Local Fishing Report
Gulf of Mexico
Much of the offshore attention this month will be on bottom fish as anglers take advantage of the open seasons for both gag and red grouper, two of the most popular reef fish in the region. Gag reports haven’t been great this summer but fishermen have been picking a few on ledges in 75 feet of water or deeper. Red grouper catches on flat rock in 60 feet or deeper have been good, and a pretty consistent show of lane snapper, vermilion snapper and porgys has been consistent in the same areas. Wrecks and artificial reefs in as little as 30 feet of water and on out to 90 feet are holding permit, mangrove snapper, cudas, a few kings and a bunch of Goliath grouper. There have been some schoolie dolphin (mahi-mahi) in the area too. Deeper is better for mahi, with a few seen in as little as 70 feet of water, but most found deeper than 100. Bonita and a few schools of mackerel have been popping on top.
August can be a great tarpon month in Charlotte Harbor. This is "Black water" fishing in the dark waters of central Charlotte Harbor, water that's ten to twenty feet deep, for fish in the 60 to 125 pound range. Free-lined threadfin herring, scaled sardines or crabs are the most popular baits but pinfish, catfish and ladyfish will take these tarpon too. August is also a good month for smaller "canal-sized" tarpon which will give themselves away by rolling on the surface in many of the local residential canals and boat basins. This has been a good summer for numbers of trout, though there have been lots of undersized fish this year. Just about any grass bed from mid-harbor down to the Gulf is holding fish, so rig up your popping corks and give it a look. Snook anglers are reporting good numbers of large fish on the beach and in the passes, though spawning season is winding down and these fish are beginning to head inland. Snook season opens at the end of the month (September 1). Looking for a high-quality fish dinner with a minimum of effort? Then think about going inshore fishing for mangrove snapper this month. Just about every structure in the harbor is now home to eating sized mangrove snapper and all that's needed is a light tackle rig and either a few dozen live shrimp or some small live shiners. In Charlotte Harbor (state controlled waters) the minimum size limit on mangrove snapper is only 10 inches and with this small size limit it's fairly easy to fill the five fish per person bag limit.
*Triggerfish season opens January 1, 2018 (closed all of 2017!!)
*Greater Amberjack opens January 1, 2018 (closed all of 2017!!)
*Snook season opens Sept. 1
Let's Go Fishing!
Capt. Ralph Allen