The dog days of summer have arrived, and the fishing is outstanding. You may find mornings and evenings are your best bet, as the afternoon heat can affect both fish and fishermen.
Bait is finally showing, with decent schools of greenbacks hovering around the Pier. So far, the bait has been small, especially for this time of year. Of course, where you find the bait, you’ll find the mangrove snapper, and limits of 5 fish over 10” are certainly possible for anglers using either greenbacks or live shrimp. Spanish Mackerel also follow the bait schools, and a freelined greenback or small shiny lure fished in a fast, erratic motion will get them going every time.
August is a great month to fish for sharks. There have been some really large bonnetheads caught, and blacktips have also made an appearance. A frozen sardine or large live bait fished in deeper water on the bottom are the ticket here. And, you never know – you might just hook in to a big grouper, cobia or even a tarpon.
Snook are out of season, so naturally they are biting with gusto. Jumbo shrimp, live pinfish or pigfish, and live pass crabs are the top baits. Be sure to take a quick picture and get them back in the water immediately. Snook to over 40” have been landed recently.
There are still a few stray sheepshead, flounder, redfish and black drum around. You’ll need to be in the right place at the right time with the right bait.
The red tide outbreak has been devastating areas to the south, but so far there is no sign of it here. Keep an eye out, though – it has now reached as far north as Anna Maria Island.