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Biscayne Bay’s Backdoor Trout

Catching fish on the Magic City's doorsteps


We both cast the same direction off the side of the boat and began working the jigs back with a vertical hopping motion. His jig was taken first, and mine got eaten a few seconds later. Seatrout. Two small trout came to the boat and were released in short order. Two more casts netted one more small trout and one that shook the hook on the surface.

This flat was virtually void of fish way back when. Anyone you saw fishing here was considered a novice that did not know how to fish. Today, however, savvy South Florida anglers fish this flat on a regular basis.

We drifted the flat several times, each time running back and allowing the boat to drift into a little deeper water. Each time we caught a few small trout. As we passed over a small rocky shoal spot in the grass, I saw a number of fish scatter. I pitched a marker over to mark that spot, and when we cranked to run back and drift again, I slowed to and idle and slowly approached that marker.

We eased the anchor over the side some distance from that shoal and sat quietly for a few minutes. We were close enough to the shoal to see where it was but far enough away that we didn’t spook the fish.

I swapped my root beer grub for a small red and white nylon jig. I tipped the jig with a small piece of salted shrimp and cast beyond the shoal. As I worked the jig over the shoal, a fish grabbed the jig so hard and fast that the rod almost slipped from my hand. Snapper! Mangrove snapper to be exact. There was a school of snapper over that shoal and they were hungry. My partner followed my nylon jig plan and soon we both were tangling with two pound, hard fighting snapper on eight-pound test line.

It was a great morning of fishing. We burned no more than a gallon of gas, and as the crow flies, we were less than a mile from my house! If you had told me when I was fifteen years old that we would be catching fish like this in Biscayne Bay, I would have laughed you out of the room. Anyone who fished back then would have laughed the same way.

But believe it, folks. Biscayne Bay is back and its back in spades. There are even a number of local guides who specialize in bay fishing. Next time you’re in Miami, give one of them a shout! Chances are you’ll see Mercy Hospital from the water!

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