August offers anglers the pinnacle of Florida’s sweltering heat and humidity. The pattern now will be to find the comfort zones of your quarry and then fish them at lower light periods of the early morning or evening. Unlike their human animal counterparts, fishes are not offered the comfort of 24/7 central heat and air conditioning. Instead, they use the insulation of water depths to keep their cold-blooded bodies at the optimum temperature for their survival and comfort.
The North Suncoast offers some of the most plush and unique flats in the state. These grass flats can run as far as 9 miles offshore.
Trout, Spanish mackerel, and an array of sharks claim these flats as home throughout the summer doldrums. The better spots feature scattered rocks, humps, springs or banks in 8 to 12 feet of water. While many spots are closely guarded secrets of long time fishing guides and hook-and-line commercial fisherman, good starting points include the bird racks off Aripeka, Cutter Rock off Bayport and the area known as the “Bombing Range” off Homosassa.
Cast netting small and medium scaled sardines to use for bait right now is short work. Tie a small, three-way swivel to your line. To each of the two remaining rings, attach a 20-inch section of 20 lb. monofilament and a #1 hook. Hook each scaled sardine in the belly, one scale behind and one scale up from the pectoral fin, and then cast the rig down wind without weight or float.
The ballet of two sardines flashing around each other over these deep flats drives the trout, mackerel, and sharks off the bottom when they would otherwise not feed.
August’s new moon is Sunday. Hit the shallow rock piles in 12 to 20 feet of water just after dark for a hot mangrove snapper bite. Again, scaled sardines are the ticket, but if you have the snapper chummed up, they will hit just about anything natural and small enough to fit in their mouths.
Capt. Robert McCue can be reached at 1 (800) 833-0489 or through his website www.GiantTarpon.com