The Atlantic spadefish can be found in the western part of the Atlantic Ocean. They are commonly found in shallow waters off the coast of the southeastern United States and in the Caribbean. They put up a good fight on light tackle making them a popular gamefish, especially during the summer months when they are most active. Adult Atlantic spadefish are mostly found offshore on reefs and wrecks.
Inshore & Nearshore Fishing
Inshore and nearshore, some anglers do catch some of the juvenile fish, but this fish is considered more of an offshore fish. When spadefish are born, they will form big schools and will often stay around the inshore or nearshore structures such as oyster beds throughout their first year or so of life. Once they get bigger, they will then move offshore. However, don’t rule out some of the nearshore structure for those adult fish. At times, these fish will be in closer and you can catch some nice fish without going 15 miles out.
Spadefish are mostly caught offshore and that’s where the bigger, adult fish are going to be the majority of the time. Find the offshore structures that hold other bottom fish and you have a shot to find some of these fish too. Chumming does work for these fish too and many anglers will slowly raise their chum up to the surface to make it easier to target them. Whether you fish for them near the bottom or up off the bottom while chumming, these fish are awesome to catch and will put up an excellent fight. If you fish freshwater, just imaging catching a 6 to 8 pound bluegill.
You can probably get away with line as light as 12 pound line, however, 14 to 20 pound line is definitely better due to the structure that you will be fishing. Most anglers would also add a 20 to 30 pound leader to avoid snapping off on something along the bottom. When you chum them up to the surface, you probably won’t need as heavy of a leader. Medium-heavy to heavy rods are preferred. These fish can pull.
Chum Them Up With Cannonball Jellyfish (Called Jellyballs)
Cannonball jellyfish are popular for chumming up Spadefish. They are often times the best bait to use for them as well. Catch a half dozen or so and drop a chum line down. These jellyballs are fairly buoyant, so make sure you have enough weight to get the chum down closer to the bottom. You can rig several of them at different depths or just drop them all the way to the bottom. Once you feel the fish biting the jellyballs, you can slowly bring the chum line up towards the surface and often times, you can sight fish for these fish.
Pieces of Jellyballs