by Capt. Brian Boxx
WOW! Has it been a hot summer or what! With multiple days of record-breaking heat, it will be one for the books. As we steer through the mids of the “Dog Days” we are left begging for relief that the afternoon storms bring. The sweet smell of summer rain and that cold blast of air is a blessing in disguise to both angler and his quarry. As storms pass, the effected backwater temperatures drop, sparking a flurry of action in the waters below. The unmistakable sound of snook pops begin to echo throughout the mangroves while juvenile tarpon gently roll, leaving a ring of ripples behind. As anglers gaze out over the serene water, bait fish shatter the surface with futile attempts to escape hungry predators. Serene perfection!
Finger mullet have been my go-to bait for August. Finding them can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, but most of the time I can net a couple dozen right off the boat ramp. They love feeding on the algae growing on the ramp itself. Thanks to the rain, the ramp traffic is minimum, yet another blessing. To place yourself in the scene above, it’s all about timing. Be on the water the second it’s safe. Try to go on an afternoon with a good falling tide. Find a creek or small bay with very little boat traffic and decent water flow. Scout the area for shore birds. These guys should be your best friends. Quietly approach your spot and get into position. The rig is simple, a small circle hook sized to the bait and that is it. Gently cast your bait and pay out line by hand, allowing the bait to swim around as natural as possible. When the thump comes lower your rod tip and close the bail. Let the circle hook set itself then squeal-n-reel.
The artificial bite has also been extremely productive. 3” to 6” paddle tail baits with a slow steady retrieve have been producing great results with the juvenile tarpon. Snook of all sizes have been hammering Storm Lures Chug-Bug on topwater and thumping ¼ oz bucktails bounced off the bottom. It is also an excellent time of year to get bent on fly. Black and purple gurglers have been the go-to with a green and grey EP bait fish a close second.
Regardless of how you get out there this month, keep safety number one. Fishing can be a dangerous sport. Keep your safety gear in top condition and a first aid kit on board. Always, Always! file a float plan with someone close to you. Give them a time that you will check in and a time that you plan on returning. Until next month STAY SAFE, STAY SALTY- CAPT. BRIAN BOXX