What should I do if there is no live bait available? This inevitable question arises for every angler, either inshore or offshore, at some point.
The very good anglers and professional guides will tell you that the ability to use artificial lures sets an average angler apart from a very good angler.
I personally have spent the past five years learning about and discovering an arsenal of lures that allow me to target several species, across a wide variety of conditions and locations.
With so many distinct products to choose from, there is a great deal of merit in visiting your local tackle shop to tap into their knowledge about artificial lures. Local tackle shops have a network of anglers and can draw on personal accounts to share credible information on when and how to fish most artificial baits. These lures can be expensive making it very important to purchase what is going to work versus "pretty" products that catch nothing.
Once you have found a few artificial products that work, you'll be hooked. This type of fishing is more interactive and starts long before a line ever enters the water, leading to an amazing sense of accomplishment when you do catch a trophy fish.
Offshore report: The weather may be a problem over the weekend, but if you hit the water early you can get in a few good hours no matter how conditions change. The seas may be bumpy due to prevailing 10 to 15 knot southeasterly winds.
There is good news with this wind pattern. Dolphin are moving into the Palm Beach County area early this year. I have seen reports of fish being caught in as little as 80 feet of water all the way out to 300 feet. Run and gun is a good tactic if you have the radar system, or there is a good deal of flotsam in the water. Trolling is also working with rigged ballyhoo and Ilander skirts being the favorites right now.
Sailfish, wahoo, kingfish and cobia are still being hooked with some frequency, but I would focus my efforts on dolphin this week as all of this wind from the south will have them moving.
Inshore report: -The snook bite, by all accounts, is the best it has been since last summer. I have personally caught more than 30 snook on the beaches and in the Intracoastal over the past two weeks. There are big fish, slot-sized fish and small fish all intermingled in the region, but most of the slot-sized fish and larger are primarily in the Intracoastal and in the inlets. I recommend half ounce white jigs off the beaches, a 3-inch rigged pogy by Berkely PowerBait in the Intracoastal Waterway and larger lures like Power Mullet or Red Tail Hawk jigs along the jetties.
Bluefish and mackerel are along the beaches, but there are fewer compared to February. Get ready for the spring migration of pompano. They have started moving from southern Broward County and should be here by the end of March.
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 Jupite. For more information call (561)630-3100 or e-mail Rob.Fielding@SharkeysTackle.com.