Sarasota Fishing Report

Sarasota Fishing Report, weekly updates from Capt Jim

I will be posting my current Sarasota fishing report on this page. It will be updated every week or two as conditions and species change. It will include the baits or lures along with the species and locations. Fishing conditions change daily and seasonally, anglers can use this report to be more successful.

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

February 28

Fishing continued to be very good this week. The action in the passes was outstanding, despite the water being fairly murky. Big numbers of sheepshead seemed to have moved in over the full moon and are being caught on shrimp near most structure including rocks, bridges, and docks. Snapper and sea bass were mixed in as well. Jigging the passes while drifting with the tide produced both action and variety for clients this week. Pompano, Spanish mackerel, jacks, ladyfish, and other species were landed. Speckled trout were numerous on the deep grass flats and hit Gulp Shrimp on a jig head. Mackerel, bluefish, and ladyfish were also caught. A couple of river trips were a bit slow, with some jacks and small snook being caught, along with a bunch of big ladyfish. The water is 72 degrees and with this very warm weather coming up, the river fishing may be done for the season.

Sarasota fishing charters

February 20

Fishing was very good this week for clients on Sarasota fishing charters. A variety of species were caught using several techniques. The best bite was probably in the passes. Anglers drifting while bouncing jigs on the bottom caught permit, pompano, jacks, mackerel, small sharks, and ladyfish. Bottom fishing near structure with shrimp fooled sheepshead, snapper, small grouper, and sea bass. The deep grass flats held plenty of trout, which hit Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits and Gulp Shrimp. A few mackerel, pompano, silver trout, ladyfish, and whiting were landed as well. A river trip produced a pair of 24″ snook, a jack, and a couple of gar for anglers casting Rapala X-Raps.

Sarasota fishing report

February 13

Fishing was excellent in Sarasota this week! The weather fantastic with temperatures near 80 degrees. Clients caught a variety of species using multiple techniques. Big Pass produced sheepshead, snapper, grouper, and sea bass for those bottom fishing with shrimp. Drifting jigs in the pass resulted in pompano, jacks, and ladyfish. Anglers drifting the deep grass and casting Bass Assassin jigs and Clouser Minnow and D.T. Special flies caught a lot of speckled trout with some Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and pompano mixed in. A trip to a nearby river saw anglers casting Rapala plugs catching a bunch of big ladyfish with a few jacks and a nice redfish.

sarasota fishing report

February 6

The week started off cool and quite breezy, with temperatures dipping into the upper 30’s. It was Thursday before it was nice enough to get out. The bite was steady, despite water temperatures of 58. Sheepshead hit shrimp around structure, permit and pompano took jigs in Big Pass, and jigs produced trout and Spanish mackerel on the deep flats. A river trip on Friday was slow, the water was 59 degrees, but we did catch one decent snook on a Gulp jerk bait.

Sarasota fishing report

Jan 30 Sarasota fishing report

We experienced a warming trend this week and the fishing improved in several areas, though morning fog was a minor issue. Action on the deep grass flats was good with a lot of speckled trout and some decent Spanish mackerel.  The mackerel numbers decreased later in the week, but there were still some being caught along with an occasional bluefish and ladyfish. Jigs caught most of the fish, but spoons produced as well. The other bite that produced for clients was vertically jigging in Big Pass with banana jigs. Pompano, bluefish, mackerel, jacks, and ladyfish were landed. Bottom fishing did slow a bit.

jig fishing for pompano

Jan 23

Early in the week, bottom fishing with shrimp near structure in water between 10 feet and 20 feet deep produced sheepshead, snapper, grouper, sea bass, and jack crevalle. By the end of the week, the water had both warmed up and cleared up and action on the deep grass flats really picked up. Speckled trout and Spanish mackerel were plentiful, with a few bluefish and ladyfish mixed in.  Jigs, plugs, spoons, and live shrimp were all productive.

Sarasota Spanish mackerel fishing

Jan 16

Fishing was a bit tough this week as clients had to deal with cool water and breezy conditions. Bottom fishing was fair, with most of the fish being caught around oyster bars as opposed to docks. Sheepshead numbers are starting to increase and took live shrimp. The best action was on Thursday with anglers casting Rapala plugs and Gulp Jerk Shad in canals and creeks. Jack crevalle and snook were fairly active.

fishing report for Sarasota Florida

Jan 9

Winter fishing patterns are consistent and fishing was steady for a variety of species using several tactics. Free lining live shrimp into holes and channels, especially those dropping off sharply from grass flats, produced a bunch of nice “slot” trout along with a few ladyfish and flounder. Bottom fishing near structure produced sheepshead, gag and red grouper, mangrove and mutton snapper, and sea bass. Trolling plugs in canals fooled a couple of big jack crevalle.

fishing report in Sarasota

Jan 2, 2021

Fish have definitely moved to their winter locations and successful anglers change strategies with them. The bite on the grass flats has slowed. On Monday a fly fishing trip produced jacks and snook in area canals and creeks on Clouser patterns. Plenty of trout were found in deeper holes and on steeper drop offs. Free lined shrimp worked well. Bottom fishing with shrimp near structure was very effective. Snapper, sheepshead, grouper, sea bass, and flounder were caught. Drifting jigs in the pass produced a few permit.

mangrove snapper

December 26

Fishing has settled into it’s winter patterns as it has been a chilly December here in Sarasota. The bite on the grass flats has slowed considerable and fish have moved to deeper edges and holes. A fly trip on Sunday was pretty slow. Structure is holding a lot of sea bass, providing anglers with both action and some good eating fillets. Sea bass will hit both jigs and shrimp. Trout are schooled up and once located, the action can be fast. Clients found a school on Wednesday before the front and landed 15 or so nice fat slot trout free lining live shrimp. Several Spanish mackerel and big bluefish were caught as well. The very cold weather over the Christmas weekend may push fish south to Little Sarasota Bay, we shall see.

Sarasota fishing report

December 19

I did all of my fishing in lakes and rivers this week. Action was steady, particularly on the days right before the fronts moved through. Anglers caught bass and averaged sized snook casting Rapala plugs and soft plastic baits. Once nice aspect of this fishing is that it offers protection from the wind on breezy days. The river fishing is dependent on tides, especially this time of year when the winter low tides are VERY low. Anglers looking for a different fishing experience in a really cool environment might want to give it a try.

Sarasota fishing report

December 12

Weather was once again an issue and fish are definitely transitioning to their winter patterns. The action on the flats in the north bay slowed, with the spots closer to the passes being more productive, though the bite was not as fast as before. Trout were the most numerous species, with pompano, mackerel, ladyfish, and bluefish being caught. Jigging in the pass produced ladyfish and a few permit. Jack crevalle hit plugs in creeks and canals. I ran a trip to the Myakka River on Wednesday and it was very slow. We faced post frontal conditions; blue bird sky and 59 degree water and the snook simply did not eat.

permit

December 5

Well, summer is officially over here in Sarasota. After an unseasonably warm fall, the first severe front moved through on Monday. Action on the deep flats was very good the weekend before. It should resume as the water clears and settles. Pompano, bluefish, mackerel, trout, ladyfish, sharks, and more hit jigs. The bite in the Gulf slowed a bit before the front, though anglers caught some mackerel and a false albacore near the Silvertooth Reef. Hard to say if this bite will resume, the water temperature did drop substancially.

I ran my first Myakka River trip on Friday, as the Water level finally dropped after the last tropical storm. Rapala plugs produced a half dozen snook, including a nice one that hit right at the boat. This is a different and unique trip for more experienced anglers looking for “quality over quantity” that enjoy the challenge of fishing with lures.

Sarasota fishing report

November 28

Fishing was good on the deep flats once again, especially the first part of the week. Anglers on Sarasota fishing charters caught speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano, cobia, jacks, sea bass, ladyfish and other species casting Bass Assassin and Gulp Shrimp baits on a 1/4 ounce jig head. The Middlegrounds and flats in north Sarasota Bay were best. The end of the week was a bit tough, with no breeze and a lot of boat traffic. The best bite was in Big Pass for ladyfish and Spanish mackerel.

Sarasota fishing report

November 21

Weather was once again an issue this week, it was breezy with Small Craft Advisories Tues, Wednesday, and Thursday. When it wasn’t blowing, fishing was good! The best bite for my clients continued to be drifting the deep grass flats and casting jigs. Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, speckled trout, ladyfish and other species provided steady action. Stephen’s Point and the MIddlegrounds were the top spots. On Sunday there was a lot of bird activity with jacks and bluefish underneath, big fun chasing them around.

Sarasota Florida fishing report

Nov 14

Fishing was very good this week, despite some challenging weather. Strong winds started off the week, then a hurricane mid week!  Things settled back down by Saturday, where the bite was fast. Fast action on the deep grass flats continued, with anglers casting jigs catching cobia, spotted sea trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, ladyfish, sea bass, grouper, and more. The flats on the east side were best, mostly due to the wind. Creeks and backwater areas also produced snook and jacks on jigs and plugs. The bite should resume out on the beach once the Gulf settles down.

Sarasota fishing report

Nov 7

Weather was an issue for anglers fishing in Sarasota of late. I was on vacation in North Carolina, and came home to stiff breezes around 25 mph out of the northeast. It did ease up a bit towards the end of this week. As has been the case, action on the deep grass flats was very geed. Anglers casting jigs and spoons caught trout, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, grouper, small cobia, and more. Flats on the east side of the bay offered some protection from the wind. The Middlegrounds was probably the best spot this week. There has been some action on mackerel and false albacore just off the beaches, but it has been hit or miss. The weather does not look good at all for the first part of next week.

