The triple tail fish, also known as the blackfish, is a fascinating aquatic creature in Florida's Big Bend fishing communities. Known for its distinctive three-lobed tail, the fish is known for its mesmerizing dance and its fascination with floating structures. Anglers use patience and technique to catch the fish, using Fish Attracting Devices (FADs) and shrimp. However, stewards of the ocean must ensure the FADs are retrieved and stored for future use.
Sheepshead, a challenging fish with black and white stripes, are found near docks, reefs, jetties, wrecks, and inlets. They are daytime feeders and can be spooked easily. They prefer structures and prefer rigs like the Sheepshead Jig and Bottom Rig. Techniques include matching local food sources, fishing during peak tidal flow, and using live bait. They are prized targets along the Gulf Coast and Southeastern seaboard.
Fishing in late winter is unpredictable due to weather events. Anglers should return to areas with deep water access, such as creeks and rivers, to catch fish. Studying outside keys with protective coves can also help find warm water. Live shrimp is the best bait, and patience is key in cold water.
On Big Bend, there are various live baits for fishing, including shrimp, pinfish, mud minnows, and threadfin herring. Shrimp is the most common, while pinfish can be caught at the spot. Mud minnows are found in needle grass shorelines and creeks, while threadfin herring is a top snook bait. Handling these baits requires care.
April and October are the best months to fish Florida's Gulf Coast, with ideal water temperatures for both inshore and offshore species. Offshore, mangrove snapper, hogfish, cobia, kingfish, spanish mackerel, and sheepshead can be caught. Inshore, trout and redfishing are good during incoming tides. White bait, mud minnows, and finger mullet are also effective.