Capt. Sergio’s Corner

Making the Best of the Worst

Fishing for as many years as I have, I feel that August has always been the worst month for the fish to bite; however I decided to make the best out of the worst.

One good thing that you do see in August is less traffic on the water, which gives you more room to work the mangroves and bridges. Here are some ideas on how to make August fishable.

Start early and quit early, or try fishing at night under the bridges. Look for snook at first light around mangrove cuts with moderate moving water and oyster beds. Use live bait before 9 a.m. and cut bait as the day progresses.

Snook, especially the large ones, prefer fresh cut threadfins on the bottom during the day, but their favorite feeding time is at night. Use live shrimp free lined under the docks that have lights on them, artificial baits work as well.

Mangrove snapper will still be around rocky shorelines, bridges and docks. Try fry size sardines or regular size live shrimp. Mangroves are easier to catch when chummed up with small pieces of cut bait or the old standby, a five pound block of chum.

Redfish schools will work the pot holes, cuts and oyster bars in the early morning and slowly move into deeper water as the sun rises and water temperature increases. Use a small split shot, 2/0 circle hook with a cut threadfin or ladyfish around docks and anywhere there’s structure.

I chum by throwing small cut pieces of threadfin around the area I intend to fish. The scent attracts these bottom feeders; it’s just a matter of time before the bite is on.

Bridges are an angler’s best friend in August; the best time for bridge fishing is an hour before the change of tide. Bridges keep you out of the scorching sun and in the shade, and dry when the afternoon rain appears. Too many anglers overlook fishing bridges and lose out on some good catches.

You can expect to catch black drum, redfish, trout, cobia, pompano and sheepshead. With August fishing, you need to be prepared for just about anything. I take rods to handle whatever situation may arrive, medium and heavy spinning outfits and 3/0 or 4/0 conventional combos for the big black drum. I also take along a variety of baits such as live shrimp, sardines, fiddler crabs and artificials.

August is a good time for pompano fishing around the bridges using live shrimp, fiddler crabs or blood worms. A faster and more productive method is using Doc’s Banana Jig with a yellow feather worked along the pilings.

Captain Sergio Atanes is a native resident of Tampa and has been fishing the water of Tampa Bay and Boca Grande for over 45 years. He is owner and operator of S & I charters which is one of the largest charter booking services in the west coast of Florida with 55 professional captains on staff.  Capt. Sergio Atanes can be reached at (813) 973-7132 or