Florida bluefish

Oct 24

Wind was an issue for clients on Sarasota fishing charters this week. It blew steadily out of the north east at 15, with gusts to 30. It did subside a bit later in the week. Anglers casting jigs and free lining live bait fish did well on a variety of species. Catch of the week goes to Alissa Romas, with a nice cobia. Speckled trout were plentiful, with bluefish, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, jacks, sharks, snapper, grouper, sea bass, and other species mixed in. The wind pretty much limited us to flats on the east side of Sarasota Bay, with the Ringling flats being the top spot and Radio Tower being second. I heard reports of decent action in the inshore Gulf on mackerel, false albacore, and sharks, bit it was fairly choppy. I fished the braden River and Manatee River early in the week when the wind was really howling. The bite was fair, with anglers catching a few bass and snook on jigs and soft plastic baits, but it is just not cool enough yet. I am off to the North Carolina mountains for a week!

Sarasota fishing report

Oct 17

Action was very good on the deep grass flats this week. Just about every flat north of the Ringling Causeway produced fish, including Radio Tower, Middlegrounds, Stephen’s Pt., Bishop’s Pt, and Buttonwood. Anglers casting Bass Assassin baits and Gulp! Shrimp did well. I had fly anglers two days who caught a dozen or so fish each fish on Clouser patterns. Speckled trout were plentiful, with fish to 4 pounds being caught. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, sharks, ladyfish, grouper, snapper, sea bass and more took jigs and flies as well. I only fished with live bait one day, with anglers catching the same species.

sarasota fishing report

Oct 10

Fishing was very good once again this week as water temps dipped into the upper 70’s. Action on the deep grass flat was fast forr clients casting jigs, spoons, and live bait. On Thursday, George caught 14 different species including speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, grouper, snapper, sharks, ladyfish, sea bass, and more. Gulp Shrimp on a jig head and small silver spoons worked well early. A switch to live bait in the last hour kept the bite going. There was some action in the inshore Gulf of Mexico for mackerel and false albacore, but it slowed later in the week. The next decent front should get it cranked up again.

Spanish mackerel

October 3

Fishing picked up this week, especially just prior to the mid week front.  Speckled trout were plentiful on the deep grass flats, with mackerel, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, and other species mixed in.  Gulp Shrimp on jig heads caught most of the fish.  Flats near New Pass were best.  Live bait fish produced snapper and grouper around structure near big Pass. Spanish mackerel and false albacore are just starting to show up off the area beaches.

Sarasota anglers

Sept 26

Fishing was steady this week, with clients catching a pretty even mix of speckled trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, ladyfish, sea bass, snapper, and small grouper. For whatever reason the artificial lure bite slowed a bit, perhaps there is just too much bait.  Jigs and spoons caught fish, but the “enthusiasm” was down from the last two weeks. However, the solution was simple; net up some bait and chum them pretty heavily. The flats near the passes were better as the water was clearer and there was more bait present. Bird Key, Radio Tower, and Middlegrounds were the top spots.

fishing report Sarasota

9/19

Action was very good on the deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay this week. Tropical weather had the Gulf churned up, so the areas in the middle of the bait were best. Stephen’s Pt and Buttonwood were the top spots. Anglers did well casting Bass Assassin and Gulp Shrimp baits on a 1/4 ounce chartreuse jig head. Kastmaster spoons produced quite a few fish as well. Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, grouper, snapper, sea bass, sharks, and other species kept the rods bent. Small fry bait was thick on the east side from the ramp up to Ringling, small Rapalas produced trout and ladyfish.

Sarasota fishing report

9/12

Fishing was very good once again this week.  The bite on the deep grass flats continued to be steady. Speckled trout were caught in good numbers with some fish over 20″. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel were caught as well as the water temperature slowly dropped. Ladyfish, snapper, grouper, jacks, sea bass, and other species also kept the rods bent. Most of the fish were caught on Gulp Shrimp on a jig head. On Thursday I put two of my long time regular guys together, John Englander and Steve Owen. Just for fun, Steve kept count and landed 73, and John was right there, so they landed around 125 fish. Most were caught on the flats just north of New Pass. John wanted a few snapper for the table, so we finished up doing a little chumming with bait.

Sarasota fishing report

9/5

The weather was more stable this week, though still quite warm, and the fishing was very steady. Decent sized bluefish were found on the deep grass flats, along with speckled trout, mackerel, ladyfish, sea bass, grouper, snapper, and other species. Jig heads with Bass Assassin baits and Gulp Shrimp produced through the morning, so I did not have to catch bait. Bird Key flats, Middlegrounds, Bishop’s Pt, and Buttonwood were all productive spots.

Sarasota fishing report

8/29

Fishing was decent this week, though weather was an issue. It was windy early in the week, with some Small Craft Advisories. The wind eased up later in the week. Clients casting jigs caught speckled trout, bluefish, ladyfish, grouper, sea bass, snapper, and other species. The water near the passes was dirty from the big storm swell. The flats in the middle of the bay, Bishop’s Pt., Buttonwood, and Stephen’s Pt., were best. Bait was scattered out in the dirty water, so we stuck with the jigs.

fishing for bluefish

8/22

Weather was an issue for clients on Sarasota fishing charters this week. Storms forced me to postpone a couple of trips. On days we did get out, mangrove snapper and juvenile grouper provided the best action. Not only are they around structure, but anglers caught plenty on the open flats as well. Most were caught on live bait. For whatever reason, the jig bite slowed a bit, though a couple nice trout were caught. Live bait definitely produced better action this week. Big Pass and the flats near New Pass were the best spots.

fishing report sarasota

8/15

The action on the deep grass flats continued to provide anglers with good action. Speckled trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, jacks, sharks, snapper, gag and red grouper, sea bass and other species. Bass Assassin jigs and Gulp Shrimp produced early in the morning. The wind eased up after an hour or so most mornings, which makes jig fishing less effective. A nice little breeze really makes a huge difference when drifting the deep grass flats. So, we ended up switching to live bait a bit earlier. Mangrove snapper showed up in the chum in good numbers, along with the other species. Spots near the passes were the most productive.

best Sarasota fishing charter

8/8

Action was good on the deep grass flats again this week.  With no rain, the water temperature has eased up to the upper 80s.  The best bite was in fairly deep water, 8′ or so.  All of the fish this week were caught on jigs, mostly a red gold shiner 4″ Bass assassin Sea Shad, but a few Gulp Shrimp as well.  Speckled trout, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, red and gag grouper, mangrove snapper, sharks, sea bass, catfish, and more were caught.  Middlegrounds and Radio Tower were the top spots.

I did a little bream fishing, hoping to find them on beds with the full moon.  The bite was fair, maybe the water is just too warm.  A few were caught at Benderson Lake and Evers reservoir on black Beetlespins and tiny twister tail jigs.

Sarasota fishing report

Sarasota fishing report Aug 1

As has been the case all summer, the fishing remains very good on the deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay. The water close to the passes has been the cleanest, with a fair amount of bait. Casting jigs at first light then switching to live bait mid morning continued to take advantage of the morning fishing window. Speckled trout fishing was very good, with both numbers and quality. Bluefish, ladyfish, sharks, grouper, sea bass and more were also caught. Mangrove snapper are seemingly everywhere, on the flats and in the passes, providing anglers seeking a meal some fine fillets along with a good fight.

Sarasota fishing report

7/25

Fishing was good once again this week for anglers fishing with Capt Jim on Sarasota fishing charters. The deep grass flats in the north bay were best early in the week. Anglers casting jigs and Clouser Minnow flies caught some nice trout along with bluefish, mackerel, ladyfish, sea bass, jacks, sharks, grouper, snapper, and more. Later in the week, the was got a little stirred up with rain and wind, and the flats closer to the passes were better. Live bait produced some good mangrove snapper along with spotted sea trout later in the mornings when the jig bite slowed.

Sarasota fishing report

7/18

Once again, the action on the deep grass flats continued to please anglers casting jigs and free lining live baits while chumming. The early jig bite improved later in the week as the wind finally turned out of the east. That resulted in more pleasant conditions and better fishing. Speckled trout were plentiful, with bluefish, jacks, grouper, ladyfish, and sharks mixed in. Mangrove sapper numbers and size improved this week, which is good for clients looking for a few fish tacos!

fishing report for Sarasota

7/11

It sounds like a broken record, but the fishing on the deep grass flats continues to be very good. Speckled trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, sharks, ladyfish, grouper, snapper, sea bass and more kept the rods bent and Capt Jim busy!  The pattern of casting jigs at first light then catching bait when that bite slowed continued to be the best bet.  Chumming with live bait produced fast action later in the morning.  The flats near the passes, Marina Jack, Bird Key, Radio Tower, and Middlegrounds were best.

Sarasota fishing report

July 4 Sarasota fishing report

Fishing was excellent once again this week, despite the heat and water temperatures near 90. The best action was on the grass flats in 6′ to 8′ of water. Speckled trout were plentiful, with some nice fish over 20″ hitting jigs and live bait. The pattern of jigging early then switching to live bait worked well, though the jig bite has been slowing a bit earlier.  Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, sharks, grouper, snapper, sea bass, ladyfish, flounder, and catfish were also caught.  The flats closer to the passes were better this week, perhaps the water was a tad cleaner.  There certainly was a ton of bait as well!

