August 2016 Fishing Forecast
July 28, 2016 Islamorada 7 Photos
Barracuda (Great)
Barracuda (Great)
Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)
Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)
Redfish
Redfish
Snapper (Mangrove)
Snapper (Mangrove)
Snapper (Mutton)
Snapper (Mutton)
Snapper (Yellowtail)
Snapper (Yellowtail)
Snook
Snook
Speckled Trout
Speckled Trout
Tarpon
Tarpon
Tuna (Blackfin)
Tuna (Blackfin)

Trip Summary

August here in the Florida Keys is a Waterman’s dream come true and it is also a Foodie’s delight as well. It is very simple, August 6th is the opening of Lobster season and along with a great haul of “Bugs” as us, locals refer to the Florida Spiny Lobster as, the reef will be buzzing with fantastic fishing opportunities. A platter of fresh Lobster tails fresh off the grill, some Panko encrusted Snapper and a pile of whole fried Lionfish will go great with a growler of Ocean Point Red Ale from the Islamorada Beer Company Brewery & Tasting Room and you have a great homegrown, locally sourced meal to share with friends and family. Beat the heat of August with nighttime reef fishing, which will be off the hook for Yellowtail & Mangrove snapper and if you want to work on your tan head offshore for schoolie Dolphin & Blackfin tuna. Lobster season kicks off this month on the 6th and for the first few weeks, it will be pandemonium all through the island chain. Here are a few things to keep in mind for a safer and easier lobster hunt. Display a dive flag at all times, more on that later. Have myFWC mobile app on your phone, here you’ll find the rules and regulations for all types of fishing and harvest regulations. Remember all lobster must be measured in the water first! You can’t bag them in water then measure on land or boat and sort out the undersized or short Bugs. All those that are hunting Bugs must have a measuring device on their body while hunting. Each licensed hunter must also have a Lobster permit along with a Saltwater license. There are bodies of water where you cannot hunt or harvest Lobster as well as you can’t even have Lobster on your boat! The entire portion of Florida Bay that lays in the Everglades National Park is a Lobster Sanctuary and you a forbidden to hunt or have in your boat any part of a Lobster at all! Know the Harvest limits for Lobster and areas of No Take these are strictly enforced by the FWC, U.S. Coast Guard and local Police here in the Keys. The Dive Flag is the most important item in this whole Operation Drawn Butter! 1. Dive flags must be flown at all times while anyone is in the water. 2. You must idle only when within 100 yards of a dive flag. 3. While diving-snorkeling from land the dive flag must accompany you on a float. 4. The flag must have a stiffener in it to make it clearly displayed, it cannot hang limp. 5. Stay within 100 feet of your boat while in the water. 6. The dive flag is no silver bullet, it will not stop a boat load of bad drivers from running you over! Stay vigilant. And pay close attention to approaching boats, you must assume that all boaters have no clue what so ever as to what they are doing! I can’t stress it enough that this time of year is the most perilous time of the year to be boating the nearshore waters of the Florida Keys and that you as a boat driver or passenger must keep a very close eye on the water for floating heads and the bubbles of SCUBA Divers. You are ultimately responsible for you own safety and the safety of anyone on and in the water that you encounter out there. Every bridge area is a very dangerous place as land based and boat based Lobster hunters will be risking life and limb in the blind pursuit of Bugs, travel these areas at the slowest speed possible to stay safe. The catching in the backcountry waters of Florida Bay has been really really good. The 800-pound gorilla has been the salinity issues due to the overwhelming lack of freshwater delivered to the bay and the associated Seagrass die off brought on by the lack of freshwater delivery and drought. Yes, there is a very large area destroyed by the die off but Florida Bay is gigantic and has a prolific fish life. The majority of the damage is centered around the Flamingo area and to the East and West of this, you will find healthy Seagrass meadows and very good fishing still. Snook fishing along shorelines and beaches is incredible, this catch and release fishery has been fantastic with large schools of big Snook crashing bait, plugs and flies all over the place. Mixed in with these you will find large Sea trout, I talking’ about fish over 22-inches slapping your presentations silly! Tripletail is an amazing fish. Its hard fighting and great table fare and will eat an assortment of lures, flies and bait as well, they will challenge the best of casters when they are laid up around floating debris and they can be skittish at times but well worth the effort. Check out the Now or Neverglades movement and sign the Declaration to have your voice heard by politicians, go to the Glades Declaration website. Capt. Matt Bellinger
Matt Bellinger
Islamorada, Florida, United States
Bamboo Charters 2 thumbnail
Bamboo Charters lets you explore Islamorada backcountry waters, inshore hot spots, Florida Bay everglades, nearshore reefs of the Atlanic and more. It’s year round, it’s productive, and it’s enjoyable. Whether you want to introduce your ...

