by Darcie Arahill, Contributing Writer
Happy New Year Anglers! Start off the New Year right and take advantage of the fantastic fishing we are blessed with off Palm Beach County! The sailfish sector aka ‘Sailfish Alley’ of the Gulfstream is at its prime this month. The sailfish bite is best when a chilly north wind starts howling, kicking up the seas as it plows head-on into the Gulf Stream and stacking up the bait. A general rule of thumb to remember, the sailfish bite improves the first few days following a cold front. Anglers should look for pods of bait on their depth finder, a clean water edge or a temperature break that will lead you to the fish. Most anglers fishing offshore this month will be deploying kites for kite fishing, allowing anglers to have the best bait presentation possible.
TIP: You should consider purchasing a drift anchor if you have a center console. A drift anchor will help you stay in the depth you are fishing longer, especially when the winds are howling and pushing your vessel out of the strike zone. Historically, productive areas for sailfish range from the Jupiter ledge, to the waters in front of the Breakers and the Ritz Carlton, down to Boynton’s water tower, the ‘Martini Glass.’ Depth is key when kite fishing; you should target your efforts between 80-250 feet of water for sailfish until you determine the best depth for that day.
If the seas are fairly calm this month, try to explore further offshore to find the occasional dolphin or wahoo. While traveling to and from your fishing grounds you should be on the lookout for cobia swimming in the shallows close to the beach. Also along the beaches; pompano, bluefish and Spanish mackerel will be plentiful. Spanish mackerel put up a hard fight on light tackle and are great table fare, with fish 5-7lbs not uncommon. You can target Spanish mackerels from boat by trolling depths 10-25ft and casting colorful jigs, spoons or swimming plugs along the beach. For land-based anglers, the Juno and Lake Worth pier, and rock piles off Boynton Inlet should produce a good bite.
For those anglers that love to bottom fish, set up your drifts in depths of 60 to 120 feet near wrecks and reefs. Drift your baits using a triple hook rig with a dead sardine or a chicken rig with a sinker; both should yield muttons, yellowtail, mangrove snapper, and kingfish. Until next time, keep On Catchin’!
Like, follow, share, and ask #Darcizzle questions about fishing and latest offshore adventures on Facebook!