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Inlets and piers are probably some of the best places anywhere for a land based angler to target new species. They are by their structural nature just fishy as all get out. There is always something swimming down there. The structure and current they provide is exactly what many species look for at various times and conditions. And, under a wide range of conditions, there may be an entirely different batch of species at any pier or inlet. In the time Noah and I were in Florida there was one inlet that we fished a few times and every time it was different. There were also piers and inlets that we only fished once. This is about one of those that we fished only one time.
Before this trip, I spent hours researching spots, pouring over google maps, and watching fishing videos. Before I even started this research, though, I knew without a doubt I wanted to fish Hillboro Inlet. I had heard great things about the abundance of small species there, and I wanted to see it for myself. When Noah and I got to the water's edge it was clear we were in a good spot. Reef fish abounded, from tiny sergeant majors to bright blue parrotfish. In took me all of five casts to catch the first fish, and it was a new species. I had caught a spottail pinfish already on this trip but had somehow not gotten the very numerous regular pinfish. At least, until then.
|Pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides|
|Believe it or not, the same pinfish.|
|Kyphosus sectatrix and a piece of brain coral|
Hillsboro inlet is a cool spot that I guarantee I will be back to. Why am I being so forward with this location when I hide virtually every other spot I fish to the best of my ability? Inlets change every day, and ones like this provide far more in the way of small species than they do large staging fish like snook or redfish. It is hard to spot burn an inlet. The fish that were at Hillsborough when Noah and I were there were probably somewhere else the very next tide. And what I want to result from my sharing of my multi-species fishing and life-listing, above all else, is to turn someones's attention to fish species they may never have otherwise. I don't expect you all to go out and try to catch a banded sunfish, or an eastern mosquito fish, or a bandtail puffer. Micro fishing isn't for everyone, I get it. But there is so much beauty and intrigue to be found in the aquatic world, far more than just trout, or just bass, or just... anything. If I can help just one angler open up their mind to the beauty and value of species he or she had previously perceived as a trash fish, I will have succeeded.
So, if it strikes your curiosity, go to Hillsboro Inlet someday. Bring a light fly rod and small flies, a small spinning rod and shrimp, or even just a cane pole and bread, and see if you can catch something you've never seen before. To me, catching a species that I've only read about or seen a few photos of is just as exciting as catching a really big wild trout. And I hope I can pass some of the excitement and fascination I get out of this along to you.