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.

Chumming – a Very Effective Fishing Technique!

This article will thoroughly cover chumming. Chumming is a very effective fishing technique. It is mostly used in saltwater fishing, but freshwater anglers can benefit from chumming as well.

Flats Fishing – Pro Tips!

This article will thoroughly cover flats fishing. Flats are often very good fishing spots. The main reason for this is that flats provide the perfect environment for the forage that game fish feed on. Flats almost always have vegetation of some type along with other cover. This attracts the prey that larger fish feed on.

Fishing with Popping Corks, Pro tips!

This article thoroughly covers fishing with popping corks. Popping corks are a very effective saltwater fishing tool.

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.

Carolina rig Fishing, Tackle, Tips, and Techniques

The topic of this article will be Carolina rig fishing. The Carolina rig is a versatile fishing rig that anglers can use to catch a variety of species. It is most often used with an artificial lure, however live bait can be presented using the Carolina rig as well.

Finesse Fishing – Pro Tips!

This article will thoroughly cover finesse fishing. Finesse fishing is a very effective technique for bass and many other game fish species.

Wacky Worm Fishing – Tips and Techniques

This article will thoroughly cover wacky worm fishing. Wacky worm fishing is an easy and productive technique used to present a plastic worm to fish. Largemouth bass are most often the target of anglers using this technique. However, other species can certainly be caught as well.

Best 11 Buzzbait Fishing Lures

This article will list the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures. Buzzbaits are unusual baits. They are a combination of a spinnerbait and a top water lure. The bait is reeled across the surface using a steady retrieve, with the buzzbait putting out a fish an enticing gurgling noise.

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 Fishing Lures

Fishing with artificial lures can be overwhelming, especially for novice anglers. The purpose of this article was to simplify lure selection down to a handful that will catch just about every 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

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 with Wax Worms

This article will cover ice fishing with wax worms. Many anglers associate wax worms and ice fishing with bluegill and other panfish, and for good reason. Wax worms are a terrific bait for all species of panfish through the ice and in open water. However, wax worms are not only limited to these diminutive game fish, but will catch larger species as well.

5 Essential Ice Fishing Jigs

This article will list the 5 essential ice fishing jigs. Jigs are by far the most effective ice fishing lures. This is due in part to the need for a vertical presentation. Most are colorful in order to attract the attention of game fish. Anglers often combine an ice fishing jig with live bait. This is an extremely effective technique!

Best 13 Ice Fishing Spoons

This article will list the best 13 ice fishing spoons. Spoons are very effective ice fishing lures as they can be presented vertically. They are available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors to imitate any forage that game fish feed on. Spoons will catch every species that feeds under the ice!

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

Swimbait Fishing Lures – a Complete Guide

The subject of this article will be swimbait fishing lures. Swimbaits are very effective lures that will produce a wide variety of species.

Best 8 Search Bait Fishing Lures

This article with list the best 8 search bait fishing lures. Search baits are used to cover a lot of water fairly quickly in search of fish. These lures will often trigger bites from game fish that are not in a feeding mood.

Soft Plastic Fishing Lures – a Complete Guide

This article will thoroughly cover soft plastic fishing lures. Anglers have many choices when it comes to artificial lures. However, it would be easy to argue that out of all of these choices, soft plastic fishing lures are the most versatile and effective baits.

Best 11 Chatterbait Fishing Lures

This article will list the best 11 chatterbait fishing lures. Chatterbaits are a fairly new addition to the fishing world. They are mostly used by anglers fishing for largemouth bass, but will produce other species in both freshwater and saltwater.

Best 13 Crankbait Fishing Lures

This article will list the best 13 crankbait fishing lures. Crankbaits are in the family of “plugs”. They are effective and versatile lures. Most crankbaits are made from plastic these days, though hand carved wooden crankbaits are available at a higher price.

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.

Carolina Rig Fishing, Tackle, Tips, and Techniques!

Carolina Rig Fishing, Tackle, Tips, and Techniques!

The topic of this article will be Carolina rig fishing. The Carolina rig is a versatile fishing rig that anglers can use to catch a variety of species. It is most often used with an artificial lure, however live bait can be presented using the Carolina rig as well.

bass fishing in Florida

The Carolina rig consists of several components. A sinker with a hole in the center allows the running line to slide through it. A swivel stops the sinker. A leader then connects the other end of the swivel with the hook.

The main advantage of the Carolina rig over other rigs such as the Texas rig is that it allows the sinker to crawl over bottom structure while presenting the lure or bait slightly off the bottom. This is very effective on finicky and suspended fish. The combination of the sinker sliding across the bottom and over obstructions while the lure floats seductively a foot or so above the bottom is extremely effective.

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

Carolina rig fishing components

The basic components of a Carolina rig are a sinker with a hole in the center, a swivel, a length of fluorocarbon leader, and a hook. Some anglers add a bead between the sinker and the swivel. This can help protect the not as well as adding a little fish attracting noise. Anglers can even add a float near the hook to suspended off the bottom even further.

carolina rig

The Carolina rig is simple and effective. There are many instances when game fish feed right on or near the bottom. Anglers using the Carolina rig present their lure or bait right in the strike zone in this situation. For the most part, a slow and subtle presentation is best. Again, often times the fish being pursued are in a less than active mood. They will often find a slowly moving bait dragged right in front of their face impossible to resist.

As with all fishing, there are nuances and details that will make this rig more effective. Sinker choice is important. In most cases, anglers should use the least amount of weight required to fish the determined depth. Most anglers opt for conical shaped worm sinkers while others prefer sliding egg sinkers. A quality #10 black swivel is a good all-around size.

The leader between the swivel and the hook is a very important component in the Carolina rig. The length of the leader will to some degree determine the action and the distance off the bottom that the bait will be presented. 24 inches to 30 inches is a good all-around leader. The leader strength will depend on the current fishing conditions. Clear water will dictate a lighter leader while dirty water will allow anglers to go heavier. 20 pound test fluorocarbon leader is a good place to start.

Best artificial lures for use on a Carolina rig

The Carolina rig was designed to be used with a soft plastic fishing lure. The selection of this lure is only limited by the angler’s imagination. Anglers fishing in shallow water for bedding bass have found that a salamander or creature bait is extremely effective. Largemouth bass in particular seem to get very angry when a salamander gets near the nest and will attack the bait with vengeance.

Carolina rig fishing

Plastic worms are often the bait of choice for anglers fishing a Carolina rig, particularly in deeper water. Crawling the Carolina rig over sloping points, channel edges, and other submerge structure is a very productive technique. Standard 6 inch to 7 inch worms are usually preferred, however there are times when the smaller finesse worms are a better choice. As with all fishing, successful anglers experiment with different baits and colors until a productive pattern emerges.

Read more about Finesse Fishing in this article by Capt Jim

Just about any soft plastic bait can be used in conjunction with the Carolina rig. Smaller grubs and curly tail lures are very effective on smallmouth bass and walleye when fished over gravel bottom. Larger worms and creature baits can be used to target the largest bass. Most anglers choose a strong but thin wire finesse style hook which matches the size of the lure that they are using.

zoom trick worm

Capt. Jim’s two favorite soft plastic fishing lures to use with a Carolina rig are the Zoom Trick worm and Yamamoto Senko worm. The Trick worm is long and slender and undulates very naturally with the slightest movement. It is also a floating worm, which rises up above the bottom on the Carolina rig. The 4” Senko is an excellent choice when conditions are tough and fish are finicky. Green pumpkin is his favorite all-around color.

Best rod and reel for fishing the Carolina rig

bass fishing

While anglers can use spinning tackle with the Carolina rig, conventional or bait casting outfits are usually a better choice. Bait casting rod and reel combinations offer anglers more power when setting the hook and pulling a fish out from heavy cover. These rigs are also heavy enough that they are easy to cast with a bait casting rod and reel. Most anglers use braided line for the strength and sensitivity.

walleye fishing in Michigan

Spinning tackle can certainly be used with the Carolina rig as well. This is true for anglers using smaller rigs for panfish and other species as well as anglers who use a Carolina rig to present live or cut bait.

Carolina rig fishing techniques

The Carolina rig is a versatile rig which can be used in both shallow and deep water. As mentioned earlier, it is an excellent way to crawl a salamander or creature bait through a nesting bed. It also works well in bottom vegetation where the sinker will be in the grass while the worm works just above it.

Florida bass fishing

The Carolina rig really shines when fishing deep water structure. This includes sloping points, channel edges, submerged rock piles, deep vegetation, and any other cover that will hold fish. The best approach is to anchor a cast away from the structure, cast to it, then slowly work the rig back in. In most cases, this works better than a vertical presentation.

Whether fishing shallow water or deep water, the presentation with a Carolina rig should be quite slow. The most productive technique is to drag though weight through and over the cover as opposed to hopping it as one would with other presentations. The dragging of the sinker not only makes noise which attracts fish, but he can kick up dirt and sand, mimicking a fleeing crayfish or other forage.

smallmouth bass fishing

 

The take is often quite subtle when presenting a lure on the Carolina rig. Often times the fish will simply inhale the lure and anglers will only feel an increase in weight or resistance. The old adage, “when in doubt, set the hook” applies here. Better to set the hook on nothing then to miss an opportunity. It is very important to real up all slack and come tight before setting the hook, particularly in deeper water.

Fishing live bait with the Carolina rig

While most anglers using the Carolina rig for bass are using artificial lures, the Carolina rig is an excellent method to present live or cut bait as well. Any fish that feeds on bait on or near the bottom can fall prey to a bait with a Carolina rig. Anglers fishing for catfish and freshwater and surf fishing and saltwater as well as many in between use variations of the Carolina rig quite successfully.

blue catfish

The Carolina rig has several advantages when used with natural bait. It allows for the sinker, which is often times large, to be separated from the hook and bait. As with artificial lure fishing, the bait can be suspended up off the bottom with the use of a small float near the hook. Finally, this rig allows the fish to pick up the bait and move off with it without feeling the weight of the sinker as the line will slide through the center hole.

gag grouper fishing

Just about any fish species in freshwater or saltwater can and has been caught by anglers fishing live or cut bait on a Carolina rig. Anglers chasing catfish have been using this simple rig for many years. Surf casters use a slight variation called the fish finder rig. Saltwater anglers bottom fishing for a wide variety of species use this simple but effective rig to catch everything from snapper and grouper in the south to cod and tautog up north.

