It Is Hot

by: Capt. Billy Norris

Summertime is definitely here, and it has been hot!  As we now move into September, the weather should continue to stay very hot, but so will the fishing!  Assuming we get through a year without a direct hit from a category 5 hurricane, we should see our usual suspects show up.  Right now, the offshore bite has been stellar.  Nearly every wreck and reef have mangrove snapper hanging out in large numbers.  Most of the nearshore fish are in the 12–14 inch range, but there are some bigger mangos mixed in as well.  With the water clarity being relatively good in the summer, make sure that you aren’t using too big of leader material.  For snapper, I prefer 25-pound fluorocarbon, and at least six feet of it.  This seems to take it less visible to fish, and drastically increases the number of bites, but he only drawback is that you will inevitably get broken off if something bigger grabs your bait.  Permit have also been cruising our local waters, and it is always a good idea to have a few crabs in your live well in case you run across them.  Again, light fluorocarbon leaders are the way to go.  There are also scattered tarpon in the area, although not nearly in the quantity that we see during the spring.  As far as bait is concerned, there have been pilchards along the beaches, and scattered threads offshore.  Most of the bait in the area has been plentiful but small.  By this month, those smaller schools of fish should now be grown enough to be stellar baits for everything that swims in the sea.  The backwaters have also been good this past month.  Snook, redfish, and big jacks have kept rods bent.  Although the bite is good, it is highly recommended that you go early and fish in the morning or evening if you are fishing the back areas due to the extreme heat with minimal breeze that the mangroves are known for.  And as always, the large predators are eager to eat on these hot summer days.  Goliaths and sharks have been plentiful, and it’s nearly impossible to not catch one if you are targeting them.  Just make sure that you have gear that can stand up to an apex predator and drop big baits.  Fishing should continue to be excellent through the rest of this summer, so get out on the water and catch your trophy!