August is upon us and so is the heat here in Islamorada, Florida Keys. The fishing can be just as hot though so that is a good thing. On my full day trips we've been hitting the water early getting a 6 AM departure which helps a lot with bait catching and fishing in general as the early hours are often more productive. However early afternoon fishing can still be good too it just takes a little knowledge where to go, usually involving cooler currents, deeper water, etc... Tarpon fishing has still been pretty good for the most part though getting inconsistent. Whereas end of june through the tail end of mid-july, many of my tarpon spots held hungry fish every day like clockwork if you got there first thing in the morning, now some days they are there and some not. Or some days they will eat and others they don't seem interested. Though my best days this week we landed 9 out of 12 tarpon in two trips, most in the 30 to 60 lb range. I've been fishing mostly fresh mullet that we catching first thing in the morning still in the backcountry. In the bays the trout and snapper fishing has been best out closer to the gulf. Here the water is cooler and also alive with various baitfish - ballyhoo, pilchards, pinfish, mullet, and more. Often I am anchoring on the edges of banks out there and chumming up the bait. Whilst doing that, anglers can fish off the opposite side of the boat and catch good size mangrove snapper on cut bait, trout, ladyfish, and other specimens. When the live pilchards come up in the chum, time to throw the net. These guys are great bait for tarpon, snook, redfish, and more. But mostly I am using them for snook. Pitching around the shorelines and island moats has been producing nice fighting snook on light tackle. In some of the deeper holes off the mainland area, I did have several days of catching big snook in the 10 to 15 lb range which was great to see. We've also had action with large goliath grouper in these holes as well. Some of them outclass the tackle, but we managed to land a 150 lber the other day on a 15-30 lb rated rod! Other smaller goliaths we've been getting are usually more manageable. This has been my routine most days, and on a good day you can get all of the above mentioned fishing into an action packed trip of a life time. Of course not all days do the fish cooperate as you like, but the great thing about the Florida Keys and Islamorada in particular is there is always something else to fish for. The gulf can be great for permit and tripletail this time of year as well as some straggling cobia. And don't forget the guys with the real skinny water boats are mohawking the redfish early in the mornings up in 4 inches of water.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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Florida Keys Tarpon Fishing with Capt. Rick Stanczyk