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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sebastian Inlet Report


We have a beautiful morning at the inlet. Winds are blowing out of the Southeast at 7 mph, gusting to 9 and there is a moderate chop on the water. We have a chance of showers later today but right now, it's great! There are no NOAA advisories at this time.

We have the Blues. Blues, Blues and more Blues! Yesterday morning there were lots of Bluefish coming over the rails, a few anglers caught fish after fish after fish and most of them were good size. One large Spotted Trout was landed from the north catwalk along with Lookdowns and more BLUES. Several good sized Sheepshead came over the rails, anglers were using sand fleas, clams and shrimp. One Margate was landed as well, but Blues ruled the morning hours on the north jetty. 

Our first photo today is courtesy of Dennis Wickens. Dennis sent in the photo of Brendon Vaughn of New Hampshire. Brendon only had one night to fish the inlet  during his visit. The start of the evening brought Jacks and Ladyfish but when the tide turned to outgoing, everyone started landing big, bull Reds from the south jetty. Brendon landed the only slot Red of the night, it was exactly 27". He was using live mullet to land this perfect, multi-spotted, slot Red. 
Photo two features Logan Langston. Logan fished the early morning shift on the north jetty when he landed this huge C/R Redfish around 2:00 a.m. Logan reported that everyone on the jetty was surprised with the size of this monster, it almost looked prehistoric! The Red was released unharmed right after the photo.

From Whites Tackle - Ft Pierce / Stuart

Locally here on the Treasure Coast the inshore bite has been on fire with multiple reports of anglers catching plenty of trout just outside the flats of little mud creek!  Good numbers of trout just south of blind creek were caught on DOA paddle tails in the Arkansas glow and avocado glitter color with 1/4 red jig heads.  Plenty of bait with Snook and Jacks were reported around Bear Point on the falling tide.  Nearshore there has been reports of schools of big jacks along the beach with a few tarpon on the outside of them.

Palm Beach/St Lucie Report

Bluefish are everywhere along the beaches of the Treasure Coast. There are also plenty of whiting and croaker in the mix.
Snook are showing up in the surf as well — live bait is working best.
There are big trout and small snook in the Indian River near the powerplant. If you’re after larger or slot-size snook, the best action is still around the bridges.
Snook are starting to show up at the beaches in Jupiter, and there are a lot of big jacks (up to 25 pounds) around.
There are definitely pompano in the area as well, but they are on the move. They don’t stay in one spot for long, so for the best results, find milky/cloudy water.
Snook are chewing around the bridges in the Intracoastal Waterway. While the best fishing is still at night, there has been decent action during the day.
Bluefish have returned to the surf in Palm Beach and Boynton Beach, and are also being caught in the Intracoastal. Snook are also being reported, and the numbers have increased (pretty significantly) around the bridges. Fishing around dock lights has also been effective.
Jacks are holding around the Boynton Beach Inlet.

The best bass fishing on Lake Okeechobee has been in the morning this week, although good numbers of fish were caught throughout the day. On the southern end of the lake, East Wall has been a hot spot.
Anglers fishing the outside edges and back in the grass are having the most success. Also, live shiners continue to be the preferred bait. You can definitely catch bass with artificial lures, but the shiners are producing bigger fish and larger numbers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sebastian Inlet Report


We have another morning of overcast skies with a good chance of rain. Winds are blowing out of the Northwest at 5 mph, gusting to 8 and the water is calm. There are no NOAA advisories this morning. 

The bite has been sporadic but for the patient angler some nice fish have come over the rails. We've seen some nice Sheepshead hit any type of crustacean or jig tipped with the same. Sand fleas and small crabs are sure to do the trick, but shrimp and clams work too. If you are targeting Sheepshead, fish around pilings, docks or any kind of structure. If there are barnacles on the pilings, try scraping them off and creating a little chum in the water, it's sure to attract them. We've seen Jacks and Bues, and a few Mackerel, Trout, Reds, Pompano and Bonnetheads. 

Our first photo features Steven Walker of Cocoa. Steven fished the north jetty early morning shift and landed this huge 47" Red using mullet at 3:00 a.m. What a monster! Steven released the Red right after the photo. 
Photo two is courtesy of winter resident Rich Blum. Rich fished the south beach on Sunday morning and had a feeling it was going to be a great day, but no such luck. Rich landed two small Pompano, one Whiting and nine Bonnetheads, the largest was around 40". He's decided he's off to the fish market or he's going to find a good recipe for Bonnetheads! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mark your calendars, cancel the doctors appointment, get a babysitter, whatever you have to do to make it to Kayak Fishing with the Pro's next Saturday. This is just a peek of the FREE GEAR to be given away at the event. All you have to do is show up and you could win one of these great gifts. As a bonus, the first person to correctly tag ALL of the sponsors in this photo in their response will receive a extra gift. It's on.......