Sarasota fishing report

6/27

Fishing was good once again this week for clients on Sarasota fishing charters. I took a two-pronged approach to my trips this week. We got out on the water at first light, at around 6:30 AM and headed for the deep flats. Anglers casting jigs produced a ton of speckled trout and ladyfish. There were quite a few decent sized trout mixed in. Bluefish, mackerel, jacks, grouper, snapper, sharks, and catfish also kept the rods bent. This bite lasted for an hour or two, depending on the breeze and cloud cover. It did slow down a bit later in the week as water temperatures eased up to 88° and there was no wind and weak tides.
Once the jig bite eased up, I ran into the passes to catch bait and do some live bait chumming. This produced the same species as well along with nonstop action most mornings. I just like to take advantage of that first light bite casting lures instead of spend it searching for bait. Also, structure in both passes produced a ton of mangrove snapper along with some black sea bass and small grouper.
Sarasota fishing report

6/17

I was on vacation in the North Carolina mountains for a week. Upon returning, I found the fishing to be as good as it was when I left. The best bite has been for action and variety on the deep grass flats. Speckled trout were numerous and up to 23″. Anglers casting jigs caught them, along with bluefish, ladyfish, jacks, grouper, sea bass, snapper, sailcats, and more. I get a lot of families this time of year and this type of fishing is easy for even novice anglers to quickly learn. Drifting the flats in 6′ to 10′ of water is both productive and fun!

Sarasota fishing report

5/30

Fishing was very good this week for clients on Sarasota fishing charters.  I finished up the week with a family trip, catching around 100 fish!  Speckled trout, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, sharks, sea bass and more kept the rods bent.   Bass Assassin jigs and Gulp Shrimp caught all the fish. On other charters, spin and fly anglers had similar results.  The Middlegrounds, Stephen’s Pt., Bishop’s Pt., and Buttonwood were all productive.  Big Pass produced a bunch of snapper and sea bass for clients bottom fishing with shrimp.  Nearby flats held a bunch of silver trout.  One client caught a sennett casting a Gulp Jerk Shad.

Sarasota fishing report

5/23

It sounds like a broken record, but the best bite in Sarasota continues to be drifting the deep grass flats. We have had some breezy days, so the wind dictated where we fished. On east wind, the Ringling flats produced and with a west wind Bishop’s Pt and Buttonwood were better. Clients casting Bass Assassin jigs, Gulp Shrimp, and chartreuse Clouser pattern flies caught some decent speckled trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, and ladyfish. Speaking to other guide buddies, there are a few tarpon out on the beach, but it has been pretty tough.

Sarasota fishing report

 

May 9

Once again, the best bite for clients on Sarasota fishing charters has been on the deep grass flats. Just about every flat in 5′ to 8′ has fish on it. I basically let the wind decide where we fished. Bass Assassin jigs and GULP! Shrimp caught them. Speckled trout to 22″, bluefish to 3 pounds, Spanish mackerel to 2 pounds, ladyfish, sea bass, jack crevalle, mangrove snapper, sailcats, and more were landed. Small snook, jacks, and some decent trout hit Rapala X-Raps near bars and mangrove shorelines. I went out to Evers Reservoir (Jiggs Landing) on a day off to chase some bluegill. I was disappointed to see that they had sprayed, killing all the weeds. The lake had really healthy weeds all along the shoreline. I really don’t understand it. Not surprisingly, fishing was slow, caught a few on Beetlespins.

Sarasota fishing report

May 2 Sarasota fishing report

Once again, weather made things a bit challenging this week as we have been experiencing some breezy days of late. Still, I was able to get out several times and clients experienced good action. Once again, the best bite was on the deeper grass flats on the incoming tide. Anglers casting Gulp Shrimp and Clouser Minnow flies caught speckled trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, grouper, sea bass, whiting, ladyfish, and other species. Bird Key, Radio Tower, Middlegrounds, and Stephen’s Pt were all productive. We also caught a few fish in Big Pass, mostly ladyfish.

Sarasota fishing report

April 25

Weather was once again an issue this week. Tuesday and Wednesday were nice and I was able to get trips in both days. On Tuesday I had my “regulars”, Bill, Doc, and John. We started off near Stephen’s Pt and found fish feeding on the surface.  Action was good for 3 hours as the boys caught a bunch of fish. Speckled trout were plentiful with some nice ones mixed in. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, and sharks kept them busy. 5″ white Gulp Jerk Shad was the hot bait. We finished up fishing docks, landing small reds and decent snapper, losing a big red that broke us off on the dock.

On Wednesday I took out fly angler Steve Schulmerich. The bite was a little slower, but still steady. There was no wind, which is not great for the flats. Still, Steve caught a bunch of bluefish, ladyfish, a mackerel, and a nice trout. He was casting chartreuse/white Clouser Minnow patterns on a 7 wt.

April 18

Weather was definitely an issue for anglers this week. On days that we got out, the fishing was very good!  Just about every grass flat in 5′ of water and deeper held fish. The flats north of New Pass were best. The key was to let the wind determine where to fish and then find clean water. Anglers casting Bass Assassin jigs and Gulp Shrimp caught big bluefish, speckled trout to 22″, Spanish mackerel, jacks, ladyfish, small sharks, sea bass, whiting, catfish, and other species. Docks around Big Pass produced black drum and mangrove snapper for anglers fishing live shrimp.

Sarasota fishing report

April 11

I got out three times this week, doing something different on each trip. On Sunday we went out on the beach in search of a king mackerel. It was cool, cloudy, and drizzling, not ideal conditions and the bite was slow. We caught a few mackerel and jacks. I had an excellent fly fishing charter on Tuesday! My angler caught several nice trout early at Bishop’s Pt., then finished up with a flurry of Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and ladyfish on the east side. On Thursday we went to the Myakka and it was pretty slow, though the gar did provide a little excitement.

mackerel on fly

Fishing report for Sarasota, April 4

Like most guides in Florida, most of my clients had to cancel their vacations. However, I did get out a couple of times this week with local “regulars”. Bill, Doc, and John fished with me on Monday. WE decided to do something different and fish the bars and mangrove shorelines between Stickney Pt and Blackburn Pt. The bite was steady with the fellas catching most of the fish on #8 Rapala X-Raps. Doc had the hot hand, catching a half dozen snook, some nice speckled trout, and a redfish to complete the “slam”. He also caught 3 keeper mangrove snapper, with one really nice 15″ fish. Bill lost a big red that ran under a dock. Jacks and ladyfish were also caught. Later in the week I fished the Manatee River.  It was after the front and the bite was pretty slow. We caught a few small snook and snapper on plugs.

Sarasota fishing report

March 28

As with most Florida fishing guides, I was booked solid but had cancellations due to the health emergency.  I still got out three times this week. Early on, I had a fly/spin trip.  There was no wind and we headed out in the Gulf just off the Siesta Key beaches. Rapala X-Raps produced Spanish mackerel for the spin angler while the fly anglers scored using Clouser patterns.  After a bit we went back inside and caught ladyfish and trout on Gulp baits, the bite was slow for the fly guys.  Another inshore trip produced speckled and silver trout, ladyfish, and other species on jigs.  Bottom fishing produced a ton of action on snapper, grouper, sea bass, and sheepshead.  It looks like the run of sheepshead is winding down.  I ran a trip to the Myakka River as well.  It was a bit slow as the water temperature was in the upper 70’s.  However, we landed a nice snook on a white #10 Rapala.

Sarasota fishing report

March 21

Fishing was very good this week for anglers going out on Sarasota fishing charters with Capt Jim Klopfer. The best bite was on the deep grass flats. Clients casting Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits and Gulp Shrimp on a 1/4 ounce jig head landed a variety of species.  Speckled trout and ladyfish were plentiful with Spanish mackerel, pompano, bluefish, grouper, jacks, sea bass, small sharks, and catfish also being landed. Middlegrounds, Radio Tower, Bishop’s Pt and Stephen’s Pt were the top spots. Sheepshead are still around docks and structure in the passes.  Bottom fishing with shrimp produced some nice sheepies along with tripletail, sea bass, grouper, and snapper. Rapala X-Raps worked along a mangrove shoreline produced a few small snook one morning.

Sarasota fishing report

March 14

Fishing was very good this week! Anglers on Sarasota fishing charters experienced good action and variety on a multitude of species. Big Pass was hot for several days. Pompano, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and a lot of ladyfish hit Bass Assassin and Silly Willy jigs on the bar and in the channel. Sheepshead took shrimp fished on the bottom. The wind eased up, allowing us to fish the deep grass flats. Gulp Shrimp on a 1/4 ounce jig head produced speckled trout, pompano, jacks, mackerel, bluefish, and ladyfish. I finished up the week with a fly trip, where anglers caught trout anfd ladyfish inside, and Spanish mackerel out on the Fisher reef casting Clouser Minnow flies.

Sarasota fishing report

March 7

Wind was a factor that clients on Sarasota fishing charters had to deal with this week. Strong breezes out of the south limited area that we were able to fish. Big Pass was fairly protected and provided good action. Bottom fishing with shrimp produced sheepshead, snapper, grouper, sea bass, and pompano. Drifting with jigs fooled pompano and ladyfish. I had two river trips, which is another option for experienced anglers to deal with the wind. Rapala plugs, Gulp Jerk Shad, and chartreuse/white Clouser Minnow flies produced snook to 32″, big jacks, snapper, bass, and gar.

Sarasota fishing report

Sarasota Fishing Report, 2/29

Weather was certainly an issue for clients on Sarasota fishing charters this week. Early in the week, action was very good both on the deep grass flats and in the passes. The cooler weather seemed to help the sheepshead bite fire up. Decent numbers of these feisty bottom dwellers were caught by anglers fishing shrimp on the bottom. A few pompano were landed as well. Speckled trout were numerous on the deeper grass flats at the Middlegrounds, Stephen’s Pt and Bishop’s Pt, hitting Bass Assassin and Gulp baits on a jig head. A severe front moved through Wednesday, bringing strong winds. I finished up the week with a fly angler in the Manatee River, who caught a few small snook.

