Captain Dave Pinkham
Lots of Gulf Fishing Choices in August
By Capt. Dave Pinkham
August can offer up some great fishing as long as weather conditions allow. With the long hot days and warm nights the warm Gulf’s waters will reach their peak summer temperatures. Because of this, the short bottom (inside of 50’ deep) will not produce as many big grouper as in the cooler months.
So far this year we sure have been fortunate with no major hurricanes in the Gulf, and no red tides to choke the area of fish. So all in all, the fishing action continues to be great. I like to suggest you consider taking advantage of what this area offers and get out on the water. Following is a list of fish to target in the month of August.
Spanish Mackerel – are plentiful right now offshore. Try netting up some live shiners along the beach or ICW and heading out on the Gulf for some action. Anchoring the boat and free-lining the live bait on the surface works best. If action is slow or non-existent, try chumming with some of the live shiners. If still no mackerel, try moving to another area. Just a short move can sometimes make all the difference in the world. Keep an eye peeled for mackerel feeding on small baitfish at the surface
Little Tunny – offer great action. They will often show up just about anywhere when you are using live baits. Although they offer poor eating quality, you should appreciate the battle when you get one on the end of your line.
Dolphin – this fish also known as Mahi Mahi move up the West Coast within our reach this time of year. Best bet will to start looking for them no closer than 20 miles offshore. Be on the lookout for large bunches of sargassum grass or any other flotsam. One way I fish for them is to pull up along side the grass and sight cast to fish as they swim just below the surface. I prefer live free-lined bait when fishing this way. You can also troll along the weed lines. This will often produce the big fish.
Trigger Fish – If you want to try some of the best eating fish you’ve ever had then go after some triggers. I think the best locations to find them are around rock piles, ledges, and the artificial reefs. Because they have small mouths, rig down on terminal l tackle accordingly. Best baits are shrimp, shiners, and squid.
Snapper – Mangrove, Lane, Yellow Tail, Mutton, and American Red – best fishing holes will be hard bottom, ledges, springs, and wrecks. Snapper can be somewhat finicky at times so it can be wise to use as light as gear as possible. For leaders consider using fluorocarbon monofiliment as it is less visible to the fish. Night fishing over wrecks in the periods around the full moon when conditions are right can be very productive. I prefer natural baits such as crabs, shrimp, live shiners, and squid.
Gag Grouper – Can be more difficult to locate this time of year then their cousin the red grouper. Gags will tend to hang closer to structure such as wrecks, and ledges. I like to anchor just up current or directly over where I think the fish are. Live baits will often entice gags to turn on especially in the heat of the day. Good stiff stand up tackle works best here.
Red Grouper – These fat bottom dwellers can be the best way to put meat on the table in the hot months. Look for the larger reds out past 70’ deep. Try drift fishing over hard bottom. When you locate a bite of fish, throw your marker jug. Now, you can re-drift the same area, or anchor down. Reds are known to eat just about any kind of bait. A good method I’ve found to use when drift fishing is to tip a 4oz jig with squid.
Cobia – When sight fishing the weed lines there is also the possibility of snagging a cobia. Known for their fighting ability as well as good eating quality, this would be a great way to start your day.
Sail Fish – this is probably the best time of year on the West Coast to look for sails. To locate them with any consistency you will need to start at least 40 miles out. As when fishing for dolphin look for weed lines and surface activity.
As you see there is a lot of variety this time of year. I’d like to remind you to keep a close eye on the weather. These thunderstorms can build quickly. Also please remember to handle the fish to released carefully.
If you’re not out fishing, you’re wishing you were. Get out and go fishin, cuz it’s good fer ya!
Capt. Dave Pinkham has been a fishing guide in Florida for more than 25 years. His offshore charter boat "LEGACY" is based at the Crow’s Nest Marina, directly on the Venice Inlet. For Gulf of Mexico charter information call (941) 473-4603, or visit his web page at : www.charter-boatfishing.com