The summer is over, fall has come and gone, and we are in the winter months when the weather and fishing have changed, so just be smart.

It is this time of year when we have our annual migration of different fish along our coast.  This is the time of year when you can go offshore of Hillsboro Inlet and catch many different types of fish.  On any given day, you can target what type or kind of fish you want to catch.  A lot of places around the world do not give you this variety of fish on a daily trip.

When we have cold fronts this time of year, fish like sailfish can be red hot some days and you will be able to catch 2-3 a day.  If conditions are perfect, that can jump to 10 per boat per day, or more.  What you need to know is what bait is working the best, how deep or how far offshore these fish are feeding, the nature of the tides and the wind direction, as well as sea conditions.

You do not just go out of the Inlet, go north or south offshore to 120 feet of water, put your baits in the water, and expect to catch fish!  You need to know the best bait type, whether live or dead, and whether to drift fish or troll your baits.  All of these questions give you the best chance of catching fish.

For many years we have always said that 10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish.  The reason for that is that you have to work to learn where the fish are and what they are biting.  Then you work on the time of day, tides, and sea conditions; these are all so important.  So, go out and talk to the real fishermen.  Ask questions.  Go to work and get all of your fishing tackle in good shape.  Replace old line and make sure the spools are full.

As hard as it is to take the time off from work to get the boat full of fuel, check the batteries, get all your bait and tackle on board and get all your fishing buddies together, that’s a lot of work.  You are then the expert.
You then run 20-30 miles north off Lake Worth or Palm Beach because that’s where your buddy caught a lot of fish the past few days in 150 feet of water. You have your live bait, the pumps are running, baits are alive and in good shape, you get your kites up, and all is working great.  Everyone is excited for that first bite. The radio is quiet, and everyone is saying the same thing, namely that you should have been here yesterday.  Fish were jumping in the boat; everyone caught 5-6 fish each. You could not miss, but conditions change. Wind direction changes and the bite is shut down.  Okay, now what.

One guy says let’s go offshore for a while and troll dead bait or artificial lures.  You all agree to work to the inside of the Gulf Stream.  You learn to tell that from the color change as well as looking to see if you have a change in water temperature.  You have been trolling for one-half hour and someone screams “Dolphin, Dolphin.”  One of the guys on the boat reaches over and grabs the rod and sets the hook.  The most beautiful 5-foot, 50 pound plus dolphin clears the water.  Everyone is excited, screaming and yelling.  The rod bends double, the angler is screaming because no line will come off the real because the drag was not set properly and checked as the fish ran.  The rod bent, the 20-30 foot of line stretch came solid tight, and the line broke!  To make matters worse, the fish still thinks he is hooked and continues to jump 10 more times all around the boat.  Then he is gone.

Okay, let’s start over.  Remember when I said to get all the tackle in order, check the line on the reel, check the hooks, leaders and all the rigs?  You
need to be prepared if you hook a big fish or small fish.  You can catch them, but you need to be prepared. Fishing is easy fun.  Catching is hard, and landing that one big special fish is even harder.

Do your homework.  Go out and have fun.

Tight lines and good catching!

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