“Hey Capt what’s the hot bite?” Nearshore artificial reefs can produce some hot action this time of year. I love offshore fishing. If I had my choice I’d fish offshore all day every day because there are just so many different species of fish, you never know what you’ll catch. Might be a cobia, could be a wahoo, or an 80 pound amber jack.
My recommendation for target species, the next few weeks, is snapper, flounder, grouper and some of those smoker kings we’ve had ripping through lately. I like to steak out the kings in 6-8 inch chunks and smoke them. Once you’ve got them off the smoker and cooled, take the steaks and flake them out with a fork into a bowl (of course having removed all the skin and bloodline). You’ll end up with something resembling canned tuna fish. Toss in a bit of mayo, your favorite seasonings and some sweet relish, and whammy, smoked kingfish dip. I believe the captain’s wafer crackers are the best with Fritos scoops a close second. Mmmmm! Tastes so good, makes you wanna slap yo mamma!
If you’re willing to brave the Silver King, the tarpon bite has begun. For these elite battle hardened veterans you’ve really got to have your stuff together and you better not skimp on your gear. If you think for one second you’re gonna be able to take your grandpa’s old rod that’s been in the garage for 30 plus years and pitch a crab at some poon’s, well I’m here to tell you that you’re gonna be heartbroken when that tarpon slams that bait and spools you in 5 seconds. You need good quality gear to even think about fishing for tarpon. Now there are many different manufacturers to choose from when selecting a set up for tarpon. I won’t sit here and tell you that this reel and that reel is the best and those reels are garbage. What I will tell you is what I use and have personally tried and tested and what will work for you. My set up is Penn Spinfisher V 6500 and I’ve mounted that bullet proof reel to an 8’ Penn Battalion fast action rod with 20-40 pound line rated capacity. I also have spooled that spinfisher with 40 pound power pro. This is a great starting point for you, and remember, when using braided lines, fluorocarbon is a must! I would suggest starting with 50 lb fluorocarbon and work up or down from there. Next I’ll use a good quality 3 or 4x circle hook and I’ll attach that with a loop knot. Now for a bit of tarpon fishing etiquette, and this is something you really should heed. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to run up on some fellow anglers with your outboard. This will get you scuffed up quick. When making an approach on a pod of fish, or other anglers working a pod, stop well outside of where they are fishing somewhere around 200 yards would be a safe bet. Kill that 2 stroke and drop the trolling motor in and make you way over. Now you’re not ready to start sling that bait just yet. Try to get a “feel for what the pecking order is by loitering just outside of casting distance. This is your opportunity to observe what’s going on and what direction the fish are traveling. Try to position your boat so the fish will come to you. This way you are waiting your turn and not running over someone else’s fish. By doing this you’re asking permission and shown the other anglers a little courtesy and not just plowed in and push the fish away. After that, you’re in the rotation and can work the fish as well.
So happy fishing from us here at Florida Inshore Xtream charters and remember if you’re ready to get out and see how we do it, you can give us a call, find us on Facebook, Instagram or our web. Well folks, you know the deal..gotta get on out and get my FIX on!
Tight lines & y’all stay safe!!
Capt Jesse McDowall