By: Captain Danny Guarino
August, and afternoon thunderstorms are expected. Add stifling humidity and 92 degree plus temperatures and by far August is the hottest and muggiest months of the year. I tend to spend less time on the water and use the month to catch up on boat maintenance and my never-ending list of honey do’s. If I do fish in the heat of the summer, I tend to start early avoiding the heat and thunderstorms.
Summertime fishing for Mangrove snapper started off with a bang back in June and has continued to be good through July. Mangrove snappers tend to school on a deeper structure this time of year. Some of the best mangrove snapper fishing is done on the artificial reefs just west of Simmons Park and Port Manatee. July and August are the 2 peak months to target this overlooked species. All it takes to catch these tasty fish is to find some structure in deeper water and send down a small shrimp on a number 2 hook. Hold on there are some big snapper in the bay this year. Did you know that mangrove snapper in the offshore waters are called Grey Snapper?
Redfish continue to be on the slow side; however, a few people did manage to put a few on the boat this last month. A good tactic is to work the Simmons Park area on high tide using a trolling motor to ease around the many mangrove island that line the area from the park north to Apollo Beach. Scaled sardines seemed to work well placed about 16 inches under a bobber. The biggest problem has been the floating grass that the west wind has blown on to the flats. The grass makes it hard to fish with either an artificial bait or a bobber.
There are still plenty of Spanish mackerel inside Tampa Bay. The trick is to get them to bite. The mackerel bite has been somewhat slow this summer season. I do expect that to change as we head toward September. When fishing for mackerel try using a 40-pound shock leader with a # 1 triple x long shank hook. Live sardines, threadfin hearing and shrimp are the baits of choice.
Summer is a great time to wade fish. Pick days when the tides will be low near or just after sunset. I typically use artificial baits and have great success with Trout, a few Snook, and Redfish. If for nothing else watching a beautiful sunset while fishing a pristine Tampa Bay grass flat is reward enough.
Capt. Danny Guarino a lifelong resident of the Tampa area and semi-retired fishing guide on Tampa Bay. 813-956-2010
Capt. Danny Guarino
D.R. Guarino Charters
Be safe out there.
Captain Danny Guarino and his boat underway crossing Tampa Bay