It’s mid-August and –WOW!– is it hot! So, what fish can you catch when the water temperature is way up there? Here are a few fish you can count on, and how you can catch them, during the dog days of summer.
Mangrove snapper co-exist with some other very delectable species of fish. Gag grouper, black sea bass, and some mighty big flounder all reside in similar spots and can be caught at the same time and locations. But during summer days, you can also expect a number of others to join in on the feeding frenzy. Sharks, jack crevalle, ladyfish, pinfish, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and others are drawn to the chum slick, and the longer you chum the more effective it can be.
Trout fishing can be good depending on water movement, and the more movement usually the better the action. The bigger trout will feed early, just prior to sunrise, but most will move out to deeper grass flats and edges ranging from 5-to 10-feet of water. Snook can turn on and off in a heartbeat during hot days, but usually feed better under the cloak of darkness at night. Fishing dock lights where there is good moving water will be the best scenario for fishing during cooler periods of the day, and both trout and snook are hearty nocturnal feeders.
Redfish can be tough to get to feed during the peak heat of the day, with a slow period usually from 2 – 4 P.M. on the open flats as temperatures peak. But on high tides at that time you could find reds in the shade of mangrove islands where limbs overhang the shore and a deep trough surrounds the island’s shore. These fish will hit a live shrimp in a heartbeat, but never count out a DOA Shrimp, MirrOlure MirrOdine, MirrOlure Lil’ John, or CAL Shad to get the job done when you’re looking to catch these bronze beauties. If you can skip the bait back up under the overhanging limbs, it’s all the better.
Spots to Fish when Water Temperatures are Hot
Lastly, boat docks in residential canals and on open water in the bays provide shade and typically have good depths. Some of the older docks made of wood with big boats tied to them will hold some of the best fish. Redfish are notorious for holding around these structures and under big boats. The larger the vessel usually the more draft or deeper the water. Areas just behind the stern can be blown out by the boat’s propeller also digging a hole that is even deeper. Wooden docks will usually have a lot of marine growth that supports life of all kinds, from crusty barnacles to minute plankton to baitfish, which in turn draw predators. Typically the deeper docks will hold trout, flounder, sheepshead, and redfish. A gold spoon like the Eppinger Rex can mimic baitfish that hang around the structure and will do well with trout or redfish and even flounder if worked slowly along the bottom. ‘Sheepies’ will take live shrimp or fiddler crabs readily, but a DOA Shrimp skipped up under the dock can also be effective. Jigs or small jerk baits rigged on lightweight jigheads may be the best all around lure here, and appeal to the masses of fish.
Get a Chilly Pad by Frogg Toggs
If the temperature has you challenged, stay hydrated with plenty of ice water from the cooler. A damp towel wrapped around the neck will help keep your cool, but an even better solution is a special fiber material from Frogg Toggs called the Chilly Pad. This cloth can be put in ice water from the cooler and keeps you cool for hours when draped around the neck.
Keeping your cool is important during these hot dog days of summer but if you work it right, you’ll find that fishing can be just as sizzling hot as the temperature. ‘Til next time, I’ll catch ya’ later!