Sarasota fishing report

February 22

The best action for clients on Sarasota fishing charters this week was on the deep grass flats. Speckled trout were numerous, hitting jigs and live shrimp. Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, pompano, ladyfish, small sharks, big sailcats, and other species were also landed. The flats from New Pass north were best as the water cleared up the further from the passes we got. Sheepshead fishing in the passes was hit or miss.  We had a couple good days and a slow day as well.  There are a LOT of smaller snapper, sea bass, and pinfish which makes getting a shrimp to the sheepshead difficult.  Perhaps the cooler weather will help as the water temperature was a bit too high for mid February.  Anglers drifting with jigs in Big Pass caught a few pompano, mackerel, and ladyfish as well.

Sarasota fishing report

February 15

Fishing was good over the last couple weeks for clients on Sarasota fishing charters.  Sarasota Bay is a bit warmer than normal, resulting in good action on the deep grass flats.  Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, and more hit jigs cast while drifting the flats.  Anglers free lining shrimp around oyster bars found juvenile permit, snook, redfish, sheepshead, flounder, and snapper.  Sheepshead seem to be moving into the passes as anglers bottom fishing with shrimp caught some decent sheepies mixed in with a ton of small snapper and sea bass.  A fly angler scored his first couple jack crevalle up in a residential canal one breezy morning.  The warm water has not been good for river fishing, which has been a bit slow.  Persistent anglers caught snook and gar on Rapala plugs.

Sarasota fishing report

Sarasota fishing report for February 1

We have settled into our normal winter fishing patterns. Clients on Sarasota fishing charters caught a variety of species using multiple techniques. One key to success is to keep moving in search of fish, locations will change daily. Action on the deep grass flats was steady, with a very good bite on Friday afternoon as the front approached. Spanish mackerel, pompano, bluefish, trout, and ladyfish hit jigs, Rapala plugs, and live shrimp. Clients fly fishing scored using chartreuse/white Clouser patterns. Docks and oyster bars held redfish, sheepshead, snapper, grouper, black drum, and sea bass for anglers fishing with shrimp. Rapala X-Raps and jerk baits produced snook, jacks, and reds in creeks and canals. The pompano bite in the passes has slowed considerably.

Sarasota fishing report

January 25

Winter arrived in Sarasota this week!  Prior to the severe front, Mike Tyler landed a very nice snook in the Myakka River on a Rapala Jointed BX Minnow plug. Clients did well on Sunday morning on the flats and in the passes.  Monday was tough and Tuesday and Wednesday were blow-outs as the wind blew hard from the north and temperatures were in the 30’s in the morning.  After the front, clients fishing docks and bars with shrimp caught redfish, sheepshead, and jacks.  Jigs produced bluefish, Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, ladyfish, pompano, and jacks on deeper flats.  Pompano and small permit hit jigs in the passes.  Small snapper and sea bass were thick on bottom structure in the passes as well, with a few sheepshead mixed in.

Sarasota fishing report

January 18

Pompano continued to please anglers on Sarasota fishing charters this week, both in the passes and on the flats.  Banana jigs, small pompano jigs, and Gulp Shrimp on a jig head caught them.  There are a ton of small bottom fish in the passes such as snapper, sea bass, and grouper that took the jigs as well.  A few Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and ladyfish were also caught.  In other words, a good way to keep the rods bent!  Early in the week, action on the deep grass flats was good, with a lot of speckled trout to 20″ being caught.  It is nice to see them rebounding!  Pompano, mackerel, blues, and ladies were also landed.  That bite slowed a bit later in the week, for whatever reason.

Sarasota fishing report

Trips to the Myakka River produced a few snook, largemouth bass, and several gar.  The water is really a bit too warm for ideal fishing, I think that is the reason clients caught so many gar.  Rapala plugs both cast and trolled caught the fish.

Sarasota fishing report

Jan 10

I spent all of my time fishing rivers, creeks, and canals this week. Two trips to the Manatee River produced small to medium sized snook for fly anglers casting chartreuse over white Clouser Minnow patterns. Later in the week I fished in Sarasota Bay, and it was quite breezy! We sought refuge in protected creeks, bayous, and residential canals. #8 Rapala X-Raps produced decent numbers of jacks with a few snook mixed in.

fishing report for Sarasota Florida

Good fishing in Sarasota to start 2020!

Fishing was good this first week of 2020! Clients on Sarasota fishing charters caught a variety of species using different techniques. The best bite in Sarasota Bay has been pompano in the passes and out on the flats. Small jigs produced the best, and color really did not seem to matter. Pompano in the passes were found near structure while those on the flats were located fairly shallow, in 3′ to 4′ on the bars. Action on the deep flats slowed a bit, with anglers catching trout, bluefish, pompano, ladyfish and more. Wind and dirty water hampered the bite.

Snook and jack crevalle were caught in Robert’s Bay along with residential canals by anglers casting and trolling #8 Rapala X-Raps. We found a school of very large jacks in a foot of water and landed a couple. Trips to the Myakka River produced snook and largemouth bass on larger #10 X-Raps.

Sarasota fishing report

 

Sarasota fishing report

In the winter time I do three types of fishing; bottom fishing, River snook fishing, and on nice days drifting the deep grass flats. I use live shrimp to bottom fish for sheepshead, snapper, drum, and other species around docs and other structure. Local area rivers produce snook and bass for anglers casting plugs. When conditions are favorable on the open flats, we use jigs and live shrimp to catch a variety of species.

As it warms up fish move out of the deeper waters where they spend the winter. The flats and passes become alive with snook, redfish, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, and other species. The passes and deep flats produce the most action while some anglers seek the challenge of catching snook in redfish in the back country.

When conditions are right, the fishing in the inshore Gulf of Mexico can be fantastic! East winds will result in clear water and plenty of baitfish. This will in turn attract Spanish mackerel, false albacore, sharks, cobia, and other species. Often times, the fish will be seen feeding aggressively on the surface. This is great fun as just about anything tossed into the feeding frenzy will draw strike.

Sarasota fishing charters

For many anglers, the heat of summer means one thing; tarpon! The silver Kings invade our area in early May and stay until late July. This is very challenging fishing, and not for everyone. However the reward is the fish of a lifetime! Tarpon to 150 pounds are landed off of the area beaches every summer.

While I still do a little tarpon fishing, most of my summer trips are run in Sarasota Bay. With all the anglers out on the beach chasing tarpon, fishing pressure in the Bay is lighter. My normal approach is to cast lures or shrimp at first light then use my cast net to catch bait and chum mid morning. Either way, with the heat of summer, we are will off the water early.

You’ll see me mention “deep grass flats”often in my Sarasota fishing report. This is where the majority of fish on my fishing charters are landed. These areas are large with a mixture of grass and sand bottom. Shrimp, crabs, and bait fish all hide in the grass. That obviously makes it an attractive place for game fish to feed.

Speckled trout in particular are associated with these deeper grass flats. But anglers will also catch Spanish mackerel, Pompano, bluefish, jacks, a lot of ladyfish, snapper, grouper, cobia, sharks, catfish and more while fishing the deep grass at one time of year or another.

Sarasota fishing

We primarily drift fish while working the deep grass flats. Anglers cast out lures, flies, or live bait as we drift across a productive areas in search of fish. Bass Assassin jigs, Rapala plugs, and spoons are effective artificial lures. The top live bait is a shrimp. These are fished either free line or under a noisy cork. In the summer time, live bait fish such as scaled sardines are used.

Both Big Sarasota Pass and New Pass produce a lot a fish for clients on Sarasota fishing charters. Anglers reading my Sarasota fishing report will see Big Pass in particular mentioned quite often. Sheepshead school up there thick and late winter and early spring. Mangrove snapper and snook are found in the rocks in the summer time. Ladyfish are often times thick right in the middle of the pass itself. Bluefish and mackerel can also be encountered as well.

Anglers drifting the passes cast jigs out and bounced them along the bottom. This is very effective and produces Pompano, bluefish, mackerel, and loads of ladyfish. Free lining a live shrimp with a split shot or fishing a live shrimp on a jig head can also be very productive. However, when the fish are biting jigs are more efficient as there is no need to stop and rebate the hook.

Sarasota Bay fishing report

There is a ton of structure in Big Pass as well. This is particularly true of the whole area along the north side of Siesta Key. The water is deep, there is good current flow, and abundant structure. This is a recipe for an excellent fishing spot, and it is! Bottom fishing with live shrimp and bait fish is very productive. Anglers do need to time this during periods of lesser current flow. It is difficult to anchor in fish when the tide is screaming.

Spinning tackle is used on the vast majority of my fishing charters. The reason is quite simple; it is effective and easy to use. Many freshwater anglers are experienced with close to faced reels. However, it usually only takes a few minutes before there casting like a pro with the spinning outfits. 10 pound spinning outfits are light enough that anglers enjoy the fight of even a smaller fish while still giving them a chance of the hook something larger.

Anglers seeking a bit more of a challenge will opt to targets snook, redfish, and jacks in the back country areas. This type of fishing is more of a “quality over quantity approach”. I use the trolling motor to ease the boat along a likely looking shoreline, while anglers cast lures towards the shoreline. I do use live bait occasionally as well.

River fishing charters

Visitors to my site will often see ”River snook fishing”in my Sarasota fishing report. This is a unique angling opportunity that I offer to clients. I am not aware of any other guide to do so. I use my 14 foot Alumacraft jon boat for this fishing. Shallow water and primitive ramps require this. However, this also results in less boat traffic and a quiet, serene angling adventure.

The Manatee River, Myakka River, and Braden River, are all within a 45 minute drive from the Sarasota beaches. Each has a distinct feel and personality. The Myakka River has some stunning scenery and big snook. The Manatee River is pretty as well but a bit more developed. It offers the most variety. The Braden River is the most developed but offers fantastic fishing for jack crevelle in the cooler months. Snook and redfish are available as well.

One unique aspect of fishing the rivers is the chance to catch freshwater species as well. The Manatee River and Myakka River are both brackish below the dams. This results in saltwater fish such as snuck, redfish, jacks, and juvenile tarpon being found in the same water as largemouth bass, sunshine bass, catfish, gar, and bream. These freshwater species will take the same lures meant for the saltwater fish.

