Some run for cover as others head out
August is right here upon us, and that is normally the month when all sorts of outdoor activity is either happening or right around the corner.The fishing action in August takes on an entirely different form. Freshwater activity for largemouth black bass can be one of the more difficult patterns to read. With the surface water on all of the lakes being very warm, the natural thing to do is fish deep. That would be prudent unless the area has formed a thermocline that is not super deep. That area of water with favorable temperatures will be the likely depth for the good action. Even better than a thermocline search is to be afloat before the first light in the east takes place. Then have several points, grass beds or banks with quick drop-offs located. Be at those spots casting topwater lures as soon as the structure is visible. There will likely be some fast and ferocious action until the sun brightens the morning. When that action stops, then it is thermocline time — or time to enjoy breakfast and air-conditioning. When the sun reaches the treetops in the west, then it’s time to return to the early morning spot. This pattern has produced for me many times over the many years.
On the inland saltwater scene, the fishing action for most folks is at dawn and just before sunset. There is more than one reason for this in August. Depending on the tidal flow, those are the times when there is some feeding activity. The early and late day patterns are good and certainly more comfortable than the heat of the day. There are exceptions to the early and late fishing times that may be even better times to be afloat.
Whenever the winds are calm and the water seems to take on a mirror-like appearance and the heat is at its hottest could be the better time to locate schooling speckled trout. During this hot time of day, there is less boat traffic and the waters become much more natural to the fish. The migrating shrimp and shad are still doing their thing and the once spooky fish will be looking to gorge themselves on them. When the baitfish or shrimp surface to try and escape the hungry trout, they will create quite a ruckus. That once mirror-like water will appear to be boiling as the hungry fish follow the bait to the surface ready to feed on them. Any lure that appears to be a baitfish or shrimp will entice an instant strike. Live shrimp under a float are also almost guaranteed to get instant takers.
This same type of action will also happen at mid-day when the surface is a little rough. It’s just that the bait jumping and the fish feeding are hard to see. Should seagulls be feeding on the bait, then the action will be just as good as in the slick water.
Speaking of slicks, this is another way to locate some feeding fish. Whenever the speckled trout and, yes, both gaftopsails and hardhead catfish are feeding on shad shiny, oily water will form on the surface. Then by checking the tidal flow and casting your offering a few yards behind the slicks, some really great action can take place. The smaller the slick, the fresher it is. Some of the local professional guides look for the slicks rather than the seagulls because other anglers will not bother. Fishing the slicks will also pay off in the surf.
The slicks are caused when the fish are over feeding on shad. When the fish becomes over fed it will regurgitate the oily food fish. The oil floats to the surface and creates the slick.
There is an easily identifiable odor that accompanies that oil. It smells much like fresh cut grass on watermelon. It does not have an offensive odor. Whenever and wherever you smell this odor, there are feeding fish close by. Don’t fail to check it out.
When midday fishing, take along plenty drinking water and stay as cool as you can. Wear a full brim hat. I get wet all over and then let is evaporate. That works extremely well.
Enjoy the action and stay safe.