Fishing Articles from Capt Jim Klopfer

Fishing Articles from Capt Jim Klopfer

This post is the list of fishing articles written by Capt Jim Klopfer. Capt Jim grew up fishing in the Chesapeake Bay area and has been a charter boat captain in Sarasota, Florida since 1991.These articles will be broken down into several categories. These include Sarasota fishing articles, Florida fishing articles, freshwater fishing articles, and miscellaneous fishing articles. Simply click on the article title to read the article.

fishing articles

Saltwater fishing articles

The fishing articles and this section all cover subjects that pertain to saltwater fishing. They mainly focus on fishing in the United States, however the tips and tactics will help anglers catch fish all over the world.

Surf Fishing for Striped Bass – Pro Tips!

This article covers the topic of surf fishing for striped bass. Striped bass are arguable the most popular inshore saltwater species from Maine down to the Carolinas. Surf fishing is a great sport, but it requires patience and some specialized gear.

Surf Fishing for Whiting – a Complete Guide

Whiting are a small, but plentiful fish found all along the US coastline from Texas to New England. They are easy to catch and good to eat; the perfect surf species!

Trolling in Saltwater

Trolling is a very effective saltwater fishing technique. It is quite efficient as it allows anglers to present multiple lures or baits at varying depths in search of fish. This results in anglers covering a lot more water in a shorter period of time. This article on trolling and saltwater will help anglers understand the specialized gear and tactics required in order to be successful.

Fishing for Triggerfish – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

Triggerfish are a very popular saltwater species for anglers who like to bottom fish. In most cases, they are an incidental catch while targeting grouper, snapper, and other bottom dwellers. However, these tips will help anglers who target triggerfish to be more successful.

Black Drum Fishing – a Complete Guide

Black drum are a bit of and underrated game fish. They grow quite large and are available to anglers along the coast from Texas to the mid Atlantic. This article provides great information on catching the largest member of the drum family.

Florida Saltwater Fishing in Fall

Fall is an excellent time to go fishing in Florida! Falling water temperatures have the fish in a feeding mood and the seasonal crowds are gone. This article covers the species migrations and tactics that will help anglers catch more fish in autumn.

7 Useful Flounder Fishing Tips

This article on flounder fishing tips will help anglers catch more of these hard fighting in fantastic tasting members of the flat fish family. They are extremely popular all along their range, which is basically the entire East Coast from Texas to Maine.

Black Sea Bass Fishing

Black sea bass are a staple of charter boat captains all along the East Coast of the United States from Florida to Maine. While they do not grow large, 10 pounds is a very nice fish, they put up a great fight and are terrific eating. Basic bottom fishing techniques and tackle required for catching black sea bass are covered in this article.

Snapper Fishing – A Complete Guide

Snapper may be the most prized of all bottom fish targeted by anglers throughout the world. There are many different species, however most share quite a few habits. This article covers the baits, tackle, and locations needed to be more successful when pursuing these fantastic bottom species.

Fishing for Redfish, a Complete Guide

Redfish are perhaps the premier inshore saltwater species from North Carolina to Texas. They inhabit the inshore waters of the Gulf and ocean as well as the inshore bays and tidal creeks and rivers. The lures, baits, and techniques needed to full these widely game fish are covered in this comprehensive article on fishing for redfish.

What is the best Saltwater Fishing Reel under $100?

This article answers the question, “what is the best saltwater fishing reel for under $100”? Anglers will have to read the article to get the answer!

Saltwater Fishing with Shrimp

Shrimp are without a doubt the top live bait for anglers fishing and saltwater. They catch just about every saltwater species that swims. Live shrimp are readily available at every coastal bait shop. This article covers everything an angler will need to know to be an effective when fishing with live shrimp and saltwater.

7 Essential Surf Fishing Lures

Surf fishing is a very popular method of fishing used all along both coastlines. While live bait is effective, many anglers choose to cast artificial lures. This article will cover the seven essential surf fishing lures along with additional tips and tactics.

Top 14 Chesapeake Bay Game Fish

Chesapeake Bay as well known for its fantastic fishing. It offers anglers diversity and a wide variety of fish species to target. This article will cover the top 14 Chesapeake Bay game fish species along with locations and techniques to help anglers be more successful.

Inshore Saltwater Fishing, a Complete Guide

This very comprehensive article covers every aspect of inshore saltwater fishing. Tackle, live baits, artificial lures, seasons, locations, and techniques are all thoroughly covered. At the end is a section that covers each species individually as well.

What is the Best Pompano Fishing Lure?

This article talks about the best pompano fishing lure. The answer is simple; a jig. Jigs are extremely effective pompano fishing lures. This article covers the jig types along with the locations and techniques to produce pompano for anglers fishing the beach and inshore saltwater bays.

Fishing for False Albacore, Pro Tips and Techniques

False albacore are a tremendous saltwater game fish species. They are found in the nearshore coastal waters all along the eastern seaboard. Most false albacore are caught by anglers casting artificial lures into schools of feeding fish. This article covers the nuances and subtle techniques required to full these fussy game fish.

Best Cobia Fishing Tackle and Lures

This article covers the best cobia fishing tackle and lures. Cobia are are one of the largest coastal saltwater species, reaching weights of over 100 pounds. Specialized tactics and equipment are required in order to hook and subdue one of these trophy fish.

Best Speckled Trout Fishing Tackle

This article thoroughly covers the best speckled trout fishing tackle. Speckled trout, also known as spotted sea trout, are a very popular inshore saltwater species. They are found in most of the inshore bays from the mid Atlantic to Texas. There are a beautiful fish that are very good to eat.

Surf Fishing Tackle and Techniques

Surf fishing is a very popular technique employed by anglers fishing all along the coast. This article covers a specialized tackle in gear required to participate in the sport. Tips, techniques, and locations are also provided, helping anglers be more productive.

Best Jerkbait for Saltwater Fishing

Jerk baits are very effective fishing lures. This article is about the best jerk bait for saltwater fishing. Anglers will have to read the article to get the answer!

11 Valuable Tampa Bay Fishing Tips

Tampa Bay is a very productive Marine estuary. It offers anglers the opportunity to catch a wide variety of species using many different techniques. This article offers anglers 11 valuable Tampa Bay fishing tips.

Best 6 Topwater Plugs for Saltwater Fishing

Most anglers who cast artificial lures enjoy using top water plugs. Anytime a visual element can be added to fishing, it adds to the excitement. This article lists the top six top water lures for saltwater fishing along with many helpful tips and techniques to help anglers be more successful casting these lures.

Best 7 Saltwater Fishing Spoons

Spoons are simple, yet effective fishing lures that have been around a long time. A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in it. They cast a long way and are easy for novice anglers to use. This article list the top seven saltwater fishing spoons along with techniques used in order to be successful.

Best Sheepshead Fishing Tackle and Baits

Sheepshead are an odd looking member of the Porgy family. They feed on crustaceans and are found near all types of structure in the inshore bays as well as the open Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. They are notorious for being bait stealers that are difficult to hook. This article gives anglers inside information on how to be more successful catching these wily bottom feeders.

Tarpon Fishing Tackle and Gear, an Angler’s Guide

Tarpon are arguably the premier saltwater game fish species. They grow to weights of over 200 pounds and put up a tremendous fight when hooked, leaping high out of the water multiple times on most occasions. This article thoroughly covers the specialized gear and tackle required to catch these mighty game fish.

Best Redfish Fishing Tackle and lures

This post thoroughly covers the best redfish fishing tackle and lures. Redfish, also known as red drum, are an extremely popular inshore game fish species, particularly along the Gulf of Mexico coast. The professional tips provided in this article will help anglers be more productive when fishing for redfish.

Best 12 Spotted Sea Trout Fishing Lures

This article will list the best 12 spotted sea trout fishing lures. Spotted sea trout, also known as speckled trout, are a prolific inshore game fish species that are prized from Texaco to the Carolinas. They readily hit artificial lures, and this article will cover the best lures along with tactics and techniques.

Best Flounder and Fluke Fishing Tackle and Techniques

Flounder and fluke are very similar species, both being members of the flat fish family. They are prized by saltwater anglers for both their determined battle but mostly for their incredible fillets. This comprehensive article will thoroughly cover the best flounder and fluke fishing tackle and techniques.

Best Grouper Fishing Tackle and Lures

Grouper are arguably the most popular bottom fish in the southeast part of the United States. There are several varieties of grouper in most grow fairly large. They put up a very determined battle and are terrific eating. This article will cover the best grouper fishing tackle and lures.

Best False Albacore Fishing Tackle and Lures

This article will cover the best false albacore fishing tackle and lures. False albacore are hard fighting members of the to to family and are notorious for being fussy and difficult to catch. This article will help anglers be more successful when pursuing false albacore.

Best Live Baits for Saltwater Fishing in Florida

Many anglers visiting and fishing in Florida choose to do so using live bait. While artificial lures can be productive, sometimes it is hard to beat the real thing. This article will thoroughly cover the best live baits for saltwater fishing in Florida.

Best 7 Fishing Lures for Redfish

Most redfish are caught by anglers casting artificial lures. While there are many baits to choose from, this article by Capt. Jim will list the top seven redfish fishing lures along with tips and tactics that will help anglers enjoy more success.

Top 9 speckled trout fishing lures

This article will list the top nine speckled trout fishing lures. Speckled trout, also known as spotted sea trout, are an aggressive species that react favorably to anglers casting artificial lures. The top nine lures listed in this article will help anglers chasing speckled trout catch more fish.

Top 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures

Spanish mackerel are a beautiful and hard fighting inshore saltwater species that are also fantastic eating. They are very aggressive and respond well to anglers casting artificial lures, especially fast-moving flashy ones. This article will list the top six Spanish mackerel fishing lures.

Jack Crevalle Fishing, a Complete Guide

Jack crevalle, or jacks for short, are the bar room brawlers of the inshore saltwater seen. There is nothing subtle about these wide-bodied hard fighting game fish. While they can be taken on live bait, many are caught by anglers casting artificial lures. This article on Jack crevalle fishing thoroughly covers all of the tackle and tactics that will help anglers be more productive.

Light Tackle Bottom Fishing Tips

Bottom fishing is one of the oldest angling tactics. It basically involves dropping a baited hook to the bottom and waiting for a bite. However, as in all fishing techniques, there are nuances and tricks which will help anglers be more successful. This article on bottom fishing will give anglers the information they need to do so.

6 Essential Saltwater Fishing Flies

Fly fishing is not only for freshwater anglers, it has really taken off and saltwater over the last decade or two. There are a myriad of fly patterns that will produce and saltwater. This article by Capt. Jim list the top six saltwater fishing flies.

How to Catch Saltwater Fish with Jigs

Jigs are one of the oldest and simplest artificial lures and existence. It is a basic design which has been fooling fish ever since man has been chasing them with fake baits. This article completely covers every aspect of saltwater fishing with jigs.

Spotted Sea Trout Fishing, Tips to Succeed

Spotted sea trout are arguably only second to redfish when it comes to popularity among inshore saltwater anglers along the Gulf Coast. They are abundant, aggressive, beautiful, and taste great! This article by Capt. Jim provides some great spotted sea trout fishing tips.

Fishing for Redfish and Speckled Trout

This article combines the two most popular inshore saltwater species from Texas to the Carolinas; redfish and speckled trout. While they inhabit many of the same areas and have some similar habits, there are differences as well. Both of these are covered well in this article by Capt. Jim on fishing for redfish and speckled trout.

Fishing for Bluefish, Tips and Techniques

Bluefish are well known to saltwater anglers, particularly those in the Northeast. They are second only and popularity to striped bass in many areas. Bluefish are extremely aggressive and hard fighting fish that will recklessly attack artificial lures as well as live baits. This article covers all aspects of fishing for bluefish.

Top 15 Sheepshead Fishing Tips

Sheepshead are a prolific and popular inshore saltwater species that are quite distinguishable and looks. They are a hard fighting and good eating member of the porgy family. This article will list the top 15 sheepshead fishing tips.

Best 6 Saltwater Fishing Lures

There are many artificial lures which anglers can use in order to be successful when saltwater fishing. In fact, the selection can be overwhelming. In an effort to simplify this for anglers, Capt. Jim wrote this article on the best six saltwater fishing lures.

Top 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures

Spanish mackerel are a very aggressive saltwater game fish species. This aggressiveness makes them very susceptible to being full by flashy, fast-moving artificial lures. In fact, most anglers who target Spanish mackerel do so using these types of baits. This article list the top six Spanish mackerel fishing lures.

Florida fishing articles

largemouth bass fishing in Florida

Florida offers both resident and visiting anglers many different fishing opportunities. World-class fishing exists in both freshwater and saltwater from the smallest of pan fish to giant tarpon and billfish. These following articles by Capt. Jim Klopfer cover many of these fishing subjects.Rain

Surf Fishing in Florida

While many anglers enjoy fishing from boats in Florida, surf fishing can be very productive as well. The tactics are a bit different from the traditional surf casting that is done in the Northeast. This article on surf fishing in Florida covers all the tactics, rigs, and techniques needed to catch fish off of the Florida beaches.

Florida Saltwater Fishing in Summer

While it is certainly quite warm in Florida in the summer time, many anglers are surprised to learn that fishing can be outstanding. The best action takes place early and late in the day as well is at night. Anglers need to avoid the extreme heat in the middle of the day. This article on fishing Florida in the summer covers all of the seasonal migrations as well as the tactics needed to be successful this time of year.

Flounder Fishing in Florida

This article on flounder fishing in Florida covers all of the tackle and techniques needed to catch these delicious inshore saltwater fish. Flounder put up a nice little fight and are one of the best eating fish out there!

Largemouth Bass Fishing in Florida

It would be easy to argue that largemouth bass reign supreme in the fishing world in Florida. The countless lakes and rivers offer anglers world-class largemouth bass fishing. Tactics used dad here are a bit different than those in other parts of the country in these are all covered in this article on largemouth bass fishing in Florida.

Best 14 Tampa Bay Fishing Spots

This post lists 14 Tampa Bay fishing spots. Tampa Bay is a large estuary that offers excellent fishing on a wide variety of species. Each spot list some of the species available as well as baits and tactics that are productive in that particular spot.

Fishing for Snook, a Complete Guide

Snook are the premier inshore game fish in Florida. They are the saltwater version of largemouth bass. Snook are an apex predator that are aggressive and structure oriented. They grow to 50 pounds and more. This article by Capt. Jim covers all the lures, seasonal migrations, baits, and techniques needed to be successful when fishing for snook.

Florida Offshore Fishing Tips

Offshore fishing is extremely popular in Florida. This article on offshore fishing tips will help anglers catch grouper, snapper, sailfish, wahoo, king mackerel, and more. Drifting, trolling, and bottom fishing are all covered in great detail.

Florida Pompano Fishing

Pompano have a bit of a cult following in the state of Florida. They do not grow very large, 3 pounds is a nice one, but they put up a terrific fight for their size. Pompano also are perhaps the finest eating fish that swims in this is a major reason for their popularity. This article on Florida pompano fishing covers the lures, baits, locations, and techniques that will result in success.

Florida Bluefish

Few anglers equate bluefish and Florida in the same sentence. However, Florida offers anglers the chance to catch bluefish and throughout the year. They are very common among angler surf fishing off of the states beaches. Bluefish are also plentiful at certain times of the year in the inshore waters. This article on catching Florida bluefish will give anglers all the information they need.

Freshwater Fly Fishing in Florida

This post by Capt. Jim thoroughly covers freshwater fly fishing in Florida. Panfish, especially large bluegill, are the most commonly targeted species with largemouth bass right behind. The shallow, weedy lakes of Florida offer the perfect environment in which to do some freshwater fly fishing.

Fly Fishing in Florida, Gulf Coast Tips

When fly fishing in Florida is mentioned, most anglers picture a flats skiff being quietly polled across a flat while the angler casts towards telling fish. This certainly occurs, especially in the very shallow water areas. However, there are other techniques that produce a lot of fish for anglers fly fishing in Florida.

Tarpon Fishing in Florida, an Anglers Guide

Tarpon did not earn their nickname the Silver King without merit. These incredible game fish grow to over 200 pounds. There are few opportunities anywhere in the world to sight cast to fish this large with fairly light tackle. This article on tarpon fishing in Florida will give anglers the information they need to get started in their pursuit of a trophy tarpon.

Best Snook Fishing Tackle and Lures

The topic of this article is the best snook fishing tackle and lures. Snook are arguably the top inshore saltwater game fish in the state. They are highly prized and pursued by anglers and it is important to have the correct lures and tackle in order to catch them.

Florida King Mackerel Fishing, Tips and Techniques

King mackerel are found in the inshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean along the entire coast line of Florida. They do not come into the inshore bays. King mackerel grow large, with specimens pushing 80 pounds. This article on Florida king mackerel fishing thoroughly covers the trolling techniques that are so productive when pursuing this species.

Top 21 Florida Saltwater Game Fish

Florida has a long list of saltwater game fish species that are available to anglers. This article list the top 21 of these Florida saltwater game fish. Locations, techniques, and strategies are listed for each fish species along with some great pictures of top female Florida anglers.

What is the Best Bait for Shark Fishing?

Shark fishing is quite popular in Florida as it is in many other saltwater environments. This article covers the best bait for shark fishing in Florida. The answer is fairly obvious to most seasoned anglers, however there are techniques and nuances that will improve the odds when pursuing these large fish.

Fishing for Florida Panfish and Crappie

While largemouth bass get much of the press when it comes to freshwater fishing in Florida, crappie and panfish are actually targeted by more anglers. This article on fishing for Florida panfish and crappie will help anglers understand the techniques along with the best waters in order to catch a mess of hard fighting and tasty fish.

Top 25 Florida Game Fish

This fun post list the top 25 Florida game fish. It includes species that live and both freshwater and saltwater environments. In fact, a few thrive in both. Each species has some interesting facts along with techniques and some great images of top female Florida anglers.

Florida Saltwater Fishing in Winter

While winters are mild or in Florida than they are in other parts of the country, they still do arrive. As in every other location, fish behaviors change and successful anglers change their tactics with the season. This article on Florida saltwater fishing and winter will help anglers understand these changes and adapt in order to succeed.

Fishing for Ladyfish in Florida

Some anglers do not consider ladyfish to be a game fish species, but this is a mistake. Pound for pound, ladyfish put up is tough a bite as any other species. They are very aggressive and will hit artificial lures and flies along with live baits. They almost always leap clear up out of the water. This article on fishing for ladyfish in Florida will help anglers understand their habits.

Freshwater fishing articles

top freshwater game fish

Freshwater fishing is extremely popular throughout North America. Anglers have more opportunities to experience this, as no matter where they are in the country there is some body of water fairly close by that offer some type of freshwater fishing. The following article by Capt. Jim cover a wide variety of freshwater fishing topics for anglers to enjoy and learn from.

Best 13 White Bass Fishing Lures – Hybrid Bass, Too!

This article lists the best 13 white bass and hybrid bass fishing lures. White bass are a small but fiesty species that are abundant in many waters, particularly in the Midwest.

Blue Catfish Fishing Tips

This article on blue catfish fishing tips will help anglers catch more of these trophy gamefish. Blue catfish have grown in popularity as they have been introduced into many large lake and river systems.

Spinner Fishing for Trout, a Complete Guide

This article thoroughly covers spinner fishing for trout. Spinners are very productive trout fishing lures. This article covers the lures and tactics needed to be successful.

26 Productive Trout Fishing Tips

This article list 26 productive trout fishing tips. There are several different species of trout available to anglers. However, many share the same feeding habits and characteristics. This article will definitely help anglers catch more trout!

Top 15 Pennsylvania Game Fish Species

This article lists the top 15 Pennsylvania game fish species. All of these fish are freshwater species, as Pennsylvania offers no access to saltwater fishing. Trout and bass are the top species, however there are quite a few others that Pennsylvania anglers can target.

Top 12 Michigan Game Fish Species

Michigan offers some of the finest freshwater fishing in the world. Anglers can chase trout, bass, pike, salmon, and other species in the smallest of streams up to the Great Lakes. This post list the top 12 Michigan game fish species and has tips, techniques, and locations for each species.

Top 15 Wisconsin Game Fish Species

Wisconsin has a ton of lakes and rivers and offers anglers a wide variety of fishing opportunities. Anglers can also venture out into Lake Michigan from the shores of Wisconsin. This article covers the top 15 game fish species and Wisconsin along with some useful tips.

Streamer Fishing for Trout – Pro Tips!

