Whole pickerel or bream or parts thereof may not be used as bait for trot lines or bush hooks or any method other than by rod and reel or pole and line. Pan fish less than 4 inches in total length raised by a licensed aquaculture facility may be purchased and used for bait.
The majority of the bass are still on pre-dawn grass edges gorging themselves to get ready for the winter and their time to spawn. Flipping a classic ribbon tail worm or a Seiko into the grass, reeds, or pads of these pre-spawn area’s is deadly at this time of year.
In my experience the fish at this time of year prefer a slow fall and subtle action. You’re essentially flipping but covering more water and your bait is more subtly falling as apposed to the little splash caused from pitching every cast.
Flukes flat out catch fish in Florida throughout the year, and they work now too. I always try to switch up my cadence with every cast between fast jerks and slower pops until I get a bite to find out what the fish want that day.
Work it slowly with short pulls and pauses around pre-spawn areas and even over spawning flats, and if it’s a top-water type day for the fish you can get some awesome explosions on this bait ! Throw this thing out around Lily pads, grass lines, or reeds in pre-dawn or spawning flats, and just let it sink to the bottom.
Give the rod a little lift to feel if something has it in there mouth and if not then Texas rigged weightless Seiko just reel back up and repeat. Little fish all the way to the biggest bass in the lake have been caught on these basic straight worms.
If the water is dark or murky the darker colors are the way to go, and if it is clean and clear use green pumpkin. A weightless Seiko has probably caught more bass around the world than anything else and it works just the same here around the spawn.
While a boat gives you access in Florida to thousands of miles of waterways and coastline fishing, it also presents a host of complications. Berthing it, trailing it, maintaining it and, increasingly, paying the price of operating it are all prompting lots of people to question the wisdom of owning a boat.
Not to worry, there are plenty of opportunities for pier fishing in Florida for people without boats. Many visitors don’t realize just how many species of fish move up and down the coastline and through our waterways within easy reach of a fisherman on shore or on a pier or bridge.
Additionally, there are hundreds of public docks around the state that offer freshwater fishing access to Florida ’s famed black bass and numerous pan fish. It’s just a matter of figuring out where there’s close access to the water and then fitting yourself out to do some laid back fishing.
While I’ve done my share of surf casting and still hit the beach occasionally when the pompano are running, I grew up as a wharf rat, spending many happy hours fishing from the old Jacksonville Beach pier. A college friend who knew I fished a lot once asked to go along on one of my pier expeditions.
Cold fronts in Florida generally aren’t a big deal, but standing on a windswept pier in 45 degrees with just a light windbreaker to fend off a steady drizzle isn’t anybody’s idea of fun. Most of the ocean piers around the state have a concession stand that will rent you a rig and sell you the terminal tackle and bait.
All you need do is show up and pay the fee, which usually includes the use of the pier’s commercial fishing license. If the kids get bored with fishing, they can wander up and down the pier seeing what other people are catching, or they can hit the beach to toss a Frisbee or grab some rays.
They’ve built or bought dock carts that allow them to haul multiple rods and reels, lots of gear and even live bait (not to mention drinks, lunch, a boom box and whatever else they feel they need for a day’s fishing) from the parking lot to the end of the pier. They use one big rod and reel to send a heavy sinker with prongs as far out into the ocean as possible.
The average pier fisherman using simple equipment and dead bait, like shrimp, will most likely connect with whiting and croaked. But be careful, because interspersed with the dinner fish will be the occasional catfish, whose spines can inflict a nasty injury (I know this from experience after getting a dorsal fin deep into my foot).
Lots of bridges spanning salt water inlets or waterways offer fishing opportunities. The old Sunshine Skyway bridge that spanned the entrance to Tampa Bay has been converted into two of the longest fishing piers in the world.
That means if an east wind has been blowing and the surf is up, you’re going to have a hard time getting your bait past the breaking waves. Fishing near jetties or inlets can be good, but what you really want is to find a stretch of beach protected by an offshore sandbar.
But if you wander a nearby beach early in the morning or late in the afternoon, chances are you’ll come across a group of fishermen.