August is upon us and that means we still have another 2 months of hot weather and high water temps. The afternoon rain storms have helped keep the water temps from remaining too long in the blistering 90’s, although still holding in the mid-high 80’s. During the spells of high water temps, it is best to fish high current areas and beach fronts.
Back-waters this time of year have low oxygen levels and without much moving water, the lack of nutrients can cause lethargic, uninterested fish. Even areas closer to the gulf and bay with moving water and higher oxygen levels will lead to a tough bite around slack tide for the same reasons. However, around the full and new moons the bite has been spectacular with the big swinging tides. The tarpon numbers are beginning to thin out around the bay as they continue on their migration. Although some fish are still being caught, most fish this time of year are eating dead baits on the bottom, often without even seeing any on the surface. The redfish bite should be heating up in deeper areas of the bay and around Egmont Key, free-lined live pinfish has been the key however, as the fall approaches we will start to see the bigger schools of bull redfish moving in and out nearshore.
The snook bite slowed for us towards the end of July, although it is beginning to ramp up again, as we have bigger tides approaching another full moon on August 11th. This is a fun time of year to try something different and cruise the bay and shipping channel buoys for Cobia and Tripletail, as the bite has been good for them lately. Bait around the flats moved out all of the sudden making catching white bait the last few weeks of July a mission. However, small hatch bait has moved back onto the flats and bigger, better baits are being caught down deep at the Skyway and Desoto Gulf Pier. Summer time shrimp are tiny, so if you’re unable to catch live bait opt for buck tail jigs and small swim baits to get the job done. Both of these species make for a fun fight and even better table fare, if lucky enough to catch a keeper!
Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, sometime in late July the governing bodies had decided to release an undisclosed number of gallons of polluted wastewater into the Bay AGAIN, at Piney Point. “Since the beginning of the year, 27 inches of rain have accumulated in one of the gypsum stacks at the former Piney Point phosphate processing plant, and the plan is to pump that stormwater into Tampa Bay.” (https://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/environment/2022-07-28/millions-gallons-piney-point-stormwater-released-tampa-bay ) Although it appears we may have been fortunate enough to dodge any real effects of red tide in our area this summer, this “release” will certainly not be good for our fishery. The verbiage used in the press release regarding the waste water discharge was vague and did not express any clear action plan or projected extent of ill-effects to be felt. I fished south of the Skyway on July 28th and half of my live-well died all of the sudden, which I can only assume was from the release or excessive rainwater runoff from the local area.
Lobster season opens August 6th and I will be heading down to Islamorada for the first few days of season. For everyone going, stay safe and have fun. I’m looking forward to a great month of August fishing in the Bay on my return.