An evening of inshore fishing in the Florida Keys — I can’t think of a better way to relax and unwind after a hard day of work, or to cap off another fun-filled day of vacation with the family. It’s a great way to pursue a number of trophy game fish (as well as delicious table fare species); it’s enjoyable for all skill levels of anglers; and best of all, it can be accomplished just a stone’s throw away from our homes or rental properties.
In this week’s article I would like to share a few tips to help those of you planning on nighttime inshore fishing catch more fish. Remember, if you don’t have your own boat, or are in town visiting and don’t have a way to get out and fish, Best Bet Sportfishing is now offering discounted rates for evening trips. Just stop by the dock located at Key Colony Beach Marina (Mile Marker 53.5), or visit www.BestBetSportFishing.com to find out more.
All Best Bet Sportfishing captains primarily use live bait when inshore fishing, simply because it generally yields the best results. Baitfish, such as pilchards, sardines, threadfins, finger mullet and small pinfish work best for targeting most species, while live shrimp and crabs also have their place.
The best way to catch your bait is usually with a cast net; however, you may also chum for baitfish, catch them on rod, and reel with small sabiki rigs. If you don’t have a cast net, or don’t want to mess around with catching bait, you may also purchase it at a local tackle shop where you can usually find shrimp, crabs, and oftentimes pinfish.
Before your Best Bet trip departs, we will already have the livewell loaded up with live baits, so we can head directly to the fishing grounds and get your lines in the water as soon as possible.
WHERE TO FISH
Finding the spots that hold fish is one of the most rewarding aspects of the fishing experience; however, it can also be the most challenging. For those of you interested in evening inshore fishing, the best places to start pitching baits are around structures or areas with flowing current.
Some of the most productive spots include: docks, rock piles, rocky shorelines, channels, cuts, bridges and anywhere you see bait gathered, such as under lights. Depending on the tide, or the time of day, some areas may be more productive than others may. Just be patient, try a variety of different locations, and eventually you’ll find the fish.
On any given evening, you can catch snapper, grouper, snook, tarpon, permit, redfish, jacks, ladyfish, sharks, barracudas and more.
ELSEWHERE ON THE WATER
Out on the reef the opposing wind and current directions, as well as the arrival of a large number of predators, have made fishing difficult at times, however we have been catching large flag tails, over 18-inches, when the conditions allow.
One good thing about the presence of bull sharks at the reef is that there is a good chance a cobia or two may be following in their shadows. If you’re out yellowtailing and see a shark, don’t be afraid to drop a live bait down to see if there are cobia around. The cobia may not be as large as the ones we’ll catch in the months ahead, but there will definitely be some keepers in the mix.
Offshore, large numbers of skipjack tunas and bonitos continue to be found in 200-300 feet of water and out deeper. When you come upon a school of them put out your deep diving lures or larger baits and you just may hook up with a large pelagic game fish. Big slammer dolphin, Wahoo, sailfish, and even marlin may be in the area just waiting to slam your bait.
Your Best Bet for the Weeks Ahead:
Take an evening inshore fishing trip with Best Bet Sportfishing.
There’s no better way to spend an evening with your family or friends than on the water catching trophy fish and enjoying a beautiful Florida Keys sunset. It’s fun, exciting, temperature-friendly, and easy on the wallet!
Redfish– Rachel Knight of Marathon posing with a nice redfish caught while fishing a Middle Keys dock at night.
Mutton – Our old pal Bobby Ray Sanders (left) with a mixed bag of dolphin and muttons caught with his fishing companions Debbie and Jared aboard the Best Bet.