By Jim Klopfer
There is a little secret here on Siesta Key: The fishing is terrific in August!
Many anglers assume that the heat slows down the action, but this is far from true. The reality is that due to daily rain showers, the water temperature is actually lower in August than it is in June. Hordes of bait fish cover the flats.
This combination results in excellent conditions for anglers to succeed. The best action will be early morning, late afternoon, and at night.
Snook love the infusion of fresh water into the bay. Snook migrate back into the bays after spawning out on the beach in August. Shallow diving plugs such as the Rapala X-Rap are very effective baits. They cover a lot of water and produce explosive strikes. Bass Assassin soft plastics also work well. Live shrimp, pinfish, and pilchards will also catch a lot of snook, particularly once the fish are located. Outgoing tides at first light and in the evening are the best times to fish.
Redfish will begin to school up in large numbers in August. The bars south of Siesta Drive are worth a try. Weedless gold spoons and scented soft plastic baits on an eighth-ounce jig head are proven baits. Hand-picked shrimp cast into pot holes is a deadly technique, too.
Low, incoming tides are best. Due to the red tide we experienced last year, both redfish and speckled trout are closed to harvest.
The deep grass flats on the north end of Siesta Key will be good spots to target fish. High tides in the morning will produce plenty of fish. Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano, bluefish, ladyfish, jack crevelle, sharks, small gag grouper, and mangrove snapper will also be caught by anglers drifting the deep grass. A live shrimp under a popping cork works very well. A jig with a grub tail is the preferred artificial bait but plugs and spoons are also effective.
The bars from the Stickney Point bridge south to Blackburn Point will hold some very nice trout along with a few redfish. This area does not get a lot of pressure in the summertime. This is an early morning bite and a high tide is preferred.
In the last several years, mangrove snapper fishing has been outstanding. Grass flats that drop off into deep water with some current flow should produce plenty of nice snapper this month. Live bait works best and baitfish will usually catch larger fish than shrimp. A 1/0 live bait hook tied on a 24-inch piece of 20-pound flourocarbon leader with just enough split shot to get to the bottom is the simple but effective rig.
Surf casters should have opportunities for snook — the beach fishing for snook this year has been outstanding. Small artificial lures such as white jigs and small plugs work well, while live shrimp and baitfish will score more consistently. Other species such as Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, drum, trout, pompano, and flounder will be taken as well. The best conditions are an east wind and incoming tide.
- Tags: Capt. Jim Klopfer