August is undeniably one of the best fishing months of the year. In the south, the oceanic and gulf waters draw some of the most sought-after sports fish closer to the shore. Thus, allowing anglers to target species without all the deep sea and far-reaching equipment. To the north, the autumn pre-spawn has begun for game fish, driving them into an eating frenzy. Where these fishes come out of open and deep bodies of water, but closer to shorelines ahead of the returning to migratory rivers. As for bass and panfish, August presents the opportunities to catch some jaw-dropping monsters, with the weed structures they hide being at their largest. Here is a breakdown of both freshwater and saltwater species to target in August.

August Freshwater Targets

1. Muskellunge

Muskellunge, better known as muskies, is no stranger to seasonal change. For those anglers who prefer a hearty target that guarantees fast action, then the August muskie hunt is for you. Thus, muskies can be found in deeper pockets of cold water. But come with a big appetite as they eat more to keep up with the seasonal change. This is why August is one of the best times to target them. 

2. Bluegill and Crappies

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If you live nearby a deep lake, you might want to target panfish like bluegills or crappies. Although not traditionally a sought-after August target, late-season bluegills and crappies can make for a hefty surprise. Not by a lake? Any known deep body of water that sports clear water will do. However, panfish like to hide in areas with obstructions like weeds, fallen trunks, uneven bottoms, humps, and ridges can be a target habitat.

3. Catfish

With hot summer days and cooler nights, some anglers prefer to fish at night. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to targeting August catfish. Blue catfish are sluggish in June and even at the start of July with the spawning cycle. But their hunger return for August in full force. Whereas, flathead and channel catfish are consistent eaters throughout the summer months.

4. Carp

Nevertheless, carp are conceived as being snappy biters at any given time of day. This, however, is a slight misconception. Carp will bite at midday, but not as frequently as when the hot summer rays of the sun disappear below the treeline. As such, bites will pick up near sunset into the night. If you love to escape the heat like carp, cast a line in during the evening.

5. Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass

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Similar to panfish like bluegill and crappies, bass thrives in August because their weedy environment is at its fullest. Alas, being comfortable in their habitat and aggressively feeding on everything like frogs and minnows. Anglers will notice bass can be baited by spinners, crankbait, topwater, and even buzz baits. 

6. Northern Pike

Like most freshwater species on this list, northern pike, or simply pike, like to hide from the hot summer heat. Unlike muskies, pike doesn’t always seek deeper cooler water, but prefers to hide beneath structures. A pike’s perfect hide-out is somewhere deep, but also has weeds or rocks. Consider replicating bait fish that are known to have gill flash such as minnows, using a spinner to entice them. Just be careful of snagging weeds.

August Saltwater Targets

7. Striped Bass

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Late August can turn out to be an optimal time to target striped bass with an increase in appetite. Although, it is important to note in August these fish will shelter in cooler or deeper water during the day, which means bites will be minimal. To nab one of these bass, anglers should contemplate targeting them for two hours before and after sunset. If you’re an early riser, the same can be said about the two hours before and after sunrise. But August marks the last dependable time in the northeast US to target striped bass before they head back on their winter migration routes.

8. Fluke

If you live along the Atlantic coast, you are probably no stranger to enormous late summer fluke. These odd to look at flounders wonder near the shore, searching for all the baitfish that one could eat. It’s a part of the fluke’s natural migration, which sees a small window of opportunity to catch fluke between late August and September. Anglers who target fluke in this time will be granted, double-digit fish counts. Are you not sure what to do with a caught fluke, try using it as cut bait for bass?

9. Yellowfin Tuna

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If you find yourself deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico or along the Pacific Coast, schools of 70 lbs yellowfin tuna start their migration north in August. These favorite game fish can be targeted in deep water and travel in schools. With traveling from the coast of Panama, you can bet these yellowfin tuna have built up quite the appetite.

10. Red Drum

Along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, red drum season is revving up. Coming off spawning, mid-August sees red drum head near or inland in shallow flats, bayou, islands, and points. The reason? After doing the deed, these hefty fish have a humungous hunger and with an abundance of baitfish heading inland, the red drums will follow. That being said, this large appetite comes with an aggressive demeanor, which adds to the allure of targeting red drums for a vigorous dog fight.

11. Striped Marlin

Have you ever thought about trying to catch a fish that can accelerate up to 50 mph? Marlin is the second-fastest fish in the world and offers anglers an adrenaline-pumping experience. August marks the start of the striped marlin season, which will run until November. If you want to target one of these 1-ton monsters, head to the Pacific Coast.

August Offers Abundance

August marks some of the most diverse selection of target species seen throughout the year. This period sees migratory species on the move, either coming inland or preparing to return to the winter waterway. Thus allowing anglers the opportunity to get close without all the equipment normally used to target them. This month presents the unique opportunity to fish under the stars, and reel in favorite game fish in the cool of the night. Furthermore, it brings forth the jaw-dropping sight of large bass and panfish that leave you yelling across the waterway in bewilderment. But one thing is for certain, and it’s that August offers some of the best fishing, regardless of whether it is freshwater or saltwater.