Streamers are effective flies for anglers fishing for trout. They often catch larger fish then do tiny drive flies or nymphs. This article on streamer fishing for trout thoroughly covers the streamers, tackle, techniques, and locations that will help anglers fishing with streamers for trout be more successful.

Trout Fishing Equipment – A Complete Guide

Different types of fishing require different types of tackle and equipment, and trout fishing is no exception. This complete guide to trout fishing equipment will help anglers understand the gear that they need to safely and effectively enjoy the sport.

Fly Fishing for Bass

Bass are perhaps the most popular freshwater species in North America. Many anglers chased them using artificial lures, however fly fishing is gaining in popularity. This article on fly fishing for bass will help anglers new to this aspect of bass fishing understand the tackle required along with the fundamental differences between fly fishing and other forms of casting.

10 Essential Spotted Bass Fishing Lures

This article lists the 10 essential spotted bass fishing lures. Spotted bass are growing in both popularity and numbers throughout the country. They mostly inhabit clear, deeper lakes and are often suspended out over structure. Different lures and tactics are needed in order to be successful pursuing them.

Largemouth Bass Fishing – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

Largemouth bass are a hugely popular freshwater game fish. This comprehensive article on largemouth bass fishing thoroughly covers all aspects including tackle, lures, live baits, seasons, and techniques. It is an excellent article for anglers looking to get started fishing for largemouth bass.

Top 18 Minnesota Game Fish

This article list the top 18 Minnesota game fish species. Minnesota’s landlocked, therefore the species are all freshwater fish. However, Minnesota offers a wide variety of fishing opportunities from small streams to the Great Lakes. Trout and bass are top species, but pike, musky, walleye, and other species please anglers.

Bluegill Fishing- Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

Bluegill may be the most popular freshwater fish species in North America. They are small, yet very aggressive and put up an excellent fight on ultralight tackle. This article on bluegill fishing covers all the basics along with some advanced tips and tactics.

Best 11 Brook Trout Fishing Lures

Brook trout are the smallest of the three major trout species, but many anglers consider them the most satisfying to catch. Brooke trout can be challenging whether on fly or using artificial lures. This article covers the best 11 brook trout fishing lures that will catch these beautiful trout in every fishing situation and angler will encounter.

What is the Best Fishing Bait for Blue Catfish?

Blue catfish are growing in popularity throughout the country. They have been stocked in many large River and reservoir systems. They are an apex predator that grows very large. This article answers a question of the best bait to use when fishing for blue catfish.

What is the Best Fishing Bait for Channel Catfish

Channel catfish are the most widely distributed of the three major members of the catfish family. They are also smaller than blue catfish and flathead catfish. They have a varied diet, however there is one bait that is best for anglers fishing for channel catfish, and this article answers that question.

What is the best largemouth bass fishing lure?

There are many artificial lures that will fool largemouth bass. However, there is one artificial lure that is the best for catching largemouth bass. Anglers will have to read this article to find out what the best largemouth bass fishing lure is.

What is the best crappie fishing lure?

Crappie are a very popular freshwater species. They are the largest member of the panfish family. Live minnows are the top live bait, but there is also an artificial lure that is extremely effective on crappie. This article is all about the best crappie fishing lure.

9 Essential Smallmouth Bass Fishing Lures

This article list the nine essential smallmouth bass fishing lures. Smallmouth bass are a very popular freshwater species that readily hit artificial baits. These nine lures will catch smallmouth bass in every situation that an angler will encounter.

14 Essential Walleye Trolling Lures

More walleye are caught by anglers trolling than any other fishing technique. While live bait can be used when trolling, artificial lures allow anglers to cover more water. This article list the top 14 walleye trolling lures along with some excellent tips and tactics.

Top 6 Freshwater Fishing Lures

Fishing with artificial lures can be overwhelming, especially for novice anglers. The purpose of this article was to simplify lore selection down to a handful that will catch just about every freshwater fish species. Anglers will find this list of the top six freshwater fishing lures to be extremely helpful.

What is the Best Live Bait for Crappie Fishing?

There is one live bait that is by far the most effective when crappie fishing. Experience crappie fishermen already know the answer to this, but novice anglers will have to read the article to find out.

Top 5 Freshwater Fishing Spinners

Spinners are very effective and popular freshwater fishing lures. This article list the top five freshwater fishing spinners. These five lures will catch just about every freshwater species that swims and streams, rivers, and lakes. Tips and techniques are included as well.

Best Small Spinnerbait for Bass Fishing

This article covers the best small spinner bait for bass fishing. Anglers have been using spinner baits for decades to catch both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. However, there are situations where a smaller spinner bait is a better choice.

Best Brook Trout Fishing tackle

This article thoroughly covers the best brook trout fishing tackle. Brook trout are small, but beautiful, and are usually found in pristine environments. Successful anglers chasing these fish will do well to keep the tackle very light.

Best Lake Trout Fishing Tackle and Gear

Lake trout are the largest of the trout species and require specialized tackle and gear in order to catch them. Most the lake trout are caught by anglers trolling. However, ice fishing is popular as well. This article covers all of the lake trout fishing tackle and gear an angler will need to pursue these hefty trout.

Best Musky Fishing Tackle

Musky are considered by many anglers to be the most challenging freshwater species. They did not earn their nickname “a fish of 10,000 casts” without merit. This article covers the best musky fishing tackle to help an angler get started in this pursuit.

Northern Pike Fishing Tips and Tackle

The topic of this article is northern pike fishing tips and tackle. Northern pike are a very popular game fish found in the cooler waters of the northern states and Canada. There are quite aggressive and will take a variety of artificial lures. Anglers will learn which Lors to use along with the appropriate tackle in this article.

Best Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tackle and lures

This article covers thoroughly the best smallmouth bass fishing tackle and lures. Smallmouth bass are a very popular freshwater game fish species that are found in cool, clear waters. Most smallmouth bass are caught by anglers casting lures using fairly light spinning tackle.

Rock Bass Fishing Tips and Tackle

Rock bass are underrated member of the pan fish family and are a game fish in their own right. Anglers that match the tackle to these fish will certainly enjoy catching them. This article on rock bass fishing tips and tackle will help them do so.

Panfish Fishing

Panfish are among the most popular and sought after species for anglers fishing across North America. This article on fishing for crappie, bluegill, and panfish will supply anglers with the tackle, lures, techniques, and fishing patterns that they will need an order to be successful when pursuing these species.

Walleye Fishing Tackle and lures

Walleye are among the most popular freshwater species targeted by anglers in the northern waters. While they put up a respectable fight, they are mostly prized for their snow white fillets. This article on walleye fishing tackle and lures will help anglers gear up on the equipment needed to experience success when chasing these delicious game fish species.

Top 13 Freshwater Fishing Plugs

This article list the top 13 freshwater fishing plugs. Plugs are hard bodied lures, usually made from plastic though some are carved from wood, that mostly mimic wounded bait fish. They are easy to cast and work well trolled. These 13 plugs will cover every fishing situation and angler will encounter.

Best 11 topwater plugs for freshwater fishing

Few anglers will deny that any time a fish can be caught on the surface, it adds to the excitement. This article list the top 11 top water plugs for freshwater fishing. These baits will fool game fish and just about every fishing situation where fish can be taken on the surface.

Top 11 Freshwater Fishing Spoons

Spoons are simple, yet effective lures that have been around for decades. A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in. Spoons wobble enticingly and put out a lot a vibration. This list of the top 11 freshwater fishing spoons are a must for every angler’s tackle box.

Largemouth Bass Fishing in Creeks

Small creeks are great fun to fish and are easy places for novice anglers to find fish as hiding spots are limited. This article on largemouth bass fishing in creeks will help anglers catch this most popular freshwater game fish in these small bodies of water.

Spinnerbait Fishing Tips and Techniques

Spinner baits are very productive freshwater fishing lures. They are easy to use for novice anglers as they have a lot of built in action. The blades put out a lot of flash and vibration while the skirt provides bulk and action. This article on spinner bait fishing tips and tactics will get angler started catching fish on these very productive baits.

Bass Fishing Tackle and Equipment

Bass fishing can be intimidating, especially for the novice angler. Choices are endless when it comes to rods, reels, lures, and other equipment. This comprehensive article on bass fishing tackle and equipment will simplify these choices and help anglers purchase and acquire the best equipment for their fishing situation.

Best Catfish Fishing Tackle and Gear

Catfish are growing in popularity throughout North America. Blue Fish have been stocked in many waters to provide anglers with the chance to catch a trophy fish. Some specialized equipment is needed when targeting catfish, especially larger ones. This article on the best catfish fishing tackle and gear will help anglers make the best choices when it comes to acquiring the equipment they need for catching catfish.

Best 13 Brown Trout Fishing Lures

Brown trout are a very popular trout species that will readily hit artificial lures. This article on the best 13 brown trout fishing lures gives anglers a comprehensive list of the best lures to use for these fish in both lakes and streams.

Freshwater Fishing Tackle and Lures, a Beginners Guide

This article on freshwater fishing tackle and lures is an excellent introduction for novice anglers especially to the vast array of tackle that will be required in order to get started fishing. While it can seem overwhelming, this article greatly simplifies what is needed to help anglers get started fishing.

Ice Fishing Tackle and Gear

Ice fishing is very popular in the colder areas of North America and all over the world. The tackle and equipment has evolved greatly over the last few decades. Anglers can fish safely and comfortably while experiencing some excellent fishing action. This article on ice fishing tackle and gear will layout all of the equipment options for anglers to help them to decide what they need in order to enjoy a day of ice fishing.

Top 10 Northern Pike Fishing Lures

This article on the top 10 northern pike fishing lures lists the most reliable and effective fishing lures for northern pike. Pike are a very aggressive species which will readily take lures. In fact, most northern pike are caught by anglers casting artificial lures in fairly shallow water, usually with weeds present.

Best 13 Largemouth Bass Fishing Lures for Beginners

Beginner anglers can be overwhelmed when it comes to choosing artificial lures for largemouth bass fishing. The selection can be quite overwhelming. This article list of best 13 largemouth bass fishing lures for beginners to help simplify and demystify the process.

Best River Trout Fishing Lure

There are several different lure types which will catch trout in freshwater streams and rivers. However, there is one lure that is the best river trout fishing lure. Anglers will have to read this article to get the answer and find out all about this very productive bait.

What is the best live bait for freshwater fishing?

There are many productive live baits that anglers can choose to use when freshwater fishing. However, there is one live bait that is more productive than all the rest. Read this article to find out the answer along with some great tips and tactics.

Fly Fishing for Bluegill and Panfish

Many anglers associate fly fishing with trout, and for good reason. However this article on fly fishing for bluegill and panfish will hopefully encourage anglers to explore taking up the long rod for these feisty little panfish. Bluegill and panfish are more accessible along with being easier to catch and most instances. It is a great way to learn to fly fish!

Fishing with Spinners in Rivers and Streams

Spinners are excellent fishing lures, being particularly effective in rivers and streams. This article on fishing with spinners and rivers and streams gives anglers all the information they need on the top spinners along with tackle, locations, and techniques that will help them be more successful when using these lures and running water.

Top 13 Rainbow Trout Fishing Lures

Rainbow trout are one of the most recognizable game fish species on the planet. They are the most widely stocked trout species and North America. Anglers can catch them using flies, lures, and live bait. This article list the top 13 rainbow trout fishing lures that anglers can use to be more successful when pursuing this species.

What is the best live bait for smallmouth bass?

Smallmouth bass will take a variety of live baits. However, there is one particular bait that smallmouth bass prefer over all others. Veteran smallmouth bass anglers already know what this is, however novice anglers will have to read the article to find out. Experienced anglers may learn a tip or trick or two as well.

Best 9 Fishing Lures for Streams and Small Rivers

Smaller streams and rivers require a change in tactics in order to be successful. This article list the best nine fishing lures for rivers in small streams along with the techniques and tackle needed in order to be successful catching a variety of species.

Crappie Fishing Tackle and Lures, a Complete Guide

This article thoroughly covers crappie fishing tackle and lures. It will help anglers acquire the equipment needed as well as providing some great tips and techniques, helping anglers be more successful when targeting these tasty freshwater panfish.

Best 9 fishing lures for bluegill and panfish

Many bluegill and panfish are caught by anglers fishing with live bait. However, artificial lures can be very productive as well. This article list the best nine fishing lures for bluegill and panfish along with some excellent tips and techniques.

How to Catch Catfish, a Comprehensive Guide

This article on how to catch catfish will help anglers of all experience levels catch more of these hard fighting and great eating freshwater game fish!

Walleye Fishing, a Beginners Guide

Walleye are an extremely popular species in the Great Lakes region as well as Canada and the northern states. This article on walleye fishing is aimed at beginners, helping them understand the tackle and techniques needed in order to be successful.

Fishing for River Catfish, Tips and Techniques

Many anglers chasing catfish do so and rivers, it is a prime environment for them. This article thoroughly covers fishing for river catfish and provides some excellent tips and techniques which will help anglers experience a productive day chasing catfish.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing for Beginners

Smallmouth bass are a terrific freshwater game fish species! They are a bit of a mix between largemouth bass and trout. This article on smallmouth bass fishing will help anglers understand the difference while providing some excellent techniques to help them be more successful.

Best 7 River Smallmouth Fishing Lures

Many anglers chasing smallmouth bass do so and rivers, and most use artificial lures when doing so. This post lists the top seven River smallmouth bass fishing lures along with some great techniques that will help anglers catch more fish.

Fishing Franklin North Carolina

Franklin, North Carolina is a small town located in the very Western portion of North Carolina. It offer some excellent fishing in creeks, rivers and lakes for a wide variety of freshwater species. This article thoroughly covers fishing in Franklin, North Carolina.

Top 27 Freshwater Game Fish Species

This post list the top 27 freshwater game fish species. It has some excellent tips about tackle, techniques and locations while featuring some terrific female freshwater anglers.

Trout Fishing in Blue Ridge, Georgia

Blue Ridge, Georgia offers anglers some excellent trout fishing opportunities. The mountains in North Georgia offer some prime habitat, though most of the fish are stocked. This article on trout fishing in Blue Ridge, Georgia thoroughly covers the topic.

Manitoba and Alberta Fishing

There is no doubt the Canada offers anglers some world-class fishing opportunities. This article on Manitoba and Alberta fishing covers as many of these opportunities as possible.

River Fishing Tips and Techniques

Anglers fishing and rivers face some different challenges from those fishing in lakes. This article features some excellent river fishing tips and techniques to help anglers understand these differences and be more productive when fishing and moving water.

Fishing the North Shore of Minnesota

The north shore of Lake superior that borders Minnesota offers excellent fishing year-round for a variety of species. This article on fishing the North Shore of Minnesota covers as many of the fishing situations as possible along with some great tips and techniques.

Ice fishing articles

ice fishing for rainbow trout

Ice Fishing for Crappie, a Beginners Guide

This article on ice fishing for crappie will help beginner anglers been more successful when targeting this largest member of the panfish family through the ice. Crappy do feed well in the cold water, however a change of tactics is required.

Ice Fishing with Tip Ups

Tip ups are used by many anglers who enjoy ice fishing. These units are set and baited, usually with a live minnow, and then the angler waits for a game fish to come by and feed.

Sarasota fishing articles

guide to inshore saltwater fishing

Sarasota is a resort town on the west coast of Florida, just south of Tampa Bay. Despite the amount of people there, Sarasota offers anglers a wide variety of fishing options. These articles cover many of the species, techniques, and locations to help anglers be more successful when fishing in Sarasota.

Fishing Sarasota Bay, Pro Tips!

This comprehensive article covers all aspects of fishing in Sarasota Bay and surrounding waters. Species, tackle, techniques, locations, and seasonal migrations are all covered in great detail.

Fishing Siesta Key

This article by Capt Jim covers the techniques and tackle needed to be successful when fishing on Siesta Key, Fl. Siesta Key is the second large key that is part of Sarasota and offers good fishing all year long.

Sarasota Fishing Calendar

Capt Jim’s Sarasota fishing calendar thoroughly covers the seasonal migrations that occur in Sarasota. The seasons do change and fish locations and behaviors change as well. Successful anglers understand these changes and adapt with them.

Sarasota Bottom Fishing

Bottom fishing is a basic, but very effective fishing technique. This article on Sarasota bottom fishing will help anglers understand the baits, rigs, and presentations need in order to be successful when bottom fishing in Sarasota.

Best 11 Sarasota Fishing Reefs

Sarasota County has an extensive artificial reef program that benefits anglers. This article lists the best 11 Sarasota fishing reefs along with techniques used on the reefs.

Sarasota Offshore Fishing

Many anglers enjoy the thrill of offshore fishing. These fish are often larger than those caught in the inshore bays. This article on Sarasota offshore fishing covers the spots, species, and techniques that anglers will need to know to catch more fish.

Sarasota Redfish

Redfish are a very popular inshore game fish. This article on Sarasota redfish covers the tackle, lures, baits, locations, seasonal migrations, and techniques that will help anglers catch more of these desirable game fish species.

Sarasota Chumming Techniques

Chumming is an extremely effective fishing technique that is mostly used in saltwater. This article on Sarasota chumming will help anglers catch the bait needed for chumming along with the specialized techniques used.

River Snook Fishing Charters

Snook migrate up into area creeks, rivers, and residential canals in the winter. They do so to keep warm as these areas are protected more than the open flats. This article on river snook fishing charters will help anglers decide if this is a trip for them.

Sarasota Bass Fishing

Largemouth bass are a very popular freshwater game fish. This article on Sarasota bass fishing covers the tackle, lures, baits, locations, seasonal migrations, and techniques that will help anglers catch more of these desirable game fish species.

Sarasota Snook Fishing

Snook are a very popular inshore game fish. This article on Sarasota snook fishing covers the tackle, lures, baits, locations, seasonal migrations, and techniques that will help anglers catch more of these desirable game fish species.

Sarasota False Albacore

False albcore are a very popular game fish found in the inshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This article on Sarasota false albacore covers the tackle, lures, baits, locations, seasonal migrations, and techniques that will help anglers catch more of these desirable game fish species.

Sarasota Fishing Forecast

This Sarasota fishing forecast lists the upcoming fishing opportunities in Sarasota, based on Capt Jim’s past experiences.

Sarasota Crappie Fishing

Crappie are a very popular freshwater game fish. This article on Sarasota crappie fishing covers the tackle, lures, baits, locations, seasonal migrations, and techniques that will help anglers catch more of these desirable game fish species.

Sarasota Sheepshead Fishing

Sheepshead are a very popular inshore game fish. This article on Sarasota sheepshead fishing covers the tackle, lures, baits, locations, seasonal migrations, and techniques that will help anglers catch more of these desirable game fish species.

Sarasota Mangrove Snapper Fishing

Mangrove snapper are a very popular game fish found both inshore and offshore. This article on Sarasota mangrove snapper fishing covers the tackle, lures, baits, locations, seasonal migrations, and techniques that will help anglers catch more of these desirable game fish species.

Sarasota Speckled Trout Fishing

Speckled trout are a very popular inshore game fish. This article on Sarasota speckled trout fishing covers the tackle, lures, baits, locations, seasonal migrations, and techniques that will help anglers catch more of these desirable game fish species.

Longboat Key Fishing Charters

Longboat Key is a premier destination on Florida. This article covers the options that anglers on Longboat Key fishing charters have.

Sarasota Freshwater Fishing

While saltwater fishing gets most of the attention, and for good reason, this article on Sarasota freshwater fishing covers the options that anglers have who prefer freshwater fishing.

Best 6 Sarasota Fishing Lures

There are many different artificial lures than anglers can use to catch fish. This article lists the top 6 Sarasota artificial lures that produce fish in this area.

Fly Fishing Sarasota Rivers

Fly fishing is quite popular in Sarasota. However, few take advantage of fly fishing in Sarasota rivers. This article gives anglers all the information needed to enjoy this fly fishing opportunity.

Best Sarasota Fishing Charter

This article describes Capt Jim Klopfer and the best Sarasota fishing charter. Capt Jim works hard to put his clients on fish in a fun, easygoing environment.

35 Best Sarasota Fishing Spots

This article lists the 35 best Sarasota fishing spots. These are the spots that Capt Jim fished daily on his Sarasota fishing charters. Species, techniques, and seasons are covered.

Sarasota Jig Fishing

Jigs are very effective saltwater fishing lures. This article on Sarasota jig fishing covers the different jigs that produce fish along with techniques and species.

Sarasota Trolling Techniques

Trolling is a very effective saltwater fishing technique. Anglers in Sarasota catch plenty of fish while trolling. This article on Sarasota trolling will help anglers be more productive using this technique.