In conclusion, this article on Carolina rig fishing will hopefully encourage anglers to use this very versatile and effective fishing presentation!

 

 

Swimbait Fishing Lures – a Complete Guide!

Swimbait Fishing Lures – a Complete Guide!

The subject of this article will be swimbait fishing lures. Swimbaits are very effective lures that will produce a wide variety of species.

swimbait largemouth

A swimbait is a fishing lure that resembles a swimming bait fish. They can be soft or hard plastic. Swimbaits have a body with a tail that produces a swimming action when retrieved.

Swimbaits are fairly easy to use, that is one of their advantages. In most cases, the lure is cast out, allowed to sink, and reeled back in slowly. The action is produced by the tail in soft plastic lures or by the segmented body with hard plastic lures. Some anglers consider them “big fish” baits. This is mostly due to the fact that swimbaits are available in large sizes to target trophy fish.

Swimbait varieties

swimbait

Swimbaits come in two basic varieties; soft plastic and hard plastic versions. As in all things, each has advantages and disadvantages. Hard baits are more durable while soft plastic swimbaits are more versatile and economical.

Hard plastic swimbaits

Hard plastic swimbaits come in a wide variety of sizes and designs. Many manufacturers offer quality baits. Some of these that are meant for trophy bass or musky are huge! The segmented body gives these lures their swimming action. Some of them are incredibly lifelike.

finesse fishing

Special thanks to Sarah for the great pics and tips! Follow Sarah on Instagram

Hard plastic swimbaits have a treble hook or hooks hanging below them. This limits to some degree where they can be fished. They are mostly limited to open water situations. Hard plastic swimbaits are also fairly heavy. They cast a long distance. However, the baits also make a pronounced splash, limiting their use in shallow water. These are excellent search baits that can be used to cover a lot of water.

Soft plastic swimbaits

swimbait fishing lures

Soft plastic swimbaits are used more often than their hard plastic cousins. These lures are available in a wide variety of colors and sizes. They have a solid body and a shad type tail which gives it the swimming action in the water. There are two types of soft plastic swimbaits, lures designed for swimbait hooks and lures that are used on a jig head.

Soft plastic swimbaits are more versatile than hard plastic baits. Anglers can quickly and easily change the size and color by changing the body. Also, these lures swim with a single hook that faces up, often times rigged weedless. This makes them much better choices for fishing in vegetation and other heavy cover.

swimbait fishing lures

The basic jig and grub combo is basically the first swimbait. Anglers rig the grub on a jig head and then cast it out and retrieve it back in. It has been used for decades in both freshwater and saltwater, being productive on a variety of species. However, all jig heads are not the same. The best jig heads for use with swimbaits have the eye further forward as opposed to on the top as stand jig heads. This results in a better swimming action in the water.

swimbait

Dedicated soft plastic swimbaits are designed to be used on a special swimbait hook. These hooks have a holder of some type on the front which holds the bait. The hook has a wide gap to account for the bulk of the lure. The bait itself has a “pocket” or slit where the hook can go. A weight is molded on the bend of the hook. These combine to result in a horizontal presentation when anglers swim the bait through the water.

Best rod and reel for fishing with swimbaits

Baitcasting rod and reel combinations are best in most cases for casting swimbaits, for a couple of reasons. The reels have faster retrieve ratios, making it easier to crank the baits back in. Baitcasting reels also have more power for setting the hook and handling a big fish.

fishing

Anglers can certainly use spinning outfits as well, particularly when using smaller swimbaits. A 3” bait on a ¼ ounce jig head will be much easier to fish on a 10 lb spinning outfit than a baitcasting rig.

Click to shop Amazon for Lew’s baitcasting and spinning combos

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Best fishing lines

Anglers have three choices when it comes to fishing lines; monofilament, braid, and flourocarbon. Monofilament is the least expensive, but has a lot of stretch. Braided line is costly, but lasts a long time, casts well, and has no stretch. Flourocarbon line is also fairly expensive, but has little stretch and is nearly invisible. Flourocarbon is best in clear water while braid is a good choice in heavy cover.

Swimbait fishing techniques

swimbait

One great aspect of fishing with swimbaits is that they are really pretty easy to use. The lure is simply cast out, allowed to sink, then reeled back in using a steady retrieve. They are true search baits which allow anglers to cover a lot of water efficiently. Swimbaits can be used in any water depth, from a foot deep to over twenty feet deep.

The angler controls the depth that the lure runs by the weight of the bait, the time it is allowed to sink, and the speed of the retrieve. The size of the bait is often dictated by the size of the fish being pursued. Big bait equals big fish! Dedicated anglers seeking trophy fish will cast a huge swimbait all day just for a bite or two.

swimbaits

Swimbaits will produce in all of the same spots that other lures and baits do. As in all fishing, locating the fish is the first order of business. Open water deeper spots such as points, bluffs, and deep submerged weed beds are good spots to cast hard plastic swimbaits.

Soft plastic swimbaits are versatile and can basically be fished anywhere except the heaviest matted vegetation. They are extremely effective in shallow water weeds and other vegetation. Fallen timber only adds to the chance of a fish holding there.

Best swimbait fishing lures

search bait fishing lures

There are many fine, high quality swimbait fishing lures on the market. It would be impossible to list them all here. However, a few of the top swimbaits will be highlighted for anglers unfamiliar with them.

Bass Assassin swimbaits

bass assassin

 

Capt Jim’s favorite line of swimbaits is the Bass assassin line. They offer several models from the Sea Shad grub to the Die Dapper swimbait line. They are available in many different colors.

Strike King Rage Swimmer

rage swimmer swimbait

The Strike King Rage Swimmer is available in several sizes from 2 3/4” to 5 3/4”. They are also made in a dozen colors. The Strike King Rage Swimmer is a durable and economical swimbait fishing lure that catches a ton of fish.

Berkley Swimbaits

berkley swimbait

Berkley offers anglers several swimbaits in various styles, shapes, sizes,and colors. They also include the added benefit is being scented. These include the Power Swimmer, Paddle shad, Hollow Body Swimbait, Ripple Shad, Swimbait Shad, and the Champ.

Hard body swimbaits

There are plenty of lure manufacturers that offer hard plastic swimbait fishing lures. These can get a bit expensive, but are durable and catch a lot of trophy fish for anglers dedicated to using them. A few of the best will be listed below.

Lixada swimbaits

lixada

Lixada offers anglers a huge selection of hard plastic swimbaits. There are many different models, shapes, sizes, and colors. The largest baits are used by anglers chasing musky. Smaller lures catch bass and other species.

Catch Company

catch co swimbait

The Catch Co Bull Shad is another large bait used to target trophy fish. The Baby Bull Shad is a smaller version that is better suited to a variety of species with more action. They available in a half dozen different colors. The Baby Bull Gill is a very realistic bluegill imitation.

bass fishing with swimbaits

In conclusion, this article on swimbait fishing lures will help anglers understand the options available to them as well as the best tackle and techniques to be successful.

 

 

 

 

Chumming – a Very Effective Fishing Technique!

Chumming – a Very Effective Fishing Technique!

This article will thoroughly cover chumming. Chumming is a very effective fishing technique. It is mostly used in saltwater fishing, but freshwater anglers can benefit from chumming as well.

chumming fishing techniques

Chumming is the act of using some type of food to attract fish to the anglers. Normally, the anglers moves around in search of fish. With chumming, the fish comes to the angler.

While in its basic form, chumming is fairly straightforward, there are certainly tips and nuances that will increase the effectiveness of chum. Also, there are quite a few different types of chum that anglers can use to attract fish.

fishing for striped bass

Anglers usually chum with the same bait that they are fishing with. The premise of chumming is to get a little taste in the water to attract fish and get them excited. However, too much chum will fill them up, which defeats the purpose. Using the correct amount of chum is critical, and really only comes from experience. Using a little less chum is better than using too much.

Chum varieties

There are several different types of chum that can be used. The simplest is to just cut up whatever bait is being used into tiny pieces and toss them into the water. This can be shrimp, cut fish, prepared baits, and more.

chumming with live bait

Frozen blocks of chum are convenient, easy to use, and very effective. It is a staple of saltwater anglers fishing offshore all over the world. In many cases, the frozen chum is sold in a mesh bag. The anglers simply ties the block to the boat and as it thaws the chum is dispersed behind the boat.

Not all frozen blocks of chum are equal. The best chum will use quality bait fish such as menhaden, which is ground up. Cheaper chum will be leftover scraps from cleaning tables and such. Serious anglers grind up their leftover bait and freeze it.

Chumming with Live Bait video

Live bait can also be used when chumming. It is one of the most effective fishing techniques out there. However, it is also the most complicated. Anglers must catch their own bait, otherwise it is too costly. Cast nets and the ability to throw them are essential. Large live wells and good pumps are also required. However, these efforts pay off with some incredible fishing!

fishing with live bait in florida

Read this detailed article by Capt Jim on how to catch bait with a cast net

Chumming techniques

As mentioned earlier, chumming is not very complicated, but there are some tips and techniques that will increase the effectiveness of chum. First and foremost, boat position is critical! Other that deep water offshore fishing, the boat is almost always anchored or the anglers is fishing from shore or a bridge.

mangrove snapper fishing

Anglers need to choose the spot to be fished, whether it is a piece of structure, bridge, grass flat, drop off, wreck, reef, or other spot. The boat is then anchored up-tide (and ideally up-wind) of the spot. The premise is to draw the fish out of the structure and up behind the boat.

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 strength of the current will also affect the amount of chum that is required. The stronger the flow of water, the more chum will generally be needed to excite the fish and keep them up behind the boat.

grouper fishing

It is best to be conservative when chumming and then “build” the spot. Patience will pay off! At times, the fish will respond with very little chum; no need to over-feed them. However, it usually takes a steady stream to really get them going. Once it shuts off, it is usually better to try another spot than it is to try and fire those same fish up again.

Rigging when fishing and chumming

One of the advantages of chumming is that it brings the desired fish species up out of the structure. Often times, they will come all the way to the surface. This results in the best presentation often having the hooked bait free lined out with no weight. The hooked bait will drift back at the same rate and depth as the chum, looking very natural.

flounder fishing

The best rig is simply a length of flourocarbon leader and a hook. Many anglers have switched to circle hooks. They are even required in the Gulf of Mexico and many other states. Anglers should check local regulations. Short shank live bait hooks in the “J” style can certainly be used as well, where legal. The hook should match the size of the bait being used and fish being pursued.