In the spring and again in the fall we experience runs of pelagic species. This means that they spend most of their time in the middle of the water column and do not relate as much to bottom structure. Spanish mackerel and false albacore are prime examples. King mackerel show up here offer beaches as well. This fishing is dependent on conditions, the water needs to be clear and calm. When it is, fishing can be outstanding!

Inshore Gulf of Mexico

This type of fishing is very exciting in that it is visual. Often times we don’t even fish until we actually see the mackerel and false albacore busting baits on the surface. We will also look for big schools of bait fish which can be seen dimpling on the surface. Artificial lures work very well when the fish are breaking. We will also catch some of the live bait fish and cast them back into the school of bait.

On days when the fish cannot be seen working on the surface, trolling can be an effective technique. Trolling spoons and plugs is a great way to locate Spanish mackerel, false albacore, and even big King fish. It is also a great way to put a lot of fish in the boat quickly and is an easy technique for anglers with limited experience.

The “inshore artificial reefs”will be mentioned regularly in my Sarasota fishing report. I am referring to three man-made groups of structure that were placed between one and to miles off of Lido Key. The Gulf floor is for the most part flat and featureless. Therefore, any structure will attract fish and hold them there. Those three reefs provide excellent fishing for bottom fish such as sheepshead, snapper, and grouper along with pelagic species such as mackerel, King fish, cobia, and false albacore.

Fly fishing

Fly fisherman are certainly not to be left out of the action! False albacore in Spanish mackerel will most certainly hit a well presented fly out in the Gulf of Mexico. This is terrific sport for anglers wielding a fly rod. Any inshore species that can be caught on a jig will also take a fly. Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, jacks, and more will hit a Clouser Minnow on the deep flats. Snook and jacks prefer whiteCrystal Minnow patterns in the back bays.

An 8wt outfit is a good all-around choice for fly fishing in Sarasota. It might be a tad light if the false albacore are running large. Otherwise, it is a good choice for the water and species that Sarasota offers. An intermediate sink tip line and then 9 foot tapered leader with a 24 inch piece of 30 pound bite tippet finishes off the outfit.

Readers will see a lot a families including children and my Sarasota fishing report. I really enjoy taking families out, it has become a big part of my Sarasota fishing charters. Many of these anglers have limited experience. One great thing about fishing here is that there are many species that do not require a great deal of skill or patience to catch. This is a good thing!

Also, while I don’t mind if clients keep a couple fish for dinner, I strongly encourage catch and release. Sarasota gets a lot a visitors and thus a lot of fishing pressure. It is important that the focus of the fishing trip beyond catching fish and enjoying quality time with families. I will certainly filet and bag up your catch at the end of the trip.  Current Florida fishing regulations and license requirements can be found HERE.

Fishing Articles from Capt Jim Klopfer

Fishing Articles from Capt Jim Klopfer

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

fishing articles

Saltwater fishing articles

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

Surf Fishing for Striped Bass – Pro Tips!

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

Surf Fishing for Whiting – a Complete Guide

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

Trolling in Saltwater

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

Fishing for Triggerfish – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

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

Black Drum Fishing – a Complete Guide

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

Florida Saltwater Fishing in Fall

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

7 Useful Flounder Fishing Tips

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

Black Sea Bass Fishing

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

Snapper Fishing – A Complete Guide

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

Fishing for Redfish, a Complete Guide

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

What is the best Saltwater Fishing Reel under $100?

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

Saltwater Fishing with Shrimp

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

7 Essential Surf Fishing Lures

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

Top 14 Chesapeake Bay Game Fish

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

Inshore Saltwater Fishing, a Complete Guide

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

What is the Best Pompano Fishing Lure?

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

Fishing for False Albacore, Pro Tips and Techniques

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

Best Cobia Fishing Tackle and Lures

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

Best Speckled Trout Fishing Tackle

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

Surf Fishing Tackle and Techniques

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

Best Jerkbait for Saltwater Fishing

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

11 Valuable Tampa Bay Fishing Tips

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

Best 6 Topwater Plugs for Saltwater Fishing

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

Best 7 Saltwater Fishing Spoons

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

Best Sheepshead Fishing Tackle and Baits

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

Tarpon Fishing Tackle and Gear, an Angler’s Guide

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

Best Redfish Fishing Tackle and lures

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

Best 12 Spotted Sea Trout Fishing Lures

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

Best Flounder and Fluke Fishing Tackle and Techniques

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

Best Grouper Fishing Tackle and Lures

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

Best False Albacore Fishing Tackle and Lures

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

Best Live Baits for Saltwater Fishing in Florida

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

Best 7 Fishing Lures for Redfish

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

Top 9 speckled trout fishing lures

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

Top 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures

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

Jack Crevalle Fishing, a Complete Guide

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

Light Tackle Bottom Fishing Tips

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

6 Essential Saltwater Fishing Flies

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

How to Catch Saltwater Fish with Jigs

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

Spotted Sea Trout Fishing, Tips to Succeed

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

Fishing for Redfish and Speckled Trout

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

Fishing for Bluefish, Tips and Techniques

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

Top 15 Sheepshead Fishing Tips

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

Best 6 Saltwater Fishing Lures

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

Top 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures

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

Florida fishing articles

largemouth bass fishing in Florida

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

Surf Fishing in Florida

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

Florida Saltwater Fishing in Summer

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

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.

Jacksonville Florida Fishing Tips

This article lists some excellent Jacksonville Florida fishing tips. Jacksonville lies at the very northeast corner of the state and offers anglers excellent fishing both offshore and in the inshore backwaters and tidal creeks. It is far enough north that it actually experiences a mild winter in this article covers the seasonal migrations that are so important to understand.

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.

Spinner Fishing for Trout, a Complete Guide

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

26 Productive Trout Fishing Tips

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

Top 15 Pennsylvania Game Fish Species

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

Top 12 Michigan Game Fish Species

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

Top 15 Wisconsin Game Fish Species

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

Streamer Fishing for Trout – Pro Tips!

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

Trout Fishing Equipment – A Complete Guide

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

Fly Fishing for Bass

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

10 Essential Spotted Bass Fishing Lures

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

Largemouth Bass Fishing – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

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

Top 18 Minnesota Game Fish

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

Bluegill Fishing- Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

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

Best 11 Brook Trout Fishing Lures

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

What is the Best Fishing Bait for Blue Catfish?

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

What is the Best Fishing Bait for Channel Catfish

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

What is the best largemouth bass fishing lure?

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

What is the best crappie fishing lure?

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

9 Essential Smallmouth Bass Fishing Lures

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

14 Essential Walleye Trolling Lures

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

Top 6 Freshwater Fishing Lures

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

What is the Best Live Bait for Crappie Fishing?

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

Top 5 Freshwater Fishing Spinners

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

Best Small Spinnerbait for Bass Fishing

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

Best Brook Trout Fishing tackle

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

Best Lake Trout Fishing Tackle and Gear

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

Best Musky Fishing Tackle

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

Northern Pike Fishing Tips and Tackle

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

Best Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tackle and lures

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

Rock Bass Fishing Tips and Tackle

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

Panfish Fishing

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

Walleye Fishing Tackle and lures

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

Top 13 Freshwater Fishing Plugs

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

Best 11 topwater plugs for freshwater fishing

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

Top 11 Freshwater Fishing Spoons

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

Largemouth Bass Fishing in Creeks

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

Spinnerbait Fishing Tips and Techniques

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

Bass Fishing Tackle and Equipment

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

Best Catfish Fishing Tackle and Gear

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

Best 13 Brown Trout Fishing Lures

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

Freshwater Fishing Tackle and Lures, a Beginners Guide

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

Ice Fishing Tackle and Gear

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

Top 10 Northern Pike Fishing Lures

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

Top 11 Musky Fishing Lures

This post list the top 11 musky lures. Most anglers fishing for musky do so using large flashy lures that put out a lot a vibration.

What is the best Northern Pike Fishing Lure

There are many lures that anglers can use to full northern pike. However, there is one bait that is the best northern pike fishing lure. Anglers will have to read this article to find the answer!

Best 13 Largemouth Bass Fishing Lures for Beginners

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

Best River Trout Fishing Lure

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

What is the best live bait for freshwater fishing?

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

Fly Fishing for Bluegill and Panfish

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

Fishing with Spinners in Rivers and Streams

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

Top 13 Rainbow Trout Fishing Lures

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

What is the best live bait for smallmouth bass?

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

Best 9 Fishing Lures for Streams and Small Rivers

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

Crappie Fishing Tackle and Lures, a Complete Guide

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

Best 9 fishing lures for bluegill and panfish

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

How to Catch Catfish, a Comprehensive Guide

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

Walleye Fishing, a Beginners Guide

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

Fishing for River Catfish, Tips and Techniques

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

Smallmouth Bass Fishing for Beginners

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

Best 7 River Smallmouth Fishing Lures

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

Fishing Franklin North Carolina

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

Top 27 Freshwater Game Fish Species

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

Trout Fishing in Blue Ridge, Georgia

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

Manitoba and Alberta Fishing

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

River Fishing Tips and Techniques

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

Fishing the North Shore of Minnesota

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

Ice fishing articles

ice fishing for rainbow trout

Ice Fishing for Crappie, a Beginners Guide

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

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

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.

Spinner Fishing for Trout

Spinner Fishing for Trout

The topic of this article is spinner fishing for trout. Spinners are very effective freshwater fishing lures, particularly in streams and rivers, which is where the majority of trout live.

spinner fishing for trout

Spinner fishing for trout is very productive. Spinners are very simple, yet effective trout fishing lures. They consist of a wire arm with a body that has a blade that rotates around it. A hook, often dressed, is on the tail. Spinners put out flash and vibration, which mimics a wounded bait fish. Rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout are the most popular trout species.

