Summer Diving and Fishing By: Capt. T J Shea

August on the Gulf of Mexico brings about calm seas, warm water, even hotter air and rain every afternoon.  It also marks the close of the summer charter for hire and recreational red snapper season.  Fishing was nothing short of epic this year.  It seemed everyone was able to not only catch their limits, but box jumbo red snapper all the way through the season’s end.  Whether it be either the impact of fisheries management or the lack of pressure with such high fuel costs, we caught more quality fish this year on the tail end than in the last decade.

For the rod and reel trips, long runs to reach deeper, cooler water will be the ticket for finding keeper fish. Dodging thunderstorms is the norm, as we search for fire truck red grouper and all the tasty bycatch including lane, vermilion, and mangrove snapper with a few porgys for great eating.  In these conditions, always have the flat line out with a big fresh frozen sardine and a Yo Zuri popper in the ready.  You never know what may swim by, briefly taking refuge under the boat for a few seconds.

As for the scuba and spearfishing conditions in August, diving brings sweet relief to the toasty surface air temps.  We do our best to dive the incoming tide, as it tends to be clearer than the outgoing with all the rain this time of year brings. Bigger structures should hold a good amount of bait which, in turn, brings about all the predators.  Sharks, mackerel and schools of bonita flying through the water in search of this bait is thrilling for our divers to witness every chance they get.  After seeing very productive spearfishing in water averaging 40 to 70 feet, in June and July, we can only hope to see these catches carry into August. Our goal will be to get in before the afternoon storms make their way to the Gulf.

This time of year, we will dedicate one of our Raymarine Axioms to the Sirius Satellite weather app to keep us up to the minute to avoid getting caught in those strong thunderstorms.  Whether you join us or run out on your own rig, August is a month to start early, take a swim and get back to the dock before the thunder rolls.

Capt. TJ Shea. Owner/Operator 2 Shea Fishing and Diving Charters.  I have been exploring above and below the Gulf of Mexico since I was 8 years old.  Contact us at 813-385-2169 and at info@fishanddivetampa.com

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