The length of the leader will be determined bu the conditions. Snapper are notoriously line shy. When fishing for them in clear water a long, light leader will be required. Conversely, in stained water anglers can go higher. A 3′ section of 30 LB flourocarbon leader is a good all round leader.

king mackerel fishing

There will be times that some weight will be needed. Strong tides or current will be one example. Also, there are times that the fish will not come up. A weight may be required to get down deep enough. As in all situations, anglers should use the least amount of weight required to get the bait to the desired depth.

Chumming with frozen blocks

The most commonly used chum, certainly in saltwater fishing, is frozen blocks of chum. These are readily available and simple to use. The chum is tied off on a cleat, usually at the stern, and placed in the water. As it thaws, the chum will slowly disperse. Blocks are often sold in mesh bags, but many anglers use specially designed chum bags.

yellowtail snapper fishing

The pieces of chum coming off of frozen blocks are usually very small. Normally, bait fish will be the first to show up in the chum slick. Hopefully, game fish will be right behind. Anglers can shake the bag to add more chum if needed. Most anglers fish a few lines in the slick and a couple heavy rods with larger baits on the bottom. This is a good strategy when fishing offshore.

gag grouper fishing

Frozen blocks of chum can be used for inshore fishing as well. Mangrove snapper, flounder, fluke, mackerel, bluefish, striped bass, and other species will respond to it. Striped bass anglers use menhaden oil as chum in the northeast. The same rigging and fishing strategies apply in shallow water as well. One approach is to try chumming as the tide slows to turn.

Spanish mackerel and false albacore fishing tips

Both cut bait and live bait can be used in conjunction with frozen chum blocks. A lively shrimp, crab, or bait fish will stand out in the tiny pieces of chum. Same goes for a nice chunk of fresh cut bait. Anglers should try several baits to see what the fish want on that particular day.

Chumming with live bait

Chumming with live bait fish is an incredibly effective fishing technique! However, it is also quite complicated and requires some special gear. For the most part, anglers catch their own bait. It would be very costly to purchase bait and toss it overboard. Skilled anglers using cast nets can quickly load the well when conditions are right.

Fishing in Sarasota Bay for Trout and Snapper video

Once the well is full, the application is similar to chumming with cut bait or frozen blocks. The chum is tossed out behind the boat, starting slow and adding chum as needed. It is easy to over chum and fill the fish up using live bait fish as chum. Some anglers squeeze the chum, crippling them before tossing them out. This results in the wounded bait swimming erratically, attracting game fish.

live bait fishing in Florida

This technique is used extensively by charter boat captains in Florida in the summer. Bait is plentiful and easy to catch. Offshore anglers have been employing this technique for tuna and other species as well. There are very few fishing situations where chumming with live bait will not produce fish.

Chumming with cut bait

The easiest chumming method is to simply take some of the bait being used and cutting some up into tiny pieces, then tossing it out behind the boat. Fish will be attracted to the small pieces, then will ideally see and take the larger hooked bait. Shrimp are perfect for this as they put out a lot of scent and every saltwater species will happily devour them.

Florida saltwater fishing in spring

Any type of cut bait such as squid, mullet, pogies (menhaden), herring, shad, spot, croaker and more can all be used. Again, the key is to cut the bait into tiny pieces to attract the game fish to the larger, hooked piece of bait.

Chumming is overlooked by freshwater anglers

While chumming is a staple technique used by anglers fishing in saltwater, it may be under utilized by freshwater anglers. Catfish anglers occasionally do it, and it is effective. Chumming will work on most freshwater game fish from bluegill to northern pike.

blue catfish fishing tips

Some anglers are catching shad and herring in larger lakes and using them for both bait and chum for striped and hybrid bass. It is just as effective in this application as it is in saltwater. After all, striped bass are really a saltwater species.

In conclusion, this article, Chumming – a Very Effective Fishing Technique will help anglers better understand how tp be successful using chum!

 

 

 

Best 8 Search Bait Fishing Lures

Best 8 Search Bait Fishing Lures

This article with list the best 8 search bait fishing lures. Search baits are used to cover a lot of water fairly quickly in search of fish. These lures will often trigger bites from game fish that are not in a feeding mood.

best soft plastic lure

Search baits will be defines as lures that have the following attributes. They cast a long way easily. Search baits will cover the entire water column. For the most part, search bait fishing lures have a built in action where a steady retrieve is effective.

top 6 fishing lures

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland fishing the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. He has fished all over North America and the Caribbean for a wide variety of species. This is his personal list of best 8 search bait fishing lures.

The best 8 search bait fishing lures are;

  • Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap
  • Bass Assassin 4” Sea Shad swimbait
  • Z-Man Chatterbait
  • Worden’s Original Rooster tail spinner
  • Spinnerbaits
  • Rapala Shad Rap crankbait
  • Acme Kastmaster spoon
  • Johnson Silver Minnow spoon

These 8 search baits will cover just about every situation an angler will encounter. They produce for both freshwater and saltwater anglers.

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap

crankbait fishing

The Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap is a terrific search bait fishing lure. It is in the family of baits called “lipless crankbaits”. This lure puts out tremendous flash and vibration while rattling. It casts a long way and works best with a moderate, steady retrieve. It is very productive on bass and other species in freshwater as well as snook and striped bass in saltwater.

search bait fishing

Read this article by Capt Jim on fishing lipless crankbaits

The anglers controls the depth of the Rat-L-Trap by simply letting it sink to a determined depth on the cast. This lure will elicit reaction strikes for fish that are not necessarily feeding. It very realistically mimics shad, herring, and other bait fish. The ½ ounce model in chrome with a blue back is Capt Jim’s favorite.

Click link to shop Amazon for Rat-L-Trap lures

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Bass Assassin 4″ Sea Shad swimbait

search bait fishing lures

The Bass Assassin 4” Sea Shad is Capt Jim’s favorite soft plastic fishing lure! It is an excellent search bait that will catch just about every species of fish in both fresh and saltwater. It comes in a wide variety of colors. The tail puts out a steady vibration. The lure is most often fished on a jig head, but can be used on a swimbait hook as well.

This is a very easy lure to fish. It works well on a steady retrieve and can also be used on the classic “jig and fall” retrieve. The Sea Shad has good built in action, though the anglers can add to that. Light colors work well in clear water while darker colors produce better in dark or stained water.

bluefish fishing

The Bass Assassin Sea Shad can be used in any depth. Anglers can control this by the weight of the jig head. It works well in deep water, but really is best in water ten feet deep or less.

Click link to shop Amazon for Bass Assassin lures

Z-Man Chatterbait

search baits

Z-Man pretty much invented the chatterbait, also known as a bladed jig. It is a bit of a combination of a swimbait and a spinnerbait. In fact, for many bass anglers it is replacing the traditional spinnerbait. These lures are a bit for streamlined, yet have plenty of bulk and action. The blade puts out flash and vibration.

The Z-Man DieZel chatterbait is the model designed for saltwater fishing. It has sturdy components and a swimbait instead of a rubber skirt. It catches snook, reds, trout, jacks, stripers, and other species. The Z-Man Chatterbait Elite is a premium bait that works very well on bass and other freshwater species.

Click to shop Amazon for Z-Man DieZel and Elite chatterbait lures

Worden’s Rooster tail spinner

fishing with lures

Some anglers might question whether an inline spinner is a search bait, but it meets the criteria. However, it is number four on Capt Jim’s list of search bait fishing lures. Unlike some of the other lures, it is primarily used by freshwater anglers. The Worden’s Rooster tail spinner is a terrific lure in streams and rivers, fooling trout, bass, and panfish.

best 13 brown trout fishing lures

The Rooster tail spinner works very well in ponds and lakes as well. In most cases, a very slow, steady retrieve works best. It is a very productive lure for panfish, but will fool bass, walleye, pike, and other species. It can be cast or trolled for trout in lakes as well. Capt Jim’s favorite Rooster tail is the 1/8 ounce model with a bright body and a gold blade.

Click to shop Amazon for Rooster Tail lures

Spinnerbaits

spinnerbait fishing tips and techniques

Spinnerbaits are classic search bait fishing lures. They cast well, put out a ton of flash and vibration, have great built in action, and can be fished in any depth. Spinnerbaits are easy for novice anglers to use and they catch a variety of game fish. Tiny versions are very effective on panfish while pike and musky will hit the largest models. Some anglers in saltwater use them on redfish, but spinnerbaits are primarily freshwater lures.

Sarasota trolling techniques

There is no one spinnerbait that covers all species and situations. Capt Jim has had great success with the Johnson Beetlespin on panfish and smaller game fish. The 1/8 ounce bait with a black body and silver blade is very effective.

spinnerbait fishing for pike

The Strike King line of spinnerbaits will cover every fishing application for bass, walleye, and other species. The Premier is a great bait, with white/chartreuse skirts working well. The Booyah Pikee spinnerbait is a great choice for anglers chasing pike and musky.

Click to shop Amazon for Beetle Spin, Strike King, and Pikee lures

Rapala Shad Rap crankbait

walleye fishing in Michigan

Crankbaits are fantastic search bait fishing lures! They cast a mile and have tremendous built-in action. Crankbaits are available in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Capt Jim likes the Rapala Shad Rap line of crankbaits.

This is one lure where the design does limit the depth that the lure can be worked. Fortunately, the baits are available in models that will work at a determined depth. The lip and size of the bait dictates the depth that the lure will run. Anglers should choose lures that mimic the local forage.

Click to shop Amazon for Shad Rap lures

Acme Kastmaster spoon

lues for surf fishing

Spoons are excellent search baits that produce equally for both saltwater and freshwater anglers. They are heavy and dense and cast well. Spoons can also be trolled. The shape of the spoon with dictate the action. Slender spoons have a tight wiggle while wider spoons put out more wobble and vibration.

