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Capt. Jim Klopfer’s Fishing Forecast for August 2019

There is a little secret here on Siesta Key; the fishing is terrific in August!  Many anglers assume that the heat slows down the action, but this is far from true.  The reality is that due to daily rain showers, the water temperature is actually lower in August than it is in June.  Hordes of bait fish cover the flats.  This combination results in excellent conditions for anglers to succeed.  The best action will be early morning, late afternoon, and at night.

   Snook love the infusion of fresh water into the bay.  Snook migrate back into the bays after spawning out on the beach in August.  Shallow diving plugs such as the Rapala X-Rap are very effective baits.  They cover a lot of water and produce explosive strikes.  Bass Assassin soft plastics also work well.  Live shrimp, pinfish, and pilchards will also catch a lot of snook, particularly once the fish are located.  Outgoing tides at first light and in the evening are the best times to fish.

   Redfish will begin to school up in large numbers in August.  The bars south of Siesta Drive are worth a try.  Weedless gold spoons and scented soft plastic baits on a 1/8 ounce jig head are proven baits.  Hand-picked shrimp cast into pot holes is a deadly technique, too.  Low, incoming tides are best. Due to the red tide we experienced last year, both redfish and speckled trout are closed to harvest.

   The deep grass flats on the north end of Siesta Key will be good spots to target fish.  High tides in the morning will produce plenty of fish.  Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano, bluefish, ladyfish, jack crevelle, sharks, small gag grouper, and mangrove snapper will also be caught by anglers drifting the deep grass.  A live shrimp under a popping cork works very well.  A jig with a grub tail is the preferred artificial bait but plugs and spoons are also effective.

   The bars from the Stickney Pt. Bridge south to Blackburn Pt. will hold some very nice trout along with a few redfish.  This area does not get a lot of pressure in the summertime.  This is an early morning bite and a high tide is preferred. 

   In the last several years mangrove snapper fishing has been outstanding!  Grass flats that drop off into deep water with some current flow should produce plenty of nice snapper this month.  Live bait works best and baitfish will usually catch larger fish than shrimp.  A 1/0 live bait hook tied on a 24” piece of 20 pound  flourocarbon leader with just enough split shot to get to the bottom is the simple but effective rig.

   Surf casters should have opportunities for snook, the beach fishing for snook this year has been outstanding. Small artificial lures such as white jigs and small plugs work well, while live shrimp and baitfish will score more consistently. Other species such as Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, drum, trout, pompano, and flounder will be taken as well. The best conditions are an east wind and incoming tide.

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Red Hot Summer
Reel Tight Fishing Charters

This summer is a hot one there’s no denying that, but this red hot fishing can’t be denied either! Big Redfish, Snook, Jacks and Mangrove Snappers have made their way out to Big Pass and New Pass ( Connects Lido Key to Longboat Key.) The key to catching these magnificent fish is by working the tides and having the right bait presentation.
Our morning was nice and cool thanks to some late night showers but the humid heat set in fast. Our guests were 3 teenage boys who were a little tired from a week long baseball tournament in Orlando. Jake and his friends have been guests of ours for three years now and its been fun to see these boys grow up becoming young men. As a the son of a military man Jake was chipper and excited but his buddies were still a little slow to wake up. Capt. Bryan and myself caught our bait for the day and we began fishing. Jake has learned how to bait hooks and tie his own knots since fishing with us so we give him a little more freedom to make casts. Right away he hooked up on some nice snook and we knew it was going to be a good day!

Soon after we released a nice trout for his buddy Jason I watched Jake’s line bounce, I said “now that’s a good fish.” The fight was on and we knew it was a good fish just by the bend in the rod and the drag screaming run. A few nice runs but not a jumper… Hmm what could it be? After everybody had cleared their lines and the excitement had calmed down we all focused on the task at hand, land this fish! I backed the boat up away from the docks and then she arose from the depths. “It’s a big Redfish boys!!” I yelled from the tower. They were all in awe as Jake wrestled with the fish for a good ten minutes. He found out why we use a big landing net for big fish and after some proper fish handling techniques we let the big female fish swim away. What an amazing fish as we all cheered and let the fish swim away to fight another day.

We then went into New Pass to look for some snook and saw the water erupting with a feeding frenzy of Jack Crevalle. We threw our baits in and immediately hooked up with a triple header of big big jacks. Non stop action for almost an hour with triple and quad headers of these wild fish. The boys were worn out and so were Bryan and I. The summer heat told us to hydrate and so after a quick breather and ice cold water we got back to fishing. The Snook and Mangrove Snappers were pushed up close to the rocks so we readjusted our position so that we could focus on them more than the jacks. Jack Crevalle are a little bit “crazier” than the rest of the fish we target and if you have ever fought one these fish you would understand why. They tend to run a little further off the rocks and will punish a bait for being in their zone. The boys had sore hands and wrists but smiles from ear to ear and thats what fishing is all about for us. In the charter boat industry it’s important to us that are guests have fun and catching fish and a lot of them is always fun!!

Reel Tight Fishing Charters uses live bait to catch 99% of their fish. The secret to our success is to “match the hatch” and what we mean by that is to match the small bait hatchlings that look like dark clouds in the water. These schools of shiny baits attract the fish we target. Our captains catch the adult version of the schools of hatchling baits. These baits are found in the grass flats during certain times of the year as well as the beach and further offshore. We present these baits on a 3/0 circle hook (Mustad live bait circle hook) with a 30# leader attached to our 7’ light/medium tackle rods and Penn battle reels. We have six of these on the boat ready to go at all times. Take advantage of the bite when it happens and always be prepared for a fight with the big one! We always check our leaders and our drags after each caught fish. Be sure that your bait is lively and ready to swim! These fish are feeding on live bait make sure to present them with a live bait! So many times we see our guests throw a bait in the water that has been “hit” or has teeth marks on them. Thats a freebee for the fish gods as we throw those back with out a hook in them.
Be safe on the water during the summer months as the amount of boat traffic increases. Keep your friends and family hydrated and make sure to have some form of shade on the boat. An umbrella in a rod holder can go a long way and will keep you fishing a little bit longer!!