Fishing is hot-hot-hot, in more ways than one. When you spot a school of marine monsters just off the surf pounding the local baitfish, you know it’s a good day to be out fishing!
- by Sonny Schindler, Shore Thing Fishing Charters
Fast-moving water, structure, and/or a shell bottom has been the go-to for the speckled trout. Of course, it’s easiest when the bait is at the surface and the birds are diving. You can make quick work of the trout when that happens.
We are still loading the wells with any live bait we can get, meaning shrimp and/or croakers. However, when the bite kicks into high gear, you can get more done switching over to soft plastics. The types of preferred plastics vary among our guides. Some of the boys like the voodoo shrimp, some prefer the matrix shads, and others go to the H&H cocahoes. Some still throw the good ol’ sparkle beetles, too. If that tells you anything, it’s not what you throw, it is where you are throwing it. If the fish are there and feeding, most of the time they will hit anything with a little flash and wiggle.
The big fish are still around, and some are very close. I was driving down Highway 90 a few days ago and saw a massive school of what appeared to be bull reds and Jack crevalles just off the beach near Long Beach. I couldn’t tell if they were terrorizing a school of mullet or pogies, but whatever it was, that school was being demolished by the hundreds of big, hungry predators.
When the big stuff is not surface-busting, we are just finding the deepest water around and soaking big baits. Live white trout or big chunks of ladyfish have been the best thing going. If the current is not too strong you can freeline them, but when the water gets rolling, it’s best to sink the baits with a one- or two-ounce lead on a big Carolina rig. I recommend using a big circle hook, which seems to a) keep the little fish off, and b) find the bigger fish in the corner of the mouth better, so they don’t swallow the hook. That’s what has been working best for us.
The tripletails are still out and about, and we seem to be seeing bigger fish every week. The nearshore reefs are still producing good numbers of puppy drum and other species, with plenty of action.
A lot of folks are switching over to hunting mode, getting ready for dove, deer, and duck season. There are still people at the boat launches, bait shops, and on the water, but the crowds seem to have thinned a little bit, especially with several schools starting. It’s still an awesome time to be out there, so please get out when you can.
Enjoy this feature?