Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Seasonal Fishing From David Ronald Hartwell @ Big Dave's Slay City. Land based lessons.

 Late spring, small baits like mojara, pilchards and glass minnows begin to make their move and can be hyper abundant around flats and bridges with good patchy bottom. Sandy potholes in grass flats close to causeway shorelines are great places to find hordes of smaller baits at this time of year. In inside waters, trout, redfish, flounder and snook stalk these schools of relatively small baits. First light and dusk are the best times to fish around the bait schools with small white feather jigs, swim baits from 2-3 inches, or suspending twitch baits. Once the sun is up, the fish that still continue to stalk small prey in the shallows become increasingly spooky and can be frustrating to catch. To stay on the bite, try switching to scented soft plastics or applying one of the many popular scent gels too your other lures. Downsizing your leader and increasing its length to a minimum of 3-4 feet and eliminating as much terminal tackle as possible will help catch finicky fish.
With summer well on its way by late May, the smaller baits begin to mix with larger ones like mature pilchards, Spanish sardines, threadfin herring and cigar minnows and move out of local inlets. Where these baits black out the rapidly warming water, fast action with Spanish Mackerel, jacks, snook, juvenile tarpon and mangrove snapper is close at hand. Watching all of these species crashing through the dense schools of bait along jetty or shoreline walks is awe inspiring when cast against a rising sun. Small swimming plugs, soft jerk baits, spoons and top water lures are all good choices. Live bait is always a good option for fast action as well.
Summer brings the largest push of bait of the year to the entirety of every inch of fishable water you can imagine. Mullet, greenies, pinfish, croakers, sardines, glass minnows and mojara are just a few examples of the great variety of bait species available at this time of year. With such an abundance of prey species close at hand, the variety of predators available to the angler is quite large as well. The biggest snook of the year, redfish, bonita, mackerel, several species of snapper, jacks, tarpon, barracuda, Goliath grouper and lookdowns are at their peak abundance during summer. With such a huge variety of fish available at this time of year, there are a nearly limitless array of tactics and strategies to make use of to get at them. Fly fishing, plugging, jigging, live baiting and chunking will all find use.
Mangrove snapper can be best caught at this time of year around areas of heavy structure like bridges, jetties and rocky channels. Bottom fishing with fresh cut sardines and herring or live mojara to a couple of inches will take plenty of good fish. Keep your leader long and light to earn bites from these weary fish.

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