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May Fishing Forecast

If you enjoy poling the flats then now is the time to hit your favorite spots.  The oceanside flats are teaming with bonefish, tarpon and permit.  The live shrimp are getting small as they normally do during the summer.  These small shrimp are very difficult to cast far and accurate enough to sneak-up on bonefish.  But, there are a few things you can do to improve your accuracy and distance.  A good all around rod for flats fishing is a 7’ medium action but if you step up to a 7’6” or 8’ length you will improve your distance.  There are a number of good rods in the $80 - $110 price range.  Recent improvements in braided lines have made them more user friendly with less problems with wind knots.  By using 8 or 10 lb braided line such as Spiderwire Stealth or Fireline, the diameter is equivalent to 1-2 lb monofilament.  I have found that the small diameter of braided lines results in more accurate casts at longer distances.  Once the shrimp get too small to put on a hook you might want to buy a few crabs instead.  The key is to find crabs about the size of a quarter for bonefish. A good trick to using crabs is to break-off a corner of the shell to release additional scent.  Along with the bonefish, there have been good numbers of juvenile tarpon rolling along the shorelines at high tide.  These tarpon in the 5-20 lb range, are a great fight on light tackle and put on a great show with their acrobatics.  These juvenile tarpon will eat just about anything that crosses their nose.  Pull out your favorite bait such as a jerkbait, weedless bucktail or topwater.  The best colors have been white or glow.  They will also readily eat a live crab which are easy to find year-around at just about any of the tackle shops in the keys.  The larger migratory tarpon and permit can be found working the edges of the flats in the 2-5 foot depth range.  The early mornings have provided the best action with most fish rolling along the edges of the oceanside flats of the upper keys.  These big silver kings can be picky so you might want to load the livewell with a few different species including mullet, pilchards, crabs and pinfish.  For the permit, nothing beats a silver dollar sized crab on a 3/0 circle hook.

In the backcountry, the redfish and trout bite will still be red hot.  As I have mentioned before, if you find the bait you will find the fish.  Always keep an eye out for patches of dirty water along shorelines for snook and redfish or in the middle of the bay for trout.   When approaching a shoreline make sure to shut down your engine at least 100 yards away.   You can pole in or use the trolling motor from there to ensure that the fish don’t get spooked.  Make sure to land casts as close to the mangroves as possible.  A jerkbait texas-rigged weedless will skip well and pull out of trees easily on errant casts.  I always make a few extra casts around overhanging trees and points.   There are some very large trout moving around with the mullet in the backcountry bays.  There are still plenty of trout in the 20 plus inch range mixed-in the same general area as the smaller fish.  Drift in the 3-4 foot depths casting and retrieving on the down wind side of the boat.  When you catch a big fish make sure to stop the boat and fish the area thoroughly because they normally hang-out in schools with fish of the same size.  

'Til next time, Tight Lines and Light Winds…….

Captain Lain