North Biscyane Bay is best known by the iconic landscape which spans its western shore. Shadows from the luxury condominiums on Brickell Avenue and the many skyscrapers of Down Town Miami fall upon endless grass flats, concealed by a smooth greenwater surface. With cruise ships spanning the north horizon amid towering cranes at the Port of Miami, it’s hard to imagine that beneath the surface lays one of the best sea trout habitats in South Florida.
During the winter months on the north end of Biscayne Bay, I find myself fishing quite a few half day charters targeting speckled sea trout. As the migration of sea trout improves in the winter months, I wind up running two trips in the same day to chase fat sea trout which spawn on the many grass flats of North Biscayne Bay. Between January and March in particular, Miami is one of the top tourist destinations for domestic and international travelers, and it’s no surprise I get alot of phone calls from people who just want to have fun and bend the rod. Sometimes it’s a hard-core angler looking to stalk bonefish, but most of the time it’s a husband and wife or father and son who just want to have some fun and spend some time together.
Catching sea trout in the bay is perfect for a half day charter, as I try to keep my running time on the boat to a minimum and focus on catching fish not too far from the boat ramp. Sometimes you have to make a farther run to put people on fish, but this is not always the case in the wintertime.
In my opinion, one of the most productive and consistent wintertime fisheries Miami has to offer is speckled sea trout. There are countless grass flats between Key Biscayne, north to Haulover inlet as well as east and west of the ICW.
Sea trout are an exciting and entertaining fish to catch because they are fairly abundant (depending on conditions) and are not that difficult to catch. This makes it great for the average angler who is anywhere from a beginner to novice fisherman looking to maximize their time on the water.
Sea trout are also an excellent species to target while teaching people how to fish. From my experience guiding the pas 15 years, I have to admit that most tourists are very inexperienced salt-water fisherman, which means taking someone to stalk permit, bonefish, and tarpon (my favorite sport fishing endeavor), is not always the best use of time on a half day charter. Targeting sea trout allows me to focus more on the customer and help them with their casting while showing them techniques that put more fish in the boat.
One of my “secrets” to sea trout success is that I rarely ever use live bait; I use artificial baits that simulate what lives in the grass. I feel like you can cover more area as well as different parts of the water column with artificials, and at the same time, show my customers how to effectively use lures in many different scenarios.
While targeting sea trout, it’s not uncommon to catch other species of fish. You can catch mackerel, bluefish, flounder, ladyfish, your occasional shark and even grouper at times.
You never know sometimes what’s going to bite at the end of your line.
If you’re short on time, or just want to spend a few hours in beautiful Biscayne Bay and have some fun, give Shallow Tails Guide Service a call anytime. We take anglers from expert fly fisherman to anglers who are just learning how to fish.
Capt. Raul Montoro