Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fishing is Good if you Have the Right Bait

The little guy in the photo is a pinfish. Each one of my fishing 101 trips starts with catching a few of these guys to trade in on something bigger. While pinfish are not as versatile as Pilchards, they are easy to catch and fish love these bite size snacks. Small hooks size 8 to 10 with small bait a quarter inch square are the ticket. A small Sabiki rig is fine, but cut it down to two or three hooks to reduce your frustration level.

Drifting pinfish past the old bridge piers will produce anything from a variety of Jacks to Tarpon. Big mangroves love pins and the bridge is holding big mangrove snapper. On the patches just on the reef and inside there are plenty of mangroves, muttons and grouper. Just do me a favor and use circle hooks so you don't gut hook the undersized fish. A light knocker rig, just an egg sinker free to slide on the line a 2/0 to 4/0 light wire circle, is the ticket. Adjust your weight with the current and bait size. From a 1/4 ounce to 1 1/2 ounce being the most you should need.

Fishing the down current side of a patch just in the sand is productive. Watching the fish take your bait is kinda fun too. If there are a lot of smaller fish in the area, try cutting a larger pin in half for bait. The little guys will go nuts pecking at the cut bait. Just let it lay until a big one shows to spoil their party.

If you hit a patch that is hot, don't wipe it out. Leaving a few bigger fish on a patch helps attract other big ones. If you take all the larger fish it can take months for the patch to reload. When you don't wipe it out they tend to reload in a few nights.

If you want sailfish, pinfish will work. The sails won't always eat the pins but they will check them out. Have a rigged ballyhoo ready as a pitch bait if they are window shopping.

Drifting the pinfish in the bay on a float will produce sea trout, mangroves, mackerel and even a grouper on occasion. On anchor, get your chum going and free line a couple and have a knocker rig or two out just like the patches.

By the way, Circle hooks are going to be required for all Gulf Reef fishing this year. Get used to them now. With circle hooks you don't set the hook, let the fish tighten the line and just reel.

Tight lines
Enjoy some Marathon Heart of the Florida Keys Fishing

Capt. Dallas

1 comment:

  1. dallas,we come for xmas for 3 weeks each year.this year we rented a 27' from vacation boat rentals.we would go out to the bay in 11-12' of water.we would chum and kill the makerels,snappers,and the occational grouper.when the wind is really blowing,we go to 7 mile bridge just west of moser.we chum towards the pilings and catch anything from yellowtails to sharks.but this year we had many calm days where we were able to go out oceanside.we would get gps #s from capt. bob from vacation rentals[nice guy],go out chumming in perfect conditions.besides the occational snapper on the flat line.or a shark and agiant eel on bottom,we don't do very well next year were thinking about hiring a guide to teach oceanside you know anybody?i think on a calm day in a 27' boat we should be able to go out far enouph to go to a wreck or one of your secret places and pull up something big from the bottom. see you soon, joe from have been slacking on your blogs.3 times a week should be good.