It always amazes me how big a difference one day can make with fishing. My buddy Ed went out with some friends yesterday and they had a great day. They went nearshore just north of Pepper Park and came home with lots of Spanish Mackerel, a bunch of Snapper, and a Pompano. The winds were NW at 10kts, and the seas were pretty flat for them.
Today, I made it to the dock with a few friends, Chris, Chris, and Chasity. As we headed out the conditions were a bit rough. The wind was howling, and it was pretty darn cold. It went from 86 degrees yesterday to today’s high of 67 degrees. The winds were a bit stronger at 13kts and changed direction from NW to straight North.
It was near low tide when we headed out. I set up to start jigging the bottom drifting, however with an outgoing tide and a north wind we pretty much sat still. Because the conditions weren’t favorable for drifting, we only drifted about 15 minutes. In that time a few fish were caught but nothing really to speak of.
The next spot was north bridge. Earlier this week I had reports of pompano and sheepshead being caught there, so I figured we would try. We fished north bridge for about 30 minutes with only two fish caught, a small Jack Crevalle and a small Mutton Snapper.
At this point I decided to take us to a spot by Little Jim’s. It was nice getting out of the wind. In this spot we caught a bunch of short Lane Snapper, Mutton Snapper, and a couple Puffer fish but nothing to put in the cooler. We stayed in this spot about 45 minutes.
Next, I took us to the inlet. I was passing the time waiting for the current to shift directions so we could drift south of South Causeway Bridge. We drifted the north side of the inlet until the current changed directions. I believe a few short snappers were caught but once again nothing for the cooler.
Since the current shifted, I ran us back to South Causeway bridge to give drifting another chance. We did one drift in the turn basin and then one drift south of the bridge. The drift in the turn basin was a bust, not even a bite. The drift south of the bridge produced a short Sheepshead, a catfish, a few short Mutton Snappers, as well as a decent hook up, unfortunately I lost the fish. I later released the fish straightened my top hook on my jig.
After the drift I took us to the Smithsonian Dock. We stuck around the dock for about 30 minutes. This spot produced a few short Jack Crevalle, a few short Snapper, and Chasity caught a 24in Snook. At this point the Snook was the prize catch of the day!
Our next spot was the area south of Harbor Isle. We fished for another 30 minutes. The wind seemed to be picking up and it was tough anchoring up. Once we were anchored, we fished for about 20 minutes. We ended up catching a handful of short Mutton Snapper, and a few baby Lane Snapper.
At this point it was about 11:00am and I was getting frustrated as I wasn’t putting us on any good fish. I decided since it was near the top of high tide to try drifting again. The first drift Chris caught a huge sail catfish, one of the larger ones I have seen. And I had what I believe was a Spanish Mackerel chase my bait and right before the boat it turned away. I got really excited seeing the Spanish Mackerel I decided to continue drifting a few more times. Each drift produced a few fish to include a decent size Bluefish Chris caught. Chasity lost a 3ft Bonnet Head right at the boat.
About 12:00pm we decided to call it a day. It started to get overcast and since the sun was hiding behind the clouds it felt cooler. We came back to the dock with one Bluefish in the cooler. We caught fish today, but the conditions made it rough.
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