How to Fish Jetties and Breakwalls
Jetties are a great place to fish, but they are often packed with other anglers looking for the same fish you are. This isn't really an issue on a big jetty but some of the smaller ones you have to get there early. In fact, I have such a place that can really only occupy a handful of people, but I only fish it in certain conditions, and when these conditions are right it is one of my favorite places to catch big snook on the beach. When I fish this jetty during its optimal times it is normally fairly void of anglers, which tells me that a lot of anglers are not aware of the best time and conditions. All that may change however if they read this book! It's a semi-secluded jetty tucked in a quiet neighborhood and if you know how to and when to fish this jetty, you'll score big. If you know nothing about the dynamics of this jetty, when to fish it, it's bottom structure, or how the current reacts here you'll get lucky at best.
This is a very small (approx 600 sq ft) public fishing pier/jetty that juts out 150 feet and sits at the end of the beach, separating the beach and a very large pass. There is no water passage beneath the jetty, as it is a solid foundation with boulders skirting both sides. The current rips hard through this wide pass, and with the position of the jetty seated in open water, it catches the current at a nasty angle. This creates a very strong reverse current about 5 yards off the beach where the beach and jetty meet and form a cove like area. The current runs back into itself at the end of the jetty and flows around the tip and down the other side. About midway between the beach and jetty is a rock pile, roughly 25 feet from the jetty. So now that you know the dynamics of the jetty and current flow, I'm sure you can see the potential in being a honey hole. It seems that simple, yet I still see people fishing this jetty completely wrong.
There's still a bit more to it, as it takes a special condition to really bring out the big game. Optimal conditions are a very strong incoming tide, a stiff west wind around 12-15 knots, and 1-2 foot wind driven waves. Under these conditions I usually catch snook over 18 pounds, and we've had nights where 15 of these fish have been landed in a few hours. Even the average night produces some nice snook, but rarely the big females. It really isn't worth fishing if there are too many people on the jetty, unless everyone on the rail is a friend and local, as there is a method that must take place to be successful, otherwise it's a mess of tangled lines.
To properly fish this jetty you must use a large pinfish and cast beyond the reverse current to the casting zone, which extends about 25-30 yards from the jetty. This puts your free-lined bait out of the reverse current and pulls it toward the beach. The bait then drags down the trough line in about a foot of water and catches the reverse current. Anything short of a long cast will end up in the first rip and puts you way out of the zone where there are no ambush points. From here, with a proper cast, things really speed up. Your bait gets disorientated and gets swept up the rock line and over the rockpile that I mentioned above. Once your bait passes the rock pile it's time to crank it in fast and repeat. The snook know where to be, as they rest behind this rock structure with their nose catching the flow. The ambush points are along the beach, down the rock line, and the last rock pile, with the last rock pile being the best for the larger Snook.
When my friends and I fish this as a group we cast in one at a time about 15 seconds apart, and then that person moves down one position to let the next person cast. We actually cast over one another, but as it reverses it all works like clockwork. It works in complete harmony and rarely do we get tangled. Lastly, when you get that big girl hooked and she decides to go with the current, well, it's certainly a battle that can take you for a long ride down the other side. Even though you may not be fishing this particular jetty I speak of, I'm sure you have a similar break that you can relate to. The picture on my first book "Florida Fishing - Florida's Complete Saltwater Fishing guide" is of me holding an 18 pound Snook that I caught from this very jetty ironically on the day I needed a fresh picture of a snook for the cover back in 1997.
To read more you'll have to purchase a copy og my book.