Siesta Key Snook Fishing

Snook are a very popular inshore game fish. This article on Siesta Key snook fishing covers the tackle, lures, baits, locations, seasonal migrations, and techniques that will help anglers catch more of these desirable game fish species.

Best 7 Lido Key Fishing Spots

This post lists the best 7 lido Key fishing spots. Lido Key is located just west of downtown Sarasota and offers anglers a wide variety of fishing opportunities.

17 Best Bradenton Fishing Spots

This post lists the best 17 Bradenton fishing spots. Bradenton is located north and west of Sarasota and offers anglers a wide variety of fishing opportunities.

Fishing Charters in Sarasota

This article on Sarasota fishing charters thoroughly covers the options clients going out on a fishing charter in this area have.

Miscellaneous Fishing Articles

fishing for striped bass

Fishing with Lures, a Complete Guide

This article is a comprehensive guide to fishing with artificial lures in freshwater and saltwater. It covers the different lutre types along with techniques that will help anglers be more successful.

Jerkbait Fishing _ Pro Tips!

Jerkbaits are very effective and versatile fishing lures. Capt Jim shares some great tips along with his favorite lures in this article on jerkbait fishing.

Lipless Crankbait Fishing, a Guide to Success

Lipless crankbaits are effective and versatile fishing lures. This article on lipless crank bait fishing will cover the lures, tackle, in the techniques that will help anglers be more successful when using these baits.

Best 11 Spinnerbait Fishing Lures

Spinnerbaits are excellent fishing lures. While mostly used by freshwater anglers, they produce in saltwater as well. This article lists the best 11 spinnerbaits.

Best 5 Fishing Techniques

There are many different fishing techniques that anglers can use to catch fish. This article lists and covers the top 5 fishing techniques which are trolling, casting, drift fishing, bottom fishing, and fly fishing.

Fishing for Striped Bass, Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

This article covers striped bass fishing. Striped bass are a popular game fish species that thrive in both saltwater and freshwater environments. This article covers the tackle and techniques used to catch them.

Top 25 Carolina Game Fish

Both North and South Carolina are well known for fantastic fishing. They offer anglers diversity and a wide variety of fish species to target. This article will cover the top 25 Carolina game fish species along with locations and techniques to help anglers be more successful.

7 Essential Striped Bass Fishing Lures

This article lists the 7 essential striped bass fishing lures. Striped bass are found in both saltwater and large freshwater lakes. These lures will produce striped bass everywhere.

What is the Best Striped Bass Fishing Lure?

This article answers the question of what the best striped bass fishing lure is. Anglers will have to read it to find out!

What is the best fishing knot?

There are many different fishing knots that anglers can use. Read this article to learn what Capt Jim’s favorite fishing knot is.

What is the Best Scented Soft Plastic Fishing Lure

Soft plastic baits are extremely effective in a wide variety of situations. Adding scent only increases the effectiveness. Read to find out Capt Jim’s favorite scented soft plastic bait.

Best Striped Bass Fishing Tackle and Lures

This article thoroughly covers the top striped bass fishing tackle that anglers will need in order to be successful chasing striped bass.

Top 12 Texas Game Fish

Texas is well known for fantastic fishing. Texas offer anglers diversity and a wide variety of fish species to target. This article will cover the top 12 Texas game fish species along with locations and techniques to help anglers be more successful.

A Guide to Kayak Fishing for Beginners

Kayak fishing is very popular. They are portable and allow anglers access to waters that are less accessible to larger boats. Read this article to help anglers choose the best kayak.

In conclusion, this list of fishing articles by Capt Jim will give anglers some terrific information on fishing throughout North America.

Jerkbait fishing – Pro tips!

Jerkbait fishing – Pro tips!

This article will thoroughly cover jerkbait fishing. Capt Jim Klopfer is a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. He loves fishing with plugs, especially jerkbaits.

jerkbait fishing

A jerkbait is an artificial fishing lure in the plug family. Jerkbaits are long and slender. They put out a lot of flash and vibration as they wobble. Most have a bill which will determine the depth that the lure will run. Many manufacturers offer shallow and deep diving versions on the same bait. Both freshwater and saltwater game fish species will take a properly presented jerkbait.

For the most part, jerkbaits mimic wounded bait fish. As they wobble, they flash and put out vibrations. Jerkbaits are available in many different sizes and colors from quite a few manufacturers. However, they all basically work the same. Jerkbaits are excellent search baits as they allow anglers to cover a lot of water fairly quickly.

fishing with lures

Jerkbait fishing techniques

There are two basic retrieves that anglers use when jerkbait fishing; a steady retrieve and a “jerk and pause” retrieve. The latter is how the lure got it’s name. Steady retrieves will produce, whether cast or trolled. Most jerkbaits have an excellent built in action. Anglers should vary the speed of the retrieve until a production one emerges.

walleye fishing, a beginners guide

While a steady retrieve will catch fish, the most effective way to work a jerkbait is to use a more erratic presentation. The key to this is understanding how to use and manage some slack in the line. This violates many angling principles regarding keeping a tight line, but it is crucial to properly fishing a jerkbait.

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

The bait is cast out and retrieved a few cranks to get the lure to the proper depth. The angler then creates a few feet of slack. This is easily done by simply pointing the rod tip at the lure. After a few seconds, the rod tip is sharply jerked to the side. The slack will allow the rod tip to gain speed. When the slack is taken up, the lure will jerk forward violently.

Once again, the angler puts slack in the line. This will result in the jerkbait suspending motionless in the water column. Quite often, this is when the strike occurs. This motionless presentation very realistically simulates a helpless bait fish, seemingly an easy meal. The process is then repeated back to the boat.

Trolling jerkbaits

tackle for lake trout fishing

Jerkbaits are outstanding trolling lures! The side to side wobble produces a lot of flash, mimicking and wounded bait fish. Color patterns and sizes are available to match any forage species that game fish are feeding on.

Trolling is simply driving the boat around at a slow speed while pulling a lure behind. It can be as simple as tying a lure onto the end of the line. Most jerkbait manufacturers offer models that run both shallow and deep. This makes trolling with jerkbaits very easy. The line diameter and distance behind the boat will affect lure depth as well. Anglers should experiment with speed, a slight change can make a big difference.

salmon fishing in Great Lakes

Serious anglers will troll jerkbaits behind downrigger balls and off of planer boards. This is a bit complicated and is better explained in this article on salmon fishing. Snap on trolling weight are another easy method that anglers can use to get the lure down deeper in the water column.

Best conditions for jerkbait fishing

For the most part, jerkbaits produce best in water that is fairly clear. While predator fish will track down a jerkbait in dirty water, there are other lures that are more effective under these conditions. Jerkbaits really shine in clear water and will provoke strikes when other more subtle lures do not.

bass fishing

In freshwater lakes, sloping points with rock or gravel are prime spots to fish a jerkbait. Smallmouth bass in particular fall prey to this approach. A jerkbait worked over deeper submerged vegetation will produce bass, pike, musky, and other species. However, they do have exposed treble hooks and will hang up in heavier weeds.

Smaller jerkbaits are very effective in streams and rivers. Bass and other species will readily take a bait flashing through a deeper hole. However, they really do not work well in strong current.

bass fishing

Jerkbaits are an excellent choice to work long stretches of rip rap in both freshwater and saltwater. They allow anglers to cover a lot of water. The lure will catch active fish as well as triggering strikes from inactive fish.

best fishing lures for redfish

Anglers fishing jerkbaits in saltwater do well to work any type of shallow cover such as oyster bars, docks, bridges, shorelines, jetties, submerged weed beds, and more. Jekbaits really shine when working large schools of bait. This occurs quite often in saltwater environments. Predator fish will ball up bait and “trap” it against the surface. A jerkbait cast into this bait or near the edges will usually draw a strike. Freshwater anglers will find striped bass behaving similarly in lakes.

bass fishing

Best jerkbait fishing tackle

Anglers jerkbait fishing can properly present these lures using both spinning and baitcasting tackle. In either cast, a long, limber rod is preferred. This type of rod will absorb the shock of aggressive strikes, resulting in more fish landed. A 7′ to 7 ½’ rod works well. Spin anglers will do fine with a 2500 series reel in most applications.

While both spinning and baitcasting tackle can be used when fishing jerkbaits, baitcasting tackle really does have several advantages. These advantages are the faster retrieve ratios of baitcasting reels and the fact that they manage slack line much better. This is especially true when using heavier baits. Anglers trolling with jerkbaits almost always use conventional gear.

Fishing lIdo Key Products

For the same reasons that softer fishing rods are used, most anglers jerkbait fishing opt for monofilament or flourocarbon line. Braided line does not stretch at all and that “give” really helps anglers land more fish. Anglers trolling with jerkbaits will use braided line along with a fairly long flourocarbon leader.

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Jerkbait fishing produces for both saltwater and freshwater anglers!

best jerkbait for saltwater fishing

Jerkbaits are very productive and versatile fishing lures, this is one advantage of using them. They will fool a wide variety of predator species for both freshwater and saltwater anglers. In freshwater, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, walleye, northern pike, all trout species, musky, and even panfish will hit a jerkbait.

fishing with jerkbaits

Anglers fishing with jerkbaits in saltwater will catch striped bass, bluefish, bonito and false albacore, mackerel, snook, redfish, jack crevalle, and more. Saltwater versions often have stronger, corrosion resistant hooks and hardware. In reality, and game fish that feeds on smaller fish can be caught on a jerkbait.

Choosing the best jerkbait

Anglers should choose the jerkbait that they use the same way they would other artificial lures. In most cases, the best approach is to use a lure that resembles the local forage in both size and color. There are times when a larger, flashier bait will get the attention of a fish. A good rule of thumb regarding color is to use light colors in clear water and darker colors in dark water. White and silver produce in clear water, green, black, and gold in dark water, and pink and chartreuse in stained water.

Florida saltwater fishing in summer

There are quite a few lure manufacturers that sell quality jerkbaits. Some offer both freshwater and saltwater versions. Here is Capt Jim’s list of his favorite jerkbaits

Top 13 fishing jerkbaits;

  • Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait

  • Yo-zuri Crystal Minnow

  • Bomber Long “A”

  • Rapala Husky Jerk

  • Smithwick Rogue

  • Strike King KVD Jerkbait

  • Lucky Craft Pointer

  • Megabass Vision

  • Livetarget jerkbait

  • Berkley Flicker Minnow

  • Storm Thunderstick

  • Cotton Cordell Red Fin

  • Rebel jerkbaits

While all jerkbaits share traits and are similar, there are some aspects that are different as well. We will briefly cover these differences in each description in this list of top 13 fishing jerkbaits.

Rapala X-Rap

Rapala x rap

The Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait is Capt Jim’s favorite jerkbait. They are available in freshwater and saltwater models as well as shallow and deep diving versions. Rapala X-Raps are available in a wide variety of colors. The 08 size is good when a smaller, finesse bait is needed. The #10 size is a good size for many applications. White is an excellent all round color.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Rapala X-Raps

Yo-zuri Crystal Minnow

walleye fishing lures

Yo-Zuri baits are well known for having fantastic finishes, and their jerkbaits are no exception. These finishes are offered in many different colors and patterns. They are available in shallow and deep diving models and several sizes, from 2 3/4″ to 5 1/4″.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow jerkbaits

Bomber Long A

walleye trolling

The Bomber Long A is an old school jerkbait that has been around a long time. It is an affordable option that is available in several sized and multiple colors. Anglers can also purchase shallow and deep diving lures. Long A lures are available in saltwater models with stronger hardware.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Bomber Long A jerkbaits

Rapala Husky Jerk

husky jerk

The Rapala Husky Jerk is another older fishing lure. It is less expensive but a very effective bait. It is an excellent choice for smaller species as it is available in small sizes. It is primarily used by freshwater anglers. Gold is one of the most popular colors.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Rapala Husky Jerk plugs

Smithwick Rogue

smithwick rogue

The Smithwick Rogue is a long, slender bait that is 4 1/8” long. Is suspends and has rattles. The Rogue is available in 22 different colors. It is a freshwater lure that works well when both cast or trolled.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Smithwick Rogues

Strike King KVD jerkbait

kvd jerkbait

The Strike King KVD jerkbait has a lot of action, perhaps more than any other bait. It is available in a few different sizes and quite a few color patters. Sexy Shad is very popular. It also has a weight transfer system, resulting in longer casts.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Strike King KVD jerkbaits

Lucky Craft Pointer

lucky craft pointer

The Lucky Craft Pointer is a high quality, but expensive, jerkbait. It is available in both shallow and deep diving models. Pointer lures come in several sizes and many colors. For the most part, they are used by freshwater anglers.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Lucky Craft Pointer jerkbaits

Megabass Vision

megabass vision

The Megabass Vision is an excellent jerbait. However, it is a very expensive lure, retailing for around $25. However, some serious anglers swear by them. They have a unique shape and are available in an astounding number of color patterns as well as shallow and deep diving models.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Megabass Vision jerkbaits

Livetarget jerkbait

livetarget jerkbait

The Livetarget jerkbait has a weight transfer system and suspends in the water column. They are available in shallow and deep diving models for freshwater anglers. They come in many fish-catching colors as well as their famous “school of fish” finishes.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Livetarget jerkbaits

Berkley Flicker Minnow

berkley flicker minnow

The Berkley Flicker Minnow is a very affordable deep diving jerkbait. It is a favorite among freshwater anglers who troll. It is available in 4 sizes and 13 colors.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Berkley Flicker Minnows

Storm Thunderstick

storm thunderstick

The Storm Thunderstick is another very affordable, old-school jerkbait. It is available in shallow and deep diving models as well as many popular basic color patterns. Firetiger is a favorite among anglers. It has internal rattles as well.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Storm Thundersticks

Cotton Cordell Redfin

cotton cordell red fin

The Cotton Cordell Redfin is a long and slender jerkbait. It is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater anglers. It comes in 3 sizes, up to 7”, which works well on larger species such as striped bass.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Cotton Cordell Redfin jerkbaits

Rebel jerkbait

rebel

Rebel lures have been catching fish for decades. The Trackdown, or TD series of jerkbaits are effective on a variety of freshwater species, whether cast or trolled. They come in several sizes, shallow running, with a good selection of finishes.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Rebel jerkbaits

In conclusion, this article on jerkbait fishing will help anglers be more successful using these effective fishing lures!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing with Lures, a Complete Guide

Fishing with Lures, a Complete Guide

This topic of this article is fishing with lures. Many fish are caught by anglers who fool their quarry with lures as opposed to live bait. Lures are extremely effective for both freshwater and saltwater anglers. The different lure types, proper tackle, and techniques used to catch fish with artificial lures will be thoroughly covered.

fishing for largemouth bass

Advantages of fishing with lures vs live bait

Many anglers, particularly those new to the sport, assume that live bait is always the best choice. While it may seem that the “real thing” is always more effective, this is not the case. Artificial lures have several advantages over live bait.

fishing with lures

Fishing with lures is more convenient than fishing with live bait. Anglers using lures do not need to catch or purchase bait not keep it alive. Lures sit in the anglers tackle box, always ready to go fishing!

Lures also catch fish that are not in a feeding mood. The action and vibration of lures will trigger strikes from fish out of angler, irritation, excitement, competition, and just natural reflex. Live bait generally catches fish that are in a feeding mood or just opportunistic.

best 11 smallmouth bass fishing lures

Perhaps the main advantage that anglers fishing with lures have is that lures allow anglers to cover so much more water than anglers fishing with live bait can. This greatly aids in locating and catching fish. Trolling lures in particular is an extremely efficient fishing method. Great Lakes anglers have perfected this techniques on walleye, trout, and salmon.

Best rods and reels for fishing with lures

Anglers fishing with lures can use spinning, baitcasting and conventional, and spincasting rods and reels. For the most part, spincasting outfits, also known as “push button” or “closed face” tackle, will be left out of the discussion as it is really not very suitable for fishing with lures.

top 12 Michigan game fish species

Spinning tackle, also known as “open faced” tackle, is well suited to fishing with lures, especially lighter lures. However, heavier lures can certainly be used as well. The rod and reel should match the size of the fish being pursued and lures being cast. Ultralight spinning rods and reels are perfect for casting light lures for panfish and small fish. Heavier tackle is fine for larger fish such as pike and bass as well as saltwater species.

Baitcasting tackle certainly has it’s place when fishing with lures as well. It is often the best choice when fishing with plugs and other heavier lures. The same applies to casting into heavy cover, baitcasting outfits provide the power need to handle a big fish in tight quarters.

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Conventional tackle is often used by anglers trolling artificial lures for larger fish. As mentioned above, anglers fishing the Great Lakes troll extensively and almost always use conventional tackle. Saltwater anglers use conventional outfits as well. Again, the tackle should match the size of the fish being sought.

Artificial fishing lure types

Saltwater fishing with artificial lures

There are six basic categories of artificial lures. These are:

  • jigs,

  • spinners

  • spoons

  • plugs

  • soft plastic baits

  • spinner baits and buzz baits

Just about every single fishing lure that an angler can use will fall into one of these categories. However, there are certainly variations lure type.

Jigs

Tailwater fishing tips and techniques

Jigs are very basic fishing lures. They consist of a hook with lead molded in the front near the eye. This weight and the offset position creates an erratic action, which gives the lure its name. There is evidence two point to the jig being the first artificial lure used by humans to catch fish. Jigs are very effective lures and will catch just about every freshwater and saltwater game fish species.

best crappie fishing lure

There are many different tales or dressings that can be added to the hook to give the bait bulk, action, and flash. Natural or synthetic hair is often used. Bucktail is the most common natural dressing and is still popular today. However, synthetic hair is used quite often. It is effective and more durable than natural hair.

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Marabou feathers are also used in conjunction with a jig. This is especially true for anglers targeting crappie and other panfish. Marabou has a very enticing undulating action, especially when worked slowly.

Sarasota jig fishing

Many anglers at a soft plastic grub body to the jig head. This jig and grub combo is an extremely effective fishing lore and both freshwater and saltwater. These grub bodies will be further covered in the “soft plastic baits” section.

Jig fishing tackle and techniques

Jigs can be fished effectively by anglers using both spinning and bait casting tackle. Jigs that way one quarter ounce or less are much more easily fished by anglers using light spinning tackle. Jigs that weigh ¼ ounce to ½ ounce can be fished using either spinning or bait casting equipment. Jigs much heavier than that are best fished with bait casting tackle.

Manitoba walleye fishing

Jigs are very versatile lures that can be cast out and retrieved, trolled, or presented in a vertical manner. They can also be used to cover the entire water column. Jigs can mimic just about every type of forage that game fish feed on. Anglers match the hatch by choosing a size and color to match the local prey in the area.

A dark colored jig, whether soft plastic or natural hair, bounced along a rocky bottom very realistically mimics a fleeing crayfish. Lighter colors such as white and chartreuse work very well when imitating bait fish. Anglers can swim a jig through the water column to produce fish. This produces in both freshwater and saltwater fishing situations. Shad tail and curly tail jigs as well as natural hair jigs are effective when slowly trolled as well.

fishing for largemouth bass

Anglers bass fishing in heavy weeds and other cover use specially designed jigs. These are usually quite heavy, up to 1 ounce or more. Most have fairly thick rubber skirts that undulate naturally in the water. Anglers often combine these jigs with a soft plastic trailer. This is an extremely effective combination for flipping and pitching in heavy cover and produces some of the biggest bass caught.

Click to read more about fishing with jigs

saltwater fishing with artificial lures

Finally, jigs are very effective when presented vertically. During the warmest and coldest parts of the year, fish will often school up in deep water over certain types of structure such as sloping points, channel edges, and submerged timber. Anglers can use a vertical presentation to precisely deliver their offering to the desired depth, working it right in front of the fish until a strike occurs. This exact same technique is extremely effective for anglers ice fishing as well.

Spinners

fishing with lures

Spinners are very simple lures which have been around a long time. While used occasionally and saltwater, these are primarily freshwater fishing lures. Spinners consist of a wire frame with than I let on the top so that anglers can attach the line. The frame has a body of some sort with a blade that rotates around. A hook, often dressed with some type of hair, completes the lure.

Spinners put out a lot of flash and vibration. One of the great attributes of fishing with spinners is that they are very easy for anglers to use. Spinners have a lot of built in action and produce best when fist with a slow, steady retrieve. This makes them an excellent choice for novice anglers who don’t have a lot of experience.

best 13 brown trout fishing lures

All spinners are similar regardless of size. The smallest spinners are extremely effective on panfish in ponds and lakes. Small spinners are also terrific lures for anglers chasing trout in streams and small rivers. Smallmouth bass and walleye will fall for medium-sized spinners. Giant spinners are used for anglers pursuing large northern pike and musky.

