Full grown Spanish Mackerel is August’s best bet. I target the big ones on light tackle, casting the ‘ol trusty ¾ oz. sidewinder rigged with a 12 inch piece of 27 lb. test wire. Wind it as fast as you can for this is a reaction strike. If he gets a good look at it, he’ll figure out it’s a hunk of metal instead of a fleeing bait fish. Be sure and work the tide movement for if the water is not moving the fish will not be feeding. My fly casters love these fish as they are readily available and will smoke the drag on an 8 weight fly reel. These fish make good table fare – fresh, it’s not a freezer fish. So catch and keep only what you plan to use in the next couple days and let the rest go to be caught again another day.
In the Gulf … this is the time of the year for the Chicken Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi) which will be showing up in good numbers. Also watch for schools of bait getting busted up on the sand bars along the beach. I’ll be casting a ¾ ounce sidewinder spoon rigged with a 40 lb. test fluorocarbon leader at these tasty fishes.
For the Speckled Trout angler’s, get an early start and enjoy the sunrise, fish till nine o’clock or so – then head for the hill. Start before daylight around the docks that have lights and cast a big dog walking plug. Any of the bigger specks that are still up will be looking for a big bait to satisfy their need for food till the night fall comes again. After the sun gets up, head out towards the deeper water and change to a sub-surface jerk bait. You’ll catch some of the fish as they head for the deeper water to lie up for the day.
The Bull Red Fish will start showing up this month also. I search for them on the beaches east and west of the passes as they start their migration in from the deeper water for their annual spawning run. This is sight fishing so pick your day. Once you find a school, ease into casting distance and cast a 1 oz. SPRO buck tail jig in front of the school. Let the jig settle on the bottom then start a jigging retrieve keeping the jig close to or on the bottom.
For slot-sized Red Fish, focus on the docks that have 4 plus feet of water and lots of shade. These fish will be seeking a place that is a little cooler and have a food source available. Cast net some small pin fish or better yet small 3 inch LY’s. Carolina rig them with an 1/8 ounce weight and work them around the edges of the docks and as far under the dock as you can cast.
Thank you for reading fishing report for the Northwest Panhandle.