The fishing action is hot along the beaches, in the bays and on the flats these days, as hungry predators take advantage of the abundant baitfish that are currently in our area.
Spanish mackerel can be seen flying out of the water as they ferociously gorge on schools of baitfish along the beaches, especially around the channel buoys. Casting small metal jigs and spoons into the schools and then reeling quickly has led to some nice catches. Trolling is another very effective way to target Spanish mackerel – and you just might catch a bonita or kingfish since they’re also likely to be in the area. Light spinning gear can handle most of the fish but I recommend using a short piece of light steel leader to prevent cut offs.
In the bays, you’ll find mangrove snapper, redfish and the occasional flounder hanging out on drop offs around scattered structure such as docks, concrete rubble and seawalls. In deeper water, you’ll have the best chance of success if you stay off the fish a little and throw live baits to them. Jigs will usually work for a while, but when the fish are stacked in a small area they will eventually move away after baits have been reeled through them a few times. If you really want to bust them up, then cast a bait just outside the school and let the fish on the outside find the bait while it is sitting still. This technique helps prevent the other fish from getting spooked. If they’re slow to bite, try chumming with menhaden, pilchards or glass minnows. Chumming sometimes takes a little while to get the fish to start feeding, but a little patience usually leads to quality catches.
On the flats, the trout and redfish have been plentiful – if you can get to them while they are in the mood to eat. The topwater bite at daybreak has been decent, especially on higher tides when the fish tend to be pushed up on the hill and back into marshy areas filled with finger mullet. If you happen to run into big schools of mature mullet while searching for fish, it’s worth spending a little time casting around them because trout and redfish are often mixed in. When artificial baits aren’t triggering bites even though you can see fish in the area, try cast netting some menhaden or pilchards to use for chum. Once you get the bite going and catch a few fish, the rest of them tend to get curious and just might wind up on the end of your line!
As always, if you have questions about what’s biting, how to catch them or want to book a trip, give me a call or shoot me an email.