Spinner fishing techniques

As mentioned above, one of the advantages of choosing a spinner by anglers fishing with lures is that they don’t require a lot of technique in order to be effective. As long as the spinner is moving fast enough for the blade to rotate, it will catch fish.

steelhead

Spinners really shine when fishing in streams and small rivers. In most situations, the best approach is to cast directly across the stream and then just keep the line tight while the current provides enough movement to cause the blades to rotate. They work well in deeper holes and runs as well as in faster riffles. Often times, the strike occurs at the end of the drift as the spinner swings in the current.

Read more about fishing with spinners in streams

rock bass fishing tackle

Spinners also work well in ponds and lakes. However, if there is one disadvantage to a spinner it is that it is not very weedless. Anglers will do best by working the spinner along the edges of weed lines as opposed to through the thicker vegetation. The same applies to docs and fallen timber.

Spinners do work very well when retrieved over the top of submerged vegetation. This is the best approach for northern pike and musky, both of which like to lie in the weeds waiting to ambush unsuspecting prey.

best northern pike fishing lure

Trolling with spinners is also very effective, especially for anglers chasing rainbow trout in lakes. Trout will often suspend high up in the water column and a spinner putting out a lot a flash and vibration will attract trout to the lure. Again, slower speeds are often the most effective.

Spoons

trolling for mackerel

Anglers fishing with lures have been catching just about every freshwater and saltwater species using spoons for a very long time. A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in. The shape of the spoon along with the bend will dictate the action. Long, slender spoons have a fast erratic action. Conversely, wider spoons have a slow enticing wobble.

Read more about fishing with spoons in freshwater

brook trout fishing lures

Spoons are available in just about every size and color imaginable. Silver and gold are the two most popular finishes. Tiny spoons are very effective on trout and panfish. They are used extensively by anglers ice fishing. Spoons in the 1/2 ounce size are very versatile as they match a lot of the available forage in both fresh and saltwater. Spoons as large as a foot long are used to mimic shad and herring and other prey for anglers pursuing trout and salmon in freshwater as well as striped bass and other predator species and saltwater.

Spoon fishing techniques

Spoons are another versatile fishing lure that is fairly easy for anglers to use as they have a lot of built in action. They can be cast out and retrieved, trolled, and fished vertically. Most spoons have a treble hook though they are available in single hook bottles as well.

lues for surf fishing

Spoons are an excellent search bait for anglers who like to cast artificial lures. They are quite dense and will cast a long way for anglers using both spinning and bait casting tackle. Anglers should vary the retrieve, though a steady retrieve with the occasional twitch or pause is usually the most effective. The spoon will flash as it falls seductively on this pause, simulating a wounded bait fish.

Spoons are an excellent choice when anglers are chasing “breaking fish”. It is when game fish have trapped a school of bait fish up against the surface and are feeding aggressively This happens often in saltwater, but does occur in freshwater as well. It can be seen from quite a distance as birds are diving in the water is actually frothing. A silver spoon very realistically mimics the bait fish that are being devoured.

Best 6 fishing lures for redfish

Spoons are very effective when blind cast as well. Again, due to the fact that they are heavy and can be cast a long distance, they are an excellent lure to use when searching large areas for fish. Where possible, it is best to match the size and color of the spoon to the locally available forage.

Weedless spoons can be extremely effective when fished through areas of thick vegetation. This is true for anglers chasing bass in freshwater as well as redfish in saltwater. Weedless spoons have a single hook which rides up in a weed guard to deflect snags. They are one of the most effective artificial lures to use, especially in shallow water situations.

Great Lakes salmon fishing

Spoons are outstanding trolling lures! Anglers fishing in the Great Lakes region have been using them successfully for decades to catch salmon and just about every trout species. Walleye also fall victim to spoons quite often. Anglers trolling for striped bass in both freshwater and saltwater do well with spoons. Finally, every species of mackerel will readily take a trolled spoon.

walleye fishing

Anglers can also use spoons in a vertical presentation. In fact, some spoons are specifically designed for this application. The Hopkins jigging spoon is a prime example. Suspended fish can be very difficult to catch. Anglers using a vertical presentation can keep the lure in the strike zone for a long period of time, hopefully enticing a strike. This technique is extremely effective for anglers ice fishing with spoons.

Plugs

best jerkbait for saltwater fishing

Plugs are another category of fishing lures. In the early days, they were hand carved from balsa wood. However, the vast majority of fishing plugs available on the market today are made from plastic. Most imitate wounded bait fish, but some mimic crayfish and other types of forage.

Check out the top freshwater fishing plugs!

These are very effective baits for anglers fishing with lures. For the most part, they are either cast out and retrieved or trolled. There is one type of plug that can be used in a vertical presentation. Like most lures, plugs are available and just about every size, shape, and color imaginable to match the available forage.

snook fishing tackle

While plugs have many advantages, there are a couple of disadvantages as well. Plugs are fairly expensive to purchase compared to other artificial lures. Also, the multiple treble hooks that often increase the hookup ratio also can be quite dangerous. Anglers need to be very careful when casting plugs as well as when will landing a fish and removing the lure from the fishes mouth.

Different plug types and fishing techniques

There are several types and styles of plugs. These include top water plugs, crank baits, and jerk baits. While they are all similar, there are enough differences that they should be covered in separate sections.

Topwater plugs

best 6 topwater plugs for saltwater fishing

As the name implies, top water plugs are worked on the surface. There are several different styles and they all are designed to put out a commotion on the surface that imitates a struggling and wounded bait fish or other prey. Top water plugs are generally worked fairly slowly with sharp twitch is in a pause. The strike often occurs on this pause. For the most part, top water plugs work best in fairly shallow water or when fish are seen feeding on the surface.

Read about the best topwater plugs for saltwater fishing

The three types of top water plugs are poppers, propeller baits, and “walk the dog” baits. Poppers have a concave face and when twitched sharply they dig into the water and produce a loud popping sound. Propeller baits have propellers either for, aft, or both. Again, when twitched sharply they put out a lot of surface commotion, more than a popper.

Chesapeake Bay bass

Walk the dog baits are a little bit different”. Unlike the other two types of top water plugs, these have very little built in action, the angler must imparted to the lure. They are conical he shaped front and rear. With the rod tip held low near the water, the lure is retrieved steadily while the rod tip twitched and a rhythmic manner. This causes the lure to dance sideways back and forth. It takes a while to master this technique, but is extremely effective on a wide variety of freshwater and saltwater game fish.

Crankbaits

Just as with top water plugs, there are several different styles of crank baits. Crank baits are generally cast out and retrieved back in, or cranked in, thus the name. They are available in many different shapes and sizes. Generally speaking, they have a fairly wide body that imitates shad, bluegill, herring, and even crayfish.

Sacramento River striped bass

Most crank baits have a plastic bill on the front. This bill, along with the shape of the plug, determines how deep the lure will run. Most manufacturers offer some type of charge give anglers a rough guide of how deep a particular lure will run, though there are other factors which affect this. Obviously, the best approach is to match the depth that which the lure is designed to dive with the area being fished. In most cases, it is best to have the lure occasionally bumping the bottom.

Squarebill crank baits have become fairly popular of late. These lures are especially erratic and for whatever reason seem to bump off of cover instead of get hung up. This makes them an excellent choice to fish in and around heavy cover. For the most part, this is a shallow diving bait, but deep diving models are available as well.

bass fishing

Lipless crank baits do not have the plastic lip on them. They are shaped like a fish in the line tie is usually on top near the center of the bait. When retrieved through the water, they put out a ton of vibration and noise as well as some flash.

Anglers fishing with crank baits should vary the retrieve until a productive one emerges. The best all round retrieve is to cast the lure out, reel quickly to get it down to the desired depth, then work it back in using an erratic twitches and pauses. Again, experimenting will determine what the fish want that day.

walleye fishing, a beginners guide

Crank baits are excellent trolling lures as well. Due to the fact that the lip will cause a lore to dive, anglers do not need weights and downrigger’s and other devices to get the lure down to the desired depth. Special crank baits are used by saltwater anglers that will dive as deep as 50 feet on their own. Anglers fishing larger freshwater lakes often use lures that dive down 25 feet or so.

Jerkbaits

fishing for snook

Jerkbaits are long, slender plugs. They have a plastic lip and come in both shallow and deep diving models. They are worked aggressively, with the angler giving the lure a hard jerk (thus the name), followed by a pause. The pause is crucial as this is when the fish most often hits the lure.

There are many different jerkbaits on the market and they produce a lot of both freshwater and saltwater species. Smallmouth bass in particular love them as jerkbaits often perform well in clear water conditions. Most jerkbaits also do well when trolled, either alone or behind a downrigger or sinker.

fishing with lures

A wide variety of saltwater species will take them as well. Saltwater fish tend to be more aggressive and the erratic nature of a jerkbait appeals to them.

Soft plastic baits

spotted sea trout fishing

Soft plastic baits have revolutionized fishing, and that is not an overstatement. These lures are soft, supple, and very lifelike. They look and feel like the real thing to game fish. Some soft plastic lures also incorporate scent as well. This only increases their effectiveness.

Soft plastic lures are available in a myriad of shapes, sizes, and colors. Plastic worms were the original soft plastic bait. When they came out in the late 1960s, they were very stiff and unnatural looking. That has changed a lot today! However, a six inch plastic worm remains one of the most effective largemouth bass fishing lures to this day.

fishing for crappie with jigs

Most soft plastic lures are meant to be fished quite slowly, imitating natural creatures that are crawling along the bottom. They are available in worms, salamanders, crayfish, and creature baits which really don’t look like anything in the water. The bulk and action of these lures is very effective.

inshore saltwater fishing

Soft plastic swim baits are also very effective, particularly for anglers saltwater fishing. They are most often fished on a jig head and are cast out and retrieved similar to other artificial lures. They are not confined to saltwater, many freshwater predator species including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and walleye will readily take a soft plastic swim bait on a jig head.

Fishing with soft plastic baits

Unlike other fishing lures, soft plastic baits must be rigged up in some manner. The lures are sold in bags separately from the hooks. There are several different ways that anglers can rig and fish soft plastic lures. These include Texas rig, Carolina rig, wacky rig, drop shot rig, and soft plastics on a jig head.

texas rigged worm

When plastic worms first came out, the most commonly used rig was a Texas rig. This involved a specially designed hook as well as a sliding conical he shaped sinker. The shape of the hook allowed for the worm to hang straight while embedding the hook in the worm. This resulted in it being almost entirely weedless. The sliding weight allowed for the worm to be fished through weeds and over cover, yet allow the bass to pick the worm up and move off with it without feeling any weight. This rig is still popular and very effective and can be used with just about any soft plastic lure.

carolina rig

A Carolina rig is similar to a Texas rig with a couple of differences. Instead of the sinker being allowed to rest up against the eye of the hook, a swivel is used to stop the sinker. A leader around 30 inches long connects the other end of the swivel to the hook. A floating worm is most often used. The result is a rig that allows the sinker to crawl over cover while the worm works just a little bit above the bottom. This is an extremely effective rig that is most often used in deeper water around structure such as points and channel edges.

wacky rig

There is perhaps no easier way to fish a plastic worm then to use a wacky rig. It simply consists of a hook placed through the center of the worm and then cast out towards likely structure, usually along the shoreline. As the worm syncs through the water column, it undulates naturally in very seductively. It is extremely effective and it is very easy for novice anglers to use and master. In most cases, the fish, usually a bass, picks up the worm and runs off with it.

drop shot

A drop shot rig is an extremely effective way to present a soft plastic lure. The hook is tied in line about 12 inches to 18 inches above a sinker. This results in the bait being presented just off the bottom. It is extremely effective when fish are fussy and desire a very subtle presentations. The bait can be wiggled right in front of the fishes nose for a long period of time, hopefully drawing a strike. Just about any soft plastic lure can be used with this presentation.

guide to inshore fishing

The final presentation that anglers can use when presenting a soft plastic lure is to use it in conjunction with a jig head. While the previous for rigs are mostly tailored to bass fishing, a soft plastic bait on a jig head will catch just about every species that swims. One of the keys to this combination is the versatility. Any tail can be added to the jig head to mimic a baitfish, shrimp, crayfish, or any other type of aquatic life. The jig and grub can be bounced off the bottom, worked in the middle of the water column, and even worked just under the surface.

Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits

spinnerbait fishing

Spinnerbaits are excellent choices for anglers fishing with lures. They consist of a wire frame that looks a bit like a safety pin. In fact, back in the day they were called safety pin lures. A blade or blade rides on the top of the arm and a jig head is molded into the lower arm with the line tie being in the center. The result is a lure that is a combination between a jig and a spinner; two of the most effective fishing lures.

Spinnerbaits are mostly used by anglers freshwater fishing. There are a couple of saltwater applications, mostly fishing for redfish in fairly shallow water. Some anglers snook fishing use them as well. However, the vast amount of anglers casting spinner baits will do so in freshwater.

Best fishing lures for bluegill

Spinnerbaits have several advantages. They have a ton of built in action and are easy for novice anglers to use. In most cases, the best retrieve is a steady one. The rotating blade swimming skirt on the jig attracts fish. The lure is fairly easy to cast. Finally, spinnerbaits, due to their design, are relatively weedless. They tend to walk over and around structure.

Spinnerbaits come in several different configurations. Lures with one blade are called single bladed while those with two blades are called tandem spinnerbaits. Gold and silver are the most popular finishes on the blades. These blades are also available in several different designs; Colorado, Indiana, and willow leaf blades. All put out slightly different vibration. Skirt colors are endless two, with white and chartreuse being the top colors.

Tiny versions of these lures are incredibly effective on panfish, with the Beetle spin being a prime example. Generally, the slowest retrieve that will keep the blade spinning it will be the most productive. Larger versions in the 1/4 ounce to 1/2 ounce size are extremely effective on just about every other species. Larger models are used on Pike and musky.

For the most part, spinnerbaits are a shallow water bait. They work best around vegetation, fallen timber, and other structure. Heavier lures can be fished slowly and deeply, this is called slow rolling a spinnerbait. These lures are almost always cast out and retrieved, they do not work well in a vertical presentation and are rarely trolled, though they can be.

Buzzbaits are basically top water versions. They are designed to run right on top of the water with a specially designed blade that puts out a rhythmic gurgling sound and a ton of commotion. This is considered by many anglers to be a big fish bait and will draw some explosive strikes!

In conclusion, this article on fishing with lures will help anglers be more successful when using artificial baits!

Lipless Crankbait Fishing, a Guide to Success!

Lipless Crankbait Fishing, a Guide to Success!

This article will thoroughly cover lipless crankbait fishing. Lipless crankbaits are versatile lures that will catch a wide variety of both freshwater and saltwater species.

bass fishing

Lipless crankbaits are hard bodied lures, usually made from plastic. Unlike most crankbaits, lipless baits do not have a bill or lip which dictates the depth at which they run. Lipless crankbaits emit a lot of vibration and flash, mimicking a wounded bait fish.

Lipless crankbaits can be used at any depth. The angler controls the depth at which the lure is presented by the time it is allowed to sink and the speed of the retrieve. Lipless crankbaits are very versatile lures. They can be cast out and retrieved, trolled, vertically jigged, and even produce for anglers ice fishing!

ice fishing for walleye

Best lipless crankbaits

Most lure manufacturers sell a lipless crankbait. They are effective lures that have a lot of built in action. Often times, a simple steady retrieve works best. This makes these lures an excellent choice for novice anglers and children. Lipless crankbaits are available in a wide selection of sizes and colors to match the forage that game fish are feeding on.

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The top 8 lipless crankbaits are;

  • Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap
  • Rapala Rattlin Rap
  • Berkley Warpig
  • Booyah Hard Knocker
  • Cotton Cordell Super Spot
  • LiveTarget Golden Shiner
  • Strike King Red Eye Shad
  • Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe

Here is the list of Capt Jim’s favorite lipless crankbaits. Most have rattles inside, as the names imply. The slender bodies create a very tight wiggle. The combination of this action with the rattles results in a lure with a lot of vibration and noise, which will pull fish in to attack it.

Bill Lewis Rat-LTrap

rat-l-trap

Click to shop Amazon for Rat-L-Trap lures

Any list of lipless crankbaits begins with the Bill Lewis Rat-LTrap. This is by far the most popular lipless crankbait and is an extremely effective lure. They come in a wide variety of colors and are available in both freshwater and saltwater models.

Rapala Rattlin Rap

rapala rattlin rap

Click to shop Amazon for Rattlin Rap lures

The Rapala Rattlin Rap is Capt Jim’s favorite lipless crankbait. The gold lure in the ½ ounce size is his go-to bait in both rivers, lakes, and in saltwater. They are available in several sizes and a wide variety of colors.

Berkley Warpig

Berkley Warpig

Click to shop Amazon for Warpig lures

The Berkley Warpig is a well-balanced bait designed for Berkley with the help of Daid Fritts. It is a quality lure that comes well tuned right out of the box. The shad pattern is very productive.

Booyah Hard Knocker

Booyah Hard Knocker

Click to shop Amazon for Hard Knocker lures

The Booyah Hard Knocker is one of the louder, more aggressive lipless crankbaits on the market. It is a good bait when the water quality is poor or to irritate inactive bass and other species.

Cotton Cordell Super Spot

Cordell Super Spot

Click to shop Amazon for Super Spot lures

The Cotton Cordell Super Spot is a lipless crankbait that has been around a long time. It has a more subtle action that some other lures. It is an excellent all-round choice for most situations where a lipless crankbait will produce.

LiveTarget Golden Shiner

livetarget golden shiner

Click to shop Amazon for Golden Shiner lures

The lIvetarget Golden Shiner is a recent addition to the lipless crankbait lineup. It is a quality bait that is available in many different finishes. It has high quality finishes and is a favorite among anglers ice fishing.

Strike King Red Eye Shad

red eye shad

Click to shop Amazon for Red Eye Shad lures

The Strike King Red Eye Shad is a quality bait designed by the famous Strike King fishing pro staff. It works well in a variety of applications and has an excellent fishing. The ½ ounce bait in the Sexy Shad finish works very well.

Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe

rattl'n vibe

Click to shop Amazon for Rattl’n Vibe lures

The Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe is an aggressive bait with a quality finish. It casts well and puts out a ton of noise and vibration. It works great in a vertical presentation as well.

Best rods and reels for fishing with lipless crankbaits

There are varying schools of thought when it comes to the best rods and reels for fishing lipless crankbaits. The best outfit is a medium action baitcasting rod and reel. The rod should have a bit softer action to absorb the violet strikes and so that anglers do not rip the hooks out of the mouth of the fish.

bass fishing

Baitcasting reels have a faster retrieve ratios. This helps when a fast retrieve is producing. Also, baitcasting reels work best when a twitch and pause is used, these reels handle the slack better.

Click to shop Amazon for spinning and baitcasting combos

Spinning outfits can certainly be used as well. This is particularly true when a steady retrieve of moderate pace is used. Again, a softer rod works best. With both spinning and casting rods, monofilament or flourocarbon line is best. A little bit of stretch is actually desirable.

Lipless crankbait fishing techniques

smallmouth bass fishing for beginners

As mentioned earlier, lipless crankbaits are very versatile. They can be cast and retrieved, trolled, and vertically jigged. The size and color of the lure should match the locally available forage, where practical.

Casting and retrieving lipless crankbaits

Most fish caught by anglers using lipless crankbaits are done so casting the lure out and retrieving it back in. These lures put out a large amount of flash and vibration. This produces in several situation, Active fish will obviously be attracted to it. Inactive fish can be irritated into striking it. When visibility is low, the sound will help fish find it.

best bass lure

In many situations, a medium paced steady retrieve works best. The depth is controlled by the time the lure is allowed to sink, along with the speed of the lure. Strikes are very easy to detect. They cast very easily as well. These factors combine to make lipless crankbaits an excellent choice for anglers with a bit less experience.

While a steady retrieve often produces fish, anglers should certainly vary the retrieve to find out what the fish want that day. One extremely effective technique is to use several fast cranks of the reel followed by a pause. This imitates a wounded bait fish that appears to be dying. At times, being extremely aggressive and ripping the bait hard followed by a two or 3 foot drop will trigger a strike.

