Ocean fish of all sorts love these versatile baits. Spanish sardines are among the best live baits when they’re available, but don’t discount the frozen ones. Partyboats, charter skippers and private anglers have been using them for a long time.
When it’s calm enough, troll the beaches to pick up awesome bluewater live baits. Abundant around the state, a 6- to 9-inch runner is perfect for big kings, sailfish, wahoo, you name it. Fishing in hard-pressured Palm Beach County, I’ve found one method that, with a little tweaking, quickly accounts for enough runners to fill a day: trolling with small jigs.
Tips for planning a center console outrigger installation. Want to build a wider trolling spread for sailfish or dolphin season? Modern T-tops are commonly built to accommodate topmount outriggers, preserving the fisharound quality of a center console vessel.
Natural trolling strips can be cut from the sides and belly portions of virtually any shiny fish, but the Florida species best-suited for this is a little tunny, a.k.a. bonito or false albacore. Let the bonito sit on ice for at least a few hours if not a day so the blood congeals and the flesh becomes more workable.
Release your catch—safely. That we need government to require dehookers on reef fishing trips is absurd, given that we’ve always had handy pliers or disgorgers to retrieve hooks from spiky, toothy critters caught far from shore. Still, it’s worth pointing out that state and federal fishing regulations for both the Gulf and Atlantic sides of Florida[...]
Fewer mistakes means more fish caught. Here are 10 suggestions. Most months, we talk about things you can and should do to improve your success and enjoyment on the water. This month, let’s turn things around and talk about 10 things you shouldn’t do.
Go long for summertime kingfish. Looking for a real rush this summer? Take your bass tackle to the offshore reefs and go after kingfish. Finding kings is a snap: Go where the bait is, or where the reefs are, usually 30 to 80 feet of water. Kings are widespread in Florida this time of year, but especially thick off the northern sides of the peninsula, and west through the Panhandle.
Notes will keep you honest, and put you on more fish season after season. I started keeping a personal log book in my early 20s running factory trawlers in Alaska, recording each tow’s tonnage, position, sea state, temperature, depth and bottom, a breakdown of the most important species, and production for the day.
In this FS Seminar, David Conway joins the Stanczyks in Islamorada, Florida to target swordfish during the daytime. The Stanczyks share some tips on rigging and tackle that have helped them successfully catch big swords under the bright sun. After some advice, Conway and the Stanczyks head out out of Islamorada in search for these big fish.
Work the waypoints to catch dolphin and other bluewater gamefish. Most all boaters know the basic marks you’ll want to enter into a GPS: your inlet, neighboring inlets, aids to navigation, wrecks and reefs. For that matter, many of the latest units come pre-loaded with charts that cover virtually any conceivable waypoint. With one exception: Strikes!
Three wahoo experts divulge step-by-step instructions for building a favorite wahoo trolling rig—no downriggers or planers required. You can check out Pensacola-based Capt. Jeremy Williams’ mono to single strand connection Yo-Zuri Bonita rig, Key West Capt. Brice Barr’s livebait rig, and Jacksonville Capt. Steve Grant’s high speed skirted lure rig, all with illustrations included.
In this Florida Sportsman seminar, FS Editor David Conway joins Capt. Mike Hogan and Capt. Erik Anderson in the Florida panhandle to talk about cobia. While sight fishing off of Destin, FL, they cover a few techniques and rigging for catching the brown bombers.
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