How To - Nearshore

The Ocean Isle Fishing Center is dedicated to helping you catch more fish.  This nearshore fishing section includes information on fishing for a variety of species including Spanish Mackerel, Atlantic Bonito, Spadefish and more....

 
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Atlantic Bonito fishing

Spanish Mackerel Fishing

 

Atlantic Bonito fishing


HOW-TO CATCH

Atlantic Bonito

 

When:  mid March thru early May are the best months

 

Where:  Atlantic Bonito pass by our area as they follow schools of small minnows that are also migrating north.  The main determining factor to their arrival to the area seems to be when near shore water temperatures reach the 60-65 degree range.  Once the water temperature is good, look for the Atlantic Bonito in the 40-60 foot depth range and look for the birds.

Local hotspots include:  General Sherman, PA-01, PA-02, 390/390, AR 460, AR 455, AR 445, AR 440

 

How:  There are a couple of methods

#1- Trolling Method (This method is most common and is particularly effective if you are searching)

Take two prerigged silver Clarkspoon rigs, a #1 planer and a #2 planer and connect the leader and Clark Spoon to the back of the planer via the snap swivel.  Connect the planer to the main line on your rod with a 75#-150# snap swivel (Your main line will need to be at least 20# for a #1 planer and at least 30# for a #2 planer).  Rig 2 rods like this- recommended one with #1 planer and one with #2 planer.  On third rod, connect a splashing bird/Clarkspoon rig to be fished on the surface.  Total of 3 lines out when trolling.  The splashing bird rigs goes farthest back at 75 yards, #1 planer is next farthest back (set where line touches the water 20 yards back) and #2 planers is closest (set where line touches the water 10 yards back).  This spread will allow you to make turns without tangles.

Troll at 5-6 mph and be sure you set your drags tight enough that the planers don’t pull drag, but loose enough that the Atlantic Bonito can take line when it strikes.  They hit hard and fight hard.  Be sure to have gloves handy as you must handline the last 30 feet, and that can be a little tough.

Products you need- 75#-150# snap swivels, #1 planer, #2 planer, splashing bird/Clarkspoon rig, (2) premade silver Clarkspoon rigs

Tackle recommendation-  conventional reel with 20# - 30# line on 6’-6’6” boat style rod rated 15-40# +/-.

 

#2- Deep Jigging Method (This method is good when you have the Atlantic Bonito located, but they are holding deep)

Use a 1 ¼ ounce Stingsilver, 1 ounce Sea Striker Jigfisher or a 1 ounce Mega Bait Live jig (color preferences include silver, pink, chartreuse, green) and tie on 3 feet of 20# fluorocarbon.  Tie the fluorocarbon to a #10 SPRO power swivel and then tie your main line to the SPRO swivel. 

You begin by trolling for the Atlantic Bonito as specified above.  If you cross an area 2 or 3 times and catch fish on the troll get your deep jigging method ready.  Keep trolling and as you cross the area, watch the trolling rods.  Just as soon as one of them gets a bite, drop your jig in the water and freespool.  Slow the boat to idle (do not stop) and count to 20.  At 20 count, engage the reel and wind it as fast as you can- HANG ON for the strike.  If you find the Atlantic Bonito holding very consistent in one spot, you can forgo the trolling method all together and simply put the boat idle ahead in circles and follow the above procedure

Products you need- #10 SPRO power swivels, 20# fluorocarbon, 1 ¼ ounce Stingsilver, 1 ounce Sea Striker Jigfisher or a 1 ounce Mega Bait Live jig (color preferences include silver, pink, chartreuse, green)

Tackle recommendation-  spinning reel with 10#-15# line on 6’6”-7’spin rod rated 10#-20# +/-.

 

#3- Topwater Casting Method

Use a #3/4 or #1 Deadly Dick or any Yozuri Crystal Minnow lure in the 1”-3” size range and tie on 3 feet of 20# fluorocarbon.  Tie the fluorocarbon to a #10 SPRO power swivel and then tie your main line to the SPRO swivel.  Once you see the Atlantic Bonito breaking the surface, quietly approach (turn off your motor and coast into them) and make as long a cast as possible into them- keep your distance as they can be spooky.  With the Deadly Dick, let it sink 5 seconds then wind as fast as you can.  With the Yozuri Crystal Minnow, begin retrieving at variable speeds as you will need to find out if they prefer this lure slow, medium or fast.