These baits are extremely effective when fished over submerged vegetation. The proper speed will have the bait ticking the tops of the weeds. Experienced anglers actually let it sink into the vegetation and then “rip” it out. This will trigger strikes from inactive fish. Lipless crankbaits produces around any type of structure as well. As with most lures, occasionally knocking the plug off of the structure is a very effective technique.

Lipless crankbaits are perfect for open water fishing when fish are feeding on the surface. These lures cast a good distance. They look just like shad and other forage. Anglers can easily match the size of the forage using a lipless crankbait.

Lipless crankbaits can imitate crayfish

Anglers casting lipless crankbaits are generally imitating wounded bait fish. However, they can be used to imitate another abundant freshwater forage; crayfish. Most manufacturers offer anglers these lures in crayfish patterns. Red with some black and it seems to be particularly effective.

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

The best technique in this situation is to fish the bait very close to the bottom. Instead of a steady retrieve, a more erratic one is used where the bait is moved quickly for a few feet then allowed to fall back to the bottom. This realistically imitates a fleeing crayfish. It is a very effective retrieve for a variety of species.

Trolling with lipless crankbaits

Trolling is another very effective lipless crankbait fishing technique. These lures put out excellent flash and vibration when retrieved using a steady speed. This makes them a perfect choice for trolling. It is also a very easy method that any angler can use to cover a lot of water in search of fish.

walleye fishing tackle and lures

Anglers can keep it simple organ as complicated as they want when trolling with lipless crankbaits. In fairly shallow water, the best approach is to simply measure out a length of line behind the boat then slowly drive around at a few miles per hour. Anglers can use heavier lures as well as let more line out in order to achieve the proper depth.

The best spots to troll are large areas with some type of cover or structure. Channel edges that drop off into deep water are excellent spots to troll. Deep, submerged weed beds as well as submerged timber are other terrific spots. Trolling lipless crankbaits works well to cover large areas like rip rap around bridges.

Lipless crankbaits produce in a vertical presentation

Lipless crank baits are also productive when used in a vertical presentation. They are fished very similarly to a jigging spoon. The lore is let straight down to the bottom, usually around some type of structure such as a sloping point, channel edge, submerged timber or weeds, or around schools of bait fish.

Once the lure reaches the bottom, the angler sharply jerks the bait up several feet off the bottom, then allows it to flutter back down. The line is reeled up a crank or two, then the process repeated. This allows anglers to work the entire water column and is extremely effective on suspended fish. Anglers ice fishing have been using this technique for decades with lipless crankbaits.

Lipless crankbaits are more than just bass lures

There is little doubt that lipless crankbaits are most often used by anglers targeting largemouth bass, and for good reason. Besides the fact that bass are one of the most popular freshwater game fish, these lures are very effective for them. However, it is a mistake to think that that is the only species they will catch. In fact, anglers often overlook opportunities to fish these lures for other species.

top Michigan species

 

Any game fish that feeds on live bait fish can be caught on a lipless crankbait. These lures are available in sizes and patterns to imitate every prey species including bluegill, perch, herring, shad, and more. Northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass, musky, trout, salmon, and even panfish can be caught by anglers casting these extremely effective lures.

Lipless crankbaits produce in saltwater fishing

river snook fishing charter

While the majority of anglers using lipless crank baits will do so when freshwater fishing, these lures are also very productive in the salt as well. Snook behave very much like largemouth bass. In fact, almost all of the best snook fishing lures are really adapted largemouth bass lures. Lipless crank baits are no exception.

Striped bass and bluefish will certainly hit these baits as well. The same goes for Spanish mackerel, jacks, sea trout, and false albacore. In reality, any game fish species in freshwater or saltwater that feeds on bait fish will take a lipless crank \baits. It is particularly true of fish species that feed aggressively in schools.

In conclusion, this article on lipless crankbait fishing will help anglers be more successful using these very effective artificial lures.

 

 

Surf Fishing for Striped Bass – Pro Tips!

Surf Fishing for Striped Bass – Pro Tips!

This article will thoroughly cover surf fishing for striped bass. Striped bass are the most popular inshore saltwater species from the South Carolina to New England.

surf fishing for striped bass

Surf fishing for striped bass is a very popular sport that takes place all along the East coast of the United States. Striped bass, Morone saxatilis, are the most targeted species for anglers surf fishing the coastal beaches. Specialized tackle and techniques are used to hook them!

striped bass

Special thanks to Erica and Paulie for the great pics and technical details. Anglers can follow their adventures on their YouTube Channel, Get Reel Bass Fishing. as well as their website.

Surf fishing may seem like a pretty basic fishing technique where anglers simply stand on the beach and cast out into the ocean. However, this is far from the reality. Surf fishing is very nuanced; little changes and tactics make a big difference in angling success. All of the information needed to go surf fishing with striped bass will be in this article.

striped bass

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

Striped bass surf fishing tackle

Anglers surf fishing for striped bass will need some specialized equipment. The main difference is the length of the fishing rods. Long rods are required in order to make long casts as well as keeping the line up over the breaking waves. Spinning tackle is mostly used and is the best choice for anglers new to the sport. Experienced anglers use conventional tackle with great success.

surf fishing

Two different rod and reel combinations will be required to efficiently go surf fishing for striped bass. The requirements for both types of fishing are a bit different. One is for casting artificial lures and the other for casting heavy natural baits. The outfit for casting lures will usually be a bit lighter than the heavier outfit for casting cut baits.

Best rod and reel for casting lures

surf fishing

Anglers casting lures need an outfit heavy enough to handle heavy lures while being light enough to cast repeatedly. The best rod and reel combination for surf fishing for striped bass is a 10 foot rod paired with a 6000 series reel and spooled up with 30 pound braided fishing line. This outfit will allow anglers to cast lures without getting exhausted while still handling the heavier lures and big surf. If anglers only want to purchase one surf fishing rod and reel, this would be a perfect combination.

Erica and Paulie highly recommend a 10 foot Tsunami Airwave Elite rod paired with a Penn Spinfisher 6 5500 spooled reel spooled up with 30lb braid. This outfit has served them well, especially for casting artificial lures.

Click links to shop Amazon for Tsunami rods and Penn reels

“Fishing Lido Key is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. ”

Best rod and reel for bait fishing for striped bass in the surf

surf fishing for striped bass

Anglers casting natural baits, either live or cut, will require slightly different tackle. A heavier, longer rod is used to cast heavy baits and sinkers up to 8 ounces. However, many fewer casts will be made as once cast out the rod is held or put in a rod holder. Constantly casting a heavy rig would quickly tire most anglers out.

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

The best rod and reel combination for surf fishing for striped bass with bait is a 13-15 foot rod, 8000 series reel, and 40 pound braided line. This will allow for long casts and handle the heavy gear. The longer rod will also help keep the line up over the waves. A similar conventional rod and reel can certainly be substituted for anglers who prefer that type of tackle.

Best rigs for surf fishing for striped bass

surf fishing for striped bass

Anglers surf fishing for striped bass will need to use the proper rigs in order to be successful. The rig used for casting artificial lures is pretty simple. Anglers simply use a 3 foot length of 60 lb flourocarbon leader, followed by a quality snap swivel. This allows for easy lure changes while also adding action to the lure. Striped bass do not have teeth. However, bluefish do have teeth and are often found mixed in with striped bass. Wire leaders are certainly an option, though strikes will be reduced, especially in clear water. Anglers will have to decide whether the risk of loosing lures is worth the extra bites. In most cases, sticking with flourocarbon leaders is the best option.

surf fishing for striped bass

Read more about surf fishing in this comprehensive article

Best bottom fishing rigs for striped bass

There are two basic rigs that will cover the vast majority of surf fishing situations that a striped bass angler will encounter. These are a fish finder rig and a 3 way rig. Both work well on striped bass and most other game fish caught in the surf.

surf fishing rigs

A fish finder rig uses a clever device that slides on the running line. A swivel stops it, then a leader is attached followed by the hook. This rig allows the striped bass to pick up the bait and move off with the bait without detecting the weight of the sinker.

fishing for river catfish

A # way rig uses a 3 way swivel tied to the main line. On one rung a leader and hook are attached. On the third rung a leader and the sinker. Anglers often use lighter line on the sinker drop, so if it snags only the sinker is lost.

Best hooks and sinkers for surf fishing

Anglers have a couple of different choices when it comes to sinkers. Most anglers use pyramid sinkers, they hold well in the sand. There are special variations of these that some anglers prefer. Bank sink are occasionally used, especially if it is desired to have the bait bouncing along the bottom.

surf fishing

Most anglers use circle hooks when surf fishing for striped bass. In several states, they are required by law. Circle hooks usually result in the bass being hooked in the mouth as opposed to swallowing it. A #3/0 is a good size for smaller striped bass and small baits. #7/0-#10/0 work best for big baits and big fish.

No matter the size of the circle hook, anglers need to just come tight and reel and not to set the hook. In surf fishing, this is really a natural reaction anyway, anglers using “J” hooks usually let the fish hook itself.

Surf fishing techniques for striped bass

surf fishing

Anglers surf fishing for striped bass will find fish of all sizes. Many will be “schoolies” that are numerous and great fun to catch. Larger fish, often called ‘cows” are more challenging. The two primary techniques are casting lures and bottom fishing with cut or live bait. However, the first order of business is locating fish.

Locating striped bass in the surf

Reading the beach” is a skill that takes years to master. To novice anglers, it all looks the same. However, to the trained eye there are clues that will dictate the best spots to fish. Some tips and techniques will be shared to help anglers find fish in the surf.

Inlets are top spots

striped bass fishing in the surf

One excellent strategy when surf fishing for striped bass is to choose a beach close to an inlet. Inlets have strong current flow and usually rocks or other structure. These factors combine to hold bait, and therefore striped bass. Fishing near inlets is a bit of a “shortcut” to learning a beach. Anglers do need to be VERY careful when wading as currents are strong.

Read more about striped bass fishing in this article by Capt Jim

Also, while maybe not technically surf fishing, many inlets have a jetty that anglers can access in which to fish. The rocks create eddies which striped bass will use as ambush points. Strong currents exist there as well. However, these spots can be quite crowded, especially on the weekend.

Cuts in bars are top surf fishing spots

Several bars run parallel to the beach, each a dozen or so yards apart. There are “cuts” in these bars. Striped bass and other game fish will use these bars to move in and out of the troughs. There are a couple different ways to locate these cuts. The easiest way is to scout the beach at low tide.

surf fishing

Waves will give anglers a clue as to the composition of the bars as well. The closer to the beach the waves break, the deeper the water. Gaps in breaking waves also can indicate a cut in the bar. The waves themselves will break on the bars, giving anglers great clues as to what lies underneath.

Find the bait, find the fish

There is one overriding principle that applies to most forms of saltwater fishing; fish will be near the “groceries”. That means that while they have other preferences, forage is the prime consideration, other than during spawning. Beaches that have bait fish showing or birds working are excellent areas to start fishing.

Tides are very important in surf fishing

Florida surf fishing

Understanding tides is very important when saltwater fishing, and anglers plying the surf are no exception. Tides will move fish and bait. If there is one general rule, it is that the two hours before and after the high tide are best for surf fishing. If this occurs at dawn or dusk, so much the better.

In spots such as Maine that experience huge tides, it can just be too difficult trying to fish when the tide is running hard. The slack water times of the turn of the tide are the only practical times to fish. However, the beach can be easier to read on low tide. Anglers fishing inlets usually prefer the outgoing tide.

Night time is the right time for surf fishing

striped bass

Like many game fish species, striped bass feed heavily at night. There are also several advantages for the angler. The crowds will be much thinner; only the serious anglers will be out on the beach at 2:00 a.m.! Anglers can go heavier with the leaders and tackle.

There are some disadvantages to surf fishing at night as well. Sharks and rays can be a huge nuisance for anglers soaking baits. Also, obviously it is more difficult to see, anglers need to put an emphasis on safety. In the fall and early spring, it can be downright chilly as well.

striped bass in surf

Find “breaking” fish

If there is one situation that anglers surf fishing for striped bass (and other species) relish, it is ‘breaking fish”. These are fish that have herded bait fish up to the surface and are ravaging them. In this situation, just about any lure that remotely resembles the forage will draw a strike. Bait can work, but these are prime conditions for casting lures.

Top artificial lures when surf fishing for striped bass

surf fishing for striped bass

There are several lure types that really shine when surf fishing for striped bass. These are spoons (and metals), jigs, and plugs. All three are heavy so that they cast well and imitate wounded bait fish. Local shops can be great sources of both information and lures, they know what produces in their particular area.

Spoons

lues for surf fishing

Spoons are terrific surf fishing lures, perhaps the best. They are heavy and cast a mile, even into a stiff breeze. Spoons put out both flash and vibration, simulating wounded bait fish. Spoons are versatile lures that can be worked right on the surface for breaking fish as well as closer to the bottom. They are an excellent choice when blind casting off the beach.

Read this article on the best striped bass fishing lures

The top spoon for surf fishing for striped bass and other species in the Acme Kastmaster spoon. It is slender and aerodynamic, which results in long casts. It comes in several sizes and quite a few colors and finishes. These baits also come in a single hook version, which facilitates a healthy release.

Jigs

Jigs are also very effective surf fishing lures. They can be cast and and reeled back in, this works well with shad style swim baits on a jig head. Bucktail jigs work very well when bounced along the bottom. Some anglers add a strip of squid or cut bait to make it even more attractive.

bucktail jig

The best bucktail jigs for saltwater fishing are Spro jigs. White is tough to beat and 3 ounces is a good all round size. One tip is to vary the weight of the jig to cover the entire water column. A lighter 1-2 ounce jig can be used to swim the upper part of the water column. Adding a strip of squid will help. A 3-5 ounce jig can be bounced right along the bottom in stronger currents.

Erica and Paulie really like the Tsunami line of soft plastic baits. The weighted sand eel is extremely effective, especially in the fall when the sand eels are running. The Tsunami Pro Swim Shad Holographic Swim Bait works well all season. They are available in several sizes and many different colors. White is a good place to start.

fishing from jetty

Plugs

Plugs are the third style of artificial lure that works well in the surf. Plugs are hard bodied lures, usually plastic but can be wood as well, that mimic wounded bait fish. They come in many varieties from poppers and topwater plugs to diving plugs. However, plugs do have a couple of disadvantages. They can be fairly expensive and bluefish will cut them off the line. Also, plugs usually sport multiple treble hooks which can make handling and releasing the fish more challenging. Many anglers replace the treble hooks with singe hooks. VMC manufactures hooks specifically designed for this, the eye is turned inline with the hook. These facilitate a safe release while not reducing the hookup ratio.

mag darter

 

Erica’s personal favorite plug is the Yo-Zuri 5” floating mag darter in chartreuse during the day, and in blue/black at night. She caught her personal best striper on this lure! It was her go to plug when they weren’t biting anything else.

Rapala x rap

 

The top diving plug is the Rapala X-Rap Slashbait, size 12 is a good all around size.

Surf fishing for striped bass with natural bait

Many anglers choose to use live or cut bait when surf fishing for striped bass. While lures are productive and great fun to fish, there are times when the real thing will be more productive. There is the added benefit that bait will catch other desirable species as well.

Striped bass have a varied diet, feeding on bait fish, crustaceans, and other marine life. Bloodworms are a top bait used year round to catch striped bass. Clams are another excellent and universal bait. Fresh clams are desired. Striped bass love crabs, but they do not stay on the hook as well in surf fishing conditions. Sand fleas are another excellent bait used when surf fishing for striped bass.

surf fishing techniques and tips

While live bait fish are often used by anglers fishing for striped bass in boats, it really is not practical for anglers fishing the surf. It becomes problematic hauling bait buckets and aerators around. Also, live bait fish will often fly off on the cast. Fortunately, cut bait works just as good in most applications.

Just about any fresh caught fish can be cut up and used for bait, as long as it is legal to do so. Local bait shops that cater to anglers surf fishing are usually the best place for both bait and advice on the best baits for that particular area. Mullet, bunker (menhaden), mackerel are the top cut baits.

In conclusion, this article on surf fishing for striped bass will help anglers catch more fish!

 

 

 

 

Surf Fishing for Whiting – A Complete Guide

Surf Fishing for Whiting – A Complete Guide

This article will thoroughly cover surf fishing for whiting. Whiting are a plentiful, good tasting little fish that are a favorite among anglers fishing from the beach.

surf fishing for whiting

Special thanks to Courtney for the terrific pictures! Follow her brand Life4Reel on her website, Instagram, and YouTube pages and channels!

Whiting, Menticirrhus americanus, are also known as southern kingfish, sea mullet, surf mullet, and king whiting. They are abundant in the waters off of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean beaches. Whiting only grow to a couple of pounds, but they put up a good fight and are terrific to eat.

Click this link to read more about surf fishing in Florida

Whiting are the perfect species for anglers who enjoy surf fishing. They are abundant, easy to catch, and taste great. What more could anyone ask for? Catching whiting is easy and uncomplicated and that is certainly part of the attraction. However, as in all fishing, there are tips and techniques that will help anglers be more successful.

fishing for whiting

Surf fishing for whiting

Anglers enjoy surf fishing for whiting from Texas to New England. They are found off of beaches throughout this range. There are some differences in tackle and technique for the two bodies of water, therefore, they will be covered separately.

Best baits for surf fishing for whiting

saltwater fishing with shrimp

The top bait used by anglers surf fishing for whiting is shrimp; either live, fresh dead, or frozen. Shrimp are available at just about every tackle shop that caters to saltwater anglers. There really is no need to go to the bother of keeping shrimp alive, fresh dead and frozen shrimp work just as well and are easier to use. Small shrimp can be used whole while larger shrimp can be cut in half or thirds.

Click to read more about surf fishing tackle

Whiting feed on crustaceans. Therefore, clams, oysters, crabs, and sand fleas are all effective baits. Clams stay on the hook better than oysters and crabs for anglers surf fishing for mullet. Squid are another productive bait for whiting and it will catch most other surf species as well. Fresh cut bait will produce as well.

surf fishing for whiting

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

There are several companies that manufacture and sell commercially prepared baits for anglers surf fishing. The two most popular currently are Fishbites and Fishgum. These are effective baits for whiting and pompano as well. The main advantage to these baits is the convenience. They are easily stored and always ready to go fishing without the smell or mess.

Click to shop Amazon for an affordable Berkley surf fishing rod and reel combo

Surf fishing for whiting in the Atlantic Ocean

Anglers surf fishing for whiting in the Atlantic Ocean use traditional surf fishing tackle and rigs. They are faced with the need to make long casts as well as dealing with a rough surf in many instances. A 10 foot to 12 foot medium action rod with a 6000 series reel spooled up with 20 lb braided line is a good all round combination.

surf fishing

Most whiting caught off Atlantic beaches are done so by anglers casting the basic spreader rig, also known as the high/low rig or chicken rig. A pair of #4 hooks and a 3 ounce pyramid sinker will cover most whiting fishing situations. Anglers go go up or down in weight as needed depending on waves and wind as well as distance needed on the cast. Small floats are often used to keep the bait up just off the bottom. The color acts as an attractant as well. These rigs can be purchased locally and online.

Anglers surf fishing for whiting will find them in various locations on the beach. At high tide, they will often be found close to shore, “in the wash” as it is termed. Fish will also be found on the front or back side of the bars. On the lower tide stages, whiting will often be found on the back side of the second or third bar.

surf fishing

Surf fishing for whiting in the Gulf of Mexico

Anglers surf fishing for whiting in the Gulf of Mexico often face different conditions. Most of the time the waves are much lower than what anglers will face in the Atlantic Ocean. Whiting are often caught quite close to shore. They will cruise the first trough, or “ditch” in search of food. For this reason, lighter tackle and rigs are often used.

sliding sinker rig

The same inshore tackle used by anglers to catch speckled trout and other species will be fine for surf fishing for whiting off of the calm Gulf of Mexico beaches. A sliding sinker rig works very well. This consists of a ¼ ounce or ½ ounce egg sinker, a swivel, and 2′ of 20 lb leader followed by a #4 hook. This rig will drift along the bottom, resulting in a very natural presentation. Shrimp are by far the top bait.

surf fishing

There are certainly situations where anglers fishing for whiting off of the beaches will need to use conventional surf fishing gear. The same tackle and baits used by anglers surf fishing in the Atlantic Ocean works fin in this situation.

Anglers can also use artificial lures when surf fishing for whiting in the Gulf of Mexico. The top lure by far is a jig. Small bucktail jigs used for pompano work fine as does a soft plastic grub on a jig head. Anglers can tip the jig with a small piece of shrimp, resulting in the best of both worlds and a very effective surf fishing combination. This can be used in the Atlantic on calm days as well.