Florida Spanish mackerel fishing

Capt Jim likes the Kastmaster spoon. It is slender which mimics a lot of bait fish. These are aerodynamic baits which cast well, even into the wind. This makes it a favorite of anglers surf fishing. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, striped bass, and other species will hit them. An aggressive retrieve with hard twitches usually produces best. Silver with the prism finish is a popular finish.

trout lures

The smaller Kastmaster spoons are excellent freshwater lures as well. Trout, panfish, bass, walleye, and pike will be caught on them. Gold seems to be an excellent all round finish. They are also excellent when trolled for trout. A moderate steady retrieve works well in freshwater.

Click to shop Amazon for Kastmaster lures

Johnson Silver Minnow spoon

redfish and trout fishing

The Johnson Silver Minnow spoon is originally a freshwater bass lure that still produces today. However, it has been adopted by saltwater angler and is the most popular search bait used by shallow water anglers chasing redfish. Gold is by far the preferred finish and the ½ ounce size is the most popular size.

Click to shop Amazon for Silver Minnow lures

In conclusion, this list of the best 8 search bait fishing lures will help anglers use these efficient baits to locate fish more quickly.

Flats Fishing – Pro Tips!

Flats Fishing – Pro tips!

This article will thoroughly cover flats fishing. Flats are often very good fishing spots. The main reason for this is that flats provide the perfect environment for the forage that game fish feed on. Flats almost always have vegetation of some type along with other cover. This attracts the prey that larger fish feed on.

flats fishing

A flat will be defined as a large area of similar depth surrounded by deeper water. Flats can be found in water of any depth. However, flats that are 15 feet deep or shallower are generally the most productive.

Capt. Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He spends the majority of his time Flats fishing. He also grew up in Maryland fishing Chesapeake Bay. Capt. Jim has also fished the flats in the Bahamas and other parts of the country. He is sharing his 40 years of Flats fishing experience in this article.

flats fishing

While most anglers associate flats fishing with saltwater angling, those fishing in freshwater will find that many of these techniques apply to them as well. The primary difference will be that and saltwater fishing tidal flow affects the water height daily while in freshwater lakes water levels change at a much more gradual rate. While this article will focus mostly on the eastern part of the United States, the techniques and strategies will work anywhere in the world.

Shallow and deep flats are different

There are really two different types of flats; shallow water flats and deep water flats. Shallow water flats are ruled by the tides. Water height and current flow are critical when fishing the flats in shallow water. Depending on the area of the country the angler is fishing, the tide range can be from as little as 1 foot along the Gulf Coast to over 10 feet in the Northeast. That is a lot of water that is moving in a six-hour period!

spotted sea trout fishing

Deep water flats are affected by the tide, but to a lesser degree. The biggest distinction is that at low tide there will still be plenty of water for fish to move about and feed freely. Some of the best fishing and angler will experience can occur on these deeper flats. Fish will be more comfortable in this deeper water and large schools of fish are often encountered.

Fishing for Speckled Trout (Spotted Sea Trout) video

Flats fishing in shallow water

As mentioned above, understanding how tides affect the flats and fish movements are critical to success. So, the entire tide cycle will be described below.

Top 25 Florida game fish

On the low tides, fish will stage in deeper water. This is a necessity as often times there simply is not enough water on the shallow flats for them to move about freely. These deeper spots can be holes or troughs within the flat itself. Also, fish will stage in the deeper water on the edges of flats, waiting for the tide to come in so that they can move up on the flats to feed.

This can be an outstanding time to fish! Both single fish and schools of fish will be concentrated in these deeper areas. Anglers who find these holes can experience fast action if they can get to them. These are often called “potholes” and will hold a surprising number of fish. This especially happens in the winter on the extreme low tides.

Tampa Bay redfish

As the tide comes in, fish will move up out of these deeper areas and begin to feed. Fish that are staged in deeper water on the outside of the flat will often cruise the edge of the flat waiting for the water to come up enough so that they can swim up on the flat. Once again, this concentrates fish and makes them easier to locate. Also, these fish are relatively easy to catch as they are in the mood to eat.

Flats fishing is very good on the low, incoming tide

These fish on the low, incoming tide are often the best to target. They have been waiting for the tide to come in in order to feed. Also, even if these fish since the angler’s presence and spook, they will usually return and become aggressive again after a little time to settle down.

summer fishing in Florida

As the tide rises and pushes to high tide, fish will scatter out on the flat. While they are still in a feeding mood, they are much more difficult to locate as there is simply a lot more water where they may be. However, anglers can still do well using search baits that cover a lot of water quickly. By high tide fish may be way back in the flat up under trees or in thick vegetation. They can be difficult to catch at this time.

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.

As the tide turns and begins to ebb out, fish will move out of these extreme areas and back towards deeper water of some sort. They innately understand that if bass they too long on the flat, they will run out of water. These fish are usually a bit harder to catch for a couple of reasons. Most have been feeding fairly heavily on the incoming tide. Also, once spooked on the shallow water flats, fish will often times vacate the flat and not come back.

flats fishing

Feeder creeks and channels that drain flats are prime times to fish on the outgoing tide. Much like fish in freshwater rivers, game fish will take up ambush points at spots where the tide flow will bring food to them. Any type of cover such as oyster bars, vegetation, or boat docks will increase the chances of success. As the tide approaches low, fish will move back into the deeper areas once again in the cycle will repeat itself.

Flats fishing techniques

Most anglers Flats fishing in shallow water do so using artificial lures. There are a couple of reasons for this. Lures allow anglers to cover water much more quickly than they can using live bait. Artificial lures are also more effective often times in shallow water, especially if grass or vegetation is present. Finally, anglers Flats fishing with lures do not need to deal with the hassle of procuring or keeping alive live bait.

fishing inlets

The three most effective flats fishing lures are jigs and soft plastics, spoons, and plugs. Jigs and other soft plastic fishing lures are the most popular choice as a are versatile, effective, and fairly economical. Light jig heads are used in shallow water. Many have a specially designed head that is curved and allows them to move over and through the grass better without hanging up. 1/8 ounce is a good all-around size.

Jack Crevalle Fishing with Lures video

Anglers can then adorn the jig with their soft plastic bait of choice. The selection is endless, with most of them catching fish if presented properly. A 4 inch shad tail bait or 5 inch jerk bait are both good choices. Capt. Jim likes the Bass Assassin 4” Sea Shad swim bait and the 5” Gulp Jerk Shad jerk bait.

Spoons are extremely effective flats fishing lures. Anglers have copied the venerable Johnson Silver Minnow spoon which has a single upturned hook and a weed guard. These weedless spoons cast a long way, work very well in shallow vegetation, and put out a a lot of flash and vibration. Anglers can thoroughly cover a flat efficiently with the spoons.

top game fish in Florida

Plugs can also be used by anglers flats fishing in shallow water. On the lower tide stages, top water plugs are a must, otherwise anglers will be constantly hanging up on the bottom. Fishing top water plugs in skinny water is very exciting! A noisy plug will draw fish and from a long way off. As the tide stage rises, anglers can go to shallow running plugs. These are extremely effective, especially when baitfish are around. Capt. Jim’s favorite is the Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait in the (08) size. White and olive are great colors.

Using live bait when flats fishing

While lures are most often used on the shallow flats, anglers can certainly fish with live or cut bait as well. This is usually done once fish are located or to fish a prime ambush spot on the following tide. A live shrimp tossed into a pothole in the winter will catch black drum, speckled trout and redfish.

fishing for black drum

Just about any live or cut bait that is productive in a particular area will work in this situation. The main consideration is keeping the bait up out of the grass. Anglers can fish deeper holes where grass is not as much a problem or suspend the bait under a popping cork.

Sight fishing in shallow water can be very challenging, yet rewarding. The level of difficulty changes with the area of the angler is fishing it. Generally speaking, the more fishing pressure the area gets, the more difficult the fish are too full. This is especially true when Flats fishing in very shallow water.

fishing for jack crevalle

Sight fishing is challenging and exciting

Serious anglers use specially designed shallow water skiffs for this type of fishing. Often times, an angler or the fishing guide uses a long pole to push the boat around and keep it in the proper position. The anglers then move across the flat in search of fish. It really is as much hunting as it is fishing. And slightly deeper and stained water, anglers can use a trolling motor. However, this will often spook fish and clear, shallow water. Kayaks give anglers access to shallow water flats. Wading is an excellent option, especially when fish are spooky.

Top Florida saltwater game fish

Casting to a fish that an angler can see and watching it take the lure or bait is very exciting! In most cases, the best approach is to lead the fish as landing the lure or bait to close will spook it. The speed of the fish, the strength of the tide, the clarity of the water, and other factors will dictate where to cast. In this case, experience is the best teacher.

Flats fishing in deep water

Anglers fishing the deep grass flats will not have to factor in the tides nearly as much. These deep grass flats will have at least a few feet of water on them at all times. That means that fish migrations will be less pronounced. Instead, single fish and schools of fish will roam these open flats in search of an easy meal. While the fish will bite as long as the tide is moving, many anglers prefer to fish two hours before and after the high tide.

Sarasota Spanish mackerel fishing

This is a fantastic fishing technique for several reasons. First, just about any sized boat can be used, other than very large vessels. However, a 30 foot boat in 5 feet of water may spook the fish a bit. Secondly, this is a productive technique that results in both action and variety. This makes it an excellent choice for novice anglers and families with kids. Finally, it is just great fun as anglers never know what will hit the line next.

Artificial lures are effective on the deep flats

Once again, artificial lures are often the best choice in this situation as they allow anglers to cover a lot of water in search of fish. The number one bait by far is a soft plastic grub on a jig head. This jig and grub combo will catch every species of game fish that swims! Depending on water depth and current flow, one quarter ounce 21 ounce jigs will be used. Anglers can check local bait shops or fishing reports to see what baits and colors are preferred in their particular area.

bluefish fishing

Spoons and plugs will produce in this situation as well. Open water casting spoons are preferred. These are more of the traditional shaped spoons and most have a treble hook, though some anglers prefer a single hook for ease of releasing the fish. This is particularly helpful with toothy species such as bluefish and mackerel. Spoons cast a long way and are worked back quickly to the boat using an erratic retrieve. The same top water and shallow diving plugs that work in the shallow flats produce on the deeper flats as well. Anglers can go up a size to the (10) Rapala in the deeper water.

