One of the toughest times of year to fish is the Spring in my opinion. So many things are happening and they never seem to be predictable. We are waiting for some fish to make their way up the coast while some are about to leave. It seems that every day is a new puzzle for us to figure out. The good news is that the worst is behind us and late Spring fishing should be excellent.
The Trout bite has been good and the big Roe Trout are here. I prefer to fish for the big Trout around man made structure or blown down trees. It seems like they like the nastiest cover they can find. Artificial baits in minnow patterns such as Mirrolures, flukes, and top water plugs at daylight or low light conditions are awesome big Trout baits.
Capt. Andy Gowen of Tail Chaser Charters in St. Mary’s reports that he has been finding success in small creeks that are out of the wind. Capt. Andy and his clients have been able to produce limits of Trout drifting live Shrimp under a 12 inch cork with a 2 oz. sinker. This tactic is also bringing in some bonus Whiting and Sheepshead.
Capt. Andy said that the C MO’s Trout tournament was a blast with Skip Swain and Justin Paulk taking first place with a 5.29 pound Trout that was released alive. Tripp Lang took 2nd with a 4.68 pound fish barely edging out Terrance Grooms with a 4.67 pound stud. The weather kept several folks from fishing the event so they plan to hold another tournament on July 20th.
It’s been tough to get on the Redfish with all of the wind we have had but on a few quiet mornings the fish have been happy and tailing. Capt. Andy suggest using light tackle that allows you to stage your boat a good distance from the fish and make long casts so that you don’t alert the fish of your presence. Live shrimp are always a great choice but Berkley Gulp shrimp in New Penny Color for stained water and Natural color for clean water will work as well.
A great set up for sight casting Redfish is a Qantum Smoke 20 spinning reel on a 7 foot Fenwick HMG medium action rod. Spool the reel with 15 pound braided line and tie on a 20 to 30 inch fluorocarbon leader using a surgeons knot, uni to uni, or an albright.
My favorite fish to target, the Tripletail, are finally here in good enough numbers to get excited about. Recently I had a couple of opportunities to take some clients out sight fishing and we saw some great fish. Most of the fish that are here are of decent size and as the water warms I expect to see even more showing up.
For sight casting to Tripletail I like to take an old popping cork and cut it off of the original wire. I will then use 80 pound test monofilament fishing line and thread it through the cork and crimp a loop in one end. On the other end I will thread on a sinker and crimp on a swivel. All of this should be kept tight together so that it doesn’t twist around itself when casting. This compact, tail heavy cork will cast like a bullet. I paint the cork black so that the fish can easily see it against the sky. I then tie on a 20 pound test leader about 8 inches long with a 1/0 kahle hook or circle hook.
When using this rig you will spot the fish and you will preferably position the boat behind the fish so that it won’t see you. Cast at least 10 feet in front of and beyond the fish and then reel the rig to within 6 feet or so in front of the fish. Let the cork float naturally with the current. The Tripletail will usually notice the cork itself first and swim up to investigate it before noticing the Shrimp just beneath it. Sometimes they will follow the cork for several minutes before taking the bait so it is very important to be patient and give the cork enough slack to drift naturally. Once they take the bait it will be too late to check your drag, and you are going to need it, so make sure that it is set properly or these strong fighters will break your line.
Offshore we are still in waiting mode as the Cobia aren’t really here in large numbers yet. The Navy towers are holding a lot of Amberjack and a few Cobia but there just aren’t a lot of Cobia close to shore yet. I did get a report of Cobia at Matanzas so it shouldn’t be long. Spanish Mackerel are showing up although I have mostly seen individual fish and no big schools yet.
Capt. TJ Cheek