Other locations to find whiting

fishing for whiting

While most whiting are caught by anglers surf fishing, they are caught in other locations as well. Passes and inlets are spots that will produce whiting. Sand bars in these areas along with deeper holes are good places to try. The same techniques used off the beach work well when targeting whiting in the passes and inlets from shore.

Anglers fishing in boats to well drift fishing for whiting in passes and inlets. A shrimp tipped jig bounced sharply off the bottom from a drifting boat is an extremely effective technique. It not only produces whiting, but it will fool just about every other inshore saltwater species.

More species caught while surf fishing for whiting

One terrific benefit that anglers surf fishing for whiting experience is that they will invariably catch other species as well. Just about every saltwater fish feeds on shrimp. Therefore, bottom fishing with shrimp will produce a wide variety of fish.

Pompano

surf fishing

Perhaps the top by-catch of whiting anglers is pompano. In fact, in many cases it is the other way around; anglers surf fishing for pompano catch whiting. Pompano have a small mouth and feed primarily on crustaceans while often being found in the surf. Pompano are superb on the diner plate!

surf fishing

Redfish

redfish

Redfish, also known as red drum, are certainly a possibility for any angler surf fishing from Texas to the mid Atlantic beaches. While they often take larger cut baits, redfish love shrimp and will put up a terrific fight, especially on lighter tackle. Redfish are very good to eat.

Bluefish

surf fishing for bluefish

Small bluefish are a commonly caught species by anglers surf fishing. These fish are aggressive and readily take just about any bait or lure. Larger bluefish will usually bite through the lighter leaders used for whiting. Smaller bluefish are decent to eat, but certainly do not top the list.

Speckled trout

surf fishing for speckled trout

Speckled trout are often caught by anglers surf fishing, especially all along the Gulf of Mexico coast. They hit almost all live and cut baits as well as most artificial lures. They are a beautiful species that are fun to catch and are terrific to eat.

Jack crevalle

surf fishing for jack crevalle

Jack crevalle are a very hard fighting saltwater game fish. They grow quite large as well, over 30 pounds. Jacks often move through in schools, feeding ferociously on the surface. They will take just about any lure or bait and are not considered good to eat.

Sharks

surf fishing for sharks

Sharks are always a possibility for anglers surf fishing. Most sharks will cut through the light leader used for whiting fishing. However, smaller sharks that are hooked in the corner of the mouth can be landed, with a little luck. Obviously, they should be handled with care.

Ladyfish

surf fishing for ladyfish

Ladyfish are a hard fighting and pretty fish that Florida and Gulf Coast anglers know well. Some consider them to be a nuisance. They are not good to eat by prized by many anglers to be used as cut bait.

Sheepshead

Sheepshead are mostly associated with structure of some sort, but they will be found cruising the beaches as well. Sheepshead also feed primarily on crustaceans so shrimp are a top bait. They are very good to eat, though difficult to clean.

Black drum

surf fishing for black drum

Black drum are a commonly caught species by anglers surf fishing. They will readily devour shrimp. Black drum grow very large and will certainly challenge any angler that hooks one on a lighter rod and reel. Small drum are good eating, larger specimens get wormy.

Flounder

Flounder are a prize for any angler surf fishing for whiting. They inhabit sandy bottoms and are often caught in the surf. Cut bait is usually the best bait for flounder, but they will certainly take shrimp as well as a jig bounced along the bottom. Flounder are fantastic eating!

In conclusion, this article on surf fishing for whiting will help anglers catch more of these fun and tasty saltwater species!

 

Best 11 Spinnerbait Fishing Lures

Best 11 Spinnerbait Fishing Lures

This post will list the best 11 spinnerbait fishing lures. Spinnerbaits are versatile lures that will fool just about every species in both fresh and salt water. Here is the list of Capt Jim’s favorite spinnerbaits.

best 11 smallmouth bass fishing lures

The best 11 spinnerbait fishing lures are;

  • Johnson Beetle Spin
  • Mister Twister spinnerbait
  • Strike King Mini spinnerbait
  • Booyah Pond Magic spinnerbait
  • Strike King Premier spinerbait
  • Terminator Spinnerbaits
  • Booyah Super Shad spinnerbaits
  • Booyah Pikee spinnerbait
  • Z-Man spinnerbaits
  • Molix spinnerbaits
  • Strike King Redfish Magic spinnerbait

 

spinnerbait fishing for pike

Spinnerbait descriptions and characteristics

Spinnerbaits are odd looking lures in some ways. They consist of a wire arm that looks a bit like a safety pin. Many old-timers still refer to these lures as “safety pin lures”. A spinner blade or blades rides on the top arm. Most spinnerbaits use two blades; these are termed “tandem bladed spinnerbaits”.

A large single blade, usually a Colorado blade, works well in murky conditions. It puts out a steady vibration which attracts fish to the sound. Most tandem spinnerbaits use a combination of blades, usually a Colorado and a willow blade. However, the blade color, size, and style combinations are endless. In clearer water, this puts out a ton of flash with some vibration as well.

spinnerbait fishing

The hook rides on the lower arm. It is usually a molded in jig head, which provides weight for the spinnerbait to ride correctly. Rubber skirts are often used on the jig head. These undulate very naturally in the water. A grub body can be used as well. Some anglers even use both, adding a soft plastic “trailer” to the skirt.

Spinnerbait fishing tips

For the most part, spinnerbaits are used in fairly shallow water. Due to their design, spinnerbaits are fairly weedless. The wire arm tends to bounce of timber and rocks. Spinnerbaits also work through and over grass quite well without hanging up.

spinnerbait fishing tips

There are situations where smaller spinnerbaits are extremely effective. Anglers fishing for bluegill, crappie, and panfish use them often. Smaller bass and trout will certainly take them as well. Even large fish will hit a smaller spinnerbait when they are feeding on smaller bait fish.

Spinnerbaits can be worked in several ways. They can be “burned” on top, similar to a buzz bait. This will draw some ferocious strikes. In most cases, a steady retrieve with the bait working just above submerged vegetation or cover works best. Stopping the lure and allowing it to fall can be an effective tactic as well.

largemouth bass fishing in Florida

 

Anglers can also work spinnerbaits deeperr in the water column. This is known as “slow rolling”. It basically means simply reeling the spinnerbait, often a heavier model, slowly so that it works near the bottom. Bouncing it off the bottom can be very effective. This technique works well in cold water when game fish are deeper and less active.

Click to read more about spinnerbait fishing

Small or finesse spinnerbaits

panfish Beetle spin

There are situations where smaller spinnerbaits are extremely effective. Anglers fishing for bluegill, crappie, and panfish use them often. Smaller bass and trout will certainly take them as well. Even large fish will hit a smaller spinnerbait when they are feeding on smaller bait fish.

Johnson Beetlespin

The Johnson Beetlespin is an unassuming looking little spinnerbait. However, it is an extremely effective lure, especially for bluegill and panfish. The 1/16 ounce size works very well in most situations for panfish. Anglers chasing larger bluegill as well as crappie can bump it up to the 1/8 ounce size. Finally, the 1/4 ounce size is extremely effective for bass and ponds and streams.

Sarasota crappie fishing

Beetle spin spinnerbaits come in a wide variety of color patterns. Capt. Jim’s favorite is the simple silver blade with a black grub body with either a white or yellow stripe. Green would be his second favorite, followed by white. These lures look very simple in the package, but they really are incredibly effective fishing lures.

Florida panfish fishing

The beetle Spin bait Is as simple as they come. It has a single Colorado blade and a little grub body. As mentioned about, it works very well on panfish as well as bass. Anglers use them in small streams as well to fool smallmouth bass and rock bass. In most situation, a slow, steady presentation works best. Slower is almost always better. As long as the blade is rotating, it is moving fast enough.

beetle spin

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Beetlespin lures

Mister Twister spinnerbait

The Mister Twister spinnerbait is a terrific fishing lure for panfish, bass, walleye, and other species. The flash of the blade and the incredible action of the curly tail are irresistible to many fish. Like most spinner baits, especially when chasing panfish, the slower the retrieve the better. Chartreuse is by far Capt. Jim’s favorite color.

fishing for panfish with spinnerbaits

The Mister Twister spinnerbait is a very versatile bait. Anglers can change the color and size to match the quarry and conditions. 1/8 ounce is a good all round size for large panfish, small bass, trout, and smallmouth bass. Anglers can go up in size to catch larger fish including walleye and northern pike.

mister twister spinnerbait

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for spinnerbait/grub lures

Strike King Mini spinnerbait

The Strike King Mini spinnerbait is next on the list of best 11 spinnerbait fishing lures. It is an excellent choice when fishing smaller bodies of water such as ponds, streams, and smaller rivers. it works on saltwater species as well when fish are feeding on smaller bait fish. They really shine in situations where larger spinner baits land too loudly or are too large and flashy. Strike King Mini spinnerbaits work very well right after the shad spawn as well.

best soft plastic lure

Anglers can choose from a variety of colors when using this bait. However, keeping it simple is a great approach. The hammered single Colorado blade puts out excellent flash and vibration. Capt Jim’s two favorite color patters are all black and chartreuse and white.

 

 

best small spinnerbait for bass fishing

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Strike King Mini Spinnerbaits

Booyah Pond Magic spinnerbait

The Booyah Pond Magic is another medium sized spinnerbait designed to fish smaller bodies of water. This bait also works well when fish are finicky, such as post cold front conditions. It is a tandem bladed bait and is a bit larger than the lures listed above. While a tandem spinnerbait, it does put out less commotion, due to the smaller blades.

best 11 spinnerbait fishing lures

The thing that sets these spinnerbaits apart from others is that they come in some very enticing and unique color combinations that were specifically designed for fishing in small ponds and rivers. The crayfish pattern pictured below is particularly unique. It is extremely effective when fished in slower moving streams and small rivers. Smallmouth bass with hit it with gusto!

Booyah P:ond Magic

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Booyah Pond Magic spinnerbaits

Full sized spinnerbaits

There are many companies that manufacture quality spinnerbaits. It would be impossible to list them all and no slight is meant for those that are omitted. Most of these larger spinner baits are tandem bladed baits. They are offered and combinations of willow leaf, Colorado, and Indiana blades. The following is a list of larger spinnerbaits that are available in multiple sizes and colors for anglers to use.

bass fishing in Florida

Strike King Spinnerbaits

Strike King is a leader in the industry when it comes to spinnerbaits. The Strike King Mini spinnerbait has already been mentioned in the smaller spinnerbait section. There are several other Strike King spinner baits that anglers should consider using on a variety of species. The Premier Plus spinner bait by Strike King is an outstanding lure. It is a tandem bladed spinner bait. The baits are available in many blade size, style, and color combinations.

strike king premier

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Strike King Premier spinnerbaits

The Strike King Finesse KVD Spinnerbait is a bit smaller in size and profile. This is an excellent spinnerbait choice in very clear water, especially in the cooler months when bait tends to be smaller. It is a tandem bladed spinnerbait and also has a smaller profile skirt. Like all Strike King spinner baits, it is a stout lure made with quality components.

kvd spinnerbait

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for KVD spinnerbaits

spinnerbait fishing

Terminator spinnerbaits

The Terminator line of spinnerbaits is well-known in the fishing world to be an incredibly tough and durable fishing lure. It is made from quality components and has a frame that bounces back into shape. Terminator spinnerbaits use quality ball bearings swivels on the blades. The head of the jig was specifically designed to be especially weedless. Terminator spinner baits come in a variety of color combinations.

terminator

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Terminator spinnerbaits

Booyah spinnerbaits

Booyah spinnerbaits have taken the market by storm in a relatively short amount of time. They offer several different spinnerbait models that are both durable and effective. These super shad spinner bait is unique in that it comes with four willow leaf blades. This results in the lure mimicking a small school of fish, similar to the Alabama rigs, but much easier to cast.

fishing with spinnerbaits

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Booyah Super Shad spinnerbaits

Booyah offers a complete line of spinnerbait options for anglers. The choice is endless, single and tandem bladed baits with combinations of Colorado, Indiana, and willow leaf blades are available in a variety of sizes. The Booyah Pikee spinner bait is the best lure on the market for anglers who want to cast a spinner bait for pike or musky.

pikee

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Booyah Pikee spinnerbaits

Z-Man spinnerbaits

Z-Man is another company that offers quality spinnerbaits to anglers. They are all tandem bladed baits that are available in a combination of blades along with skirt color options. These baits are constructed with quality components and are both durable and effective.

best 11 spinnerbait fishing lures

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Z-Man spinnerbaits

Molix spinnerbaits

Molix spinnerbaits are premium lures that use high quality components. They are Kayla’s personal favorite baits. Discerning anglers who want to use the best may choose to use these lures. Like most manufacturers, Molix offers anglers a variety of color combinations in both skirts and blades.

spinnerbait fishing

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Molix spinnerbaits

Redfish Magic Spinnerbait

The Redfish Magic is one of the the first spinnerbaits designed for saltwater anglers. It is an excellent search bait that can cover a lot of water when fishing expansive flats. While primarily designed for redfish in the shallows, it will catch spotted sea trout, snook, jacks, and other species as well. It comes with a large, single gold blade with a paddle tail grub body.

redfish magic

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Redfish Magic spinnerbaits

In conclusion, this article on spinnerbait fishing tips and techniques should encourage anglers to take advantage of these very effective lures which are easy to use!

Fishing for Triggerfish – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

Fishing for Triggerfish – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

The topic of this article will be fishing for triggerfish. Triggerfish are a hard fighting and very tasty species. They are often caught by anglers fishing for other bottom fish. However, they have a devoted following and are targeted specifically by many anglers.

fishing for triggerfish

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Triggerfish, get their name from the way their dorsal fin will retract when the rear spine is pushed down, or triggered. Most triggerfish caught by anglers in North America are grey triggerfish, or Balistes capriscus. They are an aggressive species that are found along the United States coastline from Texas to the mid Atlantic as well as in the Caribbean Sea.

Triggerfish are quite aggressive compared to many other species. However, that does not mean that they are easy to catch. The primary reason for this is that triggerfish have a very small mouth in relation to their size. This mouth is often compared to a parent with beak like teeth. This allows triggerfish to nibble a bait off without getting hooked.

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

Triggerfish habits and locations

Triggerfish, like most bottom fish species, almost always relate to structure of some sort. This can be natural hard bottom and coral, ledges, artificial reefs, and wrecks. Triggerfish are rarely found in the inshore bays or passes and inlets. However, they can be found fairly close to shore in many instances, making them an excellent target for anglers with smaller boats.

triggerfish fishing

Smaller ledges and patches of hard bottom that go unnoticed by anglers fishing for grouper and other species are prime spots to target triggerfish. These smaller areas are more difficult to find and to properly position on. However, they will often produce plenty of triggerfish along with snapper and other bottom species. That is one terrific advantage that anglers have when fishing for triggerfish, invariably other species will crash the party.

Best triggerfish fishing tackle

The same tackle that anglers use when bottom fishing for smaller snapper and other species will work fine for triggerfish. Medium spinning tackle and light conventional outfits work very well. Spinning outfits are best and reasonably shallow water where a heavy sinker is not required. Light conventional tackle works best in deeper water or and spots with strong currents where a heavier sinker is needed.

fishing for triggerfish

Capt Jim has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. Anglers who are interested in purchasing the equipment that he uses and writes about in his articles and reports can do so HERE on the PRODUCTS page.

A 7 foot medium action spinning rod with a 3000 to 4000 series reel spooled up with 20 pound braided line is an excellent all round combination for anglers who prefer spinning outfits. A 6 1/2 foot to 7 foot conventional rod with a 2230 series reel and 30 pound braided line works well for anglers who prefer that type of equipment.

Click links to shop Amazon for Penn spinning and conventional outfits

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Best hooks and rigs for triggerfish fishing

As mentioned above, triggerfish have a very small mouth. For this reason, they have earned a reputation as being very difficult to catch. In many instances, this is simply because the hooks being used are two large for their smaller mouth. Scaling down and hook size will dramatically increase the catch ratio when targeting triggerfish. These smaller hooks will be fine for snapper and other species as well. Remember, small hooks will catch big fish, but big hooks will rarely catch smaller fish.

triggerfish

Many anglers fishing for triggerfish and other bottom species have gone to circle hooks. In the Gulf of Mexico, they are required. Anglers must use non-stainless steel non-offset circle hooks for any type of reef fishing. Circle hooks dramatically reduce fish mortality as when properly used the hook almost always ends up in the corner of the fishes mouth. For anglers targeting triggerfish, a 2/0 circle hook is an excellent all round size.

For the most part, this is basic, simple bottom fishing. It is hard to beat the tried-and-true high low, or chicken rig. This allows anglers to present a couple different baits at a couple different depths in a vertical presentation. These rigs are available commercially, however most anglers tie their own. Three-way swivels can be used, but simple loop knots with a hook on the end work fine.

chicken rig

Top triggerfish baits

Triggersfish will respond the same baits that produce grouper, snapper, flounder, and other species. Squid is a top bait as it is easily obtained, stays on the hook well, and triggerfish love them. Frozen sardines are another very effective triggerfish bait that is readily available at bait shops. Clams, oysters, and octopus are productive as well.

fishing for triggerfish

Small pieces of just about any fresh caught cut bait were great and stay on the hook quite well. Live shrimp produces triggerfish, however is a bit more expensive than some other bait and does not stay on the hook as long.

One popular technique when using the chicken rig is to try a couple of different baits at once. While triggerfish are not notoriously fussy, there are days when one bait will outproduce another. By trying to different baits on the same rig, anglers can quickly identify the bait that fish want that particular day.

Triggerfish fishing techniques

Fishing for triggerfish is not overly complicated. The first order of business is to position the boat over the structure that is to be fished. Anglers can choose to either anchor or drift, depending on the depth, size of the structure, and wind. GPS electric trolling motors have revolutionized bottom fishing as they allow anglers very precise boat control.

triggerfish fishing

The presentation is basically the same when fishing for triggerfish for anglers both anchoring and drifting. Drifting will probably require a bit heavier weight in order to keep the line vertical. This is very important as it both reduces the chances for snags as well as increases hookups.

Once in position, the baits are lower to the bottom. Veteran anglers fishing for triggerfish use heavier weights than might otherwise be needed for a couple of reasons. A heavier weight will maintain the desirable vertical presentation, despite wind and strong currents. Also, the rig falling quickly through the water column to the bottom will virtually eliminate smaller fish nibbling the bait off on the way down.

How to hook triggerfish

As previously mentioned, triggerfish have a reputation for being notoriously difficult to hook. There are a couple of techniques that will help anglers improve their success ratio. One tactic that works well is to very slowly start reeling up the rig as soon as it touches the bottom. This will keep the line tie, taking it easier to feel bites. It will also require the triggerfish to rise up off the bottom to feed on bait that is seemingly escaping.

It is imperative that when fishing for triggerfish (and other species), especially when using circle hooks, to not set the hook when a bite is detected. The best technique is to keep the rod tip low and wait out the little nibbles or taps. Once a steady pull is felt, the angler should real fast tightening up the line and getting the circle hook turning in the fishes mouth. Once hooked, the rod tip can be raised up and the fish reeled in. This technique actually works best when using “J” hooks as well.

Catching triggerfish on the surface

Triggerfish will at times be found feeding on the surface. This will happen naturally when weeds are present. Triggerfish will move up in the water column to feed on forage that is hiding in the weeds. They also respond quite well to chum and will rise up off the bottom into the chum slick to feed.

When triggerfish are encountered on the surface, whether naturally or chummed up, obviously a heavyweight is not desirable. A simple free line rig of a hook and maybe just a split shot or two will be all that is required. Spinning outfits are better than conventional rigs in this application.

Leaders for bottom fishing

In most situations, a 30 pound to 50 pound fluorocarbon leader is the best choice when fishing for triggerfish. They are usually fairly aggressive and willing to bite once located. This is especially true when the water is a bit stirred up and has some color to it. The heavier leader also gives anglers a fighting chance in the event that a larger grouper or other species is.

There will be times when triggerfish will be fussy and reluctant to bite. This can be especially true when the water is clear and the seas are calm. Under these conditions, anglers may enjoy more success by going lighter on the leader as well as the weight. This will also benefit anglers fishing in areas where mangrove snapper are present, which are notoriously line shy in clear water.

