Humans are fickle by nature, fishermen even more so. We can’t wait for summer but too soon we gripe about the heat. Scorching August sun, greatly elevated water temperatures, and days that make you beg for a breeze require lots of stamina.
Tides are generally weaker in August than earlier in summer and this influences feeding patterns in many places. Some bay anglers resort to live bait as a more productive option. Hardcore lure chunkers try to manage expectations in line with these realities by fishing early and late, when fish are more likely to feed. A handful simply hang it up until fall. They call these the dog days for a reason.
However, there are other ways to feed your fishing passion. Calm August mornings set the stage for excellent surf and nearshore angling that many find more appealing than getting cooked on the flats or putting fishing on temporary hold.
Single-digit wind forecasts generally deliver gentle swells or flat surf, tailormade for casting lures in shallow guts to hungry speckled trout. Cooler water and higher oxygen levels lend to a predictable bite when action in neighboring bays turns sluggish. We often hear that surf trout are just plain meaner than their bay cousins.
Redfish love the surf, too. There will be mornings when the bronze bullies roam the first gut in herds, gobbling everything they can swallow. They can actually be seen beaching themselves as they explode on hapless clouds of dusky anchovies.
Tarpon can be seen rolling a few hundred yards off the beach. Drifting and troll-motoring into casting range offers great opportunity to place a lure or pre-rigged live bait within reach of the silver king.
Further offshore, around platforms, natural structure, and artificial reefs, red snapper lurk in incredible numbers. Thanks to a generous 97-day Exempted Fishing Permit season this summer, the Texas small boat fleet is being treated to some of the finest fishing opportunity in more than a decade. A seaworthy bay boat of 22- to 24-foot length can get you there on a calm sea.
And there’s plenty more! Drifting and trolling lures along nearshore weedlines offers a veritable smorgasbord of angling opportunity – dorado (mahi-mahi), king mackerel, cobia (ling), and tripletail, for sure – maybe even a wahoo or sailfish. Check out the snapper piece in this issue for ideas.
If venturing offshore seems rather daunting, don’t forget about the jetties. Early morning hours produce the best incoming tides on new and full moons, sometimes sparking feeding frenzies among schools of bull reds and jack crevalle. Catching them is as easy as jigging a heavy spoon near bottom behind a drifting boat. Kid-friendly for sure, but you might want to tether both kiddo and rod to the center console just to be safe.Please know that I will not feel sorry for you if you persist in lying in the shade like a lazy old hound dog. Get on the water and take a kid fishing!