There’s just a bunch of great areas to expose kids to fishing in my region, and the thing you want to keep in mind it to keep things simple. Kids don’t need to catch big fish the first time they go fishing. They understand that it takes time and experience to catch fish. But they do like to catch a lot of fish, which helps hold their interest.
The one thing permit really like is hot weather, so August is a primo month to target these fish in my region. In fact, it seems like a lot of days the best fishing is during the hottest part of the day, from noon until about 3 p.m. That’s when the fish will get up on the surface in schools and moon, flash and bob, and are easy to see from a distance.
We’ve got a variety of sharks in my region that you can fish for, including blacktip, lemon, bull and hammerhead sharks. The best shark fishing takes place in the late spring and early summer when the tarpon have migrated to our coast and the sharks come in to feed on the tarpon. This is when we get the giant bull sharks and Great hammerheads that you hear about biting a 100-pound tarpon in half.
About the only thing that pulls as hard as a Chevy truck is an amberjack, which is how they got the nickname “Reef Donkeys.” Any time you’re targeting amberjacks you want to look for them on the high relief wrecks—the ones that stick way up like the Liberty ships and tug boats, or the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany. As a rule, the deeper you go, the larger the fish.
The Florida Keys have a strong population of blackfin tuna just about all year, but in the summer months you’re going to find them with regularity in one of three locations: The Islamorada Hump, The Marathon Humps also known as the 409s, and the West Hump. As a rule, the smaller fish will be on the Islamorada Hump which is the size of a football field, while the Marathon Hump is actually two humps about 200 yards long each and the West Hump is about 900 yards in circumference and is out deeper than the others in about 700 feet of water.
There’s a lot of anglers that use self-propelled watercraft in my region, and just a wide-open option of places to launch and fish. The Mosquito Lagoon is so shallow and has some many ponds, canals and little backwater areas that you could fish a new spot every day for a year and never fish the same place.
We have a strong swordfish population in the Southeast Region. You can target them throughout the region in anywhere for 1,400 to 2,000 feet of water.
The historic swordfish fishery in my region targeted the fish at night, but in the last 10 years a lot of anglers have learned to be productive for swordfish in the daytime as well. So let’s talk about both fisheries.
In my area, fishing is a huge recreational sport and there’s a lot more women involved in fishing than most people realize. We have some incredible female anglers in this area, and a lot of women’s and female Jr. angler World Records have come from my region.
In the lower part of my region we use a lot of scaled sardines (pilchards). They come in different sizes, from the larger five to seven inch baits that you find around the bridges to the three to four inch baits that are on the flats.
We catch our scaled sardines underneath the bridge lights, and are usually on the water in the dark catching our bait before the sun comes up. Once the sun breaks the horizon, those baits move into deeper water, spread out and will also push onto the flats, but they’re hard to catch around the bridges in the daylight.
June is a hot month in Florida, so if you’re going to want to target spotted seatrout you want to be on the water at dawn to take advantage of the coolest time of the day. You can catch trout all day long, but the best bites are going to take place during the first three hours of light, when the fish are most active.