I’m happy to report that this go ’round there aren’t any substantial negative issues to talk about. The water has been clean (except for when it’s not supposed to be), the weather has been mostly pleasant although a bit hot, and the fish have been cooperative.
Inshore Fishing Report
Our main focus has been inshore fishing as of late. The Trout bite has been good but don’t expect easy limits like we see in the Fall and Winter months. We’ve been able to find nice mixed bags of Trout, Redfish, Flounder, and Black Drum and the Ladyfish, Blues, and Jacks have been making sure that the rods stay bent even when the more desirable fish aren’t biting.
The Tripletail fishing is still going but not as good as it was previously. It’s still worth taking a look at when the conditions are right though. The good news is that it’s the right time of year to start looking for big ones around channel markers around slack tide.
Nearshore Fishing Report
On the nearshore side of things, the Shark fishing has been strong. If you want your arms stretched we should have no trouble dialing up some big Black Tip and Spinner Sharks for you. We are also starting to see Tarpon more and more frequently and I expect to start dialing them in over the coming weeks. For right now, unless you are a die hard Tarpon angler and want to take your chances, we are considering them targets of opportunity.
Offshore hasn’t been terribly exciting. We’ve made some trips to the closer reefs around 10 miles out to catch Spadefish and spotted a few Cobia but unless you go out a good bit further, there isn’t much to bother with out there. On the right day when we do venture out to 25 miles and beyond you can expect Amberjack, Sea Bass, Kingfish, Barracuda, and the occasional Cobia.
A little fishing tip for you…
Today I had a long time customer and friend call me with a question and I want to share it with you so that hopefully you can benefit from it too if you have your own boat and run into the same issue.
He said that he has been going to his normal inshore spots and trying every technique he can think of, but can’t seem to get on the fish. He’s tried artificial lures and live bait with varying presentations with no luck.
My opinion is that it’s not an issue with presentation, but rather geography. In other words, the fish aren’t in his usual spots.
I told him that recently out of necessity I decided to take some clients to an old spot that we fished heavily years ago. The weather and tides prevented us from fishing the areas that I had been finding fish in and we were close by so I gave it a go. We pulled in and immediately got on a great Trout bite, followed by a run of Redfish with some Flounder mixed in. All of the fish were in depths of 2 to 5 feet, so I suggested that he focus on areas in that depth range.
Focus on One Depth Range
That brings me to my first point. When you are scouting new areas, try focusing on one depth range. This will allow you to move from spot to spot quickly, without having to change rigs, and rule out unproductive spots. You can single out spots on your chart or just check spots that you see while riding around. If you pull up and don’t get a bite in a few minutes, pack up and move on. Trout, Redfish, and Flounder will move in order to find places that are comfortable and that provide food. Just because they were there a year ago or even yesterday, doesn’t mean they’ll be there today. Just because they WEREN”T there a year ago or yesterday doesn’t mean they AREN”T there today. It’s all about covering water.
Start Early With Topwater
My second suggestion was to get out there early and throw topwater plugs. Although you can catch fish on topwater baits in peak sunlight, the bite is going to be best in low light conditions. Topwater plugs make great search baits for a couple of reasons. One, you don’t have to worry much about getting hung or cut off on shells that cover the bottom. Two, they cover water quickly. If you know of a long stretch of shoreline that looks like the whole thing is fishy, break out the topwater plugs at daylight, put your trolling motor down, and fish the whole thing. When you get bites, make mental notes of where they were and make a second cast. You’ll quickly know if the fish are there and you’ll find the hot spots along the bank while you’re at it. Now you can come back on another day and really dial each spot in. Your rolodex of spots just got a little bigger.
Keep it Simple
I’ve already brushed on the third and final point, but now I would like to expound on it a bit. This has to do with keeping your rig simple. When you’re scouting, if you’ll do what I suggested in my first point and stick to one depth zone, just keep one rig on and go with it. There’s no need to switch from a popping cork, to a drop shot, to a jig, to a crank bait, to a spinner bait, and a jerk bait. I suggest grabbing a rig that fishes that depth zone well, and throwing it until your arm falls off or you find the fish. Furthermore, while many artificials do the job just fine, I personally feel better scouting with live bait. That way I can be confident that the reason the fish didn’t bite is because they just weren’t there and not because I had the wrong color, weight, or retrieve. You can always come back later and get fancy once you know where they live. If the fish are shallow, try a popping cork. If they’re deep, try an adjustable cork. If they’re around cover, try a Carolina rig or pin a shrimp or mud minnow on a jig head.
You may be thinking that it sounds like a good way to completely waste a day just hopping from spot to spot. Maybe so. However, if you put your time in and cover the water, your future trips will pay off. Also, by no means am I saying that once you find the fish that you should keep moving. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and put ants on ’em once you find them! When they quit biting you can get back to work on expanding your playbook.
Once you’ve found some new spots that hold fish you can come back and learn them intimately. You’ll know that if “that piece of shell over there starts to show and they don’t bite, they ain’t here”. You’ll know that when the wind blows out of the southeast, a nice little rip forms up off that point on the first of the outgoing and that’s where they’ll be. First though, you have to find where they live and that is simply a matter of covering ground. You’ll be much more efficient in doing that if you plan your trip around depth rather than a general area.
This report is brought to you thanks to my good friends and sponsors at Mossy Oak Properties Coastal Land & Real Estate. Check out this week’s feature listing! http://www.mossyoakproperties.com/land/20944