Have a Fishing Question? Our Expert Answers Them

Your Fishing Questions Answered

Each month readers of USharbors.com send in fishing-related questions for our fishing expert, Adam Young. Have a question? Submit it here. 

Question: I’m a beginner and know absolutely nothing about fishing…how to set up a rig for bluefish, what the name of things is, how deep to fish, and how you know when you are at that depth. Would like to troll for bluefish. 

Answer: Bluefish are one of the most exciting and fun species of nearshore fish, and trolling for them is very popular. Generally speaking, you want to keep your trolling speed between 2-4 mph. And since bluefish are predatory fish, keep your lures in the upper 1/3rd of the water column. This may vary depending on the type of bluefish lure or bluefish rig you are using. Bluefish start their migratory patterns off the coast of Maine during the summer and gradually move south down the Atlantic coast to Florida by winter. Don’t be afraid to call around to local bait and tackle shops and ask “Are the bluefish running yet?”.

Question: My wife and I are new to Florida (from NJ) and we want to start fishing. We are complete Novices and need some advice on what equipment is necessary (rods, reels tackle, etc.) Our budget is $200 each. We will be fishing from piers and a small boat on the SW FL, ICW (Englewood Lemon Bay). Can you please give us some suggestions?

Answer: Sounds like you want to do some inshore saltwater fishing. I recommend a 3000-4000 spinning reel, matched with a 7-foot medium-action rod. Spool your reel with 20 lb braided line, and pick up a few packs of 1/0-3/0 circle hooks and some assorted split shots weights. Then, go to your local bait and tackle shop and pick up some live (or frozen shrimp) and get to fishing! On most of the public piers in that area, you can catch spotted seatrout, mangrove snapper, jack crevalle, redfish, small sharks, and much more. Don’t be afraid to talk to other anglers, and ask the local fishing establishments for some tips on where to get started!

Question: I am new to saltwater fishing, and any fishing for that matter. We are going fishing in South Florida (West Palm to Pompano areas), and would love insight into what fish are “in season” and any other valuable insight you could provide regarding bait fish and the how-to’s.

Answer: South Florida is one of the premier destinations in the world for recreational fishing, so you are in a great location! And due to the year-round moderate climate, there is always something in season. For the most up-to-date fishing regulations, including species bag limits, visit https://myfwc.com/. Popular species in that region include Snook, Tarpon, Jack Crevalle, Pompano, and Whiting. All of which can be caught on the beautiful beaches of South Florida.

Question: Do baitfish sound a vocal alarm when being pursued by predator fish? Is there any lure or equipment (other than live baitfish) that will give off alarm signals that will attract predator fish.? Are there any studies that will isolate any of the vocalizations of the baitfish and is there any way to imitate them?

Answer: To my knowledge baitfish do not give off any vocal alarms, but they do make sounds. For example, one popular baitfish called the ‘pigfish‘ often makes a grunting sound when under duress. Other fish in the drum family are also known to make these grunting or oinking-type sounds. Most modern lures do not emit any kind of audible alarm signals, but they are designed to create an action or movement to trigger a predatory response. This can be things like splashing, diving, or flashing.

Question: What is the limit on California Halibut?

Answer: The limit on California Halibut may vary depending on where you are fishing in the state. For the most up-to-date and accurate fishing regulations, visit https://wildlife.ca.gov/.

About Adam Young, Our US Harbor Fishing Expert

Adam grew up on the east coast of Florida, fishing and boating in the world-famous Indian River Lagoon. He’s a full-time fishing content creator and freelance writer, with a broad range of angling experience from the bonefish flats of the Bahamas to the halibut grounds of Kachemak Bay, Alaska.