The winds are shifting to a southeasterly pattern. The sun is staying in the sky for longer and longer each day. Ah yes, spring has arrived.
Preparation is always the key to success in any endeavor, and fishing is no exception. Before you get too wrapped up in the excitement of the spring migration of both offshore and inshore species, it is important to make certain you are prepared.
There are three things I recommend to ensure success versus frustration.
First and most importantly, change the line on all of your reels.
Next, as you remove old line or have your local tackle shop do it for you, service your reels. This is a crucial step in avoiding untimely reel failure on a big fish.
Lastly, inspect the guides on your rods for wear. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen guides with chips or scratches that result in fish being lost right at the side of the boat.
Spring is one of the best times to fish in South Florida and it kicks off the entire year for most anglers. With fresh line and reliable rods and reels, this may be your best year fishing yet.
Offshore report: It has been a real guessing game offshore the past couple weeks, and I believe this week will be much of the same. Winds are forecast to blow from every conceivable direction over the next 10 days. Run out early and be prepared for untimely returns to port.
With all of this wind, dolphin and sailfish should really start to move this week. A zig-zag trolling pattern may be your best chance of success, but it will require running out to the 300 foot mark. Ilander lures, C&H Billy Baits and skirted ballyhoo are the preferred trolling lures. Drifting over structure has produced a decent snapper and grouper bite. Try a few different kinds of bait to determine what is working best. Frozen sardines are easily accessible and may be your best bet, but if you can find live bait, your chances of success increases.
Inshore report: Inshore has actually picked up significantly over the past 10 days on the beaches. There are large schools of bluefish, jacks and spinner sharks moving through the region. Using a 2 1/2 ounce krocodile is likely your best bet, but big top water plugs have worked for several anglers.
The pompano are moving and have been caught regularly over the past week. Sand fleas may be your best bet, but frozen shrimp is also working.
Tight lines, crystal clear waters and sunny skies to all.
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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.