As we near the end of Florida’s so called ‘winter’ months, fishing for sailfish is still in the spot light throughout the month of February. As the month progresses the action should remain fairly steady but will begin to fizzle out in Palm Beach as the sailfish continue their southerly migration. Goggle eyes prevail as the number one bait of choice when targeting sailfish but blue runners will work too. Sardines and pilchards should be here in greater numbers, so use them for bait if you can find them. If you haven’t already, try to get out and fly the kite for sails after a passing cold front. The hot spot will be the waters in front of the Palm Beach Inlet, south to the Breakers Hotel. It’s not uncommon to hook two or more sailfish in a single fishing trip when kite fishing. Besides sailfish, there will also be variety of pelagic fish visiting our waters that will gladly eat your kite baits. Be on the lookout for kingfish, dolphin and wahoo swimming in your kite spread. Consider using a small trace of wire on a couple of your leaders so you increase your chances of catching toothy critters.
For you anglers that like to fish from the beach or fish the shallow waters offshore, the annual migration of spinner sharks should be commencing by the end of the month. These swift, fast growing sharks are exhilarating to catch. Spinner sharks are named for the spinning leaps it makes when they rocket out of the water. When spinners’ are feeding on schools of fish, they will swim vertically through the school while spinning on their axis, erupting from the surface of the water. If the waters are clear, use it to your advantage to spot these sharks. By boat, target spinner sharks by anchoring ahead of the school and use chum to bring the fish to your vicinity. Live bait such as mullet or blue runners will work best to land one. You will be surprised, they jump quite a bit and the rush you experience is like no other!
Bottom fishing should produce a good bite a couple days after a passing cold front. The deeper wrecks such as the Skycliffe off of Boynton Inlet and the Ande off of Palm Beach Inlet, should be holding almaco, amberjacks and gag grouper. If you are drift fishing the bottom, start on the outside of the second reef in 75 ft of water and drift in shallow to 20ft. I suggest using a long leader and a 3/0 to 6/0 circle hook, with just enough weight to get to the bottom and have your reel in free spool until you get the bite. Bottom fishing should yield muttons, kingfish, cobia, spanish mackerel, bonito, trigger fish, etc. You will catch yellowtails and mangroves closer to the reef itself. Good luck out there, be sure to say HELLO if you see me out on the water!
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Darcie is a contributing writer for Coastal Angler Magazine since 2013. She writes monthly fishing forecast/reports about her adventures out of Palm Beach, Florida!