Ponce Inlet Offshore Fishing Report & Forecast

Ponce Inlet Offshore Fishing Report: August 2014

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ugust is a time of year when the humidity peaks and anglers work hard to produce hot fishing in Daytona Beach. Fishing directly off the beach, tarpon, sharks and king mackerel should provide dynamic light tackle action. Slow trolling live pogies, mullet or dead ribbonfish in 30-60’using light wire and multiple hooks can help bend a rod close to shore. Kingfish numbers will decline towards the end of the month but the tarpon opportunities should increase as numerous fish have been around since last month. Also drift live baits behind the working shrimp boats, setting up a drift as the by catch is discarded. The natural chum slick will attract multiple species so be prepared with fluro-carbon mono tarpon rigs in addition to wire leaders.

The chilly summer thermocline was behind schedule in July so we can expect August to begin with the coldest bottom temperatures of the entire year. Water temperatures down in the 55-60 degree range under the mid 80’s sea surface temp can be expected this month. Fishing will be better for anglers working the water column above this cold water phenomenon. Anchor over large ledges or wrecks and fish the upper water column with chunk or live baits for amberjack, cobia and snapper. Deploy light spinning or conventional tackle drift lines with chunks of herring, bonita or squid while chumming to catch the mangrove, mutton, yellowtail and red eye snappers up in the water column. Drift the hooked bait concurrently with a handful of chum to fool the keen eyed fish in the clear water. Please be sure to have a venting tool and de-hooker at the ready to release the numerous red snapper that will be caught while trying to acquire one’s limit of legal reef fish.

Trolling offshore between the continental shelf and the steeples, patient anglers should find an occasional wahoo or sailfish in the spread. Naked swimming ballyhoo on 60# mono leaders is preferred for the sailfish while a deep bait with a horse ballyhoo/Hawaiian Eye combinations or a swimming mullet are proven hoo’ baits. Drift fishing over structure in the same areas can be a fun way to break up the day with some deep dropping. Live baits on long 100# leaders will entice amberjacks and groupers to bite.

August 6th is the opening of lobster season, so be aware of the divers in the water and respect the area surrounding a boat displaying the diver down flag. Those hunting the delicious crustaceans may find perfect conditions one day, then experience the frigid low visibility environment on the reefs and ledges the next. Lobster in the 3-8 pound range may be a bit lethargic but available, so break out the full suits and underwater lights for the hunt. Please visit http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/regulations/lobster/ for a full list of the latest regulations for lobster.