Fishing is hot in Fort Lauderdale this month, and so is the weather. The fish don’t seem to mind though, for this is one of the best months for fishing action of the whole year. Drift fishing really shines this month as the huge schools of bonitos blanket the reef and eat everything they see. An average drift fishing trip this month will come in with 20 plus bonitos, some kingfish, assorted snappers and groupers on the bottom and the usual mess of junk fish such as remoras, grunts and triggers. The bonitos and kingfish are what we target out there and it doesn’t take an expert to catch them. With all the competition on the reef for food, they eat everything they come across. Drifting anywhere from 60-200ft of water off the Fort Lauderdale coast, and you will get good action. Sardines and
ballyhoo get the best bite as far as drift baits go. If you’re fishing the bottom, either a ballyhoo plug or squid works well. Bonitos and kingfish travel in schools, so when someone gets a hit, get ready for every line on the boat to go down. Travelling with these schools of bonitos and kings are wahoo, blackfin tuna and sailfish. They all feed on the same baitfish out there. It makes sense that they would travel together. Never just assume you’re hooked into a bonito. I’ve seen many anglers horsing their fish in on the line, only to realize that it is a big wahoo right next to the boat as you pull the hooks. When you fight a fish, you wear a larger and larger hole in the fishes’ jaw, making it easier to pull the hooks. Do yourself a favor and fight every fish as if you have the tournament winning fish on the line. It’s great practice for when you do have a fish you can’t afford to lose.
Snapper fishing at night is also great in August. The calm seas of the summer months make great conditions for anchor fishing, and the temperature drops significantly at night too, a big plus. August is a great month for mutton snapper fishing. Mutton snappers are the largest snappers that we catch in Fort Lauderdale and my personal favorite fish to fish for in the whole ocean. They are cunning and can be tough fish to catch, but well worth it when you do catch them. Mutton snappers are very hook and leader shy. For muttons, use a long 60# test leader, fluorocarbon if possible. Ballyhoo plug or a half goggle eye work great for mutton baits. Leave your bait right on the bottom and be patient. This is also a good rig for catching grouper, although with the long leader, groupers often get you into the rocks. You’ll likely miss more than you catch until you get the ‘feel’ for the bite, but the more you try, the better you get at it. Good luck drift fishing on the reefs this month everyone. Sea ya on the water.