NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- The persistent "good weather" produced by long term high pressure systems in conjunction with the effects of La Nina continue to produce dry, hot conditions. Already the sea surface temperatures off Ponce Inlet range from &8 to 82 degrees. Fortunately as we go to posting this article there is no evidence of red tide statewide.
The Kingfish action is still active from 65 to 130 feet of water especially on the party grounds but generally speaking is slower than usually encountered this time of year. The cobia bite still remains good as long as you are in the right area like around the northern offshore tire reef or the barge and crane south of the inlet.
Small sharks remain still quite active – in some cases too active and have been messing up some of the bottom trips. Catches of wahoo are good especially along the twenty eight fathom curve and northward. Dolphin are still present and still giving anglers a thrill. Little tunny are being caught inside the 28 curve to a few miles off the inlet. Spanish are still just offshore of the inlet and are the perfect size for brining and Marlin fishing in the waters east of the Bahamas.
As the surf and inlet reached the seventy-eight degree mark, the smaller bluefish - 10 pounds and under – are starting to journey to cold country. That is except for four barely legal ones (greater than 12” to the fork), who met their fates at the hands of Rich “B.F.” (Bluefish) Adamovic. “Capt. B.F”, as he is also known. has a tremendous talent for catching bluefish and could cast into a school of Spanish mackerel and end up catching a bluefish.
What is more amazing is that he likes to eat them. I know – while most of my readers will feel a wave of nausea upon reading that sentence, like it or not, I must write the facts. Fried, blackened, grilled, broiled, seared, stuffed (with God only knows what), smoked, chopped and placed in a salad and even as sushi. He occasionally makes a bluefish stew for his family, whom he keeps disillusioned and who are truly convinced that there are no other fish in our waters other than bluefish.
However other surf anglers, whiting, small trout, weakfish, flounder, pompano, and Spanish mackerel and black drum have been making the surf anglers happy. In the inlet, slot redfish, legal trout and big Jack Crevalle have been boated. The same is pretty much the case in the in the local rivers and canals.
Bull Redfish are producing good fights from the inlet to the Spruce Creek and the best bite is reportedly in the morning using mud minnows (killifish), herring and crabs. Trout seem to biting mostly at night under the dock lights and on the sandy spots in the north end of the lagoon. The Mullet are getting thick and where they go so do the predators.
In the lagoon and back waters, thankfully the persistent winds we experienced recently have settled down, there have reports of twenty pound redfish after small glass minnow s and other baits. Bull redfish in pods of ten to fifteen fish have been haunting the south end of Haulover canal. The best bait seems to be pinfish.
The Twentieth Halifax Sport Fishing Club’s Annual Ladies Offshore Tournament was held June 7, 2008. Forty-seven boats successfully went to sea after traversing a nasty inlet made by a major rip tide. They returned with fish to cover all the categories on the board. One lady – name with held for medical privacy – was standing as the vessel in which she was riding got slammed in the inlet by waves causing her to break her knee and lower leg.
Thinking it was a sprain, she was placed in a bean bag at her insistence, the crew went to sea and returned taking two of the top three places in one of the categories. She numbed it with ice and had a enjoyable time until she reached shore where she was hospitalized and underwent surgery to repair her injury. What a trooper !
As mentioned before, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Commission (FWC) has proposed a rule that will allow striped (silver) and black mullet to be caught on the weekends. Since 1989, the commercial harvest of mullet has been prohibited on weekends in my area from July until the end of January. Recent stock assessments indicate that the population is now healthy enough to allow this measure. A final public hearing will be held on this topic at the FWC meeting in Dania Beach at the International Game Fish Association building next to Bass Pro on June 11-12, 2008.
Just as important is that another attempt is being made by the commercial netters to find a loop hole in the constitutional amendment banning entangling or gill net fishing. This amendment was passed by the Florida voters in 1994 and included the provision that no net greater than five hundred square feet be allowed except on a vessel, which can have two - one on each side of the boat. A few years afterwards the old the size of the netting was reduced so as not to allow gilling of fish or their entanglement.
Now the commercial netters are trying once again to enlarge the netting size in an attempt to get around the amendment to do otherwise. At this same meeting, the FWC will be visiting the recent gag and red grouper restrictions as they pertain to the Gulf and will also address the SAFMC’s gag grouper and vermillion snapper management efforts.
Capt. Budd's PostScript:
It has been written – “Act as if it was impossible to fail!” So whether you charter, ride a head boat, run your own vessel, stay in the river, surf fish, or fish from shore or a bridge- there are fish to be caught. Fishing is not a matter of life or death, it is so much more important than that.