Spinner fishing for trout

There are several reasons for the productivity of spinners when fishing for trout. The majority of trout are caught in running water; creeks, streams, and rivers. Spinners are the most effective when used in these waters. The current provides action and movement while also resulting in the spinner blade rotating. All of this occurs with very little action by the angler.

best 13 brown trout fishing lures

Many lures act very erratically. This imitates wounded prey and attracts game fish. However, in many instances this action is too aggressive for trout. Trout normally prefer a more subtle presentation as opposed to excessive action. Spinners emit flash and vibration, but they do so in a much more subdued manner than many other lures. This is another reason that spinners are so effective when fishing for trout.

Spinner fishing techniques

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of spinner fishing for trout and other species is the ease with which it is done. Fishing with spinners is fairly easy and straight forward. That makes spinner fishing an excellent choice for novice anglers.

best trout tackle

In most situations, less is more when it comes to spinner fishing for trout. As mentioned earlier, the current from the stream will result in the spinner blade rotating. All that the angler needs to do is keep the line tight and allow the current to provide the action to the lure.

The best technique is to cast the spinner directly across the current, or slightly downstream. This will result in the line staying tight during the entire cast. Often times, the take occurs as the spinner reaches the end of the drift and ‘swings” in the current. The spinner will hold in that area for a few moments. This will often draw a strike. This is along the same lines as fly anglers “swinging a nymph”.

Read more about the best trout fishing lure

A slow, steady retrieve is almost always the most productive retrieve. As long as the blade is rotating and flashing, the lure is moving fast enough. This is true in lakes as well as flowing water. Anglers can add a twitch or pause occasionally if the bite is slow. However, it is best not to overdo this action.

trout fishing with streamers

One issue when fishing with spinners is that line twist can occur. The solution to this problem is to use a tiny swivel, often termed a “micro swivel”. THe swivel is tied to the running line. Then, a 2 leader that is 24″ to 30″ long connects the swivel to the lure. This will greatly reduce line twist when using spinners.

Spinner fishing for trout in lakes

While most anglers spinner fishing for trout will do so in moving water, lakes hold plenty of trout as well. Lakes provide one major challenge; trout are much more difficult to locate as there is so much more water in which to search. Also, anglers have the third dimension of where in the water column trout are feeding. Trout are much easier to locate in streams

rainbow trout fishing lures

Anglers fishing in lakes, especially smaller bodies of water, can successfully fish for trout with spinners from shore. Heavier spinners such as the Blue Fox or Panther Martin work well. The spinner can be fished at different depths by varying the time that the lure is allowed to fall through the water column. As in stream fishing, a slow steady retrieve is best.

Trolling is an extremely effective technique used by anglers spinner fishing for trout. This technique allows anglers to cover a lot of water as well as different depths all at one time. Multiple lines can be put out at varying depths. Trout often feed high in the water column, so trolling spinners at depths from 5 feet to 15 feed down is a good approach. Heavier spinners will get down deep enough on their own without any added weight.

Choosing the best spinner for trout fishing

While all spinners basically work the same, there are some differences that make one a better choice than others. Light spinners are best for small, shallow streams. Heavier spinners are better in larger rivers with deeper holes as well as for fishing in lakes. These are better for trolling as well.

trout fishing

Color is also a consideration when spinner fishing for trout. The same rules when it comes to fishing with artificial lures apply to anglers spinner fishing for trout. On bright, sunny days, lighter colors and silver blades are usually the best choice. Conversely, in low light conditions and cloudy days, gold blades and bright bodies are the most productive.

The top 4 spinners for trout fishing are;

  • Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner

  • Mepps Aglia spinner

  • Blue Fox Vibrax spinner

  • Panther Martin spinner

Anglers can read more about the best freshwater fishing spinners in this article by Capt Jim

The best spinners for trout fishing are the Worden’s Rooster tail spinner, Mepps Aglia spinner, Blue Fox spinner, and Panther Martin spinner. These 4 spinners will cover every situation that an anglers trout fishing with spinners will encounter.

Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner

rooster tail

The Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner is a terrific trout fishing lure. It is Capt Jim’s favorite trout fishing spinner. Rooster Tail spinners are very light. This makes them an excellent choice for anglers fishing in creeks and small streams. They will snag much less often than other heavier lures. However, they cast well on ultralight spinning gear.

Rooster Tail spinners come in several sizes and many different color combinations. The 1/16 ounce size is excellent for most stream trout fishing applications. Bright colored bodies with gold blades work well in a variety of situations. Anglers should have a few that are white with a silver blade as well. These lures are also available in single hook models, which are required in some “catch and release” waters.

Mepps Aglia spinner

mepps

Mepps is a well known and trusted brand when it comes to fishing spinners. They have been catching trout and other species for decades. The classic color combination is gold with the natural hair tail. Mepps spinners have earned a reputation for catching larger trout. Mepps spinners are an excellent all round choice for a variety of trout fishing situations.

Blue Fox Vibrax spinner

blue fox spinner

The Blue Fox Vibrax spinner has a loyal following among anglers spinner fishing for trout. It emits a unique vibration that calls in fish. These spinners are a bit heavier and a better choice for anglers fishing deeper streams and rivers as well as lakes. It is available in many sizes and colors. The size 1 blade weighs 1/8 ounce and is an excellent all round choice.

Panther Martin spinner

panther martin

Panther Martin spinners are the final spinner in this list of the best trout fishing spinners. They come in several different styles and many colors. The options are endless. Panther Martin spinners are also fairly dense and heavy, making them a better choice for deeper water. Panther Martin spinners are also available in single hook versions.

Best rod and reel when spinner fishing for trout

Ultralight spinning outfits are by far the best choice for anglers spinner fishing for trout. Many of the most effective spinners are quite light. This requires fairly light gear in order to cast them effectively. Conventional tackle is simply too heavy. Also, most trout are modest in size. Spin cast gear (closed face) can be used, but it has it’s limitations.

brook trout fishing lures

A 6” light action rod with a 1000 series reel is an excellent all around trout fishing rod and reel combination. A soft action rad is best for casting these lures as well as landing a nice trout on light line.

Anglers should use very light line when using spinners for trout. 2 pound test line will draw a lot of strikes, but might be a tad light for some anglers. 4 pound test will work fine in most situations. Flourocarbon line is expensive, but is a good investment. Monofilament will work fine as well. Braided line is too visible and the stretch is actually desired.

brook trout fishing lures

Spinner fishing will produce other species as well

While trout are perhaps the primary target for anglers fishing with spinners, many other species will take this lure as well. In slightly warmer trout streams, smallmouth bass are present in decent numbers. Cold water species including pike, walleye, panfish, and even musky will take a spinner meant for trout.

Smallmouth bass

smallmouth bass fishing

Smallmouth bass are the most commonly caught non-trout species caught by anglers spinner fishing for trout. This is due to the fact that they inhabit many of the same rivers and lakes and can tolerate fairly chilly water. Smallmouth will usually be found in areas of less current than will trout. They will readily take a spinner in both moving water and lakes.

Panfish

rock bass fishing tips and tackle

Surprisingly, some species of panfish thrive in waters that support trout. Rock bass in particular live in the streams that have trout species. These are a very aggressive fish that will take spinners and other lures. Yellow perch do well in some cold water streams. Crappie will be caught in some trout lakes as well. Even bluegill and bass will be found in these waters, although in lesser numbers. Panfish are more plentiful in the southern waters where trout are stocked in good numbers.

Northern pike

best northern pike fishing lure

Northern pike flourish in cold waters, just as trout do. Pike do not like fast moving water and are more often found in shallow, weedy lakes. Trout will occasionally be caught there as well. The challenge is landing a pike on very light line with no leader.

Walleye

walleye fishing tackle and lures

Walleye feed in cold water and are found in the same areas as trout. Anglers trolling for trout in particular will produce the odd walleye or two. Walleye will be found in larger rivers as well.

In conclusion, this article on spinner fishing for trout will help anglers have success using these effective lures.

 

 

 

 

 

Surf Fishing for Striped Bass – Pro Tips!

Surf Fishing for Striped Bass – Pro Tips!

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

surf fishing for striped bass

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

striped bass

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

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

striped bass

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

Striped bass surf fishing tackle

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

surf fishing

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

Best rod and reel for casting lures

surf fishing

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

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

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

surf fishing for striped bass

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

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

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

Best rigs for surf fishing for striped bass

surf fishing for striped bass

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

surf fishing for striped bass

Read more about surf fishing in this comprehensive article

Best bottom fishing rigs for striped bass

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

surf fishing rigs

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

fishing for river catfish

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

Best hooks and sinkers for surf fishing

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

surf fishing

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

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

Surf fishing techniques for striped bass

surf fishing

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

Locating striped bass in the surf

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

Inlets are top spots

striped bass fishing in the surf

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

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

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

Cuts in bars are top surf fishing spots

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

surf fishing

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

Find the bait, find the fish

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

Tides are very important in surf fishing

Florida surf fishing

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

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

Night time is the right time for surf fishing

striped bass

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

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

striped bass in surf

Find “breaking” fish

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

Top artificial lures when surf fishing for striped bass

surf fishing for striped bass

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

Spoons

lues for surf fishing

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

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

Jigs

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

bucktail jig

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

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

fishing from jetty

Plugs

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

mag darter

 

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

Rapala x rap

 

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

Surf fishing for striped bass with natural bait

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

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

surf fishing techniques and tips

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Surf Fishing for Whiting – A Complete Guide

