Great fishing: The full-moon phase around Aug. 16 will be a great time to target mangrove snapper. They are preparing for their annual spawn, which takes place during the next two moon phases. Their appetites are huge during this cycle, so decent numbers can be caught. Otherwise, getting them to bite can be tricky. The best advice for catching any type of snapper is to let it take the bait for a few seconds. It usually nips at the bait, but eventually it will grab the hook for a second or two. Too many anglers jerk the rod or start reeling prematurely, resulting in an empty hook. Expect to find a fair share of American red snapper, too, especially in depths of more than 100 feet.
Summer kings: Numerous large kingfish can be caught during this month at depths of 80 feet or deeper. We have been consistently catching big mackerel for the past few weeks.
What's ahead: Next month should bring a few gag grouper our way. We are starting to see a few keepers moving into 80-foot depths. Dead and live baits work well this time of year. A frisky live bait isn't always gag grouper's first choice, as many anglers assume. We often deploy a bonito or grunt fillet with great results. The only problem with dead baits during the summer months is that they attract sharks. Sharks have chased us off many a good grouper bite. They put up quite a struggle with the tight drags intended for big grouper.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach and can be reached at email@example.com, jawstoo.com or (727) 595-3276.