For the most part, the best approach when fishing these deeper flats is to drift with the current and the wind. Ideally, anglers will choose a flat where the wind and the tide moving the boat in the same direction. This results in an efficient drift. Once a school of fish is located, anglers can re-drift the area or even anchor up and thoroughly cover that spot. Trolling these same lures is a good approach on large flats were fish are difficult to locate and on days when the breezes not blowing.

flats fishing

Live bait is effective on the deep flats

Live and cut bait are used much more often when Flats fishing in deeper areas. In the south, live shrimp are fished under a noisy popping cork for speckled trout and other species. Live bait fish can be substituted as well. On deeper flats, free lining the bait with little or no weight works well.

flounder fishing in Florida

Anglers fishing the Northeast will often fish a live minnow or strip of cut bait right on the bottom. This is often done in conjunction with a buck tail jig or a plane jig head. Basic bottom rigs work as well. Drifting with live or cut bait on the bottom is especially effective on the deeper flats have a lot of tidal flow.

Flats fishing on the Gulf Coast

Anglers Flats fishing the coastal waters from Texas to Florida have it relatively easy when it comes to dealing with tides. Most days, the tide ranges around a foot and a half, though it can be as much as 3 feet on a full moon or on a strong tide. This relatively low fluctuation certainly makes it easier when navigating the shallow flats.

fishing with popping corks

The primary species targeted by anglers in this area on the shallow flats are speckled trout, redfish, black drum, flounder, jacks, and in the southern ranges tarpon and snook. This area of the Gulf of Mexico in the inshore bays are very fertile! Countless acres of shallow grass flats mixed in with oyster bars and mangrove shorelines make it ideal habitat for game fish.

Anglers fishing the deeper grass flats in both the inshore Gulf of Mexico and the bays catch a lot of speckled trout. Redfish, Spanish mackerel, flounder, bluefish, ladyfish, jack crevalle, pompano, and other species are found as well. Anglers fishing this entire area are never far from quality grass flats, both in deep and shallow water.

Best 6 fishing lures for redfish

Flats fishing in the Florida Keys

It would be easy to argue that shallow water sight fishing was basically invented in the Florida Keys. The miles and miles of gin clear shallow flats offer anglers opportunities to catch bonefish, tarpon, permit, mutton snapper, barracuda, sharks, and more. Flats on both the ocean and the Gulf sides can be very productive. Also, this gives anglers the chance to hide from the wind, depending on which way it is blowing.

This type of shallow water Flats fishing is technical in nature. These fish get a fair amount of pressure and by no means are easy to catch. Bonefish, tarpon, and permit will spook at the slightest hint of danger. However, persistent and patient anglers are rewarded in this challenging sport. Hiring a guide is an excellent investment for anglers who are new to this type of fishing.

Flats fishing in the Southeast

The southeast coast from Miami up to Chesapeake Bay offers anglers some excellent Flats fishing. Redfish, flounder, drum, sheepshead, and speckled trout are found throughout this entire range. Snook and tarpon are found in the southern half while striped bass become very popular and more numerous from the Carolinas north.

fishing in Carolina

There really are no flats in the Atlantic Ocean along this coast, other than the occasional bar at an inlet. However, this entire area has shallow inshore bays along with many tidal rivers and creeks which anglers can explore. Tides fluctuate much more in this area, between 4 feet and 8 feet depending on the location. I can be as much as 10 feet on a full moon tide. This requires anglers to be more careful when fishing the backcountry.

Most of this area, especially north of St. Augustine, offers anglers Flats fishing opportunities in both shallow water and deep water. Oyster bars are the primary cover along with submerged grasses. Speckled trout, redfish, drum, and flounder will be found in these areas. Anglers drifting the deeper flats will catch trout, bluefish, striped bass, Spanish mackerel, and other species.

Flats fishing in the Northeast

Once anglers get north of Delaware or so, striped bass take over and rule as the king of the inshore fishing. While there are some shallow water flats, particularly on bars and flats near inlets, the majority of anglers Flats fishing will do so in deeper water up to 15 feet deep or so. Bluefish and striped bass will be found on top and in the middle of the water column while fluke and other bottom fish will be caught fishing right on the bottom.

Tailwater fishing tips

Tides range 4 to 6 feet in the southern part of this area, while tides up in Maine can be over 15 feet! This certainly poses challenges to anglers for a couple of reasons. Navigating can certainly be tricky, especially when factoring in the common foggy conditions. Also, it is very difficult fishing and tides that are that swift. Therefore, any anglers time their fishing to be done on or near the turn of the tide, especially the high tide. Experienced anglers learn to move with the tide, to extend the fishing time.

In conclusion, this article on flats fishing will help anglers understand the factors that need to be taken into account for in order to be successful in these productive fishing spots!

Soft Plastic Fishing Lures – a Complete Guide!

Soft Plastic Fishing Lures

This article will thoroughly cover soft plastic fishing lures. Anglers have many choices when it comes to artificial lures. However, it would be easy to argue that out of all of these choices, soft plastic fishing lures are the most versatile and effective baits.

soft plastic fishing lures

Soft plastic fishing lures have advantages over other types of lures. They are quite economical and most instances, costing less than plugs and spinner baits. Soft plastic fishing lures are also very versatile and can be used throughout the entire water column and in every fishing situation. Finally, and most importantly, no other family of lures looks more natural or enticing to game fish in the water than do soft plastic fishing lures.

Capt. Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Potomac River in Chesapeake Bay waters as well as mountain streams for trout and smallmouth bass. He is a well-rounded angler who has fished all over North America and the Caribbean. He has caught as many fish on soft plastic fishing lures as all other baits combined. In this article he will share his tips and personal favorite soft plastic fishing lures.

best striped bass fishing lure

Soft plastic fishing lures fall into several categories;

  • plastic worms
  • grubs
  • swimbaits
  • jerk baits
  • creature baits
  • tube baits

Each of these soft plastic fishing lure types are similar, however there are some differences between them. Therefore, each category will be covered separately along with fishing tips and the best way to rig them.

Rigging soft plastic fishing lures

Anglers fishing with soft plastic fishing lures have a variety of options when it comes to rigging and presenting these baits. They include a Texas rig, Carolina rig, drop shot rig, on a swim bait hook, on a jig head, and wacky style. Some soft plastic fishing lures are best used with a particular rigging style while others are versatile and can be used with all of the above.

Texas Rig

texas rigged worm

The Texas rig is a very effective way to fish a soft plastic bait. It is mostly used with plastic worms and creature baits, though certainly can be used with jerk baits as well. It involves a specially designed hook which allows the bait to hang straight while burying the hook in the body, making it weedless. A sliding conical shape sinker is used to get the bait down in the water column. The weight rides right on the eye of the hook. It can also be pegged to keep it from sliding. The Texas rig is used mostly by freshwater bass anglers.

Carolina Rig

carolina rig

The Carolina rig is similar to the Texas rigged but with a little variation. The same style Texas rig hook is used. However, it uses a sliding egg sinker along with a swivel and a leader. The swivel stops the sinker from sliding. A 2 foot to 3 foot leader connects the other end of the swivel with the warm hook. This results in the worm, usually a floating worm, working just above the bottom as the sinker is crawled over structure. This is an extremely effective presentation over deeper water structure. the Carolina rig is a versatile rig that is mostly used by freshwater anglers for a variety of species.

Drop shot rig

drop shot

The drop shot rig is a relative, to do soft plastic fishing lure seen. Is considered a type of finesse fishing and is used with lighter lines in clear water when fish can be finicky. It uses a sinker at the bottom of the line with a hook tied tight to the running line 12 to 18 inches above the sinker. A bait is usually hooked through the front. When lower to the bottom and jiggle softly, the results in a very effective presentation with the lure suspending a bit off the bottom. the drop shot rig is mostly used by freshwater anglers but it is starting to take a hold and saltwater as well.

Swim bait Hooks

swim bait hook

Swimbait hooks are growing in popularity among anglers as they are very versatile and effective. They are similar to a Texas rig, with the exception that weight is molded in the bend of the hook. This results in a horizontal presentation. Some type of keeper allows for the lure to be inserted near the eye, then the hook is embedded in the bait, resulting in a weedless presentation. Any bait rigged this way can be retrieve steadily or crawled over bottom structure. Swimbait hook are popular ineffective for both freshwater and saltwater species.

Jig Head

ice fishing basics

Jig heads have been used to present soft plastic fishing lures to fish for decades. It remains a very effective technique and is used extensively by saltwater anglers. They are very effective in freshwater as well. The jig head provides both weight and action along with a hook all in one unit. Swim baits, grubs, and jerk baits are commonly used on a jig head.

Wacky Rig

Senko

The wacky worm rig works a little odd at first, but is an effective angling technique. It basically involves a hook with no weight being inserted right in the middle of a plastic worm, usually a finesse type bait. The lure is cast out and as it sinks it undulate seductively, looking very natural and a seemingly easy meal to game fish. It is most often used by bass anglers in fairly shallow water.

Rods and reels for fishing soft plastic baits

fishing

There is no one type of tackle that is best for using soft plastic fishing lures. Lighter lures and finesse baits are best used with spinning tackle. Anglers casting larger baits in heavy cover will do better with fairly stout baitcasting tackle.

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Soft Plastic fishing lure options

Best Speckled trout fishing lures

As mentioned above, there are several different categories which soft plastic fishing lures can fall into. While similar, there are differences in the way they are fished in rigged. Therefore, each will be covered separately along with a couple of Capt. Jim’s personal favorites.

Color choices for soft plastic fishing lures

A lot can be and has been written regarding colors when it comes to soft plastic fishing lures and really fishing lures in general. There is no one correct choice. Green pumpkin is an outstanding all-around color for anglers freshwater fishing. White is a universal and effective color for anglers fishing anywhere.

Sarasota freshwater fishing

Generally speaking, Capt. Jim likes to match the color of his soft plastic fishing lure to the clarity of the water being fished. Light colors such as white and silver work well in clear water. Darker colors such as green, blue and black are effective in darker or stained water. Hot pink and chartreuse will produce when the water is especially dingy or off-color. Chartreuse is an excellent color choice as well and just about every water conditions, despite the fact that nothing the nature really has that color pattern.

Plastic worms

women bass fishing in Florida

Plastic worms are the lures that started the whole soft plastic fishing lure phenomenon. The original lures first hit the market in the late 1960s. They were very stiff and inflexible. That has certainly changed today! Modern plastic worms are very seductive and lifelike in the water. Many are scented, resulting in the fish holding onto the bait a little longer. Plastic worms are available in a wide variety of sizes and colors.

