It looks as if we might be about to experience our first and hopefully last tropical system of the year. This can throw a huge curve ball when it comes to the bite. Typically, with large storms like this, we have drastic changes in barometric pressure, which can actually create a really good bite no matter inshore or offshore — of course, when the winds allow.
This weeks calm winds have had me fishing around the bait pods all along the beach. Between pogies and glass minnows, it all changes day to day, but both forms of bait pods are holding a plethora of species. The most common are snook, tarpon, jacks, kingfish and bonito. The best way to fish these pods are with large swimbaits. I prefer the Hogy brand. They have a stout hook and really produce well! A toss and retrieve in a quick manner usually does the trick; they are super easy to use and very effective.
When possible, drifting with live baits on stinger rigs works great, too. Unfortunately, they are not good for big tarpon and result in break offs. If you are seeing tarpon, switching to a circle hook on 80 pound fluoro can be beneficial and still makes it possible to land those toothy critters! I cannot emphasize enough on using larger tackle; no matter the circumstance, I wouldn’t fish anything smaller than a stout heavy action 15-30lb line rating rod, with a 6000 to 8000 series reel with 50-65lb braid. It’s very critical to get the fish in and let them go as soon as possible! These fish are very old and you can do a great deal of damage fighting the fish for hours on end.