Beat The Heat, by Capt. Philip Watson
I think we can all agree that August is just plain hot! This time of the year is perfect for 6 and 8 hour days out on the water to beat the heat and storms. During our 6 and 8 trips, we will be fishing for a few hours to catch grouper and snapper species and then finishing off fighting some amberjacks, which we’ll be able to keep starting August 1st.
I recently had The Shelton crew aboard The Just Kickin’ Back, vacationing from Tennessee. The crew requested some meat to take home and to fight some bigger fish. For this 6 hour charter, we pushed off at 8 and began the trip catching bait in about 40’ of water. Catching bait this time of the year is fairly easy, all you need is some shallow hard bottom, a sabaki rig, and some squid.
Once we reached our second spot, 75’ on hardbottom, I set the crew up with my new set of Florida Fishing Products “Osprey” 4000 reels. Each rod had a knocker rig, with a one ounce lead, 25 pound fluorocarbon, and a #2 circle hook. The crew was having a blast pulling up lane snapper, vermillion snapper, Key West grunts, and porgies. Once we got a solid box of fish we moved a little deeper for some red grouper. The Shelton crew managed to pull in a few keepers, despite many being just shy of 20”.
Since the chores were done and we had meat for the freezer, we moved to a set of ledges in 85’ that hold some smaller AJ’s in the 30”- 45” range. Once we anchored and started chumming it didn’t take long at all for the fish to come to the surface and pop at baits. I like using my 8’ Star rods, matched with Fin Nor 7500 Offshore Series reels. Just make sure you use a strong hook because you never really know what’s going to eat your bait in the chum and you want to be prepared for a cobia, grouper, or tuna. Amberjacks are always a crowd pleaser because they put up a good fight. They don’t call them reef donkeys for nothing! Federal amberjack season is a tricky one, never knowing when they will open or close the season, but we have fun catching and releasing. Book sooner than later if you want to get out to catch some fish for the grill and make your friends jealous of your awesome fishing adventure while on the Just Kickin’ Back.