Rigging for Inlets/Passes?

james 14james 14 Posts: 2,990 Moderator
Let's say I want to fish one of the inlets or passes along the beach. What would be some good ways to fish live bait? Would I hook a live pinfish, whitebait, etc on a fish finder rig and let it sit out near the bottom? Assuming the tide is running and the potential depth it doesn't seem that using a float or freelined bait would be the best choice unless I can see a pod of fish swimming through.

I'm still learning the salt. Appreciate the help.

Replies

  • Rich MRich M Posts: 1,243 Officer
    edited July 10 #2
    I'd free-line a pinfish/croaker/mullet/sand perch/etc. with the hook just in the nose if fishing inlet.

    Hook it in the tail if fishing along the beach.

    Not a fan of anchoring baits to the bottom.
  • tankardtankard Posts: 6,820 Admiral
    Rich M said:
    I'd free-line a pinfish/croaker/mullet/sand perch/etc. with the hook just in the nose if fishing inlet.

    Hook it in the tail if fishing along the beach.

    Not a fan of anchoring baits to the bottom.


    Yep. The current runs so fast that it's going to take a ton of weight, and if you do get it to stick, your bait will likely spin and twist collect weeds, or otherwise foul up.

    Sorta like fishing bridges where the current cranks, cast upcurrent, let the bait pass by the structure or whatever, if no strike reel up and cast again. In my experience baits left out stationary in the current seldom get hit.

  • james 14james 14 Posts: 2,990 Moderator
    So if you're fishing for something that sticks along the bottom? Especially if it's fairly deep such as a bridge fishing scenario you mentioned?
  • Rich MRich M Posts: 1,243 Officer
    There are 1,000 ways to do it "right" and few folks will agree on exactly how is best.  Thankfully, you can try as many techniques as you want until you find one that you like the best.

    If you are say sitting under a bridge at Sebastian hoping for snook or flounder.  A fish finder rig will work but (IMO) you need to let it flow with the current.  A heavy sinker will plop your bait right there and it won't look or act natural, and you really won't get a good feel on the bites.

    If fishing from shore, you would be okay to throw a bait with a sinker but have you tried lobbing anything with a fish finder rig on it?  Knocker rig isn't much better but might be.  A stationary sinker with a leader, light enough to get deep AND drift would work best - these do drift into the rocks and find new homes.  A jig head is a great solution for this - helps get bait down and still drift along.

    Fish hold at the front of the structure (there is a cushion area there without a lot of current), along the sides, and in the turbulence behind the structure/abutment.  They are looking for bait or pieces of bait to drift by.  Some fish hold along the bottom (snapper grouper), others at mid-depth (jacks, blues, trout), and yet others near the top (ladyfish is a good example another one is trout or snook under a light.) 

    With the water depths being relatively shallow (under 20 ft) in most areas the fish could be anywhere in the water column depending on the bait at that time.  Shrimp often run mid to upper water column, mullet upper water column, pinfish lower water column.  As examples.

    What I do when I go somewhere new is I watch what everyone is doing for a little bit and see who is catching fish.  See what they are using for a rig and for bait.  Sometimes you can see the silver sides of a mullet or pinfish flashing in the light as someone tosses one out.  Also looking for surface activity or schools of bait & fish cruising by just under the surface or as deep as I can see.  Helps figure out the best way to present a bait for fish.

    Funny thing is that when we go offshore and fish mangrove snapper in 100 feet of water, it is a good idea to toss a handful of chunks over - very often the bigger mangrove snapper will come up in the water column to eat the chunks and show themselves. 

    An inshore trick is to use a bait that is too big for a small snapper to eat but a legal size one can choke down.  We use whole, live finger mullet when trying to get 12-16 inch inshore mangroves.  Find the fish using shrimp and them switch to the finger mullet to keep from wasting all the shrimp & injuring 6-8-10 inch mangroves.
  • tankardtankard Posts: 6,820 Admiral
    james 14 said:
    So if you're fishing for something that sticks along the bottom? Especially if it's fairly deep such as a bridge fishing scenario you mentioned?


    Most of my bridge fishing experience is in the keys, the current really rips there, I'm not sure anything really "sticks along the bottom". The fish orient to the bridge pilings. We will cast in front of them, as close as you can get without hanging up, let the current swing the bait by, and if no strike reel up and cast again.

    Like I said, if you just leave the bait spinning in the current, it seldom gets hit. Thin about it, everything else is washing with the current but this one particular item is (somewhat) stationary. Doesn't look natural.

    Same reason I don't use heavy sinkers when surf fishing, everything else is washing around, so should your bait, IMO

  • james 14james 14 Posts: 2,990 Moderator
    Makes sense. Off hand the areas I'm thinking won't have a ripping current and I know I've seen fish like snook hanging on the bottom or slowly moving up and down. I was figuring they would be moving along into the current and see my bait struggling to keep up with the current and bite.

    I can see, however, if you anchored down in a place with a heavy current the game plan would change. So I suppose one would need to be prepared with a few different rigging options depending on the type of pass, current flow, depth, etc? A couple of places I had in mind could be 15-20 feet deep in the middle...passes right off of the beaches.

    Of course, I could be on the wrong track entirely with what I'm thinking.
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 19,857 AG
    I have no idea what to say other than go there and watch what the guys who look to have their sh!+ together are doing.  Don't re-invent the wheel. 
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
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