Paddle Power in August 2023

Though I adamantly claim there is no bad time of year to go fishing in the shallow waters of East Central Florida, there are certain times of the year that can be a little more challenging to get some quality fish caught. August does have a habit of being one of the more challenging months. The explanation is a simple one, it’s all about the heat! Especially in the lagoons where their non-tidal and stagnate habitat lends a hand to water temperatures that can skyrocket under the high noon sun. That oppressive heat influences fish activity much like it does our own. The concept of work or physical exertion in the sun from roughly 10am-3pm will meet healthy resistance from most everyone regardless of having 2 legs, 4 legs, or fins. Not only is it downright uncomfortable but it can also be dangerous for all. To combat this and still be productive in the lagoons you must adopt a siesta frame of mind to your angling approach. This means focusing on your fishing both early and late in the day leaving the high sun noonish timeframe for other activities. Starting your morning pre-dawn and catching that early bite or waiting until the sun has settled towards the west will have you in some action. Save that midday for some air conditioning and relaxation.

Tarpon and snook will be some of your best targets in the lagoons and they always make for an exhilarating fight. Tarpon being tops on that list for their willingness to still be active regardless of how hot the water might get. August is one month where we find lagoon tarpon on the open flats as much as the backwater canals. Get in on some of the calmest conditions all year – beach launch in August and keep in mind that sea conditions will change rapidly in the fall so get the flat ocean launches while you can. Snook can be targeted from kayaks in flat calm conditions along the beach and make for a great target species typically found in the troughs closer to shore. Outside the breakers Tarpon, kingfish, large jacks and sharks can all be caught regularly around bait schools. By far the brightest bulb in the bunch for August fishing is the realization that our fall mullet run is just around the corner and some of the year’s best fishing is on the horizon, though you can’t set a date for things as dynamic as a migration of fish triggered by weather conditions several states away. I hold the last week of August to the first weeks of September as the official kick off for the mullet run and am always ready to take full advantage of that fact. The mullet run is without a doubt a don’t miss fishing spectacle!