Plastic worms can be rigged a variety of ways, making them a very versatile bait. Anglers can rig them Texas style and work them through the heaviest cover. The Carolina rig is a great option when working deeper structure such as channel edges and points. Smaller finesse worms work very well on a drop shot rig or hooked wacky style. Finally, plastic worms can be fish in a swimming retrieve on both a swim bait hook or a jig head in open water.

bass fishing

Click the links to shop Amazon for Zoom Trick and Senko worms

Capt. Jim’s to favorite plastic worms are the Zoom Trick Worm and the Yamamoto Senko. He is not alone in his choices as these are two of the most popular soft plastic fishing lures used by anglers all over the world. He fishes the Trick Worm Texas rigged, Carolina rigs, or on a swim bait hook. The Senko is deadly fish the wacky style or on a drop shot rig. It can also be fish Texas style using a slightly smaller hook.

Grubs

Grubs are very effective soft plastic fishing lures. They are used extensively by anglers in both freshwater and saltwater applications. These are very versatile baits that can be chosen to mimic a wide variety of prey including bait fish, shrimp, crayfish, leeches, and other crustaceans. They are most often fished on a jig head using a “hop and fall” retrieve.

Sarasota fishing report

Grubs have been around for quite a while. However, there was a resurgence of them in the late 1970s when the Mister Twister line of curly tail baits hit the market. The action that these lures produced with a very simple retrieve is phenomenal. They are great choice for novice anglers as they have so much built in action. This bait is Capt. Jim’s favorite freshwater soft plastic grub lure.

Sarasota fishing report

While curly tail grubs work in saltwater fishing, there is a durability issue. Often times, saltwater anglers will encounter small fish which will quickly nip off the twister tale. Therefore, a more durable rub is required. Many saltwater anglers refer a flat tail grub or a shrimp, which realistically mimics shrimp and other crustaceans. Capt. Jim’s favorite saltwater grub is the 3″ Gulp Shrimp. The scent is incredible, resulting in the fish finding the lure and holding on to it longer. It really is almost like fishing with live bait!

Click the links to shop Amazon for Mister Twister and Gulp Shrimp lures

Swimbaits

redfish lures

Swimbaits are very effective soft plastic fishing lures for a variety of species in both freshwater and saltwater situations. They consist of a body with some type of tail that gives the lure its natural swimming action. Many of these baits work best with just a simple slow steady retrieve, letting the lure do all the work. They can be hopped sharply and allowed to fall as well. Where possible, angler should match the size and color of the bait to the locally available forage.

Florida bluefish

Swimbaits are most often fished either on a jig head or a swim bait hook. This applies to anglers fishing in both freshwater and saltwater. Jig heads are a great choice when fishing in open water where snags are not a problem. Anglers fishing in heavier vegetation or around structure will do better using a swimbait hook where the lure can be presented weedless.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Bass Assassin Sea Shad and Die Dapper swimbaits

flats fishing

Capt. Jim’s favorite line of swimbaits is the Bass Assassin line of baits. He uses the 4 inch Sea Shad baits on the majority of his fishing charters in Sarasota. It is an extremely effective saltwater fishing lure. Anglers can also choose from the Bass Shiner and Die Dapper series of baits for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. They are available in several different sizes and a staggering color selection.

Jerk Baits

spotted sea trout fishing

Jerk baits are a bit of a mix between a swim bait and a plastic worm. They are long and slender and most have some type of a split or fluke type of tail. They can be rigged in any of the same ways that other soft plastic fishing lures can, depending on the application. Anglers saltwater fishing in open water often rig them on a jig head. Freshwater anglers often use them on a swim bait hook or a Texas style hook with no weight. Smaller jerk baits are extremely effective when fished on a drop shot rig as well.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Bass Assassin and Gulp jerk baits

Capt. Jim’s to favorite jerk baits are the Bass Assassin Split Tail Shad and the Gulp Jerk Shad. Both of these fishing lures have excellent action and catch a lot of fish. The added benefit of scent can give the Gulp baits an advantage with the bite is tough.

Tube baits

Michigan fishing

Tube baits are primarily used by anglers fishing in freshwater. They are extremely effective soft plastic fishing lures for a variety of species, though many anglers associate them with smallmouth bass. However, tiny models are deadly on panfish while larger versions will catch walleye, pike, and other fish species. They are also effective for anglers ice fishing as well.

ice fishing for lake trout

The many split tales of a two bait give it outstanding action and the water. Anglers can match the color and size of the bait along with how it is best to mimic both bait fish and crustaceans. A dark green to bait bounce along the bottom looks very much like a crayfish. Capt. Jim’s favorite line of to baits is the Berkeley Powerbait tube bait.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Berkley Powerbait tube baits

Creature baits

Basically, any soft plastic fishing lure that does not fit into the above categories can be deemed a creature bait. These lures can mimic crayfish, leeches, helgramites, shrimp, crabs, and even baits that resemble nothing that lives in the water. Generally speaking, creature baits are a bit bulkier and have some type of appendages or tentacles that waive seductively in the water.

fishing for largemouth bass

Creature baits are often used by anglers bass fishing while flipping in heavy cover. They can be fished Texas style or on a bass jig as a trail. Salamander type baits are often used on a Carolina rig for spawning bass is incredible success. Capt. Jim’s favored creature bait is the Strike King line of baits

Click the links to shop Amazon for Strike King creature baits

In conclusion, this article on soft plastic fishing lures will help anglers choose to write bait and rigging for their particular fishing application, resulting in more success!

Best 11 Chatterbait Fishing Lures

Best 11 Chatterbait Fishing Lures

This article will list the best 11 chatterbait fishing lures. Chatterbaits are a fairly new addition to the fishing world. They are mostly used by anglers fishing for largemouth bass, but will produce other species in both freshwater and saltwater.

largemouth bass fishing in Florida

A chatterbait combines the bulk and action of a swim jig with the flash and vibration of a spoon. They are also known as “bladed jigs”. This combination works very well, particularly when fished through submerged vegetation. It is an excellent search bait when fish are a bit aggressive.

All chatterbaits share similar characteristics, though each has some subtle differences. They all have a strong, single hook which rides up, making the lure quite snag-free. Most come with skirts, some of which are removable. A couple use a soft plastic bait in place of the shirt. Some type of vibrating blade sits in front, creating flash and vibration.

bass fishing

Best 11 chatterbait fishing lures

Anglers have quite a few choices when it comes to choosing a chatterbait. Most companies that manufacture spinnerbaits offer a chatterbait as well. This is Capt Jim’s list of the best chatterbaits that are available.

Z-Man invented the chatterbait. Therefore, they have patents which other lure manufacturers can not use. The result is that many of the top chatterbaits are Z-Man products. Other companies offer versions of a chatterbait, or bladed jig, as well.

The best 11 chatterbait fishing lures are;

  • Z-Man Original Chatterbait
  • Z-Man Chatterbait Elite
  • Strike King Thunder Cricket
  • Z-Man Jack Hammer
  • Strike King Rage Blade
  • Booyah Melee Chatterbait
  • Z-Man DieZel Chatterbait
  • Terminator Shuddering Bait
  • Z-Man Project Z Chatterbait
  • Picasso Shock Blade Pro
  • Z-Man Micro Chatterbait

This list of chatterbaits and bladed jigs will cover all of the fishing situations that an angler will encounter. This includes both freshwater and saltwater applications.

Best rod and reel for fishing a chatterbait

fishing

 

While anglers can use spinning tackle when fishing with chatterbaits, baitcasting gear is the best choice in most applications. A 7′ to 7 ½ foot rod with a slower action works best. This allows the rod to load up as the angler reels up tight and sets the hook. Baitcasting reels also offer more power and faster retrieve ratios. Spinning tackle can be used with smaller chattterbaits.

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Best times and spots for chatterbaits

Chatterbaits are an excellent search bait, especially in fairly shallow water. This means that spring is a great time of year to use them. Chatterbaits can be effective most of the year, as long as it does not get too cold. The presentation is a bit too aggressive when fish are lethargic in colder water.

11 fantastic Tampa Bay fishing tips

These lures work great around vegetation and other types of cover. For many anglers, they are replacing spinnerbaits. In reality, a chatterbait will work well in any situation that an angler would use a spinnerbait. They also are productive in most water clarity conditions. Silver blades and white skirts are a good choice in clear water. Darker colors work best in darker water. Green pumpkin is an excellent all-round color.

Z-Man Original Chatterbait

original chatterbait

The Z-Man Original Chatterbait is the lure that started the chatterbait revolution. They took a swim jig and added a blade in the front. The result is a lure that combines a spinnerbait, jig, spoon, and crankbait all in one unit. The lure has a removable rubber skirt so that anglers can use a soft plastic body instead. It is a very economical bait. It is a very economical bait. It is available in ¼, 3/8, and ½ ounce sizes in 28 colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Z-Man Original Chatterbaits

Z-Man Chatterbait Elite

elite chatterbait

The Z-man Original Chatterbait Elite is an upgraded version of the original with a slightly higher price tag. It features a thicker, non-painted blade, upgraded hook and hardware, airbrushed head and hand-painted skirt. It is available in 11 colors and 3/8 and ½ ounce sizes.

Click to shop Amazon for Z-Man Chatterbait Elite lures

Strike King Thunder Cricket

Thunder Cricket

The Strike King Thunder Cricket was designed by the Strike King pro staff of expert anglers. It includes a unique head design and has quality components. A wire keeper helps hold soft plastic trailers on the hook better. It is available in 3/8, ½, 5/8, and ¾ ounce sizes in 10 different colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Thunder Cricket chatterbaits

Z-Man Jack Hammer

Jack Hammer

The Strike King Jack Hammer Chatterbait is a premier bait at a higher cost. It is favored by many pro bass anglers. It features a specially designed head with a low center of gravity and special grooves. It has a thin but strong blade, premium skirt, and a double wire keeper to hold the trailer in place. It is available in 4 sizes; 3/8, 1/2, 3/4, and 1 1/4 ounce sizes and in 18 colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Jack Hammer chatterbaits

Strike King Rage Blade

rage blade

The Strike King Rage Blade has a very unique design. The head is incorporated into the blade. This results is a terrific action along with a better hookup ratio and fewer snags. The twin tail trailers add action as well. It is available in 3/8 and ½ ounce sizes and 8 different colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Rage Blade chatterbaits

Booyah Melee Chatterbait

Booyah chatterbait

The Booyah Mellee Chatterbait is a great choice when anglers want to work the bait a bit deeper and over heavy cover. It features a uniquely designed head that keeps the bait down in the water column while putting out an enticing vibration and action. It is available in 3/8 ounce and ½ ounce sizes in 9 colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Booyah Melee chatterbaits

Z-Man DieZel Chatterbait

DieZel

The Z-Man DieZel Chatterbait is a favorite among saltwater anglers. It comes with a soft plastic swim bait instead of a rubber skirt. This bait is also made of the the strongest possible components, making it durable enough for saltwater fishing. It comes in one size, ¼ ounce, and 8 colors, though anglers can use and bait that they want.

