High winds and subsequent small craft advisories through most of the week kept many anglers in port or close to shore. Seas are forecasted to subside through the weekend and we expect exceptional fall fishing to continue.
Deep grassflats and relief areas around the 20-foot contour line are likely to continue to produce non-stop action from a variety of species. Spanish mackerel, sharks, cobia, spotted sea trout, grouper and an occasional snake kingfish will likely constitute your bag. Drifting with quarter ounce jigs near the crab trap lines is a good place to start looking for the action. Live sardines are readily available and having a live well full is indispensable.
Once you have connected with a mackerel, anchor up and suspend a block of frozen chum from a cleat. Bait a couple of rods with live sardines on a long shank hook tied to a section of 60lb monofilament leader and set the rods in the holders. Next, begin to cut or tear a few minnows up and slowly disseminate them into your chum line. Once one of your rods draws a strike, begin to “sweeten” the chum line by taking a handful of live minnows and slightly squeezing them before tossing them out into the chum line. With a methodical technique in chumming, nearly all of the available species will find you, particularly near small rock piles.
Prime locations of shallow rock piles are closely guarded secrets. As with all fishing spots, the best ones are the ones you find yourself. There are several ways to do this. One method is looking for crab traps piled up together after prolong periods of high winds like we have experienced this week. Crab trap floats twisted together or within a few feet of each other have likely been “crawling” on the bottom with the high seas and have now become obstructed on some rocks below.
Capt. Robert McCue can be reached at 800 833-0489 or through his website www.GiantTarpon.com