It’s August and that can mean only one thing - lobster time! These tasty eight legged creatures that occupy the ocean floor will be in season through the end of March, but now is when everyone has bug fever and they will be plentiful since they have been left alone for several months (with the exception of mini season).
From now through the rest of the year is my time to play. I plan to spend lots of time in the water spearfishing and catching lobster. Because the water gets very hot these days, my flats fishing is done by late morning. Which leaves the rest of the day to be in the water.
As I have stated many times, this is my favorite time of year to fish the flats. Bonefish and permit are plentiful both on the oceanside and gulfside flats. When fishing the low incoming tides, I will often find tailing permit and bonefish. During the high outgoing tide, it’s almost a guarantee to find permit way up on the flats in search of crabs.
The tarpon migration has long past, but there are still lots of resident tarpon around and some big ones will be rolling around the flats. A flat calm morning with the presence of baitfish is a sure fire way to some early morning fun - well worth the pre-sunrise wake up call.
After a few hours of jumping tarpon and chasing down permit and bonefish, it’s time to jump in with a tickle stick, net, catch bag and my speargun. Hogfish and lobster are the main targets and a good spot will yield several of each. Keep an eye out for a good-sized mangrove snapper amongst the hundred that will swim around you, knowing full well they are safe...for now!
Every once in a while I will encounter a mutton snapper. I’ve yet to shoot one, they always bolt the second I lay eyes on them and point my speargun.
Groupers are another species I will see while hunting lobster, usely red grouper and the occasional black. I make sure the grouper look huge before I take a shot. If I am wondering if it is legal, I turn away. It’s a waste shooting a short grouper and not worth the risk of possessing an illegal fish.
Not a bad way to spend a day off from guiding. Jump a couple tarpon, get some shots at permit and bonefish, potentially landing a flats grand slam and bring home some dinner.
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