I live in Miami, Florida. I have been attempting to catch fish in a canal near where I live with a light rod, 8lb test mono line, and size 6 and 8 hooks. I have primarily been using night crawlers as bait but have also tried several jigs and crankbaits. When fishing worms I use a float about 1.5 - 3 feet above the hook with enough split shot to make the float vertical in the water.
If I drop my line near the edge I can usually get baby Mayan Cichlids to bite. Other than that though I have not had any luck, not even bites no matter where I cast or what time of day I go. I have seen schools of fish swim right by my bait without even attempting a bite. Sometimes when I am bringing my line in as it drags across the surface of the water a baby Florida garr will chase it and attempt to eat my worm but other than that I have not had any action.
One rare time I casted into the opening of a boat shed and almost as soon as the bait hit the water an adult Mayan Cichlid took it. This was a rare and singular event.
But all that to say, what am I doing wrong? Could my 8lb line be spooking fish or do some fish not have any interest in worms? Maybe using a float is not an effective way to target fish that hang out near the bottom? I know it is hard to say if you are not actually there to see it yourself but I am hoping for some general tips for this type of situation from seasoned anglers. I want to catch some fish that are bigger than the palm of my hands!