Surf Fishing for Whiting – A Complete Guide

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

surf fishing for whiting

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

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

Click this link to read more about surf fishing in Florida

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

fishing for whiting

Surf fishing for whiting

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

Best baits for surf fishing for whiting

saltwater fishing with shrimp

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

Click to read more about surf fishing tackle

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

surf fishing for whiting

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

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

Surf fishing for whiting in the Atlantic Ocean

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

surf fishing

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

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

surf fishing

Surf fishing for whiting in the Gulf of Mexico

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

sliding sinker rig

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

surf fishing

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

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

Other locations to find whiting

fishing for whiting

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

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

More species caught while surf fishing for whiting

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

Pompano

surf fishing

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

surf fishing

Redfish

redfish

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

Bluefish

surf fishing for bluefish

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

Speckled trout

surf fishing for speckled trout

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

Jack crevalle

surf fishing for jack crevalle

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

Sharks

surf fishing for sharks

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

Ladyfish

surf fishing for ladyfish

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

Sheepshead

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

Black drum

surf fishing for black drum

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

Flounder

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

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

 

Best 11 Spinnerbait Fishing Lures

Best 11 Spinnerbait Fishing Lures

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

best 11 smallmouth bass fishing lures

The best 11 spinnerbait fishing lures are;

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

 

spinnerbait fishing for pike

Spinnerbait descriptions and characteristics

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

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

spinnerbait fishing

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

Spinnerbait fishing tips

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

spinnerbait fishing tips

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

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

largemouth bass fishing in Florida

 

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

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Small or finesse spinnerbaits

panfish Beetle spin

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

Johnson Beetlespin

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

Sarasota crappie fishing

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

Florida panfish fishing

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

beetle spin

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Beetlespin lures

Mister Twister spinnerbait

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

fishing for panfish with spinnerbaits

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

mister twister spinnerbait

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

Strike King Mini spinnerbait

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

best soft plastic lure

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

 

 

best small spinnerbait for bass fishing

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

Booyah Pond Magic spinnerbait

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

best 11 spinnerbait fishing lures

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

Booyah P:ond Magic

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

Full sized spinnerbaits

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

bass fishing in Florida

Strike King Spinnerbaits

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

strike king premier

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

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

kvd spinnerbait

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for KVD spinnerbaits

spinnerbait fishing

Terminator spinnerbaits

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

terminator

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Terminator spinnerbaits

Booyah spinnerbaits

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

fishing with spinnerbaits

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

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

pikee

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

Z-Man spinnerbaits

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

best 11 spinnerbait fishing lures

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

Molix spinnerbaits

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

spinnerbait fishing

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Molix spinnerbaits

Redfish Magic Spinnerbait

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

redfish magic

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

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

Fishing for Triggerfish – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

Fishing for Triggerfish – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

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

fishing for triggerfish

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

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

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

Triggerfish habits and locations

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

triggerfish fishing

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

Best triggerfish fishing tackle

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

fishing for triggerfish

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

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

Best hooks and rigs for triggerfish fishing

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

triggerfish

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

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

chicken rig

Top triggerfish baits

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

fishing for triggerfish

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

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

Triggerfish fishing techniques

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

triggerfish fishing

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

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

How to hook triggerfish

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

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

Catching triggerfish on the surface

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

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

Leaders for bottom fishing

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

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

Triggerfish are terrific to eat

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

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

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

Fishing for Striped Bass – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

Fishing for Striped Bass – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

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

striped bass fishing

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

Striped bass distribution

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

inshore saltwater fishing

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

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

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

Striped bass habits

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

fishing for striped bass

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

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

Striped bass fishing tackle

Lake Murray striped bass

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

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

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

surf fishing for striped bass

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

Anglers can shop Amazon for Penn spinning and conventional combos

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

surf fishing

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

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

Striped bass fishing techniques

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

Carolina game fish

Drift fishing

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

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

Trolling for striped bass

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

trolling for striped bass

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

Read more about trolling techniques in this article

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

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

striped bass fishing tips and spots

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

Fishing for striped bass with lures

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

Chesapeake Bay Bridge striped bass

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

Read about the best striped bass fishing lures in this article

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

Fishing for striped bass with bait

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

top Tennessee game fish species

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

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

Fishing for striped bass in rivers

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

top 13 Chesapeake Bay game fish

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

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

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

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

inshore saltwater fishing

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

East Coast striped bass

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

fishing inlets

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

Striped bass fishing techniques

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

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

Top east coast striped bass fishing spots

Striped bass fishing in Maine

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

Susquehanna River striped bass

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

Striped bass fishing in Massachusetts

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

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

Striped bass fishing in New York and New Jersey

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

spinnerbait fishing techniques

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

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

Striped bass fishing the coast

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

striped bass spots

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

Striped bass fishing, Chesapeake Bay

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

inshore fishing for stripers

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

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

Striped bass fishing the Susquehanna River

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

Tailwater fishing tips

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

Fishing Chesapeake Bay

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

Virginia river fishing

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

Striped bass fishing in the Carolinas

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

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

Massachusetts striped bass

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

Freshwater striped bass fishing

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

Lake Murray Striped Bass fishing, Tips and Techniques

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

umbrella rig for stripers

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

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

Striped bass fishing fever!

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

striper fishing Lake Murray

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

Lake Murray striped bass forage

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

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

Lake Murray striped bass fishing tackle

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

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

Umbrella rigs are effective on Lake Murray striped bass

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

winter striped bass fishing

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

Lake Murray striped bass seasons

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

Cooler weather striped bass fishing, fall and winter;

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

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

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

Warm water striped bass fishing, spring and summer;

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

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

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

Additional Lake Murray species

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

Sacramento striped bass fishing

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

Sacramento River striped bass

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

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

Striped bass fishing tackle

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

Striper fishing in California

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

Sacramento Striped Bass

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

Sacramento striper

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

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

Sacramento striped bass lures

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

California striped bass

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

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

Artificial lure techniques on Sacramento rivers

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

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

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

Tennessee striped bass

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

fishing for striped bass

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

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

Forage for striped bass

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

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

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

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

Southwest striped bass

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

Oklahome striped bass

Texas Striped bass lakes and rivers

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

Oklahoma Striped Bass lakes and rivers

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

California striped bass lakes and rivers

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

Nevada Striped bass lakes

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

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

Black Drum Fishing – A Complete Guide

Black Drum Fishing – A Complete Guide

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

black drum fishing

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

Black drum range and habits

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

fishing for black drum

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

Black drum feed at night

black drum

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

Black drum vs sheepshead

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

black drum

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

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

black drum fishing

Black drum are great to eat

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

eating black drum

Best baits for black drum fishing

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

saltwater fishing with shrimp

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

Best black drum fishing tackle

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

fishing for black drum

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

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

Best black drum fishing rigs

fishing for black drum

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

fishing rigs

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

Black drum fishing techniques

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

fishing for drum

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

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

Fishing docks and bridges for black drum

drum fishing

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

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

Night fishing for black drum

night fishing for drum

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

Passes and inlets are prime black drum fishing spots

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

black drum fishing

 

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

Black drum fishing tidal creeks and oyster bars

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

fishing a shrimp on a jig head

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

Jacksonville black drum

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

River mouths offer excellent black drum fishing

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

Surf fishing for black drum

surf fishing tips

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

black drum

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

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

 

 

 

 

26 Productive Trout Fishing Tips

26 Productive Trout Fishing Tips

This post will list 26 productive trout fishing tips. Trout fishing is extremely popular throughout North America and the world. The many trout species are all beautiful fish that fight hard and often leap out of the water. There are multiple species of trout that anglers can catch. They are found from the tiniest streams to the largest lakes. Many different techniques can be used to successfully fool wily trout.

26 useful trout fishing tips

There are several species of trout that freshwater anglers can pursue. Rainbow trout and brown trout are the most widely distributed species, with brook trout being a close third. Most trout caught these days are stocked, however native trout are available in many locations. Cutthrout trout, lake trout, tiger trout, bull trout, and Dolly Varden trout are other, less plentiful trout species.

While there are multiple species of trout found in streams and lakes, they behave in a similar manner in most instances. Therefore, they will all be covered together when discussing trout fishing tips, unless otherwise mentioned.

trout fishing tips

Special thanks to Bry Sims for the great pictures and trout fishing tips! Bry is an expert trout angler and trout and salmon guide in Alaska. You can book a trip with her HERE. Anglers can follow Bry on Instagram as well.

General trout fishing tips

There are some trout fishing tips that apply to all species in most waters and many different techniques. These will help anglers fishing for trout anywhere achieve more success.

1)  Match the hatch

trout fishinh tips

No matter where an angler is trout fishing, it is best to try and imitate the forage that trout are feeding on. This really applies to all types of fishing, not just trout. A lure, fly, or bait that closely mimics the available prey will often be the most productive offering.

2)  Attractor flies and lures produce as well.

