While August is arguably the hottest month of the year in the Panhandle, there are still chances to get out on the water and make a hit right now.
The Amberjack season has reopened a wonderful fish that should be targeted for those who want to travel offshore. Amberjacks are commonly found in corals and large rocks, and while they can grow quite large, the most common fish will be around 30 pounds.
When targeting amberjacks, a 100-pound commander with a 12 / 0-14 / 0 round hook and a large live bait such as a hard tail will usually do well. Remember when targeting these jacks to use tighter traction than usual as they will try to take you into wrecks and break you.
The Amberjack Fork should be 34 inches long, and hunters are allowed to keep one for each person per day.
Approaching, Tarpon began appearing in large numbers off the shore. The guys on the pier have had good success but these fish can also be caught from the boat.
Live fish or large swimming baits are the two best options to use when these fish swim below the sandy strip in the bay. The key to succeeding in the boat is to advance the path of the fish school and get the bait before they reach it so the fish can find it.
Having a phishing engine can help you stay calm and not scare these fish. A medium to heavy treat is recommended with a 60-100lbs leader depending on how well they bite. Most fish run between 60-100 pounds.
Also, off shore, mackerel sting was strong. These fish can be targeted using the leader of robbery, live fish or cigar fish. Artificial baits like “musk bait” also work well when rolled up quickly in mackerel schools.
Within the bay, mangroves are also starting to appear and will thicken over the next few weeks. The best place to target mangroves is structure like rocks or piers in the bay and use a matching 20-pound leader with a 2/0 round hook and live shrimp or it usually does the trick.
Your snapper should be 10 cm long. Five people are allowed per person per day.
Finally, the bridges retain a large number of red fish. While most of these red fish are quite large, they can still have a good time on the water.
A few fish with slots were mixed, but remember that they must range from 18-27 inches to harvest with a pinched tail. The best way to target these red fish on bridges is to use live bait or cut bait.
The best live bait includes cracker, mullet, pinball or shrimp. When using the chopped bait, Menhaden or Lady fish work very well. Pair the bait with a 3 / 0-4 / 0 carousel hook and a 30-pound leader on a Carolina platform with a 1-2 ounce weight to find success.