So i see fish. but they wont bite.... what am i doing wrong - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 09-07-2015, 11:52 AM   #1
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Default So i see fish. but they wont bite.... what am i doing wrong

long post but thanks in advance. I fish mostly in the Destin ft Walton beach area and being that i do not own a boat i mostly fish from the shore or docks at night time. i have been able to find a few (what i consider great) spots that have both light out of and in the water and here i where my problem lies.

over the month or so ive went from at least being able to catch and release short fish to not even getting bites other than the ever present pin fish nibble. i want to reiterate that the places i fish have good light and im seeing fish and not the occasional cruising fish, a couple of the paces i was fishing this weekend probably had 15-20 fish (lady, specs, reds) that were staying right around the light. i was watching them eat, i saw trout hitting needle fish, reds/ trout going after finger mullet, the ladys were really going after the 2 bay shrimp i saw come into the lights and all three were occasionally going in the schools of small bait that were coming in and out of the light.

i feel like ive tried everything. just this weekend alone ive put around 15 hrs on the water in various spots(5) around the bay between the early dusk hours to 12-1 o'clock in the morning and i literally only caught 4 catfish and a hand full of pinfish.. i have a small 6 or 7 foot bait net that has done me well in the past but even putting in a hour or so each night i was hardly able to get anything. i probably put in 500 cast with varying artificials and ill start by saying that the fish over here dont care about a matrix or vortex shad as much as the next one of my lures lol. mr17, skitterwalk, gulp, doa shrimp on and off a popping cork, jerk baits, zman, crystal minnow, gold spoons the fish did not want any of it. the only thing i havent tried is live shrimp but most of the bait shops are closed by the time i get down to the bay.

i guess if anyone could give me some pointers as to what i need to do when i see 15 or so fish on a light and actually catch one of them id greatly appreciate it. im ready to put some dinner on the table
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Old 09-07-2015, 12:51 PM   #2
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I'm no expert but I'd downsize your line, leader and hooks until you start to catch. Use live bait when you can.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:03 PM   #3
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Stay out of the light and keep movement/noise to a minimum. Catch some 2" pinfish or croakers beforehand (catch your bait somewhere besides where you're fishing), and fish them 2 ft under a SMALL float. Approach the light in stealth mode (wear dark clothing) and cast to the outer edge of the light. Stay in the shadows.

All this might seem silly, but you'll do lots better if you don't underestimate your quarry.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:06 PM   #4
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Let's start with the basics.

What are you using for leader material?

I personally use 12 lb. Fluorocarbon.

The majority of fish in the lights are eating tiny bait, whether it be shrimp or various bait fish.

Don't cast into the light, cast past the light as far into the dark as you can, then slowly work the lure back to you. The lure should stay out of the brightest part of the light and remain in the shadows.

I prefer to use a white fluke with a 3/0 - 5/0 hook in these situations. The bigger hook weighs more and allows the fluke to sink at a faster rate.

Match the hatch.



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Old 09-07-2015, 01:11 PM   #5
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By the time you find a light that has fish other people have thrown thousands of lures at them. Id suggest you start freelining (live shrimp) on lighter line 10-12 w/o leader.

And if they wont hit that I dont know man
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:50 PM   #6
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I use paddle tails at lights and I've experienced what you're talking about. I've seen dozens of fish but no hookups for while. Change your presentaton and be persistent. I've gone from not catching any fish in an hour at a light to limiting out in no time right after.
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Old 09-07-2015, 02:19 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the tips already. I use mostly 6ft of 10 or 20lb floruo for leader. And actually been using the 20 more here lately so I wonder if downsizing would help. Baitvis definitely less abundant around the shore where my net is effective but I suppose persistence is key. It can be a little frustrating though
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Old 09-07-2015, 02:39 PM   #8
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Live shrimp can also prove to be an issue for me because it seems like I can never make it down until the bait shops are closing
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Old 09-07-2015, 02:52 PM   #9
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Take 6-10 lb. mono/fluoro, tie on a white 1/8 or 1/4 oz. beetle spin or a white, pink or chart. crappie jig.

I throw past the light, starting on the outside shadow and bring it back, working towards to light. just under the surface at first, repeat the process going deeper on the next series of casts.

I have had situations like you're talking about, same dock another night might be on fire.
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:28 PM   #10
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Im a hands on type of learner


If you like and are ever in the area---pcola--- Ill take yah out* night time speck ops is one of my 4tay's hahaha

all you need is one rod and a camera with lots of storage Ill get your lines tight

PM if interested
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