New to the area, but been lurking on the site for a while. This site is awesome and I have really lerned from what I have read. Can anyone help me with the Spade Fish in this area. I am originally from NC and have caught tons up there using "Sea Apple" jellyfish as bait. But....there are no Sea Apples here and I cant get the things to bite anything I toss at them. They are great fun to catch and pretty good table fare. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
You won't find too many people down here that target spadefish. I know it's a common Mid-Atlantic thing, but it's not real big down here.
I'm not sure what a Sea Apple is. Did a internet search and this came up.
THis is actually some sort of sea cuccumber. Is this what your'e talking about when you say Sea Apple?
I'm a sucker for action when fishing. On two occasions I have been anchored while there was little going on, but we had spadefish all around the boat. One time was in the keys, and another time was in the pass here in PC. In the keys I managed to catch a few but I don't remember on what. I think it was a small piece of fresh shrimp on a little hook tied directly to light flouro. We were chumming on anchor for yellowtail in late summer down there (other than lobster there's not a whole lot to do down there in late summer).
The other time was here in Panama City in the pass in the fall. Redfish and king mackeral action had slowed when tide went slack and out of the rocks came lots of spadefish. I netted a "cannonball" jelly fish and caugh a few with little pieces of it on a tiny circle hook tied directly to ligh mono.
I've never realy paid the cannonballs much attention beause I don't see a whole lot of use for them, but I believe that they start to show up around now and get real thick at the end of summer and into the fall. At first tide-line in the bay / pass / near shore will be your best bet. But there comes a time (again, I'm guessing late summer / early fall) when they come through the pass all day with the tide and the come through in big numbers.
So... that's the extent of my spadefish fishing. I cut open on real big one down in the keys and the meat did not look all that attractive. The ones I caught here were smaller, but we let them go.
Now... my turn to ask a question: Why not put a lead on that spadefish rig and send it down for one of countless species that more readily take a bait and fare a little better on the table?
Squid on a very small hook, number 10 gold hooks work well. Using just a split shot will get you all you want. Just fish it about 10 feet under the boat. When the water has been clear and calm, I've even picked out the one I wanted to catch and guided my bait over to right in front of his face. They seem to stick instinctively when you get a piece of squid close to them. They actually are pretty good to eat, but hardly anyone here ever targets them. I've fished for them when nothing else was biting with success.
Thanks for the info. The "Cannonball" jelly fish is what I was talking about. Being a "hightider" from costal NC, we ae prone to make up other names for things. I had not seen any yet and wasnt sure if they ever showed up around here. I would much rather catch Snapper and Grouper, but these things swarm under the boat and the kids want to catch them. And they are a hoot to catch on light tackle. We always ate them up in NC, and I remember them being fairly good. I have noticed there seems to be varying opinions down here though. Dont know if it is a result of the different conditions/food source or what. I am gonna pull a few in the boat and release them in grease and see if there is a difference.
Let us know how it turns out. Some folks here eat em, I've just never bothered. Everybody also has their own idea of what fish should and shouldn't taste like. I for one, think king mackeral makes great crab trap bait. However, I would never turn my nose up at a fried that-day-caught mullet. You tell and east coaster that you like fried mullet and they'll just about puke on your feet. I like AJs. I don't freeze them, but a fresh AJ loin on the girll is great. I dont give a rats rear about beeliners.
Like I said, I'm a sucker for action. Match the tackle to your quarry and it's all good... not laying any fault there!
The cannonballs will show up pretty soon, I believe. According to FLcoyote, it sounds like squid works just as well, though.
Squid works great, but the meat is kind of grey, veiny and not that tasty.