Inshore Report

By Carlos Hechavarria Jr.

The inshore bite is red hot, seatrout engulfing anything near them, as well as tarpon, snook and tarpon. This time of year is extremely fun out on the boat. The colder air is starting to come down and the sun is shinning through almost cloudless skies.  

Fishing in Flamingo, the Spotted Seatrout action is steady. Seatrout this time of year are out on grassy flats, sandbars, or shallow ledges. Although here in south florida there aren't many true gator trouts, it isn't rare to catch a few in the mid 20's. Early in the morning try cast hard floating plastics that will disturb the surface of the water, you won't catch as many on topwater lures but be assured that any that do hit it are going to be big. For more action cast a 1/8th or 1/4th Oz jig using a 4'' Gulp Shrimp or any soft plastic into the grass flats. With live bait such as pilchards or shrimp, use a Legend Popping Cork with 3-4ft of fluorocarbon line to your bait. It isn't rare to hookup to Snook, while using these methods. Snook have been making a great comeback in the park after the cold winter of 2010.

Another fish that will fill the cooler fast is the Mangrove Snapper. Find any channel that runs between a flat or anchor near one of the small islands where the current has your engine pointing towards the island and drop a your chum into the bag and wait for the action to be non stop. Using small 2/0 or 3/0 hooks on light line will increase hook ups. Use cut bait, fresh pinfish being the best. Also, I recommend dropping back a small live pinfish on a float for the larger snapper. 

During the slack tide, I recommend letting a piece of pinfish sit on the bottom in a finger channel or mangrove point. Big black drum can be caught this way as they swim through the murky water trying to find an easy meal. Also don't be surprised if you hook up to a big shark, this time of year they seem to be everywhere in Flamingo National Park.

Off Miami, The same techniques work for both trout and snapper. Tarpon off Miami are starting to move near the bridges. Best bet would be to head out at night around the bridges casting large shrimp or using plastics. Fish the shadow lines that the bridges make at night, this is the tarpon strike zone. Also along the bridges and jetties the Snook are very active. Drifting live shrimp down the current is very productive. Another method for snook is bouncing heavier jigs off the bottom. Bounce these jigs as they drift with the current. These jigs can be tipped with shrimp, plastics or strip baits. Make sure to follow your local regulations.

Hit the shallow wrecks for your chance to hook up to a nice Permit or Cobia. Cobia are usually being caught on jigs, the good thing about using jigs on shallow wrecks is that an array of fish will hit it. I like to put a small ballyhoo on the jig when Cobia aren't being sight casted. Many times nice Groupers and Mutton Snapper are caught using this method. For Permit, I recommend using at least 40lb fluorocarbon. The reason why is because permit are very strong fish and will rub your line all over the wreck. Use a 2/0 or 3/0 circle hook and attach a crab through the rear corner. The best bait for permit will be using live crabs, but shrimp, soft plastic crabs or even crab fly patterns will work.

Another fish that is fun to catch now as the colder air and water move in are the Spanish Mackerel. Locate these fish by chumming heavily in the bay or ocean side anywhere from 10-35ft of water. use live pilchards, gotcha jigs, or cut bait on a quick retrieval. its only a matter of time before they really begin to pick up.

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