[dropcap]G[/dropcap]iven the super-heated water temperatures of August, our inshore and offshore bottom fishing is pretty decent. Offshore bottom fishing is definitely providing the most consistent and reliable action. Our red grouper bite is as good as it’s been in quite a few years. Gags are still a challenge though and to get your limit, you better have lots of hot spots and be prepared to burn some gas finding them. While bottom fishing for reds and gags the good gulf has also provided us with some nice cobia and huge sharks every day or so. Our biggest so far was 59” long with a 29” girth. Using the estimated weight formula, he was around 60lbs.
That same day we hooked and released a 6ft tiger shark and an 8ft unidentified shark; possibly a lemon. That big 8 footer had 8 to 10 cobia following him which is why we got 2 keepers to 49 inches. Not sure where all the shark and cobia came from but they are a welcome bonus even though they tangle multiple lines and try to break rods and people alike. Plenty of excitement and pull for sure. While we haven’t run any flat lines out for kings, the boats that are targeting them by chumming and/or trolling have done pretty well. For us, it’s still not worth the time and effort when the grouper action is so good. My hunch and hope is the grouper run will continue into September. As far as the cobia and shark, well who knows, remember they, like all fish, have a tail and can move on down the road.
Last month I mentioned that July was historically our slowest month for redfish. Since then, our redfishing has really picked up. The hard working guys and gals using artificials are doing much better with a lot of upper-slot fish and some over 27”. The ones catching the most and biggest are using an assortment of natural baits; live shrimp, mud minnows, cut mullet and of course, live pinfish are a few of the popular choices. Some of the best catches are the folks wade fishing the big high tides at the rocky and oystery points.
While the reds have rebounded nicely, the speckled trout are still scattered and usually in deeper than normal areas. Spanish mackerel and a few small to just keeper size cobia are also sharing the same deeper areas. This inshore pattern, in my humble opinion, should last right on thru August and into September. It’s just too hot for them on the shallow grass flats. Lastly, our terrific 2 year run of scallops has apparently come to a halt in the Cedar Key area. The best of locals and visitors are getting skunked and all we can do is hope for a late season run. Call one of our bait shops and marinas to get an update and save your precious time and gas.
Good luck and good fishing in August and please keep an eye on the weather in August. As I finish this month’s article, I hear some big and close thunder to the west. Looks like it’s gonna be another wild and stormy summer along the fishy Nature Coast. See you next month, “if nothin’ don’t happen!”