Other reports from this captain

July 2017 Fishing Forecast
July 2017 Fishing Forecast
June 16, 2017
July is here and with it comes hope for a drier month. Yes we needed June’s rains, but every day brought wind & rain and enough is enough! June also brought a phenomenal Dolphin migration, I speak with offshore crews on a daily basis for my radio reports and all have said what a fantastic season they’ve had so far. Tarpon season is getting mixed reviews so far, many backcountry guides are saying the same thing, that the Tarpon haven’t been migrating along their usual patterns of travel. Some blame the wind and rain and others just shake their heads and hope for a better July. I feel its a bit of weather and mostly due to habitat loss and horrible water quality in Everglades basins, more on the later. All in all July is looking like a winner all around for water enthusiasts. Call them what you want, Dolphin, Mahi or Dorado, but these blue, green and gold beauties are the rock star of Florida Keys fishing! Some will say its the Sailfish and others will argue its the Silver King, the Tarpon. But year in year out for people go offshore looking for Dolphin. It could be that they are flat out the best tasting fish that swims past the Island Chain and the easiest to fish for, no matter what, they are without a doubt the People’s Choice. Hugs schools of ravenous Schoolie Dolphin appeared offshore of the Florida Keys in June and they’ve been found from 200 feet of water on out the as far as you wanted to venture. Easy to spot on floating debris or under birds and easy to approach, these fish are made to feed, fight and thrill. the shear number of fish in the schools has been hard to comprehend and the hope is that we will see a massive Fall migration after these mahi have put on weight. Dolphin can put on as much as 20 pounds as they move up the coast to the Carolinas for the Summer! July also offers amazing Mangrove and Yellowtail snapper fishing as the spawn kicks off this month. Reef fishing becomes very appealing as a night time event, you will beat the heat and the night bite is very productive. The reef will be lit up day or night and it will be something of a parking lot in the more popular areas. Summer time brings out boaters with different agendas and with levels of experience at the helm. As always take care under way and be aware of Dive flags and of careless boaters. Many South Florida boaters break out their boats for the Summer season and its important to check your safety gear, flares, fire extinguishers and life jackets, also check your Florida fishing licenses and beside that they are up to date. Go to www.MFWC.com and you can find all of the size limits, possession limits and seasons for fish here in the Keys. You can also purchase your new fishing licenses here and get your license as a hard card as opposed to a flimsy paper one. Backcountry fishing has been good this year and some of the best Sea trout fishing in the past few years has been had deep in Florida Bay. Family fishing really takes off this month, Half day trips to the reef and backcountry are perfect for families and groups. Florida Bay offers calm waters, lots of snapper, sharks, trout, jacks and that equals action for new fishermen. The reefs do the same and fish from both sides are great on the table.Tarpon will be eating too and fly fishermen will be looking for schools on the oceanside this month. Bonefish action has been very good on the oceanside with reports of nice sized schools and fish in the 6-8 pound range becoming the norm. I offer bay boat trips for groups up to 4 people and we now offer a larger Parker 2510 boat that offers plenty of shade and deck space. We offer custom trips for you and your family or group of up to 6 people. Sandbar trips, Sunset trips, snorkeling, fishing and ecotours. You can mix up the day and do a bit of everything and we include all the gear you need for a 2-4-6-8 hour tour.