"Do you ever have days when you don't catch any fish?" is a question most Tampa Fishing Guides hear when a fishing day starts off slow. Quite honestly, the answer is "Almost never." This is the case for two reasons. First, along the West Central Florida Coast, there are a variety of species to target so if one isn't biting, another will likely be available. Second, most legitimate, professional guides will not take customers on days when the conditions scream "Do Not Fish Today!". There are months that will test the best guides in this area...probably most notably, August due to the heat, and January due to the regularly arriving cold fronts. So, as August arrives, what are the options?

Big Snook and Redfish in Clearwater

The outstanding snook fishing along local beaches has now begun to slow due to fish being spawned out. With this activity done, the large groups of beach snook begin to disperse.  Although many don't leave the area, they spread out.  The actual groups of fish are smaller in number and are now positioned in a wider range of environments.  These environments are not as predictable as their summer locations. Tampa Fishing Charters targeting snook over the last few weeks have definitely seen a drop off in fish numbers from the double digit days of June and early July and the average fish size is down as well.  With that said, snook remain a viable target this month and large fish can still be caught. There is no doubt that some of the largest fish may have moved off shore a little bit but many quality fish will make the choice to move inshore and take up positions on protected grass flats, spoil islands and inside bayous and canals. As temperatures cool over the next few months, these spots will become more apparent as fish will consistently hold on them. Live whitebait is probably the best bait choice as, with fish more dispersed, chumming an area will identify fish locations. Once a fish boils on a bait, the chances of catching that fish increase exponentially, especially if a bait is presented to the same spot immediately.  Fish will be caught on other baits...often those intended for redfish, such as smaller, live pinfish and even a variety of cut baits.

Snook and Redfish on Tampa Fishing Charters

Redfish represent the best inshore target this month.  Among the most temperature tolerant of our gamefish, redfish still have an interest in eating even as water temperatures approaches ninety degrees. Through about mid July, over slot redfish were making up part of the catch on almost every Tampa Fishing Charter, but during the back half of the month, these larger fish went silent.  Fish numbers were still decent, with most trips yielding between 4 and a dozen redfish.  Although a good portion of these were in the 18 - 20 inch range, there were usually several quality upper slot fish mixed in. As August got under way, a few of the big boys (30 inch range) have shown back up so hopefully these larger fish will become a consistent part of the catch over the next few weeks. Potholes on open flats and mangrove shorelines have continued to be the primary areas fished. Almost all fish have been caught on live pinfish or cut baits.

Catching Fish in Summers Heat in Clearwater

Although small trout are available year round, large trout don't seem to appreciate these excessively high water temps and have been few and far between over the course of the last half dozen fishing trips....typical and to be expected for this time of year.  Other fishing options don't really materialize for another month or so when days get a little shorter and summer begins to back off. Snapper and mackerel will return to the reefs as things begin to cool. Fishing in the salt water is alway an adventure though and from time to time, serves up an occasional surprise, like the backwater barracuda caught recenty. It was spotted in the shallows and, when a whitebait was pitched in front of it, hit it like a bullet.

Interested in avoiding the heat?...check out an Evening Tour on the Riverwalk in Tampa.  It's a great time of day to walk around and take in the sights. If an outdoor experience is of more interest, check out Fort De Soto Park.  There are a multitude of outdoor activities available, including a ferry ride over to Egmont Key.  Good luck and good fishing.




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