Inlets are narrow bodies of water where a larger body runs out into another large body of water. The constriction of the inlet results in a fast current that will toss bait around and often provide excellent fishing opportunities.
The inlet that I am most familiar with is Indian River in Delaware. It is not unusual for the current to reach five or six knots, and this creates a good deal of turbulence.
To fish this effectively you have to read the water and the bottom. There will be standing waves where the bottom drops or rises, and gamefish such as flounder, trout, and rockfish will be holding as much out of the current as possible while waiting for bait to pass by. Use your SONAR to read the bottom and find where fish should be holding. As a general rule, they will be down-current behind a drop-off or an up welling on the bottom.
The next problem is getting bait or lures to the fish; most of the time it will require something heavy and thin to overcome the current. I use metal lures such as Stingsilvers or Crippled Herrings. I see people trying to use bucktails, and while these can be heavy enough, they have all that hair which makes them buoyant so that they don’t sink fast enough.
Quite often the gamefish will be on the surface right in the standing waves. This is the realm of bluefish and shad. Here you don’t need a real heavy lure, and if the fish are shad, a dart will do very well. Of course, you will need something heavy enough to get it to the fish. I tie my shad dart six to eight inches behind a Stingsilver.
As at Indian River Inlet, there is often a sandbar in the middle of or off to one side of the inlet. Work the edge of this bar on a running current with a bucktail or other type of jig and a soft plastic bait for rockfish and flounder.
By Eric Burnley