Click to shop Amazon for DieZel chatterbaits

Terminator Shuddering Bait

Terminator Shuddering

The Terminator Shuddering Bait has a very unique design. The blade is as much a popper as a vibrating blade, pushing water aside as it moves through. The lip also produces a very erratic side to side action. It is built from premium components and comes in 3/8 and1/2 ounce sizes in 9 colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Terminator Shuddering chatterbaits

Z-Man Project Z Chatterbait

project Z

The Z-Man Project Z Chatterbait has a bit more bulk than other baits. It has a thick, double skirt along with a high quality jig head that is double painted with realistic eyes. Of course, it has the action and vibration that Z-Man baits are known for as well. Anglers can get this lure in 3/8, 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ounce sizes in 10 colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Project Z chatterbaits

Picasso Shock Blade Pro

Piccasso

The Picasso Shock Blade Pro was designed by pro bass angler Aaron Martens. It was built to be a sleek bait which can be worked faster than other chatterbaits. It cuts through grass and over structure better than other baits. It has quality components and a double keeper for trailers. It is available in 3/8 ounce and ½ ounce sizes in 26 different color combinations.

Z-man Micro Chatterbait

Z-Man micro

The Z-Man Micro Chatterbait is simply a smaller version of the original design. It is perfect for clear water and when a more subtle presentation is required. It comes in a 1/8 ounce size and is available in 4 color patterns.

Click to shop Amazon for Z-man Mini chatterbaits

In conclusion, this article on the best 11 chatterbait fishing lures will help anglers choose the correct chatterbait for his or her fishing situation!

 

 

Best 13 Crankbait Fishing Lures

Best 13 Crankbait Fishing Lures

This article will list the best 13 crankbait fishing lures. Crankbaits are in the family of “plugs”. They are effective and versatile lures. Most crankbaits are made from plastic these days, though hand carved wooden crankbaits are available at a higher price.

crankbait fishing lures

Most crankbaits have a plastic lip on the front. This lip determines the action that the crankbait has as well as the depth that it will dive to. Once the bait reached that certain depth, it will pretty much stay at that depth. The shape of the body also affects the action. Traditional crankbaits are wide and fat while jerkbaits are long and slender.

Capt Jim Klopfer is a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. He has fished all over North America and particularly enjoys casting plugs; crankbaits in particular. There are many quality crankbaits on the market, these are his personal favorite crankbaits.

largemouth bass fishing

The best 13 crankbait fishing lures are;

  • Rapala Shad Rap
  • Strike King KVD Squarebill
  • Rebel Crawfish
  • Bomber Model A
  • Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap
  • Rapala DT Series
  • Cordell Big O
  • Rapala X-Rap
  • Storm Wiggle Wart
  • Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow
  • Berkley Flicker Shad
  • Reef Runner
  • Mann Stretch Series

This selection of crankbaits will cover every fishing situation that an angler requiring a crankbait will encounter.

Best crankbait fishing rods and reels

bass fishing

In most cases, baitcasting tackle is preferred for crankbait fishing. Spinning tackle is versatile and works fine for casting smaller, lighter cdrankbaits. However, the faster retrieve ratios and extra power that baitcasting outfits provide make them a better choice. Also, baitcasting reels better handle the slack line that is created when fishing with crankbaits.

Most veteran crankbait anglers prefer a slower, or softer rod. This helps when hooking the fish as well as keeping it in. Fish can shake the hook a bit easier with crankbaits than they can with a big worm hook. 7′ to 7 1/2′ is a good length.

Anglers can click links to shop Amazon for affordable Lew’s spinning and baitcasting outfits

Crankbait varieties

jerkbait fishing

While all crankbaits are similar, there are several different variations to them. These are traditional crankbaits, jerkbaits, lipless crankbaits, and trolling crankbaits. Each will be described briefly.

Traditional crankbaits

Traditional crankbaits are wide and fat, resembling a shad or bluegill. For the most part, they have a slow wobble. They are available in shallow diving and deep diving versions, depending on the lip. They are effective when trolled, but most anglers fish traditional crankbaits by casting. Traditional crankbaits have a ton of built in action.

Read more about fishing with lures

Jerkbaits

fishing with jerkbaits

Jerkbaits are long and slender. They are worked aggressively and put out a lot of flash as they wobble from side to side. Jerkbaits are used extensively by anglers fishing in saltwater as well. Snook, striped bass, bluefish, mackerel, and other species will hit them. The aggressive action appeals to saltwater fish. They can be cast or trolled.

Read more about jerkbait fishing in this article by Capt Jim

Lipless crankbaits

crankbait fishing

Lipless crankbaits do not have a lip which determines the depth that they run. The angler controls the depth bu allowing it to sink longer. The line tie is on the top. Lipless crankbaits put out a steady vibration and rattle. They are great for covering a lot of water and will draw a reflex strike. They are not usually trolled as unlike most crankbaits, they will sink if the boat is stopped.

Read more about lipless crankbaits in this article by Capt Jim

Trolling crankbaits

walleye fishing, a beginners guide

Certain crankbaits are designed to be trolled. They are often a bit too large to cast and are a bit of a mix between a jerkbait and a traditional crankbait. They can obtain depths of 30 feet or more without a downrigger or weights.

The best 13 crankbait fishing lures

Rapala Shad Rap

shad rap

Many anglers consider the Rapala Shad Rap to be the best running crankbait on the market. It is a versatile bait that sets the standard. The Rapala Shad Rap is first on the list of the best 13 crankbait fishing lures. It is effective when both cast and trolled. It is available in 34 colors in six sizes. The larger Super Shad Rap is a favorite among pike and musky anglers as well. There is also a deep diving model available.

crankbait fishing

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Shad Rap lures

Strike King KVD Squarebill

largemouth bass lures

The Strike King KVD Squarebill crankbait was designed by tournament bass angler Kevin VanDam and is next on the list of the best 13 crankbait fishing lures. It is designed to be fished in shallow water around cover. The design of the bill causes a very erratic action and it tends to bounce off of structure as opposed to hanging up. The 1.5 size is very popular and anglers can choose from 56 colors. It is available without rattles and in a deep diving version. It is almost always cast and retrieved.

squarebill crankbait fishing

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Strike King KVD Squarebill crankbaits

Rebel Crawfish

rebel crawfish

The Rebel Crawfish series crankbait is the original crankbait designed to specifically mimic a fleeing crawfish. It had a very erratic action. The Rebel Crawfish is legendary among river smallmouth bass anglers, but it will catch just about every freshwater species. It is available in 3 sizes that cover various depths and 10 colors, with natural patterns being preferred in most situations.

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Rebel Crawfish baits

Bomber Model A

bomber model a

The Bomber Model A is an old school crankbait that continues to produces bass and other species. It is an affordable bait that comes in 6 sizes and a couple dozen colors. It can be both cast and trolled.

Bomber Model A chart

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Bomber Model A crankbaits

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap

rat-l-trap

The discussion of lipless crankbaits begins and ends with the Bill Lewis Rat-LTrap. There are other fine baits out there, but this is the best. It is available in 4 sizes and over 100 colors! It is a great search bait that mimics shad and other bait fish. Saltwater anglers use them on snook and striped bass. Chrome with a blue back is a great all-round color pattern. It is fifth on the list of the best 13 crankbait fishing lures.

crankbait fishing lures

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Rat-L-Trap lures

Rapala DT Series

rapala dt

The Rapala DT series, which stands for “down to” is a premium bait made from balsa wood. They were designed by bass pro David Fritts. It is available in six sizes and 32 colors. They dive to the determined depth and run at that depth very consistently. Rapala DT baits are effective both cast and trolled.

Rapala DT crankbait chart

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Rapala DT crankbaits

Cordell Big O

crankbait fishing lure

The Cotton Cordell Big O is the lure that started it all. Originally carved from balsa wood and sold by the dozen in egg cartons, there was nothing like them. Named after legendary Lake Okeechobee, these lures remain effective to this day. They are available in 3 sizes and a dozen colors. A new squarebill model has been recently added. Big O baits are seventh on the list of the best 13 crankbait fishing lures.

Cotton cordell Big O chart

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Cordell Big O baits

Rapala X-Rap

Rapala x rap

The Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait is Capt Jim’s favorite jerkbait. It comes in both freshwater and saltwater versions in X different sizes and many color options. They produce a wide variety of fish species in both freshwater and saltwater, from small panfish to giant snook and striped bass. X Raps are suspending baits that can be cast or trolled and are available in shallow and deep diving versions.

Sarasota Spanish mackerel fishing

crankbait fishing lures

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Rapala X-Rap Slashbaits

Storm Wiggle Wart

storm wiggle wart

The Storm Wiggle Wart is another affordable, old school crankbait. It only comes in one size, but it appeals to a lot of different species. Anglers can choose from 36 different colors. It is often cast and retrieved but is also very popular among anglers who troll for trout, walleye, and other species.

2″

3/8oz

7-12ft

Floating

#5

 

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Storm Wiggle Wart crankbaits

Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow

walleye fishing lures

The Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow is another high quality jerkbait. It is available in shallow and deep diving models and both floating and suspending versions. Yo-Zuri lures are known for their terrific finishes. They are popular among saltwater anglers as well as those fishing freshwater lakes and rivers.

crankbait fishing lures

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow plugs

Berkley Flicker Shad

berkley flicker shad

The Berkley Flicker Shad is another affordable, basic crankbait. It has a classic design and has a great built in action. It is available in two sizes and 8 colors. They are designed to cast well but are also quite effective when trolled.

