August in Northeast Florida can be hot—but I think the last several weeks have been downright brutal! High heat indexes are not only bad news for fishing but are dangerous. If you’re like me, it’s easy to get so caught up with checking lines, switching baits, and reeling fish in that you have to remind yourself to drink water or something with electrolytes so you don’t get heatstroke out on the beach.
As for when to fish in these hot humid summer months, Bryan Curlett with Surf Fishing Solutions (https://www.facebook.com/surffishingsolutions?mibextid=LQQJ4d) echoes what I have been saying the last few months: “Hitting the beach early in the morning and late evening will produce the best bit and help avoid the crowds of swimmers and sunbathers.”
We just released a new product, our Fishin’ Girl Float Rigs, which are very different from other types of rigs because we have engineered them to have the floats ON the hooks. Why did we do this? I’m glad you asked! I am intrigued with underwater footage of fish feeding and getting hooked up from other anglers, and now we have our own GoFishCam that we are using to not only show what is under the water in NE Florida, but to research and become better anglers as a result. In a lot of the footage I saw, the pompano were sucking in the floats BEFORE they took the bait! So I said, “We have to find a way to get the floats on the hooks!” Well, we figured out how to do it, and us Fishin’ Girls have been testing these rigs for months, all through the pompano season and in many places up and down the coast, catching a lot of fish and getting consistent results. Now we are making these rigs available for everyone. Visit www.FishinGirlStore.com.
We have a few surprising twists and turns for this report for August’s surf-fishing forecast, so let’s get right into it!
Sandfleas are everywhere this summer, which has been great not only because the fish have been chewing on them pretty regularly, but it is nice for our wallets too. On my charters I show people how to not only locate them, but how to catch them whether they have a sand flea rake or not. It’s especially fun when there are kids and passes the time between bites!
Bryan tells us that “Warm summer waters also bring baitfish galore into the surf. Greenies, mullet, pogey, and many other fish mass in the surf, bringing in the predators.” I try to bring a cast net with me to capture live bait coming close to shore; however, I have been catching baby pompano and permit in the net and sand flea rake, so be sure to safely return smaller fish that are regulated so they can grow up.
Make sure to bring an assortment of baits like shrimp, blue crab, mullet, cut bait, and have plenty of options of Fishbites or other synthetic bait on hand. As I have been saying in other reports, fish in the ocean are finicky and don’t necessarily want to eat the same thing every day. Try out different baits until you hit on what they are wanting. For me, I have been still getting the best luck with either fresh dead, salted shrimp, or sand fleas paired with either pink shrimp or periwinkle clam Fishbites.
Weather and Water Temps
We are on the cusp of the worse part of hurricane season, and our waters are hovering between 83-85 degrees in the surf or higher, making it a prime situation for turbulent storms. Be sure to pay attention to the weather forecast and have your phone handy to watch out for pop up thunderstorms, especially if you are going to be fishing later in the day when they happen most frequently. You do not want to get caught fishing with lightning around!
If you are on the beach past 9 am, be sure to bring a lot of water, sunscreen, and even a sun shirt to keep yourself from getting burned. Heatstroke can come on quickly in these high temperatures, so stay safe. The hot waters will push the fish out deeper and make the lethargic, so I try to start as early as possible, even before the sun comes up. That sunrise bite is a real thing! As the sun begins to shine across the water it seems to make the fish get very active, so you don’t want to miss out on that!
As for strategy, Bryan says, “If you plan on spending the day at the beach, you should switch gears once the heat of the day sets in. We switch to a light action 7 ft outfit with 10-15 lb braid to cast spoons out towards the 2nd bar. We wade and target Spanish mackerel breaking on baitfish. Blind casting can still produce Spanish, bluefish, ladyfish, blue runners, and other species.” He also mentions that wade fishing can help you escape the Florida heat and get you away from the beachgoers in the process. That’s a win-win! For rigs, Bryan uses double drops with 15 lb mono or fluorocarbon and #2 circle hooks. If they are not getting bites, they scale down their rigs to just smaller beads or fish them naked (no floats or beads at all—just bait).
If you do decide to go wade fishing, watch out for predator fish that could be following the fish you are reeling in. Summer is high time for sharks and you don’t want to put yourself in a dangerous situation. But speaking of sharks, like I have mentioned in other reports, Bryan says to not forget to carry a heavy surf setup for sharks and tarpon. Cast a whiting head into the trough and hang on!
I mentioned a surprising twist earlier, and that is I have been seeing reports of people limiting out on keeper pompano still, even further south than Volusia County! This has been surprising to me, and something I haven’t seen in the last few years. Also, I have been using the GoFishCam every time I fish, and even when we are not catching any pompano (or just babies), most of the fish coming into the view of the camera to check out the bait have been pompano, and some look like they could be keeper size. This is unusual to me for the dead of summer, as most of the larger pompano have migrated north to escape our warmer waters, but I’m not complaining because they are my favorite fish to catch!
Thanks so much for reading! If these reports have been helpful, I would love to hear from you. Find Fishin’ Girl on Youtube, Facebook, or Instagram, and leave a comment to let me know what you’ve been catching. Tight lines!