracuda, cobia, bonita or even a stray 30 lbs plus kingfish will show up. Bring larger spinning tackle, whitebait and live pinfish and head out early. As thunderstorms are almost a daily occurrence this time of year, make sure you take a look at the weather before departing so you know what to expect. Another great summer fishing option is night, dock fishing. If you live in a neighborhood populated with lighted docks, you have a great opportunity waiting for you. Head out an hour or two before dark to allow yourself time to secure bait. Having a live well full of whitebait will definitely improve your chances of success, although shrimp and pinfish will catch their share of fish. Once bait is obtained, go to the area where you intend to fish. You might plan on arriving right before dark as this allows you to drive one direction in daylight. Since lighted docks need about an hour of darkness to attract bait and predators, fish some of your "day time" spots in the area first to let these docks "warm up". When the time is right, cautiously approach these docks. In some cases, you'll see fish busting bait before you make your first cast. Stop about 40 feet short of the dock. This will allow you to see fish in the lighted area and also easily cast to this area. Start by throwing an un-weighted bait into the lighted area, bearing in mind that fish sometimes prefer to sit on the edge of the light. Make enough casts to cover the lighted and partially lighted area. If you get no bites, throw a split shotted bait to the edge of the dock if you feel redfish might be in the neighborhood. If, after ten minutes on a given dock you get no bites, move on as the "dock rule" applies here as well. Fish under these docks will usually bite quickly. There are many advantages to this type of fishing. These include cooler temperatures, no sunscreen required, fewer boats on the water, more aggressive fish and no vacation day from work required. The best fishing days in August are the 1st - 4th, the 14th - 23rd and 26th thru 31st. Many of these dates are still available, so if you're interested in a night fishing trip, a near shore adventure or a summer afternoon redfish outing, call Gone Fishing Charters @ (727) 421-5291. Good luck and good fishing.

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