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Berkley Flicker Shad crankbaits

Reef Runner

reef runner plug

Reef Runner lures are extremely popular trolling lures used by anglers up north. It is very effective on walleye, lake trout, and even salmon. They are available in 8 sizes and many different color patterns. The 800 size can dive as deep as 30 feet on it’s own!

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Reef Runner trolling crankbaits

Mann Stretch Series

mann stretch

The Mann’s Stretch Series revolutionized shallow water grouper fishing when they were first introduced. It is last, but certainly not least, on the list of the best 13 crankbait fishing lures. These lures are sturdy and dive down to depths of up to 50 feet on their own. Sizes are available from 15 feet divers to 50 feet divers in a variety of colors. These lures are strictly used for trolling as they are large and cumbersome to cast.

trolling for grouper

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Mann’s Stretch lures

In conclusion, this article on the best 13 crankbait fishing lures will help anglers catch more fish using these very productive baits!

 

 

Fishing with Popping Corks, Pro Tips

Fishing with popping corks, pro tips and techniques.

This article will focus on fishing with popping corks. Popping corks are specially designed floats. They are primarily used by anglers chasing speckled trout and redfish along the coast from Texas to the mid Atlantic. However, they are effective on other species as well.

Fishing with popping corks

A popping cork is a noisy float. A live bait or artificial lure is suspended 2 to 3 feet below it. When twitched sharply, the popping cork puts out a distinctive sound which imitates feeding game fish. This attracts those fish to the bait or lure.

Popping cork types

There are two basic types of popping corks; fixed corks and those that can be added on to the line. Like most things, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. These two types of popping corks will be discussed below.

Slotted popping corks

Sarasota Florida fishing charters

The original type of popping cork were slotted units that could be easily added onto the running line. They have a slot running down the length of the cork with a plastic pin. This design makes it very easy for anglers to add or remove the popping cork as needed, as well as easily adjusting the depth at which the bait or lure is present.

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These popping corks also have a concave top and most are weighted at the bottom. This results in the popping cork sitting a bit lower in the water as well as being completely vertical. This attitude of the popping cork is very important as it results in a nice loud pop when the angler twitches the rod tip. Anglers fishing with popping corks have been using these types of corks for decades with great success!

slotted popping cork

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Fixed popping corks

popping cork fishing

Fixed popping corks have become very popular among anglers over the last decade or two. Most are fairly heavy and consist of a float, rattles, and a weight. The heavier weight of this style of popping cork allows for longer casts. They also, generally speaking, put out a lot more commotion then he pegged popping corks do. Some of these have a concave face that created a “pop”. Others are round and the beads and rattles create the noise.

Anglers fishing with popping corks using these fixed versions must tie the cork to the running line. A leader then connects the bottom of the popping cork to the lure or hook. The one disadvantage of this type of popping cork is that the depth cannot be as easily adjusted as can be done using a pegged popping cork. They are better suited for anglers who prefer to use and artificial lure under a popping cork.

cajun thunder popping cork

There are several manufacturers that offer quality saltwater popping corks. Cajun Thunder corks are very popular and effective. Bomber saltwater Grade popping corks work well, too.

Anglers can click the links to shop Amazon for Cajun Thunder and Bomber popping corks

Fishing with popping corks

While fishing with popping corks may seem simple and straightforward, and it really is, there are some nuances and subtle techniques that will help anglers achieve more success.

fishing with popping corks

Fishing with popping corks can be productive in all water conditions. However, they really stand out when fishing in stained or dirty water conditions. The reason for this is quite obvious; when the water is dirty game fish use sound and vibration more to locate prey. Popping corks do an outstanding job of imitating game fish that are feeding on the surface.

Popping cork fishing techniques.

One great aspect of fishing with popping corks is it is extremely easy, making it a great choice for novice anglers. As mentioned above, the popping corks since 2 to 3 feet above a live bait or artificial lure. The rig is cast out, allowed to settle, then twitched sharply. The cork will dig into the water and produce a distinctive popping sound.

fishing with popping corks

Twitching the rod tip sharply causing the court to pop results into benefits. One, the sound of the cork attracts game fish to the lure or bait dangling below. Secondly, the twitch causes that lure or eight to jump up sharply and then flutter back down, suspending at the desired depth. Game fish find this irresistible and will often attack the offering as it hangs there motionless. When the cork disappears, the angler points the rod tip right at the float, takes up all the slack, and sets the hook sharply!

Anglers new to fishing with popping corks will have to adjust their cast just a bit. The snap cast used with artificial lures result in a tangled mess. Instead, the best approach is to pause a moment on the back cast, allowing the rig to straighten out. It is then lobbed out on the cast. Some anglers stop the cast a split second before the rig lands in the water. This can help straighten out the leader and avoid tangles.

popping corks

Successful anglers take a more subtle approach when the water is clear. This often happens in cooler weather when the algae dies out. Speckled trout and redfish will react better to smaller corks and those worked less aggressively. The same retrieve that worked well in dirty water in the summer will often spook skittish game fish in clear water.

Top spots for popping cork fishing

While popping corks can be used in deeper water, they are most effective and water depths between 2 feet deep and 6 feet deep. This is part of the reason why they are so particularly effective for speckled trout and redfish, as this is the depth that they are most often found in.

popping cork fishing

Popping corks are primarily used on the shallow flats and water less than 8 feet deep. Anglers can fish fairly deep water by extending the length of the leader between the popping cork in the hook. However, once this length becomes longer than 3 feet, a can be quite clunky and awkward to cast.

Submerged grass flats are excellent spots to use popping corks. The float will suspend the bait or lure just above the grass, keeping it from snagging in the vegetation. Also, grass flats are prime spots for speckled trout, redfish, and other species. Oyster bars are prime spots as well, particularly those that drop off from shallow water into several feet of water. Fish can also be found on open sand and mud flats, particularly when bait is in the vicinity.

popping corks

Best rods and reels for fishing with popping corks

Anglers fishing with popping corks will do best using rods that are just a bit longer and heavier than might be used when casting jigs or other small artificial lures. The popping cork rig is a bit more cumbersome, particularly the fixed cork rigs which are a bit heavier. Also, anglers will need the extra power to set the hook on a long cast as well as handling a big fish. A 7 1/2 foot medium action rod is an excellent all round choice.

Best 12 sea trout lures

Both spinning and bait casting outfits are fine when fishing with popping corks. It really is just a matter of angler preference. Spinning outfits are a better choice for less experienced anglers and went fishing for smaller fish. Conversely, bait casting rod and reel combinations are the best choice for more experienced anglers and went fishing for larger bull redfish.

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Fishing with popping corks using live bait

It is safe to say that most anglers fishing with popping corks do so using live or natural bait. Many anglers see no point in using an artificial bait when they can use the real thing. A live or cut bait under a popping cork is a very productive way to catch fish.

redfish fishing tackle

Anglers should match the size of the hook to the size of the bait being used and not the size of the fish being pursued. This is a common mistake that many anglers make. When the shrimp are running small at the shop, angler should drop down in size. Conversely, when using a larger bait fish, a larger hook should be used. A #1/0 live bait hook is a good all-around choice. Anglers can add a split shot or two a foot above the hook if needed to get the bait down when current or wind is present.

Fishing with live shrimp under a popping cork

It would be easy to make the argument that more speckled trout have been caught by anglers fishing a live shrimp under a popping cork than all other methods and techniques combined. The reason is simple, it is an extremely effective technique. It works quite well on redfish along with just about every other inshore saltwater species.

saltwater fishing with shrimp

Shrimp are the top live bait all along the Gulf Coast and up the east coast to the Carolinas. They are readily available, affordable, fairly easy to keep alive, and most importantly every saltwater fish devours them. Most anglers hook the shrimp under the horn in the head, being careful not to puncture the black spot, which is the shrimp’s brain. Fresh dead and even frozen shrimp can be used in a pinch, however live shrimp are preferred.

Fishing with live bait fish

Anglers can certainly use live bait fish under a popping cork as well. Pin fish, grunts, and croakers are the most popular live bait fish that are used in this manner. These are all hardy fish which will stay on the hook well when the cork is popped. Herring and sardines are much softer and tend to rip off the hook using this technique.

fishing with popping corks

In some ways, fishing with live bait fish can be a bit less productive under a popping cork than it would be just using a normal float. A hooked bait fish will put out plenty of distress vibrations on its own, negating the need for the popping cork. However, in conditions in which the water is very stained or dirty, the popping cork can make a difference between a slow day and an excellent one.

Cut bait produces, too

Cut bait can be extremely effective when fished under a noisy popping cork. The noise of the float will attract the game fish while the scent of the cut bait will trigger a strike. Fresh cut bait is always preferred, where possible. Chunks or strips both work well. Mullet, ladyfish, mackerel, and jacks are all productive baits.

Old-time anglers use what is known as a “shiner tail”. This is usually a pin fish, but can be a grunt or other species. The head is cut off, then a strip is cut from just under the dorsal fin down the lateral line and then just in front of the tail. The result is a strip of bait that undulate very naturally in the water while putting out a ton of scent. This is a bit of a “big fish” presentation that will fool some of the largest trout and redfish around.

Fishing with popping corks using artificial lures

popping corks

Anglers have found that in many cases artificial lures do quite well when fished under a popping cork. This also alleviates the need and hassle of dealing with live or cut bait. In most cases, soft plastic lures are the best choice. These can either be shrimp imitations as well as any productive soft plastic lure on a jig head. This combines the best of both worlds.

D.O.A. Lures markets a rig known as the “Deadly Combo”. This is the popping cork rig along with their famous DOA shrimp all in one package. Anglers can certainly buy the components separately and rig them up as they see fit, using whichever shrimp lure they prefer.

deadly combo

Anglers have a wide variety of selections when it comes to soft plastic baits. There are a lot of regional favorites, depending on the area of the country that anglers are fishing. Local bait shops are a great source of both lures as well as information on the best color combinations for that particular area.

bass assassin

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In either case, whether fishing plastics shrimp or the jig and grub combo, the rig is fished pretty much the same as it is when using live bait. The only difference would be that anglers can perhaps use a faster cadence or more aggressive retrieve when using artificial lures, to keep the lure constantly moving.

In conclusion, this article on fishing with popping corks will help anglers be more successful using this extremely productive technique!