Marathon Florida Keys Monthly Fishing Forecast – August 2010

Cast a line or dive in for some great

Florida Keys summer fun!

Marathon Florida Keys Monthly Fishing Forecast – August 2010

Banner reef action

This year may very well go down in the record books for the banner reef action we’ve been enjoying in the Florida Keys.

August brings the warmest water temperatures of the year.  The fish tend to go deep to escape the heat, and you’ll need to follow them for the most productive catching.

The 70- to 80-foot depths on the reef hold abundant yellowtail and mangrove snapper with the bonus mutton snapper on occasion.  A variety of cut baits plus small, live pinfish will do the trick.

Hefty grouper round out the catches.  Black grouper are the front-runners, but reds and gags are spicing the catches.  You will have success with any large baits, such as grunts, blue runners or speedos.

Affectionately known as reef donkeys for their obstinate nature, amberjack are waiting on the higher profile wrecks to test your resolve.  I recommend a Tsunami speed jig to get these bruisers to the boat.  AJ’s are worthy opponents on light tackle that will reward your tenacity with excellent fare from the smoker.

Nice size mutton snapper and very large black grouper hang on the deeper wrecks and artificial reefs during August.  We see muttons up to 20 pounds this time of year, although the majority are in the 12- to 14-pound class.  Live ballyhoo, pinfish or cigar minnows are the baits of choice.

Beat the heat with night snapper fishing 

Anglers looking to beat the heat choose nighttime fishing for yellowtail and mangrove snapper.  It generally takes no time at all to limit out.  These fish are spawning, so take only what you’ll use and leave the rest.  Live pinfish or pilchards will attract the largest of the mangroves, while chunk ballyhoo or chunk sardines are yellowtail candy.

Dolphin and tuna 

The dolphin are dodging the midday heat too.  The bite is best at sunrise or toward evening.  In the heat of the day, it pays to troll offshore with downriggers as most of the fish are hanging in 70- to 100-foot depths.

There are good numbers of blackfin tuna at the humps, although they tend to be small, 5-pound footballs this time of year.  The best tactic is deep jigging in the 200-foot depths around the thermo cline. 

Sharks! 

Just in time for Shark Week, huge schools of toothy critters are marauding the shallow grass flats and banks on the bayside of the Florida Keys.  The waters are calm, but the sharks are anything but tranquil.   

Catch-and-release shark fishing is an extraordinary experience for anglers of all ages and abilities.  It is quite a thrill to wrangle a 7-foot lemon or bull shark on 20-pound spin tackle.  The sharks tend to come in groups.  In a typical 4-hour shark adventure, we will catch and release upwards of 15 fish.

Spiny lobster 

August in the Florida Keys is perhaps best known for the opening of lobster season.  Buggers come from everywhere to take the plunge with their nets and tickle sticks.  You’ll also need a mask, fins, snorkel and gloves.  Most importantly, don’t forget the dive flag. 

Lobstering is 100% fun as long as you mind the regulations and are mindful of others while on the water.  Monroe County has its own set of regulations.  It’s a good idea to print out the brochure and take it with you when you go lobster hunting.

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