As an inshore angler, I truly focus my energies on finding the best bite available without the aid of a boat, but that all changes in early May.
I cannot help my excitement for the offshore bite this time of year. Trolling is quite expensive with gas prices the way they are, and drifting is dull to most anglers who primarily fish artificial baits, but have faith, there is a miracle on the horizon.
Enter early May, when double trolling becomes a reality. Double trolling is a method of dangling cut bait on the bottom for snapper, grouper and amberjack paired with a free line or two remaining near the surface for kingfish or dolphin. It is an incredibly productive method this time of year and allows for a myriad of possibilities. One of my good friends was out this past weekend and employed the double trolling technique with fantastic results. He returned with two dolphin, a 20-pound red grouper and a Spanish mackerel that was pushing nine pounds. It was not a fantastic day, but he was only on the water from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. Not bad for two hours' work.
Offshore report: Dolphin are beginning their assault of Palm Beach County in earnest. There are several ways to target them, but the most important catalyst is the southeast to east winds. Look for current rips, floating debris and diving terns. Fishing a goggle eye or blue runner on a kite will yield larger bulls and cows, and trolling can help you find fish that are free-swimming. Chumming cut sardines as you drift will bring the fish to you. Always keep a good lure or jig handy for fish that run the boat. Start your search around a depth of 150 feet of water and go from there. Most reports have the best fishing concentrated to areas just south of Lake Worth Inlet.
Inshore report: As summer approaches it is a great time to target snook on the beaches. Several anglers are reporting a more prolific snook bite at the Palm Beach and Jupiter Inlets. Live shrimp, DOA Shrimp and 4-inch swim baits are working the best. A small white jig or a 3-inch Berkley power bait offers the most reliable results along the beaches.
Mackerel, bluefish and jack crevalle continue to offer good action along the beaches as well. The pompano bite is still fairly strong, but definitely concentrated to the early morning and twilight hours. Frozen shrimp is proving to be the best bait to entice a pompano bite.
Tight lines, crystal clear waters and sunny skies to all.
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Rob Fielding is an addicted angler and the owner of Sharkey's Tackle in Jupiter. For more information call (561) 630-3100 or e-mail Rob.Fielding@SharkeysTackle.com.