What a great weekend to be an inshore fisherman in West Palm Beach! The mullet have shown up and the run is officially on! All up and down the beach and in the Palm Beach Inlet this week, mullet were reported moving down the beaches in massive pods. One big pod was reported to be moving through the inlet with Tarpon, Jacks and Snook all in a feeding frenzy, though it was extremely difficult to find a bite. The Snook bite has been productive at night on the local bridges and in the inlets if you are willing to brave the rough surf. A few solid Tarpon reports have come in from the bridges and inlets at night as well.
The bottom bite is still going strong for this time of year and anglers that fished. Anglers had success drifting fresh or live baits in 150’- 200’ for Snapper (Mutton) with some decent Snapper (Yellowtail) mixed in. Those same anglers that had a flat line and/or a live bait halfway down pulled in several King Mackerel (Kingfish) as well. The King Mackerel bite in general has been solid lately with most of the smokers coming deeper in the 150’-250’ marks but anglers are catching them in as shallow as 60’. Bumping live baits on downriggers got the big boys to eat. Those without live bait were still successful slow trolling double skirted and double hooked ballyhoo strips on planers. You will have to weed through some Bonita but that is just the game right now. The slow pitch jig anglers caught a great mixed bag this week pulling up Snapper (Vermillion), Muttons and some serious King Mackerel. There have been several reports of some big Golden Tilefish being brought up from the deep droppers and that should steadily improve along with the Vermillion bite. The Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) have been tough to find. It is all about finding debris, whether that be debris floating alone or part of a weed line. The normal weed lines and large patches holding bait have not been very productive. Those that found Mahi were out past 500’ and as deep as 1500’.
The best action for the Tarpon seems to be along the beaches early in the morning. With the big surf coming in over the weekend, it was tough fishing. Do not let that discourage you though, this weekend was just the start and there will be plenty of fantastic fishing opportunities throughout the next few weeks. Throw big swimbaits, flair hawk jigs or anything that matches the size and profile of a big mullet or ladyfish for both the Snook and Tarpon right now. If you find yourself fishing in an active mullet school with no bites, try scaling up your presentation even larger to mimic something else feeding on the mullet like a ladyfish. Keep your eyes on the beaches and inlets during the day this week and check out a few bridges during the outgoing tide at night should get you tight on the fish this week. With the big surf coming in over the weekend, it was tough fishing. Do not let that discourage you though, this weekend was just the start and there will be plenty of fantastic fishing opportunities throughout the next few weeks.