Rolling Into the Off Season

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August traditionally marks the start of our ‘off season’ here in Islamorada and the rest of the Florida Keys.  That really just refers to business because the fishing can still be red hot!  We are lucky that we have a year ‘round fishery down here and the only time things really change is when the weather gets cooler.  The rest of the time, fish like tarpon, bonefish, permit, snook and others can be caught in our waters. August was very good last year for me with tarpon in the Everglades. It’s also a bit less crowded on the water so it’s nice to have it all to myself. Fishing the mornings are your best bet before the heat of the day and bright sun sets in.  Most the big migrating tarpon have moved on at this point in the year but there are plenty of resident 20 to 50 pounders.  We adjust our tackle accordingly and they are a blast.  I actually like catching these size tarpon more as they give a good fight, jump very acrobatically, and you don’t have to pull on them for an hour to subdue them in the heat! Other than tarpon, the snook fishing usually stays good throughout the summer.  Drifting live pinfish along the shorelines or in the creeks can produce good catches of snook.  The calm weather during the summer keeps the waters fairly clean which is helpful when catching snook.  When it is blowing hard and the water is muddy the fish don’t like it. stanczyk2Now of course with calm weather, the Gulf is also a good possibility.  Lots of small to medium sized permit can be found in the Gulf this time of year.  They can be caught on small crabs and shrimp.  Just about every wreck in the further Gulf will hold permit. Fishing for permit can be tricky and being stealthy is key.  Flourocarbon leaders with small hooks fished well away from the boat will help entice the unwilling permit. While checking the wrecks, don’t forget to keep an eye out for tripletail.  There isn’t much structure for them to be on as most the traplines are gone but there are still plenty of them free floating out there. In the shallow waters of the Everglades many guides are having fun with redfish and snook.  Those running tiny skiffs that can get in super skinny water will have a blast throwing topwaters and artificials at tailing redfish early in the morning.  Unfortunately my boat is a little too big for that but in a few more months the redfish will push into slightly deeper water where most everyone can reach them. August is a great time to fish here in the Florida Keys.  Make sure to stay well hydrated though because one thing I can guarantee is it’ll be hot!


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