by Ed Ottenthal, Contributing Writer
Our waters are teaming with great fish this time of the year. Try targeting one or two species and then go on to another; you will be surprised at the results.
I recently tried a Piranha stick bait with great results. The patented design of this lure is outstanding and it will work on any pelagic species. Give one a try! The company advertises in CAM, so getting one should not be a problem.
I have to reflect upon the effects that the cooler temperatures had on the snook during the month of January. Snook had all they could do to stay alive during the cool temperatures that hit south Florida. I hope that most of our fish survived, so that the fishing in the coming months will not be affected to any degree. Snook is a fish that is targeted by many anglers and it would be devastating to see their numbers decrease. Snook season opens February 1st in our waters, while other areas remain closed until the end of February. Also, up in the northern part of Florida, FWC and its affiliates will be stocking small snook to replenish the stock. Hopefully, the program will be continued and be very successful.
For the angler pursuing this great game fish in February, the intracoastal is still the best bet. No one can predict what the weather has in store for us this month but if it warms up, the fishing should pick up also. The inlets are still the best bet along with the water management outlets. Try to fish these areas on either an incoming or outgoing tide when the sun is warming the water. A couple of degrees increase in water temperature can make a huge difference as to whether the fish become active and start to feed or not.
Other options for the inshore angler would be to try the fishing pier in Lake Worth or the one in Deerfield Beach when the wind is blowing and the surf is too rough for comfort. Also, if an angler is visiting the area or does not have a boat, one of the surest ways to have a great day on the water is to hook-up with one of the guides in our area. An angler may find a list of guides for the area that they choose on the internet. These guides are familiar with local waters and can put an angler on some nice fish.
Water temperatures should remain somewhere near the 70-degree mark which is conducive to many species of fish in our area. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano, barracuda and kingfish [off the piers] should be abundant this month.
The use of some heavier rods is usually the norm for these game fish, since they are all strong fighters. Use a small swivel at least 20 – 40lb test line, along with a heavier fluorocarbon leader, a size 4/0 circle hook and wire for cudas. A circle hook allows the fish to be hooked in the jaw most of the time and gives a fish a better chance of survival if it is to be released. [TIP] Try to release the fish as gently as you can and keep the fish in the water, if possible.
Remember to keep only what you are going to eat and to keep the waters clean of debris. The future of fishing depends on what you do today.
Good Fishing and I’ll see you on the water.