August Fishing Forecast: Florida Keys
Capt. Jason Long
July 31, 2012
Marathon - Saltwater Fishing Report
As we enter into the first weeks of August, I wanted to take this opportunity to offer a glimpse into what you can expect to catch during the month ahead. Obviously, predicting the fishing forecast is as much of a crapshoot as predicting the weather, but based on the fishing over the past few years there are definitely a few species you should set your sites on targeting.
Inshore, fly and light tackle anglers should gear up for solid permit action. Captain Pablo Rodriquez of Slam Time Charters has been crushing the tailing permit lately on the Gulf-side flats, with the best opportunity to catch these great fish at the beginning of the incoming tides. Pablo expects the excellent permit fishing to continue throughout the month, and says to use live crabs or live shrimp, or crab pattern flies for best results.
(Jon Ferguson of Sedalia, MO caught this nice permit last week while fishing with Captain Pablo Rodriguez of Slam Time Charters. Pablo says the excellent permit fishing should continue through August).
Pablo also says to look for the Gulf and Ocean-side flats to be active with bonefish and tarpon, especially early and late in the day, and to expect plenty of rod-bending action in the bay and in the shallows for sharks, barracudas, snapper, and more. To book a trip with Captain Pablo Rodriguez of Slam Time Charters please call 786-319-7244.
On the reef, August is historically an exceptional month for snapper fishing, with great shots to catch yellowtails, muttons, and mangroves. For yellowtails, fish depths of 50 to 100 feet of water, and chum heavily to get these fish up off the bottom. The water on the reef is generally clear during the late summer months so you'll likely need to go pretty light with your leader. Plan to use a stretch of 10 to 12-pound fluorocarbon to entice the bite.
For mangroves, fish the shallow patch reefs in 20 to 30 feet of water using live pinfish or ballyhoo. For those that don't enjoy fishing during the afternoon hours (which can get pretty hot in August) you can beat the heat by mangrove fishing after dark. The nighttime mangrove bite should be excellent throughout August, with the best fishing being on the reef in depths of 40 to 60 feet.
For mutton snappers, fish the deep wrecks between 100 and 200 feet, or you can target them while fishing for other species on the reef. On the wrecks, drop a live ballyhoo, threadfin, or pinfish, with a long stretch of fluorocarbon leader. And on the reef freeline fresh cut chunks of bait to target the muttons swimming up in the chum slick, or drop a live bait down to the bottom fished on a jig head or Carolina-style rig.
(You just never know want you're going to reel in while fishing in the Florida Keys. Ryan Kinsley of Delray Beach, Florida caught this 20-pound Cubera Snapper on a wreck last week while fishing aboard the Best Bet).
Offshore, August should be an excellent month for blackfin tuna fishing at the Marathon Hump. Plan to vary your techniques to find the fish, and be prepared to troll, live bait, and to use butterfly jigs. Expect the fishing to be best when there is less fishing pressure. If you have flexibility in your schedule try to avoid the weekends and fish during the week when there will likely be fewer boats at the Hump.
As far as dolphin fishing goes, I expect another push of fish to swim through during August, giving dolphin anglers a few more shots to catch big slammers. The last couple weeks of July were pretty slow, but hopefully things will pick back up over the weeks ahead. Look for your larger fish between 20 to 30 miles out. Also offshore, the daytime swordfishing bite has been superb, and August should continue to provide you with a great shot at landing one of these once-in-a-lifetime fish.
To book a trip with Best Bet Sportfishing, please call Captain Jason Long at 305-395-1376. The Best Bet boats are located in Key Colony Beach (Marathon), Florida Keys on the Sadowski Causeway (MM 54).
Permit, tuna, mutton snapper, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper
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