Switch Gears To Stay On A Bite By: Capt. George Hastick

During the hot August days, there are a variety of fish to be caught in Tampa Bay. This is a very active month to catch a wide variety of fish, especially if you are willing to shift gears during the day and try different tactics, as the day heats up or the tide goes slack where you are fishing. Changing how, where and what you are fishing for during the day can be very beneficial to having a successful day on the water during the hot August days. To name a few of the species that can be caught this month, they are snook, trout, redfish, tarpon, mackerel, black sea bass, black drum, mangrove snapper, grouper, sharks, bluefish, jack crevalle and more!

In the morning, before the water really heats up, the inshore flats and backwaters would be a good place to start. Moving water will be the key at that time, determining how good your bite will be. Also, look at your solunar chart to see when the major and minor periods are going to be, and make sure you are fishing during that time and not traveling. Combining moving water with a solunar period really ups your chances of catching more fish, especially if this is during or within half an hour of sunrise.

The species that you can find on the inshore flats and backwaters might surprise you. Of course, you would expect to find the big three, snook, trout and redfish, but there can also be black drum, mangrove snapper and even some tarpon. All of these fish will hit live scaled sardines and lures that mimic them, like Saltwater Assassin’s Sea Shad in snow storm or sugar and spice. However, for the black drum, shrimp or blue crab would be a good choice.

Once the tide slows down, the water heats up and your bite slows down on the inshore scene, it is now time to move out into the open Bay. This is where the water will still be moving for a little while longer before total slack tide hits, and it will also be a little cooler. You can target rock piles in the 10 to 18-foot range for bottom dwellers. You can also look for shoals in the 6 to 8-foot range with shell and grass bottom mix, or turn to your bridges to get out of the direct sunlight and cool off like the fish that are under it. All these spots can hold many of the same inshore species that we talked about and also have some grouper, black sea bass and mackerel action. The difference is that by changing where you are fishing, you will get lower water temperature, increased water flow and it will add a few more species to target, which can extend your bite for the day. So don’t be afraid to shift gears. Tight Lines everyone.