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Lining up for June.

Go for the weedlines, and go early. It's easy to get side-tracked by the abundance of bait fish you'll encounter outside most every inlet. But, if you dally at sunrise trying to "blacken" your live well, you could miss the best bite offshore.

If dolphin and kingfish are my main target, Tactually feel more confident running right past the bait-catching boats with a few dozen ballyhoo (if trolling) ora box or two of sardines (if drift fishing). The early morning dolphin bite can be tremendous. By June, most of the big bulls have already pushed through the region, leaving us with schoolies from 2 pounds to 20. King-fish are ravenous, and there are always some big ones around this month.

For dolphin, look for the best bite to be a bit farther offshore than in recent months. It's tough running past a good-looking weedline, but unless I've heard differently during the week, I'm inclined to run to at least 600 feet of water before putting lines out. If there've been reports of fish even farther offshore, I'll start there. The point is, reckon your morning travel and bait-procurement time to allow you to reach a good starting point before sunrise. After that, watch for birds, floating debris and the makeup of the weedline. Are there small jacks and other baitfish among the clumps of sargassum? Flying fish? If the area seems lifeless after an hour of trolling, it's time to move.

Kingfish, on the other hand, will be under the first weedline or color change you encounter, in 60 to 80 feet of water. So will swarms of bonito. Cut the engine, deploy a block of chum in a mesh bag, and freeline a few dead sardines. Put a 1-ounce sinker on the line to get a bait deep.

If you've been efficient enough to collect a few dozen livies at sunrise, these weedlines--inshore and off--will be very productive for slow-trolling or drifting. Send at least one big greenie (thread herring) or blue runner deep with a breakaway sinker or downrigger. Summer sailfish are often apt to strike 60 feet down, sometimes deeper. This is one fish for which live bait acquisition is key.

Inshore, there'll be tarpon on the beaches, big ones. If you get to them quietly, they'll bite a live herring, mullet or crab fished 3 feet under a cork, or, oddly enough, a dead pogy or sardine on bottom. Don't expect to find them by running your boat haphazardly along the beach. They sound. A better bet is to look for birds or rockpiles along the beach, and then stop and watch for several minutes.

Lots of big snook around, and they aren't hard to find--watch for them creeping along the beaches in the first trough, or lying around jetty rocks like cordwood. They'll bite a live greenie or pilchard fished on bottom. Season closes June 1.

Most reef fish in the book are fair game this month, and with calm seas, the ocean is wide-open. This time last year, four weeks into grouper season, a lot of boats were limiting on gags (1 per person). Black seabass are open again effective June 1. Beeliners are open. Mangrove and mutton snapper are ganged up for the spawning season. Only red snapper, Warsaw grouper and speckled hind are closed. Golden tilefish, a deepwater specialty, are probably closed (deep-droppers are advised to check www.safmc.net or download the Council's new smart phone app for updates on the tightly man-aged--and commercially dominated--deep-water reef fish).

HUNTING Many hunters will be scouting for Quota and Special Opportunity hunt permits from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. June 1 is the opening date for Phase 1 applications for General Gun, Archery and Muzzleloading Quota permits, among others.

Underwater hunters--spear fishermen--will be having a "field day" on the weedlines and wrecks. The water is usually calm and clear this time of year, at least between Boynton and Jupiter inlets. Farther north, off Ft. Pierce, thermo-clines may contribute to cold, murky conditions.

RELATED ARTICLE: BEST BET SOUTHEAST

This is by far the best month to catch a big seatrout on an artificial lure. And big, in Southeast Florida, means somewhere over 30 inches and 8 pounds. These fish are above all lazy, and they have a habit of lying around in quiet, sunny patches of sand amid seagrass. Anglers have a habit of motoring, paddling or wading right past them. Disturbed but never really alarmed, these old alpha fish may remain motionless or slowly idle toward deeper water.

Either way, they see or sense you, and they're done. Tactics like throwing big top water lures on a high incoming tide, or jerking soft-plastic flukes or shad-tail jigs through thick seagrass during the outgoing tide, can provoke their ire. Potholes buzzing with tiny glass minnows, or old boat docks along the Indian River with mullet finning nervously nearby, are often the jackpot.
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Title Annotation:ACTION SPOTTER; fishing in June
Author:Weakley, Jeff
Publication:Florida Sportsman
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Jun 1, 2013
Words:818
Previous Article:On the outside.
Next Article:Options abound.
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