Tips on targeting specific species of fish

By Rich King
Posted 5/25/23

The wildfire smoke is creating some wild looking sunsets. One evening we could see the current sunspots in the pictures. You can’t see that with the naked eye, well maybe once if you stare long …

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Tips on targeting specific species of fish


The wildfire smoke is creating some wild looking sunsets. One evening we could see the current sunspots in the pictures. You can’t see that with the naked eye, well maybe once if you stare long enough. The sun looks like a planet some evenings — pretty cool.

Speaking of cool, the weather has been fun, perfect for working on the gardens, too. The conditions are enjoyable to a little chilly and that is just fine. We have a mix of summer fish and migratory fish still in the area. It makes for a fun day of fishing.

With so many options to catch, what do you target? Everything in the area you are fishing is always my answer, unless you want to limit what you are targeting. That will cut down on bycatch variety. It can also cut down on how much you have to get out of your chair, just saying.

A buddy of mine once said, “Look I surf fish, but I casually surf fish.” That’s the best description ever. I’ve been there, we have all been there.

“Hey man, something hit your line/bait.”

Me/us/you: “Yeah, but it’s no longer there, so do I/we really need to get up yet? I just got a sammi and drink.”

Most of the time, you have to put in some work to target specific fish. Flounder are usually targeted jigging soft plastics or drifting minnows. They have been known to hit mullet rigs in the surf when an angler is checking their bait. Reeling the rig in is close to jigging the surf with a mullet. Flounder usually don’t just hit a line sitting there with cut bait. If they do, it is usually eating whatever hit the cut bait. Bonus catches targeting flounder depends where you are fishing. But when you target specific species with specific techniques, it reduces bycatch. Then again, fish are opportunistic feeders. They see food, they tend to eat it.

Mullet rigs target bluefish, other species will hit a mullet rig. But mostly they are set up for bluefish. Sharks will hit anything with bait. Use a modified mullet rig by DS Custom Tackle. The “keeper” hook holds the mullet in place. I’ve caught multiple fish on the same mullet at times. Use less bait, catch more fish.

Cut bait will target just about every species in the surf and surrounding waterways. If you want to target everything small, use top and bottom rigs with bloodworms or Fishbites formulas. Then put out a line with a larger hook and a chunk of cut bait, such as bunker. Now you are targeting just about everything. At the end of the day, a piece of line with some hooks on it and bait will catch just about anything that is hungry. Now to get a fish to bite your line as you stand on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean — daunting.

The bluefish action in the surf is picking up and mostly are the smaller snapper blues, which are the perfect size to eat. The big skinny spring blues have been random action. Striped bass are still being caught in the surf, the migratory bass, not just the resident shorts. Black drum is better action at the coral beds than the beaches. However, the beaches are still producing black drum.

Kingfish action is decent but not heavy yet. I love some kingfish tacos for dinner. The garden is producing all kinds of fixins, now I just need more fish.

If the wind would stop blowing, that would be great, but not anytime this past week or weekend coming. It makes for some fun kite flying, not so much for casting. There have been moderate risks for rip currents. It’s always good to know how to read a beach to find rip currents. They are great to fish, not to swim or play in at all. The surfers have been enjoying the larger waves.

It’s been a crazy week for me traveling the coast and working to get ready for the coming season. The bait shops are loaded up for the year. Charters are at the ready to take you to fishing. There are all kinds of events every weekend. Have a fun weekend.

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