All is not lost if your favorite jetty draws a crowd.
So you get to your favorite jetty and you find a gaggle of casters already staked out your sweet spots. It’s happened to all of us at one time or another! The word gets out that the bite is hot and it spreads through social media like wildfire. All is not lost if you take a step back and really study the situation.
It happened this way to me many years ago on one of my favorite inlet jetties. One night when I arrived it was clear that the spot I wanted to bucktail (the tip) was well populated with fishermen, so I began to look at my options. I noticed that the majority of the jetty was barren of any fishermen. The current was raging out and emptied into a nice hole at the tip of the breakwater: which explains why the casters were lined up there, just like I planned. I stood for a while and thought about my options. Maybe I would fish the open beach near the inlet?
While I was deciding, I remembered that I wanted to test swim a stubby needle that I was working on. So I grabbed it out of my truck and strolled to the jetty about midway back from the tip. I climbed down onto a rock and put the plug along the rocks and moved it side to side with the rod tip. I was happy the way it slowly sank, and noted that I might want to remove a little weight from the rear . As I was about to reel it up and pull it out of the water, a bass exploded on it, and a few minutes later I was landing a respectable teen-sized bass. It was literally at my feet, tight to the rocks. It made sense that that fish would be in the rocks foraging for the many bergalls and baby blackfish that live in there.
So I decided to work the rocks all the way along the inlet side of the jetty. Heck, I had the whole place to myself! I began throwing the needle again and after one missed fish, I switched to a white Gibbs Danny. That seemed to be the ticket. Casting the swimmer parallel to the rocks and in very tight with a slow retrieve resulted in a fish on about every other cast!
As I worked my way down along the rocks toward the bay, I noticed that any irregularity in the jetty, such as the rocks sticking out just a little more than the rest resulted in a fish. As I approached the bay side the outgoing current whipping around the bend hit a hole that swung the current into a large eddy. The current reversed and ran along the rocks in the opposite direction . Sort of a spin off current. I drifted the plug in the reversed current and then crawled it upstream. The bass were eager to attack the Danny as it swam back hanging in the current. It was a learning experience for me because I always keyed in on the so called “sweet spots” of the jetty. I tried this on an incoming tide and it was even more productive because the bass could get into more rocks and pick off their prey.
The jetty – at first glance – looks like one long and straight pile of boulders, but it’s those subtle changes in the rocks that create small indents and rips along its sides that will hold quality fish in tight. It’s very similar to reading a trout stream. Try to dissect the water into segments and work one section at a time. This also applies to single jettys in a bay or oceanfront. Don’t overlook getting the plugs in tight to the rocks. That’s where the food is, and the bass know this too! Also try to present your lure in different ways, for example, casting back into the beach wash from atop the rocks and swimming out of the whitewater back to the boulders can pay off.
Plugs that work well along these sides as I found out, are the Danny or any other surface metal lip that you can seductively swim along the base of the rocks. Other favorites are the Bomber and Red Fin. I also had good success with a large black teaser fluttering along with the Danny. Many times the teaser out-fished the plug.
So with this in mind, I now look more closely at the spots I like to fish and attempt to dissect them further when other anglers force me to abandon my usual sweet spot. Just remember, when other anglers are fishing your spot, closer observation just might save the trip.