What kinds of fish might you find on the artificial reefs and wrecks around the Florida coast? That depends on season and latitude, to some extent. In midwinter, for instance, there’s a pretty big difference between the cold, nutrient-rich green water you’d encounter off Fernandina Beach, in far northeast Florida, and the warm, crystal clear Gulf Stream along the Florida Keys.
Following the release of the Bahamas tuna documentary, Bluefin on the Line, six teams competed in the 2014 Cat Cay Tuna Tournament, held June 5-7. No fish were landed, but Amanda Perryman, Marketing Director for Costa, which produced the film, said that about 60 fish were spotted and two good bunches were baited, with no bites.
No fish in the sea is immune to the lure of fresh menhaden. If menhaden ranged throughout Florida, I’m convinced they would top every angler’s list of best baits. These fish are oily, reflective and loaded with energy. From the backwaters to the beaches, they’re a top menu item for a huge variety of gamefish, from seatrout to sailfish.
Leaving the narrow corridor of South Florida reef, anglers find surprising concentrations of sailfish to the state line and beyond. Fifty miles off St. Augustine, we were trolling in dark, green water, praying for a stray bite. I’d spent the day in a heavy jacket, trying to salvage my trip by trolling up and down the 28 fathom ledge.
Get ready…Get set…Go for Florida’s state saltwater fish! It’s finally here: November, start of sailfish season in South Florida. You wake up one morning and there’s a cool wind out of the north. Out on the reef, packs of spindlebeaks are heading south, black etchings in vivid sapphire seas.
What’s better than turkey, football and relatives you haven’t seen all year? Easy answer: wahoo, high-speed trolling and a boat only big enough for six of your best friends or family.
The sport. The new regs. The future of the fishery. Only minutes after I met Capt. Greg Poland for the first time in Key West last fall, he told me the story of some angling friends in Miami, who it turned out I knew as well, who had—ten years back—invited him to dinner. And, he said, they served permit.
Check Out This Florida Drift-Fisherman’s Daisy Chain. Every now and then, something comes around that makes you ask yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Vertical flashers make so much sense, I’m ashamed I didn’t arrive at the idea on my own. Years from now, we may look back at this system in the same way see outriggers and fishing kites.
Fish the northern Gulf this summer for blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish. It’s different than what you might find in South Florida or The Bahamas. Way different from global hotspots like Kona or Panama. We have a mix of billfish species, sure—blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish. But we have longer runs to contend with, and a harder time finding actual blue water.
An often fast-paced and highly visual pursuit, snaring mangroves within a rod length of the transom defines “cool,” but it’s also practically advantageous. Normally, when a guy tells me my fishing day will involve glass minnows and pompano jigs, I assume we’re talking flats and beaches.
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