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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Changing Tactics Can Find Fish

Knowing what to do when the norm changes can save the fishing day

Water temperatures remained at a record low and continued heavy rains were making freshwater runoff a problem in my area. The cold thermocline continued to run the northeast Florida coast, and fishing was tough all around – unless, that is, you took some steps to overcome the problems.

What does this have to do with anglers in other areas, you may ask. Plenty. Adverse conditions, whether weather, temperature or anything else, can plague all of us at any given time. The anglers that know how to deal with these conditions will continue to catch fish despite the adversity.

That was the case for us during this time. Although our efforts went largely unrewarded, the plan of attack was correct, and we fished through the problems. Jason Marsh of Jacksonville and Lt Brian Bartlett, a Navy pilot out of NAS Jacksonville fished with me offshore from St Augustine, looking for some king mackerel.

The kings have yet to show up “on the beach” because of the colder water, and all the recent kingfish tournaments have found fish up to 50 miles offshore. So, we headed for some wrecks and artificial reefs ten to twenty miles off looking for fish.

What we found was no bait. Well, actually there was some bait. We found one pod of Spanish sardines and cigar minnows about nine miles off. It obviously was the only bait around because there were no fewer than twenty boats on that pod catching bait. Tangled Sabiki rigs, boats bumping into each other – it was a circus of sorts. But everyone was kind and we pushed off other boats as they pushed off on us, and caught enough live bait to use trolling.

Ordinarily we would have netted menhaden shad along the beach and used them for bait, but the cold water has run that bait off as well.


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