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Summer Heat Fishing Tips for Southeast Fishing

A pair of spotted sea trout. Photo by Captain Judy Helmey
A pair of spotted sea trout. Photo by Captain Judy Helmey

 

Inshore Southeast Fishing Tips for August Heat


August is considered the fisherman’s hottest month for Southeast fishing, meaning temperatures are very warm! I’m not saying you won’t catch fish or that it’s a bad time to fish – you’ll just need to be proactive in some cases to get the catching job done.

This is the month where it’s hot and it’s been hot. However, in comes the best news. All bait that are going to be here has already arrived, offering up all fish plenty of the real-deal stuff to eat. If you are going with artificial baits such as Strike King ZTOO soft baits, which come in some really great colors, the secret is to “work them slow and direct.” Slow means just what it says and direct means put a signature “twitch” in your retrieve. When picking out soft baits check to see if they are going to last for multiple blue fish hit. Most soft baits – also known as “plastics” – pull apart and separate too easy, immediately altering the retrieve value.

For those fishermen that like to go with the real deal, I suggest using live shrimp or mud minnows. All inshore fish have a serious desire to eat these baits. The reason being is it’s easy to kill, it’s easy to eat, and there is always some lurking around the edge or right up in the marsh grass.

Another good live bait to use is finger mullet. This is great bait, but as usual it can have set backs. Going with live finger mullet says one thing: “The fisherman holding the rod is looking for that bigger fish bite!” I always suggest catching your own mullet. While doing so, keep the small ones and discard all but  a few of the larger ones for cut bait. Don’t put them in the live well. Throw them on the deck and let them season. For a great August red fish bite I suggest cutting the fresh dead fish up like a loaf of bread and putting a slice on the hook, cast into place, and let it sit. Believe me, if a red fish is in the area bites are going to happen!

 

Offshore Southeast Fishing Tips for August Heat


Fall is just around the corner – however, summer fish catching tactics need to remain in play. The 2012 top water season for this coast has already been better than 2011. Spanish and king mackerel are being caught off the beach fronts in formed rips, artificial reefs, the Savannah Snapper banks, and the Gulf Stream. The best way to get a more solid Spanish mackerel bite is to troll 00 and 0 Clark spoons. These spoons all come accompanied with a signature red ball. You can pull these spoons directly on the surface or mid water column behind trolling sinkers or popping corks, or deep behind planer set ups. When fish are showing out – meaning feeding on the surface – it’s best to have some sort of small top water plug for pitching right into the school. Here are a few that you can find in my tackle box: Rapala F-5, Rapala HJ-6. and Rapala XR06. Most of these small casting lures have a small scoop, which means your options once casting into place are reeling, stopping, and reel-stop. Spanish mackerel seem to like to watch these style lures move, but when they stop and jump back the biting deal is sealed.

Bottom fishing can be slow during this time of the summer. However, if you fish as much as we do, secrets to triggering the bottom fish’s bite are revealed! Perfect size live baits such as cigar minnows and Spanish sardines once placed on the bottom can trigger a larger fish bite. To catch these baits, don’t forget your good old Sabiki’s size 8 hook. When baiting up those bottom hooks, I suggest using smaller pieces of cut squid or cut fish. The reason being is when the fish does hit your bait, you want it as close to the hook’s point as possible. If all you are catching is small fish in a certain place, this is your sign to move to the next spot!

Spanish Mackerel Lessons

 

You might see Spanish mackerel jumping periodically out of the water before the month of August. However, according to my father, Spanish mackerel never jumped a lot until after August 6. The reason being is that this is their spawning time and they are either trying to get rid of their eggs or they are just happy as heck that this birthing process is coming to an end!

“Always steer away!” is something daddy always told me about Spanish mackerel during the month of August. Once the schools of mackerel start staying on the surface, they feed for hours. While all this feeding is going on, large sharks cruise in and start feeding on the mackerel.

When we see fish on the surface, it seems we all want to drive right through the disturbance. Well, if a shark happens to be feeding right where you plow through the school, you are going to hit the shark. This is bad for both the boat and the shark. So, always steer clear of the surface schools of fish. I speak of this from plenty of experience!

Captain Judy Helmey operates Miss Judy Charters out of Savannah Georgia. She puts out a regular fishing report online, and contributes regularly to All At Sea Southeast. Capt. Judy has been “kicking fish tail since 1956.”

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