Big hit on the way, so here are some tips


sometimes you can’t deal with the meteorologistbut you can adopt the judo philosophy and use your own strength and power against him.

Leverage, leverage, leverage.

We bring this up because, just as rain clouds should move, strong winds kick in behind them. Good news: it feels like a westerly wind, which is much preferred to gusts from the north or east (it’s not a windsock you find underwater, but a one way or another, the fish know it).

It can be uncomfortable, whether on the boat or on the dock, pier or surf line. But if possible, it never hurts to have the wind at your back and the current coming your way.

“You can actually use that to your advantage,” says captain Jeff Patterson (Pole Dancer charter). “You’re able to do super long casts and let your bait drift and cover more area.”

Two more tips from Patterson to help negate some of the negative effects of wind.

“Close your bail as soon as your bait hits the water, then keep the tip of the rod as low as possible,” he says.

Let’s get to the roundup…

FISH:The idea for Fishbites started with young Billy Carr in New Smyrna Beach

SOME TIPS:Went fishing but didn’t get any bites? These local anglers have some tips for you

Halifax/Indian River

While Patterson says the intracoastal was sluggish at the start of the week, it was a different story – as usual – around Ponce Inlet.

“Very productive with variety,” he says. “Sheepshead, very good Spanish mackerel, a bunch of trevallies, bluefish and some lovely flounders.”

The river wasn’t a total waste, however, as long as you enjoyed the challenge of bringing in sand sharks.

“A bunch of them in the 2 to 4 foot range,” Patterson says. “Also some small mangroves and small flounders.”

In the Port Orange area, Craig Patterson (no relation) says the flounder were a bit larger and particularly liked mud minnows. Sink your bait close to the bottom and recover slowly, he says. And don’t be surprised if a hit is followed by a feeling of dead weight.

“A lot of times the angler thinks they’ve hung up because the flounder don’t usually run with the bait,” says Patterson (Donald’s Bait & Tackle). “A firm hook is needed and because of the fish’s bony mouth, landing quickly before nodding will help avoid losing the fish to the net.”

Choice of rig, according to Patterson: Carolina rig, 2/0 hook, mud minnow.

Surfing and piers

BJ Taylor, who operates Southern Bred Charter and specializes in both shark fishing and general surf fishing, joins the conversation this week. He likes what he sees and hears on the beaches, from Brevard to Flagler.

“Whiting, pompano, bluefish and sharks are hot bites,” he says. “Whiting and pompano hit fresh clams, shrimp, crab hocks and live sand fleas if you are able to find them.”

Loosen the shoulder if you’re hoping for some of those early pompanos heading north, though.

“Unlike most spring runs, where the pompanos are found close to the beach, most come from over 100 yards of casting, which produces the biggest fish,” Taylor says.

With temperatures dropping over the weekend, keep an eye out for ocean temperatures. If it’s at or near the magic 68 degree mark of the pompano, get your rig together.

Taylor also reminds you that if you’re specifically targeting sharks, you need to go to and get your free shark fishing license (after passing a test, that is).

St. John’s

Along with the ongoing largemouth catches, Capt. Bryn Adams (Highland Park Fish Camp) says they’re starting to see good-sized stripes and hybrids in the main river.

In and around Woodruff Lake, Adams says “we’re seeing bluegill and other sunfish starting to arrive, but with cooler temperatures coming this weekend, we’re expecting a short break in the action.”

“Once the weather stabilizes,” she adds, “it’s a great time of year to toss crickets, live worms, or Beetle Spins against the shore to catch a mixed bag.”

this and that

• OK, you finally bought a boat. Well, now you have to make it work. Help is here.

Tommy Burnup will be doing seminar homework this month (April 21) at the Halifax Sport Fishing Club in Port Orange. Burnup owns and operates TB Marine, a local mobile marine service. He will give tips on maintaining a working boat and engine and show some of the parts and materials to make this happen.

More info:


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