Ahhhh the cold air is moving in and the wind is strong and the bite has lessened since fall, but fish are here and it is all in the method you use and the time you put in.
This is not a time that you can run out and fish for an hour and get a bunch of fish, the only fish that will be in abundance at night will be Bluefish, During the Day maybe Bluefish. Small Sharks will be also around in numbers at night and Daytime. Spanish Mackerel, Pompano, Snappers all species will show everyday for a spurt if were lucky we will get more then a few in a short burst.
So this is to give you some pointers as to how to fish now and to help you with your patience.
First thing is bait.
Fresh Fresh Fresh this is key, I would get fresh Shrimp, Pilchard, goggle eyes, BALLYHOO will be the bait.
How to catch your bait
Please read this article for Winter bait
Winter Bait how to catch’em
Ok now that the bait is out of the way.
Fishing Beaches or sand areas of Piers or Inlets:
I like to use a Chicken rig, Guppy rig, Pompano rig.
How to make your RIG:
I prefer Shrimp or sand Fleas on this rig for use on the sand.
Rig I use is the one above in the video, I fish this from the beach and normally half way out on most piers, my bait is Sand Fleas but I do use Shrimp because with shrimp you can never know what your going to get, I catch Sand Perch “Mojaras”, Blue runner, Jacks, Pompano, Snapper, Croakers, Permit, Palmettas.
Fishing rocky or hard bottom areas around piers, inlets and where ever else you find hard bottom in saltwater.
First I use a typical bottom rig which is a a sliding weight on the main line attach to a swivel and then your leader line this should be 2 to 3 times heavier then you main line and then the hook is attached to the end of your leader line, I user a hook that will match the size bait i am tossing out so for a piece that is 2 inches by 2 inches I would use a 2/0 and a piece of bait that is 3 inches by 3 inches I would use a 3/0 or 4/0 and then for a larger bait a 5/0 or 6/0. I prefer these days to use circle hooks the hook up ratio is much better.
Bluefish – a good size chunk of oily bait, key to catching is to find them and continue to cast your bait in the same place, they have a knack for coming back to the same places.
Good areas for them are from the beach as far as you can cast, pier it would be half way out and at the very end they like to run around the pier tees but are not shy they will go right through a pier and not hesitate like many other fish.
Night time is best when they are not in full swing during the day and the bigger ones run at night.
Bait is Ballyhoo, Pilchrad,Thread Herring, Grunts, Goggle eyes, the smaller of the bait can be used live but the larger baits I suggest you cut up into pieces about 2 to 3 inch pieces.
My favorite hook size 1/0 to 2/0 circle for Mangroves and the other smaller species, for the Larger ones I like a 4/0 or 5/0 circle.
I only place my hook through my bait once in a fat meaty section of it and
also keep in mind the current strength so not to have my bait spinning down there, fish don’t like helicopters, so you want your hook in the bait as to not create drag on it. that drag force is what will propel the bait. Simple physics thats all you need to apply here.
Mangroves I find close to structure, under piers, around larger rocks. the larger Mangrove and Dog Snappers and Big Muttons will in most cases be at a distance from a pier, not always so on a jetty, they also like to feed on the sand of beaches as winter starts to fatten up for the winter.
These your going to be catching in the Day time, I do see the odd ball caught at night but unlikely.
1. First lite rod and reel to throw lures-Xraps-Yousuris-Gotcha’s-Crappie Jig-Sidewinder Jig.
2. Next way is to use belly strips on a float or just drifted out the strips. Bellys should be 4 to 5 inches long on a long shank hook and my favorite is a Carlise Blue tine mustad number 2.
3. A Float and a leader about 3 foot long then a small spoon or long shank hook with a straw over the hook and casted out and reeled in fast gets them good.
4. A long Shank hook with a Live bait preferred is a smaller Pilchard or Sardine.
5. a Bottom Rig weighted and a long shank hook and a live bait fished on the bottom.
Now fishing at this time of year is laid back and plan on hanging out for 6 hours or try to get a change of tide on both sides of it. you can never know when the fish are feeding.
Things that tell me fish are feeding and how they are feeding.
2.Abundance of bait
3.Most Important CURRENT this means the movemenet of water which translates in to the movement of FOOD.
4.Dirty water means fish are using their senses like noses, Clear water they are using their eyes mostly to see what they are eating.
So on Clearer days you need to downsize Leader and Hook size.
5. A moving Barometer – not static or still
6.When fronts move in the barometric pressure goes up or down and this tells the animals of earth something is happening and it tells us also. Once here not so good but are its way in and way out can be good.
Most important FRESH BAIT