As much as us Floridians don’t like the cold fronts, this last one was just what we needed. More so than the fronts, we need calm days on the back side of them to take advantage of the fish they push down. With that being said, the Pompano, Bluefish, Mackerel, Dolphin, Sailfish, Kingfish, Cobia and Bonita have all made a great showing. Yes they may have been here early last week. However, with seas pushing the 8 foot mark and winds upwards of 20 knots, no one cared to venture out to sea. So the wind finally took a break Sunday and we’ve got a lot to talk about so lets get to it.
Let’s start offshore, what felt like a month of wind has finally let up and the fish are chewing offshore. Live baits have made a showing over the last few days, nice threadfins south of the inlet. If your looking for the Sailfish and Dolphin, 115’ is your mark. Troll amongst the scattered grass (which will hopefully become less “scattered” and more clumped over the next few days). Ballyhoo with blue and white skirts for the dolphin and naked for the sails. Nice size kings starting to show from 50’ and out. Lipped plugs, spoons and wire rigged ballyhoo on a planer or lead will get the bites. This is not the time of year to forget a pitch rod, even with Cobia not atop the catch list yet, there have still been enough around to justify bringing the extra rod rigged up and ready. Bottom fishing continues to be consistent with a variety of snapper, just remember that grouper are closed through April.
Surf fishing is starting to pick up with a nice catch of whiting, croaker, spots, blues and mackerel. The pompano have still been scattered about but a few anglers have been lucky enough to find them. Clams and sand fleas for the pompano, shrimp for the whiting and croaker, mullet for the blues and mackerel, or Fish Bites for all of the above! The fish bites in the clam and sand flea flavors have been a hard item to keep in stock, some anglers use it in conjunction with fresh bait and some use it and nothing else, I tell you the stuff just works. Main factor in locating a fishy beach will be water quality and/or clarity. If the sand is still churned up chances are the fish have gone elsewhere. Ever breath in a dust storm? You get the picture......
In the river we’ve got a great redfish bite on the west side north of Walton road all the way to Ft. Pierce. Live shrimp on a jig head is a great method. If you’re a fan of soft plastics throw them, but try going to a heavier jig head than normal, or in the DOA shrimp If you regularly fish a 1/4oz, go to the 1/2oz. These weight changes will help you keep your bait on the bottom and with the cooler temps that’s where you want to be! Remember Snook season reopens Feb. 1st. My advice if this cool weather continues, get your jigs ready.......
It’s a new year, funny but I do not remember what I did with the old
year, oh well lets go catch a fish. It was at my favored depth of 140’ that the
first six Dolphin were taken in the boat, but we had several reports of Dolphin
making the show, not big but worth the ride. Most were taken on trolled baits,
live baits were hard to come by. If it were King Mackerel that were your target
fish 60’ was their zone. We had reports of Kings al the way south to Jupiter, smoker
Kings and the interesting part was they seemed to be eating all day. So if you were
getting bit off a short piece wire may have handle that problem. To move deeper
may have helped but 4.6’ four seconds apart many anglers moved in, a little sporty
for my old body. Bottom fishing continues to be excellent , something about my age
and the wave height, well it just depends how old you are.
To the Inlet it is one cast one fish, Spanish Macs are crazy. Watch your limit,
cleaning that catch can take some time. Take the barbs off the hooks, makes for a
quick easy release. That Glass Minnow Jig has been bait, cast them out and count them
down, have the next angler split the count and you won’t have any problem finding them.
Trout bite continues from the North Fork south to Hells Gate or from Sail Fish Flats north
to the Power Plant, Trout have been chewing, watch your limits. Reds seam to have slacked
off this week, we just have to get that wind more in our favor. Lots of big Sheephead and
Drum but the Sheephead will get your attention. About those Mac’s, they are every where
so bring extra because you will need it. Pompano a hard call, maybe it the Mac’s they
don’t like? Still no pattern...................................HENRY.