Fishing Report August 9, 2023

Fish to be found if you’re willing to fish in the heat

If you plan on fishing in August around Anna Maria Island be prepared to endure the heat. Our waters are host to a variety of targetable species inshore and offshore as long as you’re willing to sweat it out.

With bay and inland water temperatures hovering between 85-90 degrees you may choose to target fish that inhabit slightly deeper waters. Fish such as Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper are a good bet. Try fishing deeper structure in the bay and in the Gulf of Mexico where the fish can find refuge from the heat by staying deep. 

Spotted seatrout and silver trout are another species worth targeting. These fish can be found on deeper grass flats in depths of 8-12 feet which enables them to stay toward the bottom where water temps are slightly cooler.

This being said, you can target fish that inhabit the shallows such as snook and redfish. I wouldn’t expect any big rallies on these species but you still may be able to catch a few. When targeting the shallow water fish, keep in mind the water temperature plays a factor in their mood and motivation to eat a bait. Trying to target them at 2 in the afternoon when water temps raise to their highest potential may not be advantageous. Try fishing low light conditions or no light conditions for the best results. Fishing a good tide right before sunrise or slightly after would be a good bet. Or simply go out and night fish. This is definitely applicable for snook as they enjoy feeding at night — especially during the warmer months.

Sharks are another species that can be targetable during August. They seem to be tolerant of warm water and will feed during the day or night. 

Casting fresh-cut chunks of Spanish mackerel or bonito as bait is advantageous when targeting the large predators as they are keen to picking up scent in the water. And mackerel and bonito being oily fish you can bet they put out plenty of scent. 

Shark encounters can include species such as blacktip, sand bar and bull sharks. And don’t rule out an occasional hammerhead. They are slightly more elusive than other species mentioned, but they are not uncommon.

Finally, if you have access to the offshore waters in the Gulf of Mexico, you may wish to travel offshore. Again, the deeper waters create a comfortable environment for fish as they are a refuge for offshore species to thrive in moderate temperatures. 

Snappers of all varieties are quite common catches during the warmer months. American red snapper, yellowtail and mangrove snappers are the 3 most common catches. They’re also the most common on rating high on the list when it comes to table fare.

So if you care bear the scorching temperatures there are still fish to find if you know where to look. Don’t forget to bring plenty of cold water to stay hydrated and plenty of shade to beat the heat.

 On my Just Reel charters, mangrove snapper are the primary species being targeted. Two techniques are working well depending on the mood of the snapper. Bottom fishing seems to be best during quicker moving tides. During slower tides chumming the fish to the surface and free-lining baits is quite effective. 

Fishing deep grass flats for spotted seatrout and silver trout is also working quite well. Mixed in are large Spanish mackerel, juvenile groupers, ladyfish and even a few small sharks. 

Lastly, targeting catch-and-release snook is producing a few catches although warm water temps are making the fish quite selective when choosing a bait to eat.