This is the time of year when you can have the time of your life catching spadefish at the nearshore reefs. Well, really, its getting a little bit past primetime but you can still catch them, as evidenced by this report. I’ve heard it described as “as much fun as you can have with your pants on” and I’d have to say that is not far off the mark.
So, I have been spade fishing a half dozen times, most often successfully, sometimes not. Each time I have learned something new, and yesterday was no exception. So, I finally got my good friend, neighbor, fishing buddy and VP of SSWA, Ray out to experience the thrill. Thankfully, my plan came together and he had some sore arms by days-end.
We had a large time and caught about 15 spades, which was pretty good since we had zero jellyfish for bait. We caught all our fish on fresh shrimp.
I’ll save the details on how to catch spades to a future post, but suffice to say it is very, very fun and as Ray said “Pound for pound the hardest fighting fish he has caught”. They usually eat right at the boat, and you watch it all happen. When they realize they are hooked its an absolute rodeo on inshore gear. I have hooked a fish at the boat and had it break me off 40 feet down in a matter of seconds. They will smoke your reel for sure!
A note on conservation. When you figure these fish out, you can load the boat with them easily. But that doesn’t mean you should. They are very good to eat, but only fresh (in my opinion). We watched a boat near us catch many, many fish and keep them all. I wonder how many of them will be thrown away after a year in the freezer… Anyway, we kept a few and released the rest.
A great day on the water with a great friend. Spades, give em a try!