Fished with Dave and Paul again. The bite continued with blues up to 16 pounds. Spring fishing is great! Pro Tip: Fish tend to bite when a jig drops. Maintain contact as it falls to notice subtle bites you otherwise would miss.
Fished with Paul and Dave in the bay. The bluefish bite continued and we caught and released blues up to 18 pounds on the fly and on spinning rods. The fish of the day was Dave's 18 pound behemoth that he caught on the fly. Fishing has been fantastic. Pro Tip: Knot-able wire is a wonderful thing. Many of these fish were chewing through heavy fluorocarbon leaders so we switched over to knot-able wire. This can be connected to your normal leader via a double uni-knot.
Fished with Sean, Bill, and Conner in the bay. We caught big blues to about 14 pounds on jigs. The bite has been very good. We also released a flounder and a striper. Pro Tip: Big fish mean your drag will be working. Never reel when the drag is slipping. It puts twists on the line and later on will result in wind knots.
Fished with Doug in the bay for bluefish. We found them and they were hungry. We caught and released blues up to 16 pounds on jigs. It was very good. Pro Tip: Bluefish usually stop biting after sunset.
Chris, Patty, and I fished the bay for blues and found them. The blues were huge and ranged from 8-18 pounds. We caught them on jigs and on the fly. Pro Tip: Everything matters. Check your jig for even small amounts of sea weed after every cast. Even a small amount of grass or weed will cause fish not to bite.
Patty and I arrived back in New Jersey and got right back into it on Tuesday. The fishing is getting ready to bust wide open but it didn't happen on Tuesday. We did catch and release the first weakfish of the year as well as a few flounder. It's gonna happen soon....Pro Tip: Low and slow is the name of the game for springtime fishing. The water is cold and the fish tend to be hard on the bottom. Fish your lures slow and on the bottom.
Patty and I fished the second day in Islamorada before heading home. We only fished for an hour but we jumped three big tarpon during that time. Unfortunately, no pictures, but we fought all three fish for some time before they got off. Pro Tip: You lose more that you win in tarpon fishing. That's the mystique. You have to celebrate the effort, the bites, the jumps, and the screaming drag as much as the "landed" fish. If you don't, you won't fully enjoy it.
Patty and I headed to the Keys to get the boat and do some fishing last weekend. We hit the flats on Saturday and caught and released a dozen lemon and bonnet head sharks while sight fishing. One of those was on the fly. We changed locations and jumped three big tarpon. Unfortunately, all three got away, but that is how tarpon fishing goes some times. Pro Tip: Tide matters. Sometimes fish only bite over a small portion of the tide. All of our tarpon bites over two days came during the same 20-30 minute portion of the tide.
Fished with Peter and Jim in Islamorada on Sunday. We had great conditions and saw lots of life. We caught lemon and bonnet head sharks while sight fishing. We had a few tarpon shots but couldn't talk them in to it. Pro Tip: Flats fish usually are on the move. Look for shadows and movement to see fish that blend into the environment. If it isn't moving, it probably isn't a fish.
Fish with Peter and Jim on Saturday in Islamorada. The weather was beautiful and the fish were cooperative. We spent most of our time on the flats. Peter was flyfishing and Jim was throwing a spinning rod. We caught snappers, jacks, yellow jacks, lemon sharks, and bonnet head sharks. We caught the sharks on the flats and we had great visual action. We also saw quite a few Tarpon on the flats. Peter had two bites and jumped one baby Tarpon on the flats. That was on the flyrod. Later on that evening Peter hooked and a nice Tarpon on the fly. I will post that picture on the next post. Pro Tip: Polarized glasses are great for seeing into the water. Since glare can come in at different angles, tilting your head from side to side will open up different windows of visibility into the water. Give it a try, you will be amazed at the difference in a little bit of head tilt will make when trying to see fish on the flats through your sunglasses.
Doug, Ryan, and I fished behind Sea Isle today. It was my first trip here this spring. We were rewarded with the first three stripers of the year with the biggest almost 28". All three fish ate jigs. Also, Patty, the boys, and I went back out for a bit and Patty caught the first fluke of the year. It's on. Pro Tip: Look for small variations in water temperatures in the spring. A few degrees warmer makes a huge difference if you can find it!
Fished with Dick and Mike last Sunday in Islamorada. We caught snappers, jacks, barracuda, and a bonnet head shark. We saw a bunch of sharks on the flats but many were uncooperative. We did catch and release a bonnet head shark sight fishing the flats. Dick also jumped a baby tarpon. In addition, I forgot to mention in the last post that Mike jumped a big tarpon on Saturday but he eventually threw the hook. Pro Tip: Keeping a positive attitude is everything. On slow days it can make the difference between catching that one nice fish or missing it.
Fished last Saturday with Mike and Dick. We caught mangrove snappers, jacks, yellow jacks, a bonnet head shark, and a hogfish. It was pretty breezy and the fishing was a bit slower than it had been. Pro Tip: Conditions affect spot selection. Learn different places to fish depending on the wind direction and strength. It is surprising how often you can find places to fish when everybody else stays home and still be successful.
Captain Joe Hughes -USCG Licensed 100 Ton Master-IGFA Certified
Joe Hughes has been working in the fishing business since he was eleven years old. Starting at Gibson's Tackle at that age, Joe's passion for the sport of fishing has steadily increased. Joe is a versatile angler who is comfortable poling a flats skiff as well as at the helm of a
sportfisherman competing in big game tournaments. During his years as a professional fisherman Joe has been featured in books and
magazines. His main passion is for salt-water fly-fishing. A teacher by trade, he enjoys sharing his knowledge about fly-fishing, fly-tying, and
fly-casting with his clients.