August and September Fishing Destinations

First choice: Panama Second choice: Costa Rica In Panama, blue marlin are plentiful enough to share the spotlight with blacks this time of year. First choice: Australia Second choice: Panama It’s peak time for granders in northeast Australia, as huge blacks forage along the Great Barrier Reef, between Cairns and Lizard Island, a stretch that has produced over 800 marlin exceeding 1,000 pounds. First choice: North Carolina Second choice: Virginia With rising water temps, many sails migrating up the U.S. Eastern Seaboard push north to Virginia, but the largest concentrations remain off North Carolina’s Outer Banks. First choice: North Carolina Second choice: Bermuda Fishing for striped torpedoes heats up in Tar Heel State waters this month. Fast-trolling Iland lures rigged with ballyhoo at staggered depths along the offshore canyons and around various humps off the Outer Banks pays dividends. First choice: Massachusetts Second choice: Prince Edward Island The fleets out of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts, continue to find action at Georges and Stellwagen banks, Jeffreys Ledge and Cape Cod Bay. Some are increasing their catches using kites instead of balloon rigs. First choice: Florida Second choice: Belize Snook season opens September 1 in Florida, and plenty of them gather in passes and inlets on both coasts. First choice: Louisiana Second choice: North Carolina It’s transition time for reds in Louisiana, and large, mature specimens gather in schools and start to move from the marshes and inside bays toward the Gulf. First choice: Florida Second choice: New York Calm seas in South Florida this time of year are ideal for drifting rigged baits and strobes or Cyalume sticks.

The Salt Water Sportsman editors give you the top two locations to go in August and September for your favorite saltwater species, plus guidance regarding why the bite there is smoking hot and how you should plan your next trips.

Pacific blue marlin
Pacific blue marlin

First choice: Panama
Second choice: Costa Rica

In Panama, blue marlin are plentiful enough to share the spotlight with blacks this time of year. While most fall in the 250- to 350-pound class, a few exceeding 500 pounds are bound to oblige. Costa Rica’s offshore FADs are the Pacific’s next best bet for blues; they require long runs and often overnighting at sea.

Atlantic blue marlin
Atlantic blue marlin

First choice: U.S. Virgin Islands
Second choice: Bermuda

The North and South drops, the deepest in the Caribbean, respectively located 20 and 8 miles off St. Thomas, stay hot. A smaller drop surrounding nearby St. Croix also holds fish in late summer. Big blues remain on patrol off Bermuda, where several specimens surpassing the 1,000-pound mark have been caught this time of year.

black marlin
Black marlin

First choice: Australia
Second choice: Panama

It’s peak time for granders in northeast Australia, as huge blacks forage along the Great Barrier Reef, between Cairns and Lizard Island, a stretch that has produced over 800 marlin exceeding 1,000 pounds. Blacks prowl Panama waters, between Jaco and Coiba Island. Seamounts as shallow as 300 feet are key locations.

White marlin
White marlin

First choice: Virginia
Second choice: Maryland

The ongoing northbound migration brings pods of active white marlin to Maryland waters, within reach of game boats out of Ocean City. The strongest bite for the next four to six weeks, however, is expected from Virginia Beach, Virginia, south to Nags Head, North Carolina, where the run to the big drop on the continental shelf is closer to the coast.

Atlantic sailfish
Atlantic sailfish

First choice: North Carolina
Second choice: Virginia

With rising water temps, many sails migrating up the U.S. Eastern Seaboard push north to Virginia, but the largest concentrations remain off North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Using sonar, pinpoint schooling baitfish to locate feeding sails. Then slow-troll a spread of liveys or rigged ballyhoo to tempt the fish.

Pacific sailfish
Pacific sailfish

First choice: Guatemala
Second choice: Mexico

Guatemala’s insane release numbers dwindle considerably this time of year, but boats still average half a dozen a day, and some tally twice that number when a hot bite goes off. Meanwhile, along Mexico’s west coast, the sport-fishing fleets from Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta enjoy some the year’s best sailfish action.

striped marlin
Striped marlin

First choice: Mexico
Second choice: Ecuador

Although striped marlin won’t peak for another six weeks, Cabo San Lucas remains a safe bet. However, the Gulf of California, especially between Loreto and La Paz, is known to yield some excellent catches this time of year. The waters surrounding the Galapagos are bumpy for the next few months, but they continue to yield solid numbers of stripes.

Wahoo

First choice: North Carolina
Second choice: Bermuda

Fishing for striped torpedoes heats up in Tar Heel State waters this month. Fast-trolling Iland lures rigged with ballyhoo at staggered depths along the offshore canyons and around…

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