Lots of fun is available right now as the bluefish are swarming in the Halifax and Indian rivers.
You may find those battlers anyplace where there is a current. Troll silver spoons around the inlet or near Disappearing Island to get folks fishing who might not ordinarily fish. Dragging a lure behind the boat and waiting for a fish to get on is something anyone can do.
Not long ago I had a lot of bluefish fun on the long pier at Sunrise Park in Holly Hill. Action was fast and furious and the blues were more than willing to play. I threw most of them back but kept one to smoke for a batch of fish dip. Can't beat bluefish for dip or seviche. Of course, they made me pay the price as they chopped several of my soft baits in half on the hit.
Look for them in the surf as well. Also turning up on the beach in good numbers are the tasty whiting. You will need to bait with shrimp to catch them.
Had a fun evening with the Flagler Sports Fishing Club up in Palm Coast. That is a great group of sports men and women who have a lot of fun while doing great work for the community. More than 100 turned out to hear me spout forth on the basics of catching redfish and black drum. I had gone there with the plan of speaking about flounder, but switched at the club's request. If any of you showed up to hear my flounder talk, I apologize. I will however be on the docket to fulfill my flounder promise for them this fall.
My good buddies Rick and Brad Kayholm from Grandslam Baits even made the long drive from Edgewater to be with us. The guys brought some samples of their newest product along to hand out. Always good to see them.
On a cold and rainy day, I took out a new bait the Kayholms and I are pretty proud of. It is another of my favorite soft shrimp tail jigs that is bound to succeed. It begins as a clear brown color and fades to chartreuse about halfway back. Irresistible to fishermen and hopefully to fish.
As soon as I launched my kayak, I knew this was going to be a short trip for the weather was just nasty. Windy, wet, cold and me wondering why I had left the warm confines of home. Some would not understand it, but I know that you all know sometimes we just have to fish. When that urge happens there is little I can do but head out. My first stop was at a place near High Bridge that usually holds red drum, but on my fourth cast with the new two-toned lure I caught a nice trout of 17 inches. As it turned out, I should have gone home right then for two more hours got me nothing else to keep. You know often I can still get a lot of pleasure from a bad trip like that one.
At one point I heard something splash right behind the Green Peanut and believed it to be a feeding fish. Nope, it was a pair of otters having a good time diving and doing somersaults. I sat quietly and marveled at their agility as they looked for food. Later I came upon a pair of wood ducks. Those birds with the very common name are perhaps the most beautiful of all the duck family. About 20 white pelicans huddled together on a sandbar told me that winter was not yet over. Those big birds will leave our area as soon as the first sign of spring arrives. Yep, I can usually find something to take home even on a bad fishing day. Oh well, at least I proved the new bait works. Look for it soon on the shelves of your favorite bait shop. The new tail will be named Dan's Irish Beer Shrimp and is sure to be a hit.
On Saturday Feb. 22, I will be at the Ponce Inlet Community Center to help judge a barbecue contest. That takes place from 5 until 8 p.m. so stop by and say hello and enjoy lots of good food. Even though I may be busy munching ribs, I can still talk about fishing.
I hope you will all get out to catch the bluefish and be sure and take a kid along. Children and battling bluefish are a combination that just adds up to fun.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.