 

Products you need- 10 SPRO power swivels, 20# fluorocarbon, #3/4 or #1 Deadly Dick or any Yozuri Crystal Minnow lure in the 1”-3” size range

Tackle recommendation-  spinning reel with 10#-15# line on 6’6”-7’spin rod rated 10#-20# +/-.

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Spanish Mackerel Fishing


HOW-TO CATCH
Spanish Mackerel

When: early May thru September are the best months

Where: Spanish Mackerel arrive to the area once the water temperatures reach the upper 60’s. They school up very close to shore, often in less than 10 feet of water as they feed on pods of minnows. The most reliable place to find them is around inlet mouths, particularly along the edge of a tide line (where the clear ocean water meets the dirtier intracoastal water- you troll on the clear side). However, do not be afraid to troll for them around artificial reefs in the 3-10 mile range, especially later in the Summer when the water gets very warm or the inshore waters are stirred up and dirty. Look for small birds circling and diving and also look for schools of menhaden as the Spanish will often feed on the outskirts of these schools as well.

Local hotspots include: inlet mouths and tide lines, along the beach in 15-20 feet of water and area artificial reefs and wrecks such as the General Sherman, PA-01, PA-02, AR 460, AR 455, AR 445, AR 440

How: There are a couple of methods
#1- Trolling Method (This method is most common )
Take a premade Clark Spoon rig in Silver or Gold (typically use Silver when water is clear and Gold when it is stained) and snap to back eye on #1 planer. Connect the planer to the main line on your rod with a 75#-150# snap swivel (Your main line will need to be at least 20# for a #1 planer). Rig 2 rods like this. On third rod, connect a bird/Clarkspoon rig, which will troll the surface. Total of 3 lines out when trolling. The splashing bird rigs goes farthest back at 75 yards, #1 planer is next farthest back (set where line touches the water 20 yards back) and other #1 planers is closest (set where line touches the water 10 yards back). This spread will allow you to make turns without tangles.
Troll at 5-6 mph and be sure you set your drags tight enough that the planers don’t pull drag, but loose enough that a larger Spanish can take line when it strikes. Be sure to have gloves handy as you must hand line the last 30 feet, and that can be a little tough.
Products you need- 75#-150# snap swivels, (2) #1 planers, (1) splashing bird/Clarkspoon rig, (2) Clarkspoon rigs,
Tackle recommendation- conventional reel with 20# - 30# line on 5’5”- 6’6” boat style rod rated 15-40# +/-.

#2- Trolling Method
Same as #1 except instead of putting out a splashing bird for your longest line, use a Manns stretch 25+ rigged with 4’ of wire. This swimming lure will allow you to catch larger Spanish and the occasional King Mackerel. It won’t catch a lot of fish, but it will catch the bigger ones.
Products you need- same as #1, Manns stretch 25 rigged with 4’ of wire and loop end to connect to snap swivel
Tackle recommendation- same as #1

#3- Sight Casting Method
Use a #3/4 or #1 Deadly Dick any Yozuri Crystal Minnow lure in the 1”-3” size range or a Gotcha plug and tie on 3 feet of 20# fluorocarbon. Tie the fluorocarbon to a #10 SPRO power swivel and then tie your main line to the SPRO swivel. Once you see the Spanish breaking the surface, quietly approach (turn off your motor and coast into them) and make as long a cast as possible into them- keep your distance as they can be spooky. With the Deadly Dick and Gotcha plug, let it sink 5 seconds then wind as fast as you can, occasionally jerking. With the Yozuri Crystal Minnow, begin retrieving at variable speeds as you will need to find out if they prefer this lure slow, medium or fast.

Products you need- #10 SPRO power swivels, 20# fluorocarbon, #3/4 or #1 Deadly Dick or any Yozuri Crystal Minnow lure in the 1”-3” size range
Tackle recommendation- spinning reel with 8#-12# line on 6’6”-7’spin rod rated 8#-15# +/-.

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