Triggerfish are terrific to eat

While triggerfish put up an excellent battle when hooked with the appropriate tackle, they are mostly prized for their incredibly tasty snow white fillets. Triggerfish are fantastic eating! With their increased popularity has come more regulations. Anglers need to check their local regulations, keeping in mind that they are often different for state and federal waters.

One downside to keeping triggerfish to eat is that they are fairly difficult to clean. Triggerfish half incredibly tough skin and a sharp knife is required. They also have fairly large rib cages and bones. Finally, the fillet is not huge in relation to the fishes size. However, all of this work is worth it once the triggerfish is properly prepared and served on a plate.

In conclusion, this article on fishing for triggerfish will help anglers understand the little nuances that will result in more success!

Fishing for Striped Bass – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

Fishing for Striped Bass – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

This article will thoroughly cover fishing for striped bass. Striped bass, also known as stripers and rockfish are an extremely popular game fish. They are a bit unusual in that they thrive in both freshwater and saltwater environments.

striped bass fishing

Striped bass, Morone saxatilis, are the most popular inshore saltwater game fish in the Northeast. They range from Maine down to South Carolina. Anglers catch them trolling, casting, using live bait, and surf fishing. They have also been transplanted successfully in many large freshwater lakes. There is also a population of striped bass in San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento River. They grow quite large with the world record being a touch over 80 pounds.

Striped bass distribution

In salt water, striped bass are found from the mid Atlantic off of the Carolina coast north into Canada. Striped bass were also introduced into San Francisco Bay. In both of these saltwater environments, striped bass migrate up into freshwater rivers to spawn. On the East Coast, the Chesapeake Bay watershed and Hudson River host the majority of spawning striped bass. On the West Coast, the Sacramento River accomplishes this.

inshore saltwater fishing

Striped bass have been introduced into many freshwater reservoir systems with great success. Most of these impoundments were created in the 1960s and 1970s and created fantastic largemouth bass fisheries. However, over the course of time much of the flooded timber has rotted and bass moved to man-made structure especially docks.

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

With so much open water available, striped bass and forage such as herring and shad were introduced into these waters. Striped bass flourish in these large lakes as they are mostly open water predators. Dams do restrict spawning in many of these lakes is restricted by dams, therefore striped bass are stocked regularly.

Striped bass habits

Striped bass are open water predators. They are most often found in fairly large schools. Striped bass have a varied diet and are opportunistic feeders. However, they primarily feed on bait fish, particularly herring and shad in freshwater and menhaden (bunker), herring, mackerel, sand eels, and other bait fish in saltwater.

fishing for striped bass

Striped bass are often seen feeding on the surface. Anglers call this “breaking fish” and it is very exciting! Just about any flashy lure will draw a strike when fish are actively feeding like this. Trolling works well when striped bass are suspended below the surface.

Anglers do catch striped bass by casting lures and baits towards shoreline cover, mostly in saltwater situations. They will be found on bars and flats seeking forage. Striped bass can also be caught up in rivers as they migrate to spawn.

Striped bass fishing tackle

Lake Murray striped bass

The best striped bass fishing tackle varies, depending on the size of the fish and the technique being used. Medium spinning tackle works well for casting lures. A medium heavy baitcasting/conventional outfit is a good all-round choice. Heavy conventional tackle is required for trolling. Typical surf fishing gear works fine off the beach.

Anglers can read more about striped bass fishing tackle and lures in this article by Capt Jim

Spinning tackle is very versatile. It is the best choice for anglers casting lighter lures and smaller live baits for average sized striped bass in both fresh and saltwater. A 7′ medium action rod with a 3000-4000 series reel spooled up with 20 lb braided line is an excellent rod and reel combination.

surf fishing for striped bass

Baitcasting tackle certainly has it’s place when fishing for striped bass. It works very well when casting heavier lures and live baits as well as having the power to handle a decent fish. A baitcasting outfit also works great for chunking, bottom fishing, and light tackle trolling. A 7′ to 7 ½’ medium heavy outfit with 30 lb braid works great.

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Anglers serious about striped bass fishing and seeking larger fish will need some heavy conventional tackle. This is used for trolling mostly, but can also be used to present live or cut bait to large fish. The venerable Penn 4/0 outfit works very well.

surf fishing

Surf fishing for striped bass is very popular for anglers all along the east coast. Standard surf fishing gear works fine and most anglers already have the proper equipment. For those that do not, a 12” medium heavy spinning outfit is a good place to start.

Capt Jim has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. Anglers who are interested in purchasing the equipment that he uses and writes about in his articles and reports can do so HERE on the PRODUCTS page.

Striped bass fishing techniques

There are several techniques that are productive for anglers fishing for striped bass. These include drifting, trolling, casting lures, and bottom fishing. Some techniques even kind of cross over.

Carolina game fish

Drift fishing

Drifting can be an effective technique to locate and catch striped bass. This is particularly true in cooler water when striped bass are in deeper water, close to the bottom. This works well in saltwater where tidal flow will keep the boat moving. It can be used when freshwater fishing for striped bass as well.

Drift fishing is effective because it keeps the bait in the strike zone for the maximum amount of time while searching for fish. Live and cut bait are often used. However, anglers can vertically present a jig or spoon as well. The best spots to drift are ledges, sunken islands, wrecks and reefs, and near schools of bait.

Trolling for striped bass

Trolling is an extremely effective technique for catching striped bass. It allows anglers to cover a lot of water while presenting multiple baits or lures at various depths. One a particular pattern emerges, anglers can focus in on that bait and depth to catch a lot of fish.

trolling for striped bass

Anglers can troll with both live bait and artificial lures. Slowly trolling a live herring or shad is the predominant method for taking big striped bass in freshwater lakes. Downriggers and sinkers are used to get the baits down to the desired depth. The boat is moved slowly, just enough to keep the lines straight. Channel edges are top spots as are any area where bait fish is plentiful.

Read more about trolling techniques in this article

Most anglers trolling for striped bass in saltwater use artificial lures. They can be trolled faster which helps anglers find the fish more quickly. Spoons, jigs, and plugs are all effective lures to use. Anglers should try to match the lure to the size of the available forage. Local tackle shops are an excellent source of information as to what lures produce in a particular area.

Plugs are great for trolling because no other gear is required, the lip on the plug will get it down in the water column. Spoons and jigs require trolling sinkers, downriggers, wire line, or planers. A trolling sinker followed by 10′ to 20′ of leader and then the lure is perhaps the easiest method. Planers work great as well, once an angler gets used to setting them.

striped bass fishing tips and spots

Umbrella rigs are interesting rigs that are mostly used for striped bass fishing, though smaller versions are used by largemouth bass fishing (known as Alabama rigs). They allow anglers to present several lures at once. The rig mimics a school of bait fish, jigs are most often used. It is a bit cumbersome, but effective.

Fishing for striped bass with lures

Anglers fishing for striped bass can catch them casting lures as well. This is similar to other styles of fishing as anglers work a shoreline or flat while casting lures in search of fish. A lead head jig with a 4” to 6” soft plastic bait works very well. Plugs and spoons will also produce when blind casting. Many striped bass caught by anglers surf fishing do so casting lures.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge striped bass

As mentioned earlier, one of the most exciting striped bass fishing situations occurs when fish are found feeding on the surface. This occurs in both lakes and in saltwater. Bass “trap” the helpless bait against the surface and then feed aggressively. Birds are often a sign that feeding stripers are in the area.

Read about the best striped bass fishing lures in this article

Spoons, plugs, and jigs all work well in this situation. Anglers fly fishing can get in on the action as well. Fish really are not that fussy and will hit most lures that are presented well. The main factor to pay attention to is boat position. It is important to be as patient as possible and work the edges of the fish. Driving through the middle of them will often result in the striped bass going deep. Vertically jigging a spoon works great when this happens.

Fishing for striped bass with bait

Plenty of anglers fishing for striped bass do so using basic bottom fishing techniques. Fishing with live or cut bait on the bottom produces every saltwater species and striped bass are no exception. Bottom fishing with cut and chunk bait work very well for anglers surf fishing for striped bass.

top Tennessee game fish species

Live bait works fine for bottom fishing, especially in saltwater, but cut bait is as productive and easier to use. Cut bait stays on the hook longer as well, which is an issue when crabs and bait-stealers are around. Any fresh caught fish that is legal to use will produce. Oily fish such as mackerel and menhaden are particularly effective.

Live bait is certainly used as well, but more often it is free lined or trolled as opposed to fished right on the bottom. These include herring, shad, menhaden, bloodworms, eels, and more. This technique works very well around bridges at night, some very large fish are caught doing this.

Fishing for striped bass in rivers

Many anglers enjoy fishing for striped bass in rivers. This is usually best in spring as stripers go on a spawning run. In lakes with dame, the fish often are forced to stop and school up at the tailwaters of dams. These can be fantastic fishing spots as fish are ganged up and forage comes through or over the dam.

top 13 Chesapeake Bay game fish

While these are terrific spots, anglers do need to be very careful as currents can be strong. Drifting with bait or lures or casting lures will produce fish. Anglers can often fish these spots from the shoreline, eliminating the need for a boat.

Free flowing rivers will see striped bass migrating very far upriver, to portions where it becomes totally fresh. The major tributaries of the Cheasapeake Bay are important spawning grounds. The Hudson River sees a lot of striped bass as well. On the west coast, the Sacramento River gets a nice push of fish as well.

Drifting through deep holes is productive when fishing for striped bass in rivers. In slower moving rivers, trolling will also produce fish. As it shallows up, bumping a jig along the bottom works quite well.

Inlets are excellent spots to target striped bass. This is especially true for anglers without a boat, as most inlets have jetties which allow anglers access. The best time to fish inlets is generally on the turn of the tide, when the current flow is reduced. It is difficult to fish when the current is running hard through the inlet.

inshore saltwater fishing

Anglers fishing the inlets can choose to use both natural and artificial baits. Those casting poppers and other plugs along with spoons and jigs do quite well when working parallel to the rocks. They will also make opportunistic cast whenever breaking fish pop up. Anglers bottom fishing need to constantly adjust the weight in order to minimize snags. Often times, the best spot to bottom fish is on the backside of the jetty where there is a sandy bottom and a current eddy.

East Coast striped bass

Striped bass spawn in the brackish tributary rivers. Chesapeake Bay is responsible for about 80% of the striped bass spawning activity. The Hudson River in New York is second in that regard. Juvenile striped bass spend the first couple years in the freshwater and brackish rivers before migrating out to the open water. Striped bass can live up to 30 years old.

fishing inlets

Striped bass can be caught using a wide variety of angling techniques. They are caught drift fishing, trolling, sight fishing, chumming, fly fishing, and surf fishing.

Striped bass fishing techniques

Anglers choosing to drift with natural bait will have success use in both live and cut bait. A free lined pogy or menhaden is a deadly bait for a trophy striped bass. Small live eels are used as well, especially in Chesapeake Bay around the bridges. Cut bait such as strips or chunks of fresh fish and squid will also produce. Anglers choosing to drift while using artificial lures will do well with jigs and heavy vertical jigging spoons.

Some anglers choose to anchor and chum a spot, rather than drifting it. This can be an extremely productive technique. The boat is anchored up on a drop off, piece of hard bottom, or other likely spot. Menhaden oil or other chum is dispersed with the tide from the stern. Several rods are rigged and hooked up with chunks of fresh baits such as pogy or menhaden. Any oily fish will work; bluefish and mackerel are fine baits. It is important to use circle hooks in this application to reduce the number of fish that are gut hooked. Many states require this by law.

Top east coast striped bass fishing spots

Striped bass fishing in Maine

Starting in the north, Maine now has reliable fishing for striped bass once again. After several down years, the numbers of fish are back up again. Biologists credit tough regulations along the east coast and plentiful bait fish as the main reasons for the resurgence.

Susquehanna River striped bass

Fish show in the the southern part of the state in May. They will move as far north as Penobscot Bay by late June. Mackerel, either live or in chunks, is a top striper bait. Any fresh cut bait will work at times. Sand worms and blood worms are also effective baits. Poppers, diving plugs, spoons, and jigs are the top choices for anglers who prefer artificial baits.

Striped bass fishing in Massachusetts

Striped bass show up off of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay in late April and stay until fall. Smaller fish are usually first to show up, followed by the larger specimens. Massachusetts offers anglers fantastic striped bass fishing when conditions are right. Fish will be caught in Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod Bay, and off the area beaches.

Anglers fishing from boats catch striped bass trolling and drifting. However, the most exciting fishing is when schools of fish are “breaking” on the surface. Just about any lure will draw a strike. Surf fishing is extremely popular in this area as well. Cape Cod is famous for surf fishing for stripers and other species.

Striped bass fishing in New York and New Jersey

Long Island sound and the New York and New Jersey beaches offer fantastic striped bass fishing. Fish show up in mid April and stay until Thanksgiving. Anglers can target them by trolling, drifting, casting, and surf fishing. Sight casting to large fish in shallow water is great sport!

spinnerbait fishing techniques

The fall blitzes off of Montauk are legendary. Fish will be seen busting on top throughout the area. Boating can be intense, especially on the weekends. The key to the fishing is the abundance of bait. This attracts the striped bass as they migrate through and they feed heavily, especially in the fall.

The Hudson River is responsible only behind Chesapeake Bay for producing juvenile striped bass. The fishing during the spring run can be epic. The prime time is from mid-April to mid-May. All of the same techniques produce in the river as in the saltwater.

Striped bass fishing the coast

Kirsten Holloway fishes the New Jersey Coast north of Atlantic City. As far as bass fishing on the Great Egg Harbor river goes, she catches fish on a variety of baits depending on the month of the year. In these pictures, the fish were caught in the spring time when the fish enter the river for spawning. At this time, the fish are after bloodworms and herring. Since the use of herring as bait has been outlawed, we have came up with some alternatives.

striped bass spots

Most of these fish were caught as I like to refer to it as “chunkin”. I will use a hi-lo rig to catch a few smaller perch. I will then use the perch as bait and allow the bass to find the chunk, while staying anchored. It has seemed to work very well. If that isn’t working or I am looking to stay busy, I have also caught quite a few bass with a commonly used lure known as the “SP minnow” made by Daiwa.

Striped bass fishing, Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay is responsible for producing 80% of the east coast striped bass. The myriad of tributaries gives spawning fish plenty of places to reproduce. It also offers juvenile fish a place to feed and grow safely. Trolling produces most of the larger fish. Anglers can drift baits and lures as well as cast to fish.

inshore fishing for stripers

Kayla Haile has been fishing the Susquehanna since before she could walk. Her dad would take her fishing there and taught Kayla everything she knows about fishing the river. She currently runs an 1860 G# jet boat. She primarily fishes the Susquehanna below the Cowingo Dam, but knows the Chesapeake Bay as well.

The Chesapeake Is a very diverse fishery. It starts as a river to the north and is almost like an ocean at the mouth. Tributaries hold juvenile fish before they migrate out into the open bay. Mature fish spawn in these rivers and creeks as well.

Striped bass fishing the Susquehanna River

Kayla fishes the lower Susquehanna River below Cowingo Dam. The best fishing is in late spring when the water temperature is around 65°. She likes a 6’7″ medium heavy St. Croix rod, Diawa B&G reel spooled with 30 pound HI-SEAS Grand Slam Braided line.

Tailwater fishing tips

Striped bass are mostly feeding on white perch at this time. Kayla has good success with a white Sassy Shad swim bait on a 3/4 ounce jig head. This bait mimics the white perch that are in the river. Water clarity will affect bait choice. White or pearl is a great all round color. Most of the large striped bass are in shallow water. They put up a great and challenging fight around the rocks and other structure.

Fishing Chesapeake Bay

The entire Chesapeake Bay watershed can be productive. Numerous rivers will hold striped bass in the spring as they spawn. Larger rivers such as the Potomac, Rappahanock, Patuxent, and Choptank are normally best. The mouths of these rivers are good again in the fall. In the warmer months, most of the larger fish will be found in the main channel where the water is deeper.

Virginia river fishing

Breaking fish are plentiful most years in the fall. Many of these are “schoolies” of around 20”, but are fun on light tackle. The late bite at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel at the south end of the bay is legendary. Anglers also catch fish off the surf, especially near the inlets, during the season. Night fishing around the Bay Bridge can be very good.

Striped bass fishing in the Carolinas

Striped bass are plentiful as far down the coast as South Carolina. The Hatteras beaches in North Carolina are famous for surf fishing for striped bass and other species. These isolated barrier islands jut out into the Atlantic Ocean. Anglers come from all over the country to try their hand at surf fishing.

Most anglers surf fishing for striped bass take a two-pronged approach. They keep a 10 foot surf rod rigged up with a popper, plug, spoon, or jig. They they will also have a heavier 14 foot outfit. The heavier rig is baited up with a chunk of bait such as mullet or herring. While waiting for a bite, the lighter rod is used to cast whenever activity is seen.

Massachusetts striped bass

Albermarle Sound and Pamlico Sound are large inshore bays that offer good striped bass fishing as well. Tributaries into the sounds as well as the inshore bays and rivers south to the Georgia state line offer good angling opportunities as well. The same techniques that work up north work well in both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Freshwater striped bass fishing

Striped bass are a huge success story in larger freshwater lake and river systems. As flooded timber has rotted, largemouth bass fishing slowed. Striped bass and herring were introduced, and the stripers flourished! This is particularly true in the Tennessee Valley Authority lakes throughout the Southeast. Dams often prevent spawning, however some sytems are free flowing. While the following article is about Lake Murray, SC, the tactics will work anywhere freshwater striped bass are found.

Lake Murray Striped Bass fishing, Tips and Techniques

This article will focus on catching Lake Murray striped bass. Lake Murray offers excellent fishing for these transplanted game fish, along with bass, catfish, crappie, and other species.

umbrella rig for stripers

Lake Murray is a reservoir in the center of the state of South Carolina. It is 41 miles long and approximately 50,000 acres in size with around 500 miles of shoreline. Lake Murray was impounded in the late 1920s to provide hydroelectric power to the state of South Carolina. South Carolina were an innovator and began stocking striped bass in the late 60’s. Striped bass thrive in this freshwater fishery and are caught using several techniques.

Jacki Gillen is the “Lake Murray correspondent” for the site. She knows the lake well and primarily targets striped bass. Jacki was born in Norfolk, Virginia and grew up in the Lexington area of South Carolina. She spent many summers saltwater fishing with her grandfather in Chesapeake Bay along with freshwater fishing with her father in South Carolina.

Striped bass fishing fever!

It has only been in the last few years that she has found a new love for striped bass fishing with her husband on Lake Murray. Jacki also really enjoys offshore fishing and Charleston, South Carolina and in the Florida Keys. She owns J Hooker Fishing with her husband Jacob. Jacki is on the Striper Sniper pro staff and has great success using their products.

striper fishing Lake Murray

Striped bass are a saltwater game fish that were introduced into freshwater lakes in the early 70’s. Stripers spawn in freshwater and brackish rivers. Biologists were confident that they would do well in large freshwater lakes. They were correct! Striped bass do require fresh, flowing water to spawn. Santee Cooper is the only lake in South Carolina that has this environment. Therefore, Lake Murray striped bass do not reproduce. A million 1” fish are stocked each year.

Lake Murray striped bass forage

Striped bass feed primarily on bait fish. The primary forage species are threadfin shad followed by the gizzard shad. However, most and guides seem to prefer fishing with the blueback herring. These herring were not natural to Lake Murray, but were introduced by fishermen in 1985 and are now an established forage fish. Jacki does fine using herring and gizzard shad. Bait can be caught but Jacki prefers the convenience of picking it up at local bait shops.

The lures that Jacki uses and recommends when fishing for Lake Murray striped bass mimic these shad species in size and color. Bait size changes as they grow. Successful anglers “match the hatch” by keeping up with the size shad that the stripers are feeding on.

Lake Murray striped bass fishing tackle

Anglers need both spinning tackle and conventional tackle when targeting Lake Murray striped bass. Spinning tackle is used to cast to breaking fish (fish that are feeding on the surface) and for vertical jigging. Jacki prefers a 7 foot rod matched with a 3000-5000 series reel. She uses 20-30 lb braided line. No leader is required as the lure is tied directly to the braid.

Trolling requires heavier tackle. The strain of the larger lures and rigs dictates the use of light conventional equipment. Not to mention that there is always a chance to hook a very large fish as well as multiple fish at one time. Jacki uses 7′ rods, Penn 30 series conventional reels, and 50 lb test line on her trolling outfits.

