Gulf of Mexico
Gulf anglers have options this month. Nearshore artificial reefs and rock ledges in 30 to 60 feet of water are stacked up with mangrove snapper, which is good news. Those structures are also holding barracuda and Goliath grouper. This is also good news if you’re targeting those fish but not such good news for the snapper fishermen, since both cudas and Goliaths have a habit of snatching hooked snapper before they can be landed. The best solution is to go with heavier tackle and do your best to get the snapper aboard asap. Bottom fishing on flat rock in 70 to 100 or so feet of water is an easy, productive way to put a mixed bag in the cooler. Lane snapper, red grouper, porgys and grunts will be in that mixed bag, with more legal sized red grouper taken in deeper water.
Charlotte Harbor’s August fishing is also a mixed bag. Typically August is a great inshore tarpon month but as of the end of July that fishery had been lackluster this year. Hopefully more tarpon will appear in the harbor this month. Shark fishing continues to be a solid choice, though the location of the best fishing has shifted from mid-harbor to the lower harbor as fresh water from river runoff has pushed the fish “downstream.” The fishing has been good between the Cape Haze Bar and Boca Grande Pass in 10 to 15 feet of water. Catch-and-release snook fishing has been very good this summer. Snook are scattered from about mid-harbor all the way out to the Gulf. They’re cruising mangrove shorelines and bar edges and are stacked under docks along the ICW. Scattered catches of Spanish mackerel will continue all month, especially in the lower harbor and trout are possible just about anywhere there’s dense sea grass on the bottom.