2015 Kayak Fishing with the Pro's Schedule

9:30- 10:30 Greg Timmer/ Hobie Kayak
10:30-11:30 Daryl Boyd/ Kayak Bass Fishing
11:30-12:30 Butch Newall/ Hobie Fishing
12:30-1:30 Bill Sikora/ Wilderness Systems Kayaks
1:30-2:30 Mark Naumovitz/ Hobie Kayak
2:30-3:30 Mark Nichols & Ed Zyak/ DOA Lures
subject to change slightly
Feel the Bite

Whether you are fishing with a professional guide or a friend who's never fished before, one of the most common questions you will hear is, "Did you get a hit?" Sometimes, even the old-timers say that they're not sure. Newcomers are the same, except that they're not sure more often than more experienced fisherpeople.
Sometimes, knowing whether or not you had a fish pick up (or otherwise touch) your bait isn't as easy as you might think. Other times, it ain't a question -- you got a bite. A snook bite, for example, is normally a strong pull. The fish has a behavior of sucking bait into their mouth and doing it while it's already moving away. It decides to grab a bait, begins to move towards it, and when it's right next to it it flares its gills, and sucks the bait and starts pulling instantly. A redfish can lip a bait as gently as a crab, and in fact feels remarkably like one under certain conditions. Lift the rod and the crab lets go -- the redfish feels like a bowling ball. Feeling a fish bite is key to a good hook set. In this article, we will talk only about the feel. We'll get to the hook set in another article. The fight, the feel and the hook-set are different for different fish. But they can be generally categorized.

The first thing to remember is that when we say "getting a hit," what we're really talking about is whether or not a fish actually touched, mouthed, picked up, or ran to Mexico with your bait or lure. Once you've been fishing a while, there are many cases where you know exactly what kind of fish you have on the line – or just missed having on. That's because many fish have very specific ways of grabbing their food. It's that grab that translates into a tug, a nibble, a run, a movement, or all hell breaking loose. This isn't true only for the first pick-up, but for the fight as well.

As you develop your skills, and experience different species of fish picking up your bait, you will develop an almost inbred knowledge of what fish is on the end of the line even before you see it. Some of the fish we chase surface during the fight. You can tell a fish is a 30" snook if it rolls over and shows you. A redfish not so much; they tend to bull down once you've set the hook. But a big snook will not roll, and act much like an over-sized redfish fights. A shark is another fish that is very unique. A big one doesn't seem to know it's hooked at first.
Different fisherman use various techniques to determine if there's a fish playing with, running with, or swallowing their baits. Again, we can only tell you what we do. We figure that if we provide you with a starting point, you can talk with other fishermen and compare notes, therefore building on your own knowledge – sort of like we did over the 100 combined years we've been fishing.

Keep Slack Out of Your Line

Probably the most important part of feeling a hit is making sure that there isn't a lot of slack in the line between you and the hook, lure, or bait. Slack makes it hard to feel the hit – especially a tap or nibble – and gives the fish extra room to run before they drop the bait, or you set the hook. The less slack in your line, the more likely it will be that you'll feel something unusual.
Remember to consider the pull and weight of the water and the tide as you're waiting for a fish to hit. Keep the slack out of your line and you will feel -- and catch -- twice as many fish as you are if you allow big bellies, curves, and slack shapes in the line.
This means keeping your line as tight as possible at all times. If you're casting up-tide, and the lure or bait is flowing back at you, it makes it harder to keep the slack out. If you cast across the tide and let your lure move with the flowing water, or cast downtide and slowly retrieve it towards you, the line will be kept much tighter, increasing your odds of feeling the hit and responding appropriately.
Water exerts pressure. When you’re fighting a fish, you should always remain aware of the ‘weight’ of the water itself. The line shifts direction once it hits the surface of the water. It’s one of the reasons to try to keep your rod tip pointed lower than you might think you should; it helps you feel a bit despite the pressure the water exerts on your line.

Feeling the Hit

The fishing line goes from the spool, through the guides, and down into the water. At the end of the line is the lure or bait. Since the only direct connection you have is the line itself, it only makes sense that keeping in touch with the line is the most effective way to feel if something is happening at the other end. Your hands and fingers are in the same place as the spool, so that's where your connection should be.

The best way to feel a hit is to keep a finger on the line. Each type of rod demands a slightly different method of holding the rod so that you can accomplish this simple task.

