This week, the fishing turned back to the August we all know. Plenty of fishing opportunities within our nearshore and offshore waters. Looking through my past catches, it’s clear that August is slower than May, June, September, and October.
This month’s southwest winds have made the water dirty close to shore, particularly between Cocoa Beach and up to the back side of the Canaveral Shoal. The good thing about westerly winds is the seaweed gets pushed offshore. Surf-casters shouldn’t have any issues except in the South Beaches region on incoming tide or if the wind shifts east.
It’s a relief to have pogies back and you’ll regret not having them right now. They might be found anywhere from Jetty Park down to Cocoa Beach, Look for pelicans diving in 5-12ft of water and you should see them flipping. You’ll need at least an 8ft heavy weight cast net to get them. My favorite is a custom 10ft, 5/8 inch mesh Tim Wade cast net that has 1.6oz of lead per foot. Once I get more experienced, I see myself potentially upgrading to a 12ft.
Tarpon have been off the beach from Cocoa Beach southward, but the best action has been near Sebastian. The finetooth, lemon, and hammerhead sharks have been really thick so getting a bait past them to a tarpon won’t be easy. Try to break the line if a hammerhead comes in to get your tarpon so we’re not just feeding sharks. Use spinning or conventional gear with 30-60lb line, 60-80lb leader and a big circle hook with a live bait. Pogies, croakers, and mullet all work well.
Big snook have been close to shore on any rock or reef patches, but they’ve been quite picky so have a variety of live baits. They’re breeders, so please handle with care. The shark fishing right now is a great time to take the kids fishing. Anchor up in 8-15ft of water off the beach and throw a chunk of any fish out on a wire leader with heavy tackle and at least 300 yards of line.
The offshore bite has been hit or miss with king mackerel and bonus pelagics over the reefs. The bottom fishing and trolling should get better for grouper, amberjack, and stringer fish as the Gulf Stream becomes a harder edge and not in so close.
The Upper IRL system is still a dump with brown tide everywhere and not many fish other than a few juvenile tarpon for fly anglers and those willing to spend hours getting live bait. If you want to fish inshore, focus on clear patches between Melbourne and Stuart.