Here we are in August and the weather has been so up and down this year! You name it weÂ?ve had it; a hurricane, hot, warm, cool, rainy and dry! Welcome to NC summer weather, it can change in an hour or a minute! IÂ?ve had to work a little harder this season with all the weather, but most days we are getting good numbers of fish in the boat. Here is my August Fishing Forecast/report.
The Flounder fishing has been good to very good this season with a fair amount of nice fish coming in over four pounds and three over five. The name of the game for me this season has been using artificial baits to catch the bigger Flounder. Two baits that have really worked well for me are Berkley Gulp five and six inch Jerkshads in colors pearl white, chart pepper neon and new penny (when the water is stained). A bait I started to use last season for Flounder that has a good price tag on it is the Berkley Havoc Grass Pig soft plastic lure. This is a bass (fresh water) bait but man when you see this thing youÂ?ll know it is sure to catch Flounder as well as Redfish too! The colors IÂ?m using in the Berkley Havoc Grass Pig are pearl white silver fleck, swamp gas and chartreuse.
When rigging the Jerkshad and Grass Pig baits, I prefer a long shank jig head to hold the baits on securely. Saltwater Assassin and Blue Water Candy both make a very good jig heads with this design of a longer shank. Colors of jig heads for Flounder fishing does not seem to be a big deciding factor, but I stick with mostly gray, red and white (pearl). I prefer forty pound fluorocarbon leader in Berkley Pro Spec clear. Just remember when you hook that door mat Flounder to take your time and donÂ?t pull his head out of the water, for she may just shake that hook out!
The Spanish Mackerel are biting most days, but the best bite has been earlier in the morning when the sun is lower in the sky; also the fish have been a little deeper in thirty to fifty feet of water for the last few weeks. When you mark big balls of bait with your fish finder this is usually where youÂ?ll find the most Spanish biting. Clark-spoons in sizes 00 and 0 are doing the trick in colors silver, gold and pink flash behind number one planners. The Spanish hitting on top are hitting Blue Water CandyÂ?s Spanish Daisy chains in colors pink, blue and silver; the great thing about this rig is you can pull it off lighter tackle outfits. Another new lure that is working well for the Spanish when IÂ?m casting to them is the Hogy Epoxy minnow lures, these little casting jigs are just the right weight and size to get those fast moving Spanish to bite! All the colors that the epoxy minnow comes in seem to work, but I prefer the pink or blues ones best. Also the hook that comes on these lures is great, finally a good hook on a lure right out of the package!
The Sheephead fishing is still going very good and should be good until late October. Rigging is easy for Sheephead; I use a short carolina rig with forty pound mono or fluorocarbon leader about eight to ten inches long. The hook is a number one or 1/0 live bait nose hook; small, sharp and strong, very important for Sheephead! Look for Sheephead around pilings, bulkheads and large oyster rocks that stay covered up by water most of the tide. For bait, I catch fiddler crabs on mud banks on the ICW. Sheephead fishing takes patients and time to catch them but itÂ?s worth the time and they are good to eat!
Tarpon fishing is starting to crank up around the area, with a good handful of fish being hooked and caught off many of the local piers and just off the beach in boats. Tarpon fishing is not easy; it takes patients and time, but the payoff can be very rewarding! I fish for Tarpon on the bottom or free lining, using live and fresh dead baits like; spots, mullet and menhaden. IÂ?m rigging these baits on fish finder rigs, with three to five feet of 80 to 100 pound mono leaders. Circle hooks are the best bet for good hook ups and landings for Tarpon in hook sizes 7/0 to 10/0 depending what hook series/maker you like. I have also had a fair share of Tarpon on my kite rig with live baits like mullets, mullets and menhaden. Hey give the Silver King a try sometime; you never know the fish god might hook you up with a Tarpon!
The shark fishing picks up very good during August! IÂ?m not talking about one to three footers; IÂ?m talking about four to seven plus footers, running fifty to two hundred pounds; on light tackle and fly rods. DonÂ?t knock it till you have tried it! ItÂ?s a lot of fun; most of the sharks come right up to the boat and take the bait or fly. We catch Black nose, Dusky, Black tips and a few Hammerheads from time to time as well.
Best baits for the near shore sharks are, fresh and live Menhaden. When I use bait to catch the sharks I spinning or convection reels, with 300+ yards of thirty and fifty pound Spiderwire Ultra-cast braid. Rigging the baits; eight feet of 80 pound mono leader; some will wind on to the reel. Connected to the 80 pound mono is an fifty pound swivel, then two to three foot of #9 SS wire and an 8/0 or 9/0 off set circle hook. If you prefer Fly fishing, I like Striped bass flies in Menhaden patterns with 4/0 and 5/0 hook sizes. We use ten to twelve weight set ups; have lots of extra flies with you!
IÂ?m still catching a handful of Cobia and just like last year I think we are going to pick up some all summer long! The water has been stained lately from all the wind and rain; this makes it much harder to see cursing Cobias. With that said, try to look for clearer water pockets to see the Cobia especially around inlets. I throw big jigs, swim baits and live bait to the Cobia when I see them. Color really does not seem to matter, brighter the better; Blue Water Candy makes some very nice Cobia jigs, check them out at our local tackle shops! Tip your Cobia Jig with a four inch Shrimp or five inch Jerkshad from Berkley Gulp; this will help get that Cobia to eat that jig! When IÂ?m not sight casting for them, we are fishing around inlets, shoals and near shore artificial reefs. I float fish, bottom fish and kite fish in these areas with live menhaden, blues and mullet as bait.
Fishing Gear I use:
Reels: Redfish, Flounder and Spanish casting: PENN Battle II* or Conflicts spinning in sizes 2500, 3000 & 4000 sizes. Tarpon, Sharks and Cobia Fishing reels: PENN Spinfisher V 6500 & 7500, PENN Fathom 25N and Torque 15 & 25N. Line: Spiderwire Ultra-cast braid in 8, 10 and 15 pound. Tarpon, sharks and Cobia Line: 30 or 40 pound Berkley Big Game Mono. Rods: PENN Legion or Battalion* 6Â?6Â? or 7Â? eight to fifth-teen pound class. Tarpon/Cobia Rods: PENN Bluewater Carnage CARB700M or PENN Rampage jigging series in 50-100 class spinning and casting. Leader material: Tarpon/Cobia; Berkley Big Game mono & Fluorocarbon in eighty to one hundred pound. Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon leader material. Cast nets: Betts Â¼Â? mesh six foot net for finger mullet and small menhaden, Betts Super Pro 3/8Â? mesh eight foot net for larger menhaden and mullet. Great Quality Nets at a Fair Price; Betts knows Nets!
Thanks for reading these Forecast/reports, if you have any questions or comments just let me know. Good fishing to you and stay cool out there!
Capt. Jot Owens
PENN Tackle Elite Staff
Ranger Boats Pro Staff