The latest regulation pamphlet from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission just landed at my doorstep this week.
As a general rule, I skim the content and focus on any new regulations for saltwater marine species.
However, on this occasion, I found a very timely and important article. The FWC included a page discussing the damages chemicals and fish carcasses can do to water quality around our docks.
These pollutants directly contribute to lower levels of dissolved oxygen available for marine creatures. It is always important to be a steward of the seas and protect the environment for future generations. In the estuaries and canals, where currents and water exchange may be minimal, our responsibility increases tenfold.
Make a point of reading the label of any products you are using on the boat or around the dock to ensure it is environmentally friendly.
Your fish carcasses should be either ground for chum or used for garden fertilizer.
If you must discard your carcasses whole, take them out to sea. The junior anglers appreciate your efforts providing for their fishing future.
Offshore report: The forecast for this week calls for winds in the 5 to 10 knot range from the Northeast. The seas should cooperate and offer even smaller boats the opportunity to venture offshore.
A good bet for anglers is to drift over wrecks and reefs with a chum block and frozen sardines or ballyhoo. Use a 3-foot fluorocarbon leader with a 4/0 circle hook and always use the lightest weight possible to get down to the bottom.
There have been a few keeper muttons, black grouper and gag grouper around the 80 to 120 foot mark. The bigger fish are holding at deeper depths.
The sailfish bite is certain to get better and better as we approach February. This time of year it is crucial to work the entire water column. Sailfish may be at the surface feeding on schools of bait, but they may also be feeding 20 to 40 feet below the surface. Be prepared with a rod incase dolphin appear next to the boat. They are in the area with fish averaging in the 10 to 15 lbs. range.
Inshore report: The bite inshore is unpredictable in these types of conditions. Bluefish, ladyfish and sharks are primarily feeding at night on frozen sardines and cut bait. The pompano have been along the beaches from Jupiter Inlet to Lake Worth Inlet sporadically. The pompano are in small schools and pass at various times in the morning. Using sand fleas is the best method.
Mackerel are very hard to find on the beaches. Look for fish actually jumping out of the water or birds working the surface. As the full moon approaches, it is a fantastic time to toss out a crab on the bottom and hope for a big permit. They have been running the beaches near the Lake Worth Inlet and average in the 25- to 35-pound class. Permit are spooked by boats. It is best to fish for them in the early morning and evening hours. Jan. 23 would be a great night to fish with a moonrise at 7:17 pm. Tight lines, crystal clear waters and sunny days to all.
Is there something more you would like to see in this article? Send me an e-mail with your suggestions.
Rob Fielding is an addicted angler and the owner of Sharkey's Tackle in Jupiter. For more information call (561)630-3100 or e-mail Rob.Fielding@SharkeysTackle.com.