Let's start with a spinning rod. The proper way to hold a spinning rod is with the reel on the bottom of the rod. We may have said this before, but it bears repeating – don't hold you're spinning reel on top of the rod and reel backwards. If we see you doing this, we'll know you haven't been doing this for very long. Wrap your hand around the rod so that the "foot" of the reel – the part that connects it to the rod – is between your first and second or second and third fingers:

In this position, you can extend your index finger and keep in touch with the line:
The line on a spinning reel comes through a small roller which also serves as one of the hinges for the round "Bail" that holds the line and wraps it around the spool. Keeping this small roller at the top of the reel and close to the handle allows you to reach it with the tip of your pointer-finger. Once you try this, you will never hold a spinning rod and reel differently. It's the way to do it.
If you do not keep that bail-roller close to the top, the line stays too far away from the tip of your finger. It's not nearly as effective as keeping that roller-hinge where you can touch it. It's touch that let's you know the difference between a redfish and a snook.
If you're using a casting rod, keep your hand underneath the reel, and use your index and forefinger to hold the line. With a flyrod, it's simple, because you always have your hand on the line, unless you're already fighting a fish.
Once you've gotten in the habit of keeping in touch with the line, you'll be able to feel different types of strikes. Fish don't always hit the same way, so understanding the different ways they mess with your bait or lure will help you recognize when something's happening down there where the real stuff happens.
Besides touching the line and waiting for a hungry fish to run away, make sure you watch your line. And realizethat the line touches the water, and then goes into that water. As soon as it does, the pressure of the water affects the feel.
When we're fishing with people new to fishing, we often ask, "Did you have a hit?" and have them respond,"I'm not sure. Something happened, but I don't know what." Once in a while, even experts are fooled by a fish. There are plenty of times when we bring in our line only to find that our whitebait is cut to shreds, or missing completely. While they can sometime slip off a hook, more often then not something much bigger helped them a little. Despite these occasional surprises, most of the time an experienced fisherman knows when a fish picked up their bait or pulled the plastic tail off of their jig.
Several things can cause movement at the end of your line besides a fish. Your bait, lure, or weight can bounce on something, or get momentarily hung up. Grass, weeds, oysters, and other debris are sometimes caught on the lure or bait, and can create the impression that you've had a hit. Tide and current can simulate the sensation of a strike as well – particularly if you've picked up some grass or garbage.
That having been said, let's explore what happens when it is a fish that's pulling on or messing with your line.

The Nibbler

The most difficult hit to identify is the nibble. Often caused by pinfish and other small creatures, the nibble is a tiny bump, or series of bumps that occur under several conditions. The first is when a fish with a tiny little mouth is grabbing chunks off your bait, or trying to do the same to a plastic tail. Fishing with shrimp, you'll often bring the bait back to the boat only to discover that somehow he's lost all his legs, or had something eat his insides out without damaging the shell.
Despite the fact that nibbles are often small fish, there are plenty of times when a big fish – a very big fish – will cause the same tiny taps and bumps. A redfish, for example, will often come close to a bait and draw it gently into his mouth, tasting it to see if it's something he wants to swallow. Snook will do the same thing. You can't dismiss any nibble – no matter how gentle or insignificant it might seem. Always treat any hit like it's the next world's record – because it might be.
Some very desirable fish almost always nibble. Pompano come to mind. A very good fisherman that we know, James Wisner, says that you have to set the hook on a pompano before you feel it. If you fish for them a lot, you'll know exactly what he means. Since we often fish for them with tiny fiddler crabs, the baits are very fragile. A pompano will normally hit the bait with two very rapid strikes – bipbip. The bips come quickly – both often occur in a fraction of a second. To hook them consistently, you have to strike between bips. Tough, but it can be done. When we're fishing for pompano, we know what to expect, so we're constantly on edge, waiting for that first tap.

The Puller

If you want an example of classic puller, look to the snook. Ninety-five percent of the time, when a snook hits a bait, he opens his big mouth, draws in the bait, and quickly – very quickly – moves away. The hit is almost like a surge of weight at the end of your line.
Many fish are pullers. Amberjacks, mackerel, redfish (though not always), tarpon (except with dead bait), and most of the fish we seek pull as soon as they grab the bait.
It's much easier to set the hook with these types of strikes. Often, the fish will set the hook themselves, just because they apply so much pressure so quickly. In many cases, simply lifting the rod tip drives the point home. That's not to say you should assume that because you have a really hard pull that you don't have to set the hook. We talk more about this later.

The Dead Weight

It's also a type of hit. The weight occurs when you have a bit of slack in your line, and something comes along and lazily swallows your bait. You don't notice anything until you take a bit of line in and all hell breaks loose. At that point the usually start to fight. If you feel a weight and it doesn't pull back, it's probably garbage. If you suspect that fish that you're so excited about might just turn out to be twenty-three feet of old, cruddy anchor rope, simply pick your rod up and hold it there for a few seconds. If nothing pulls back, it's garbage. Fish don't ever, ever let themselves be drug to the boat without at least a little wiggle, shake, or jerk. Even really weird fish.

Feeling a Fish Bite: Time on the Water

The only true classroom for all this stuff is on the water -- on a boat, walking along a sea wall, or in a pond. The ways different fish bite is something that is both unique to a species and common to all. The issue of keeping slack out of your line, and keeping the rod positioned so you can make sure you can set the hook properly are all things we can draw as well as Leonardo DaVinci painted angels, and not give you what five or six good solid pick-ups by a snook, redfish, largemouth bass, or panfish will give you. So get out and fish -- and then get on our forums and tell us your stories.
story courtesy of