August florida keys backcountry fishing has still been fairly good even though we are getting into the dregs of summer. The weather is definitely hot but most days we've had a bit of a breeze so it makes it much more bearable. Rain has been around the last several days but it hasn't really been stopping us from getting out, and most of the time you can run around and avoid it as much of it is in isolated areas that dry up quickly as it moves out. We do have some tropical systems out in the atlantic though the current one we are watching looks to have dissipated a lot as it's entering the outer Bahamas, so we likely will only get some rain and heavier winds from it near the end of the weekend and early next week. In all honesty our Florida Bay can likely use the fresh water and some good winds and cloud cover will help cool the bay a little bit, which is around ~90 degrees right now!
As for the fishing there are all kinds of things on the table. I myself have tarpon fished the last several days. The august islamorada tarpon fishing is still a good option. We did catch nice tarpon the last 3 days though it has only been a bite or two a day and really having to grind it out. We actually did see a fair number of fish out there recently, however they are just being very finicky and not biting well. So you have to invest some time and moving around to really have a shot and it doesn't leave you with much time to do other things (which I often like to do this time of year in addition to tarpon). Most of the fish were larger (for this time of year) in the 70 to 90 lb range, and yesterdays was about 50 lbs. We also had a day close to a week ago catching 3 which was a banner day, though the next day we went out and they dissappeared we never had a bite though were able to catch a variety of sharks to keep us entertained. That's how it goes though this time of year can be spotty! Capt. Bill Bassett also had a couple nice tarpon several days ago fishing in the backcountry. Capt. Mike Bassett has also caught some smaller tarpon on his last couple trips fishing more for snook though he said the little tarpon were mixed in many of those areas.
Capt. Jim Willcox was fliming a show (The Hot Bite) and they caught some larger specimens in the backcountry. A large goliath grouper as well as a larger 'mud marlin' made for some exciting footage. Capt. Mike Venezia also had a couple larger mud marlins on his last couple trips. There have been plenty of sharks in the mix too including blacktips and lemons among others. Both Capt. Jim and Capt. Mike also reported some nice tripletails out in the gulf and near shore of the everglades. They aren't all on the buoys though, many are free floating and you can still see them on the surface and sight cast to them with bait. Lots of fun and nice size fish - great for dinner!
Everglades snook fishing has still been fair as well. The hot bite we had in the early summer when they were spawning is over with, though if you put time in you can usually catch several fish and many of them especially on the shorelines and creek mouths are larger fish. Capt. Jim Willcox, Capt. Jeff Beeler, and Capt. Gunner Guthrie had reported some nice fish using artificials and jerkbaits on the shorelines. I myself have been using bait most days doing that, and it is has been working OK too. We aren't catching too many more than they are with artificials however, as the fish are just spread out and you seem to catch one here, one there, not really big bunches in any one spot most of the time. A few red fish are in the mix too.
In the Bays there has been a mix of trout, snappers, ladyfish, and other critters. This is the usual option on half day trips. Capt. Clyde Upchurch has some nice trou the other day as did Capt. Perry Scuderi. Using artificials or small shrimp is the ticket for this fishing, though if you can find some small pilchards they work great too and you can often get some of the larger snappers this way. Capt. Bill Bassett did that the other day, though he said getting the larger legal snappers was tough but they managed half a dozen on a half day. This is a great option for family fun fishing trips in islamorada.
September is just around the corner and that is the slowest month for business here in Islamorada. Fishing can still be good however and plenty of guides are available. The possibility of a storm is always there though even though we haven't had a major hurricane in over 10 years. But if you are wanting to go fishing give us a call we can set something up short notice - no problem at all. With the lack of fishing pressure and usually good, calm conditions, fishing can be very good and you have the place to yourself!