Umbrella rigs are effective on Lake Murray striped bass

Umbrella rigs are very productive when trolling for Lake Murray striped bass. They can be a bit cumbersome and will tangle when multiple fish are hooked. Umbrella rigs are basically larger versions of the “Alabama rigs” that largemouth bass anglers have made popular. They do a great job of imitating a school of shad. Jacki prefers Capt. Mack’s un-rigged nine bait umbrella rigs. She pairs them all with Striper Sniper buck tail jigs, snake worms, and swim shad baits.

winter striped bass fishing

Striper Sniper 3/4 ounce to 1 ounce white buck tail jigs are tied on each arm of the umbrella rig. The leaders are 6 inches long. A Striper Sniper 10” snake worm or 6” swim bait is added to the jig for extra action. White, chartreuse, glitter, lemon lime, blue pearl, and sun drop are the top producing colors. They have recently introduced a new color called American eel which is next on the list to be tested

Lake Murray striped bass seasons

There are two basic seasons when fishing for Lake Murray striped bass; warm water and cool water. The water temperature is critical to striper migrations. Anglers need to be aware of this migration pattern and adjust accordingly. There is no real “calendar” as every year is different when it comes to weather. Here is Jacki’s advice for adapting to the two “seasons”.

Cooler weather striped bass fishing, fall and winter;

“Once the water temperatures begin to drop, the striped bass tend to start heading back towards the rivers and start coming up closer to the surface even schooling at the surface. We use umbrella rigs trolled at 3 MPH closer to the boat. This keeps them at or above 20 feet below the surface.

We also use planer boards with live herring trolled at about .5 – 1 MPH. We set the lines out 20-30 feet behind the planer. A 3 foot flourocarbon leader of 20-30 lb test is used. A # 3/0 hook completes the rig. We will occasionally run a flat line down the middle, quite a ways back.

Nothing beats casting artificial lures to breaking fish! I always keep a spinning outfit rigged with a topwater plug handy. My favorite bait is a Yo-Zuri 1 ounce plug. I use this when the fish are staying up on the surface. I also keep a Striper Sniper jig with a swim bait ready to go. This works well when fish surface quickly then go down. The jig will get down into the water column.”

Warm water striped bass fishing, spring and summer;

”Once the water begins to warm up, the striped bass start to head back to deeper water away from the rivers and towards the Lake Murray Dam. Anglers fishing in summer should always be able to see the dam. If not, you are too far away. We still use the umbrella rigs trolled at 3 MPH. However, we do so further from the boat to keep them in the 35 – 50 foot range, the lower the better.

We have also been able to put our smaller lighter weight rigs and crank baits on downriggers to drop them into the 60 – 80 foot range. Mid-Summer is also tower fishing season. We tie up to the towers at the Dam and drop live and/or cut bait herring typically to around 60 – 80 foot depths. We use a 1 ounce weight and a 3/0 hook.

Night fishing is a great way to escape the heat and catch some fish. Striped bass feed heavily at night, particularly in the summer time. Anglers do need to be more careful when fishing and boating in the dark. Summer storms can be an issue as well.

Additional Lake Murray species

While Jacki primarily concentrates on striped bass, Lake Murray offers excellent angling for other species. Largemouth bass are arguable the most popular species in the Lake. Much has been written about fishing for bass in the lake. Crappie and panfish are plentiful and Lake Murray has an excellent catffish population. Anglers can find more info and some great links about Lake Murray fishing in this link.

Sacramento striped bass fishing

This article will focus on Sacramento striped bass fishing. There are several rivers in the Sacramento, California area that offer anglers excellent fishing opportunities.

Sacramento River striped bass

The Sacramento River is the largest river in California. Stretching over 400 miles from the eastern slopes of the Klamath Mountains to Suisun Bay, it drains an area of about 27,000 square miles, including many major fishing tributaries. The Sacramento River, The Delta, Mokelumne River, Feather River and the American River flow a short drive from Sacramento. They hold several different species including striped bass, salmon, largemouth and spotted bass, shad, catfish, and sturgeon. Anglers can target these species using several different techniques.

Aimee lives in Elk Grove, near Sacramento, and knows these rivers well. She fishes for a lot of species, both salt and freshwater. Her favorite species are Striped Bass and Salmon when fishing fresh water. While the rivers do offer decent bass fishing, Aimee enjoys the challenge, and great fish, of the larger fish.That is the reason that she targets Sacramento striped bass and salmon.

Striped bass fishing tackle

The same tackle can be used when targeting both species. Aimee only uses Phenix rods. Her personal favorite for casting is a 7’11” M1 Phenix rod with an extra fast action. She jigs with a 6’8” foot slow pitch Titan rod. She matches both with a Diawa Lexa reel and 65 lb braided line. When trolling, Aimee goes with a Phenix X-14 that is 7’11” with an extra fast action.

Striper fishing in California

Heavy tackle is required to catch big fish in the current when targeting Sacramento striped bass and salmon. River and fishing conditions change daily. The best bet is to look online to get current river conditions and fishing reports. Aimee’s favorite sites for this are Navionics and Willy Weather.

Sacramento Striped Bass

Striped bass migrate up into these rivers in the spring to spawn. The best time to target them is from March to May in spring and October to December in the fall. As with most river fishing, water levels and flow are very important. Years that have more rain will see an extended season. Conversely, drought conditions will condense the fishing season.

Sacramento striper

When fishing for striped bass, Aimee uses a couple different techniques. She drifts live bait such as blue gill & minnows. This is a very effective technique and is one almost any angler can use to be successful. Mud sucker minnows are purchased at bait shops. Bluegill and shad are caught by anglers. Larger baits will get less bites but will catch bigger fish.

The rig that Aimee uses for drifting for striped bass is a simple drop back bottom rig. A 3 way swivel is tied on the line. Depending on current flow, sinkers from 2 ounces to 4 ounces. The sinker is placed on a 1 foot dropper line. A 4 foot leader of 15 lb to 30 lb test P-Line FlouroClear flourocarbon leader and a 2/0 to 7/0 hook completes the rig. As in most live bait applications, the hook size should be matched to the bait size, not the size of the fish being targeted.

Sacramento striped bass lures

Aimee really enjoys using artificial lures for these California river striped bass. She casts Delta Wood Bombers and ¾ ounce Ra-L-Traps. Silver/chartreuse, red and white, and chrome with a blue back are her top colors. Aimee also likes casting soft plastic swimbaits on a ¼ ounce or ½ ounce jig head.

California striped bass

Often times fish will be seen feeding on shad and other fish on the surface. This is a great time to cast a large topwater plug! Anglers can also blind cast both topwater and diving plugs neat fallen trees, rip-rap, and other structure and cover.

Trolling is another technique that produces striped bass on the California rivers. Her favorite plug is a Yo-zuri in the 5 1/4” size. Holographic Redhead is a great all-round color. Chartreuse woks well if the water is a bit murky. Trolling is relatively easy. Most anglers put the bow of the boat into the current and slowly work the area thoroughly. Fish are usually found in bunches, especially early in the year.

Artificial lure techniques on Sacramento rivers

Jigging is another very productive technique when targeting Sacramento River stripers. Aimee uses Blade-Runner Spoons for her jigging. Not surprisingly, her favorite color is “Aimee Blue”, named after her. You know she is a serious angler when she has baits named after her! 2 ounce to 3 ounce spoons are the preferred size.

The technique when drifting is fairly simple, whether jigging or using live bait. Anglers drop the lure or bait to the bottom and work it as the boat drifts along. Strong currents make it a bit more challenging. Channel edges and drop offs are prime spots, as are eddies when the river is running hard.

Anglers using live bait will need to adjust the depth of the bait as it drifts along. The idea is to keep the bait just above the bottom. Line will need to be let out and reeled in to adjust to the depth. Anglers jigging do the same thing, only the bait is jerked vertically as the boat moves along. The spoon should tick the bottom regularly.

Tennessee striped bass

Striped bass are a huge success story for the Tennessee fish management professionals. Many if not most of the Tennessee lakes were created in the mid-60s and early 70s by the TVA. These lakes had countless acres of flooded timber, offering perfect habitat for largemouth bass. However, over the years this timber rotted and deteriorated. Largemouth bass moved to other structure.

fishing for striped bass

This left an opportunity for an open water fish species and striped bass were the perfect fit. The Tennessee state record of 65 lbs. 6 oz. caught in Cordell Hull reservoir is an excellent example of a thriving striper population

Striped bass are a saltwater species that can tolerate absolute freshwater. They naturally migrate from saltwater into freshwater rivers to spawn. While striped bass and lakes can reproduce, and most lakes they don’t. This is due to the fact that dams inhibit the migration of fish up into the tributary creeks and rivers.

Forage for striped bass

In order to support this new fishery, forage species needed to be introduced as well. Several different species of shad were introduced and have thrived as well. Shad school up in large numbers over underwater structure. These are the same places where striped bass are found.

Anglers targeting striped bass used two primary methods. Live or cut Shad produces the majority of striped bass by Tennessee anglers. Drifting, slow trolling, and bottom fishing with live baits is extremely productive. The biggest hurdle is catching and keeping the baits alive. Cut Shad will produce as well, though it will also attract large catfish.

Anglers casting artificial lures can catch striped bass as well. This is particularly true when they are found feeding on the surface. This is great fun as any spoon, crank baits, jig, or any other lure cast into the fray will normally draw a strike. Anglers vertically jigging deeper channel edges and blind casting shorelines and rip-rap areas near dams will also produce fish. Where allowed, tell water fisheries just below the dams can produce some fantastic striped bass fishing and Tennessee!

The top Tennessee striped bass fishing lakes are Old Hickory Reservoir, Cordell Hull Reservoir, Caney Fork, Melton Hill Reservoir, and Watts bar Reservoir.

Southwest striped bass

The southwest part of the country has excellent striped bass fishing as well, particularly in north Texas and Oklahoma.

Oklahome striped bass

Texas Striped bass lakes and rivers

The major lakes in Texas with healthy populations of stripers include Amistad Reservoir, Lake Texoma, Toledo Bend, Belton Lake, Canyon Lake, Cedar Creek Reservoir, Lake E.V. Spence, Cooper Lake, Hubbard Creek Reservoir, Lake Bridgeport, Lake Brownwood, Lake Buchanan, Lake Conroe, Lake Granbury, Lake Kemp, Lake Lewisville, Lake Livingston, Lake Lyndon B Johnson, Lake Palestine, Lake Ray Hubbard, Lake Somerville, Lake Tawakoni, Lake Travis, Lake Whitney, Lavon Lake, Medina Lake, Pat Mayse Lake, Possom Kingdom Lake, Proctor Lake, Red Bluff Reservoir, Richland Chambers Reservoir, Sam Rayburn Reservoir, and Wright Patman Lake. The Brazos River yielded the Texas state record striped bass.

Oklahoma Striped Bass lakes and rivers

The Oklahoma lakes and rivers that offer good striped bass fishing include Lake Eufaula, Broken Bow Reservoir, Canton Lake, Lake Murray, Waurika Lake, Fort Cobb Reservoir, Fort Gibson Lake, Grand Lake of the Cherokees, Great Salt Plains Lake, Hugo Lake, Kaw Lake, Keystone Lake, Lake Altus-Lugert, Lake Carl Blackwell, Lake Hudson, Lake Texoma, Oologah Lake, Robert S Kerr Reservoir, Skiatook Reservoir, Sooner Lake, Tom Steed Reservoir, and Webber Falls Reservoir. Most tributaries offer good fishing as well.

California striped bass lakes and rivers

The Colorado River used to support a spawning run of striped bass. This was prior to dame being built. Some large fish are still taken there. Productive California lakes include Lake Havasu, Pyramid Lake, Bucks Lake, Lake Mendocino, Los Vaqueros Reservoir, Millerton Lake, New Hogan Lake, San Luis Reservoir, The Delta, Canyon Lake, Castaic Lake, Diamond Valley Lake, Lake Cahuilla, Lake Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Lake Perris, Silverwood Lake and Skinner Reservoir.

Nevada Striped bass lakes

Lake Mead, Lake Lahontan, Washoe Lake, Lake Mohave, and Rye Patch Reservoir are the top Nevada striped bass Lakes.

In conclusion, this article on fishing for striped bass will help anglers be successful when targeting these terrific game fish!

Black Drum Fishing – A Complete Guide

Black Drum Fishing – A Complete Guide

This article will cover black drum fishing. These cousins to red drum, or redfish, are a popular inshore saltwater species.

black drum fishing

Black drum, Pogonias cromis, are found along the coastal water of the United States from Texas to the Mid Atlantic. They grow large, with the world record being 113 pounds. Black drum feed primarily on crustaceans. Smaller drum are excellent to eat, while larger specimens tend to be wormy.

Black drum range and habits

Black drum are found from New England along the coast to Texas and into Mexico. However, they are most commonly caught from the mid Atlantic states around to Texas. Juvenile and smaller black drum will inhabit brackish estuary systems while larger mature black drum are mostly found in the saltier, open waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Large bays will hold schools of big black drum as well.

fishing for black drum

One look at the mouth of a black drum will let an angler know how it feeds. They feed almost exclusively on crustaceans, which live on or near the bottom. Black drum have an “inferior” mouth, which means it is behind the nose. Drum also have crushers in their throat which allows them to feed on anything with a shell.

Black drum feed at night

black drum

Black drum are nocturnal and most definitely feed at night. Lighted bridges, especially in passes and inlets on the outgoing tide are prime spots. Anglers fishing from piers catch them as well. Shallow bars will hold fish, but navigating in the dark can be tricky and is best left to experienced anglers.

Black drum vs sheepshead

Black drum and sheepshead do look quite a bit like sheepshead. The two also feed on similar prey and inhabit the same waters. However, when held side by side, it is fairly easy to distinguish the two. In this picture, the black drum is on the left and the sheepshead is on the right.

black drum

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

Black drum are cousins to the red drum, or redfish. They are also similar in looks and habits to sheepshead. In fact, smaller black drum can be mistaken for sheepshead. Black drum are wider and have barbels under the chin. Both feed on crustaceans near structure. Black drum can be found in very shallow water as well as in quite deep holes. They are usually located in schools and often relate to structure of some type. Bridges, docks, oyster bars, jetties, rocks, and hard bottom areas will hold fish.

black drum fishing

Black drum are great to eat

Black drum are very good to eat. Most fish that feed on crustaceans are desirable, and black drum are no exception. However, this really only applies to smaller fish. Most anglers find black drum between 14” and 24” to be the best to keep. Larger drum tend to be wormy and the breeder fish are best released to ensure good populations of fish.

eating black drum

Best baits for black drum fishing

As mentioned above, black drum feed primarily on crustaceans. Crabs of all types are top black drum fishing baits. Blue crabs are cut in halves or quarters while smaller crabs are fished whole. Shrimp are also a preferred forage of black drum, as they are for most saltwater species. Both crabs and shrimp work well both live and dead as the scent is a major component in attracting fish.

saltwater fishing with shrimp

While black drum can be taken by anglers using artificial lures, the vast majority of fish are taken on natural or live baits. The few black drum that are fooled by lures will hit a soft plastic bait bounced slowly along the bottom. Spoons will catch a few fish as well.

Best black drum fishing tackle

A 7′ medium action rod with a 3000-4000 series reel spooled up with 20 lb braided line is an excellent all round combination. It will allow anglers to cast light baits to drum in shallow water while providing enough backbone to handle a decent fish.

fishing for black drum

Click links to shop Amazon for Penn spinning and conventional outfits

Anglers fishing for large black drum around structure such as bridges, docks, jetties, and in rock holes will need to beef up the tackle. In these application, conventional tackle is usually the best choice. No casting is required and anglers can muscle up on a large fish.

Capt Jim has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. Anglers who are interested in purchasing the equipment that he uses and writes about in his articles and reports can do so HERE on the PRODUCTS page.

“Fishing Lido Key is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. ”

Best black drum fishing rigs

fishing for black drum

Rigging for black drum is fairly uncomplicated. In shallow water, a simple rig consisting of a 24” to 30” piece of 25 lb to 40 lb flourocarbon leader and a 2/0 to 5/0 circle hook is all that is required. A small split shot or even a small sliding egg sinker can be added is the current is strong. It is best for the bait to sit in one spot.

fishing rigs

In deeper water, the traditional Carolina rig is a good all around choice. It presents the bait on the bottom while allowing for easy weight changes as conditions change. This rig also works well for anglers surf fishing for black drum as well.

Black drum fishing techniques

If there is one single tip that will help anglers fishing for black drum, it is to keep the bait still and on the bottom. This applies to anglers fishing in both shallow water and in deep water. Black drum roam about quite a bit in search of food. The scent and action of the bait will attract black drum.

fishing for drum

It is best to fishing for black drum during periods of good current flow. This will help the scent disperse through the water and attract black drum and other species to the bait. Many anglers prefer a high, outgoing tide as it will stage fish on the edges.

Black drum can be difficult to hook, even large fish. They tend to “mouth” the bait and the take can be subtle. The best technique is to wait out the “taps” until a steady pull or weight is felt. Anglers should then reel fast and come tight. Circle hooks have become quite popular. They work well and drastically reduce fish mortality as most are hooked in the mouth.

Fishing docks and bridges for black drum

drum fishing

Bridges and docks are top spots for anglers to find black drum, They provide structure, shade, forage, and are often located in areas of high current flow. These elements combine to make docks and bridges prime black drum fishing spots. Many also offer anglers without a boat access to some good fishing.

In most cases, the best approach when fishing for black drum around docks and bridges is to fish the up-tide side of the structure. This is true for anglers in boats as well as fishing from the dock or bridge. The bait can then drift back naturally to the structure. Night fishing can be extremely productive. Anglers fishing for big drum, especially in strong currents, will need fairly stout tackle to handle a big fish.

Night fishing for black drum

night fishing for drum

Black drum are definitely nocturnal feeders. They use their sense of smell more that sight, so feeding in the dark is not an issue. This is mostly done near lighted bridges, docks, inlets and off the beach. Surf fishing at night for black drum can be very productive.

Passes and inlets are prime black drum fishing spots

Passes and inlets are natural fishing spots for black drum and many other species. They are passages that connect the open Gulf and ocean with the inshore bays. Fish will move through and stop to feed. Current flow, structure, and forage combine to make passes and inlets terrific fishing spots.

black drum fishing

 

Anglers fishing passes and inlets really need to pay attention to the tides. Fishing can be very difficult, and even dangerous, when the current is running hard. It will take a lot of weight to hit and hold the bottom. Therefore, the periods just before and after the tide change are usually the best times to fish these areas, as are days with weaker tides.

Black drum fishing tidal creeks and oyster bars

Black drum love oyster bars and tidal creeks. The reason is simple; food, and a lot of it! Oysters are home to a variety of crustaceans that black drum feed on. Drum will cruise the bars in search of food. Many anglers prefer the lower tide stages as that tends to concentrate fish on the edges. On a flood tide, drum will move up on top of the bars and scatter out. While they feed at this time, they are more difficult to locate.

fishing a shrimp on a jig head

For the most part, the best rig is a bait fishing on the bottom with little or no weight. This will present the bait naturally while reducing snags. Another effective approach is to fish a bait on a jig head. A jig head combines the hook and weight in a tidy unit that is easy to cast. This works especially well with a live shrimp.

Jacksonville black drum

Fish can be spooky in this shallow water. Successful anglers take care to be as quiet as possible and keep their offering as natural looking as possible. Anglers will often see the fish “waking” and “tailing” in the shallow water, similar to redfish. Most of these fish will be in the 5-20 pound range, so spinning tackle is usually the best choice. The mouths of little feeder creeks and cuts are terrific spots on the falling tide.

River mouths offer excellent black drum fishing

River mouths are top spots to fishing black drum. This is true for the smallest creeks up to larger rivers in huge estuary systems. Chesapeake Bay is a great example of this, many large rivers empty into the bay and black drum will school up in deeper holes. The combination of current flow and structure makes these areas productive spots.

Surf fishing for black drum

surf fishing tips

Black drum are a highly sought after species for anglers surf fishing. They are perhaps the largest fish a surf fishing angler will encounter, other than sharks. Heavy surf fishing tackle is used to heavy large baits out over the breaking waves. Black drum will also be found right in the “wash” close to shore, especially after a storm moves through stirring up the bottom.

black drum

Crabs are the top bait for anglers surf fishing for black drum. A fish finder rig works well with enough weight to hold bottom. Two hours before and after high tide is a great time to fish. Shrimp can be used,m especially for smaller fish. Black drum will also take cut bait meant for other species.

In conclusion, this article on black drum fishing will help anglers catch more of these tasty and hard fighting bottom species.