While it seems to contradict the previous tip, there are times when going with something larger and more conspicuous will fool a trout into taking the offering. Large attractor flies are famous for this, but the same applies to lures as well. If subtle presentations do not produce, try something else!

fly fishing

3)  Stocked trout feed differently than native trout

This is a VERY important tip, one that many trout anglers overlook. It is good to know if the water being fished has native trout, stocked trout, or both. Stocked trout are used to feeding on man made fish food. Therefore, commercially available products are quite effective. Also, stocked trout often seek their food on the surface. This is not to say that traditional trout fishing lures and flies will not produce, quite the contrary. This is especially true the longer a trout has been acclimated it’s new home.

trout fishing blue ridge

4)  Understanding seasonal changes when trout fishing

One of the wonderful things about trout is that they are active all times of year and can be caught year round.  Each season requires its own tricks and tactics. River temperature is a major factor in determining the activity level of trout. Very warm and very cold water can both make trout more lethargic and less likely to feed. Aquatic insects make up a large part of what trout feed on in river systems and the temperature of the river can make a huge difference in the number and type of insects hatching.  

fishing for brown trout

In summer months, trout may be feeding on both terrestrial and aquatic insects. Some Bry’s favorite fly combinations for river fishing in the summer are grasshopper or other terrestrial dry fly patterns with one or two wet fly droppers. In summer you also have a proliferation of hatching insects like salmon flies, green drakes, caddis flies, mayflies etc that may be used as your dry fly pattern or indicator fly. 

fly fishing for trout

Fishing dry fly/nymph combinations is extremely effective in the spring, summer, and fall. Spring and fall can also have the added bonus of being spawning seasons for many species of trout.  Egg patterns are trout kryptonite when salmon and trout are spawning and fall is Bry’s personal favorite time of year. Fishing for rainbows and Dolly Varden in northern rivers with spawning salmon in the late summer and fall can be amazing! Fall is also a time when many river systems water levels and temperatures stabilize.  Spring runoffs often create less than ideal clarity and often more water in general which disperses the trout.

trout fishing

 Summer and fall tend to bring more crowds to trout fishing river destinations and fisherman in search of more solitude should not overlook the advantages of fishing for trout in the winter. Many trout freestone streams and rivers that hold trout will slow down in the winter months, but that is not to say that the trout are not still feeding. Concentrating on fishing with nymphs beneath strike indicators on warmer winter days can make for wonderful fishing.  Tailwater sections of rivers that have stable water temperatures beneath dams can keep winter water temperatures consistent and fish may feed on hatching insects year round in these areas.  

5)  Ice fishing for trout

ice fishing for rainbow trout

Trout are comfortable and feed well in cold water. This is particularly true for brook trout and lake trout. Therefore, ice fishing for trout can be very productive in both streams and lakes. Jigs, spoons, and live and cut baits will all be productive. Unlike many other species, trout remain active under the ice and often cruise around quite a bit and are found high in the water column.

Capt Jim has written several comprehensive articles on ice fishing for rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout and brook trout. Click the links to read them!

6)  Handle trout carefully!

brown trout fishing

Trout can be delicate and anglers should use as much care as possible when handling them for release. Smaller trout can be popped off using hemostats. Larger fished can be lifted briefly for a quick pic, but anglers should make sure to support the weight of the fish and revive it if necessary.

7)  Local knowledge is invaluable

While there are quite a few aspects of trout fishing that can apply anywhere, there is no substitute for local knowledge. This is especially true for fly anglers looking to match the local hatches and forage. Anglers can visit local shops and get some great advice while making a few purchases to support these small businesses.

trout fishing tips

8)  Hiring a guide is a great investment

A guided fishing trip can be expensive, depending on the financial situation of the angler. However, in most cases this is money well spent. Anglers may learn more in a few hours with a good guide than they might fishing alone in a year. It can really steepen the learning curve!

streamer fishing

9)  Tailwaters are terrific trout fishing spots

Tailwaters are the rivers below dams. These are fantastic spots for trout and many other species. The water flow and temperature can be controlled, often being tailored to ideal trout fishing conditions. Some of the top trout fishing spots in the world are tailwater fisheries. Anglers need to be careful and heed safety warnings as waters can rise very quickly.

Trout fishing in streams and small rivers

brook trout fishing lures

Many anglers associate trout fishing with streams, and for good reason. Smaller streams and rivers are perfect habitat for most trout species. They also are accessible to anglers without a boat.

10)  Light lines catch more stream trout

Trout in creeks, streams, and small rivers are usually quite spooky. The water is often clear as well. Lighter line and leaders will catch more fish. Many anglers are amazed at how many more strikes they get when going from 4 lb line to 2 lb line. The same applies to leaders for fly anglers.

brook trout fishing

11)  Fly anglers should use longer leaders and floating lines

In a similar vein to the previous tip, trout in shallow, clear water can be fussy. While fly anglers do not need to make long casts, a longer leader, up to 12 feet long, will definitely produce more strikes. This is especially true when fishing for brook trout in the tiny mountain creeks. While there are many line options, a floating line will be fine for this application.

12)  Spinners are the best river fishing lures

brown trout fishing lures

There are several types of artificial lures that will be productive when trout fishing in smaller streams. These include spinners, spoons, jigs, and plugs. However, in most cases, a small spinner is the best choice. Small spinners are light and land softly. They also snag the bottom less. Finally, they catch fish! Several manufacturers offer spinners with single, barbless hooks to comply with regulations and aid in successful releases. A 1/16 ounce spinner with a gold blade and brightly colored body is an excellent all-round choice.

Click to read more about fishing with spinners

13)  Fly choice for trout fishing in smaller streams

Trout in small streams tend to be very aggressive feeders as they often receive less pressure than fish in larger rivers do. Small streams tend to give trout very good access to terrestrial insects living along the river bank. Grasshoppers, ants, crickets, beetles, spiders, and a host of other tiny insects will often fall into streams and make excellent patterns for trout.  Small streams also have plenty of aquatic insects that live in the stream.  Mayflies, stoneflies, caddis flies and midges are just a few examples of insects that spend their larval stages growing and feeding in streams before hatching and mating at the end of their life cycle.  

trout fishing equipment

Using combinations of terrestrial and aquatic insect patterns in small streams can be deadly. Deeper pools in small streams can also be ideal locations for using streamer patterns as large fish in streams can become major fish eaters, often eating many of their cousins and even there own kind.  Other stream resident minnows like sculpins, dace, and trout fry can be imitated with a variety of streamer patterns and can be extremely effective in streams.  

trout fishing tips

Fish in streams tend to be wary and fly choice can be important when considering how to not spook your quarry. Bry often uses a highly visible dry fly when trying to make a delicate cast and presentation to finicky stream trout. It is hard to beat a good old fashioned grasshopper or ant pattern when stream fishing for trout. Favorite patterns for streams include Dave’s Hopper,  prince nymph, hare’s ear nymph, and brown sculpin.

14)  Trout holding spots

Locating trout in big and small rivers is based on several important factors. However, the most important component is a spot where can the fish access the most food while expending the least amount of energy. Feeding trout in both large and small rivers will often hold behind gravel bars, rocks, undercut banks or island seams where faster water is bringing food into breaks in the current. This allows fish to expend very little energy fighting the current while still having access to food that is drifting downstream.  

fly fishing for trout

Fish in small rivers will often hold in deep slow pools and runs below rapids. The bigger trout can usually be found in the very best pieces of structure that provide them with the first opportunity at food in a pool. Savvy anglers look to the head of the pool or riffle for the biggest trout. One exception to this rule is in shallow rivers where big trout need bigger, deeper pools and structure areas to feel safe from predators.

Big river trout that have started consuming large quantities of other fish will often reside in deep pools, moving into the shallows of slow water sections to hunt for minnows along the river banks. Winter trout will often move into slow moving water in the winter to conserve energy when less food is available.  

15)  Keep a low profile when fishing for trout

brown trout fishing lures

Anglers fishing the smaller streams and creeks should always be aware of how their presence will affect trout. They should walk quietly and avoid casting any shadows over the pool that is to be fished.

16)  Live bait can be effective in streams and small rivers

While most anglers opt to use either lures or flies when trout fishing in these smaller bodies, live bait, where legal, can certainly be used. Generally, bait works better in slightly larger streams and smaller rivers. Nightcrawlers and minnows are the top baits.

best 13 brown trout fishing lures

Trout fishing tips for larger rivers

Larger rivers provide anglers with some excellent trout fishing. However, they pose a few challenges as well. These trout fishing tips will help anglers be successful in larger waters.

17)  Safety first!

Large rivers will hold some trophy trout. However, they can unfortunately be deadly. Strong currents and deep water result in a dangerous situation. This is especially true for anglers wading. A PFD should be worn when wading big water. Anglers should also avoid fishing alone in these big rivers. Anglers in boats should exercise more caution as well.

trout fishing

18)  Beef up the tackle a bit

Anglers fishing these larger rivers can go heavier on the tackle than those fishing in smaller streams. The water is usually faster and not quite as clear. Anglers will need the heavier tackle as well when a big fish is hooked in the fast water. A 7′ medium light spinning rod with 8-10 lb line is a good combo. Fly anglers will do fine with a 7wt to 8wt outfit.

19)  larger lures produce in big rivers

Anglers will find that larger lures work better in the big rivers. These heavier lures can be cast farther, covering more water. Also, larger trout generally prefer larger meals. Larger spoons cast a mile and are very productive.

streamer fishing

20)  Streamers fool big trout for fly anglers

Streamers are very effective on trout in larger rivers. They can be tied to mimic bait fish, crustaceans, and insects. The Wooly Bugger is a classic streamer that will catch trout anywhere on the planet. Streamers are fished across and down current.

Anglers can read more about streamer fishing for trout in this article!

21)  Bait is productive in larger rivers

trout tips

Natural bait becomes a better option in larger rivers. Live baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, and crustaceans are effective. Eggs are deadly, particularly in rivers that experience salmon runs. Rainbow trout grow fat and happy gorging on salmon eggs.

22)  Trolling and drifting produces trout in large rivers

Trolling is very productive for trout in large rivers. It allows anglers to cover a lot of water in search of fish. The same applies to drifting, which in a fast current is a similar thing.

Trout fishing tips in lakes

lake trout fishing tackle

 

Anglers certainly catch a lot of trout in lakes as well. In most cases, these are the largest specimens. Trout can grow large on the abundant forage. The primary challenge when fishing for trout in lakes, unlike streams, is that there is a lot more water for them to be found in.

23) Trolling is the top fishing technique for trout in lakes

Most trout caught by anglers fishing in lakes are done so by trolling. The reason is simple; it is a very efficient technique. Trolling allows anglers to present multiple baits and different depths in search of fish. This can be as uncomplicated as pulling a spoon behind a small Jon boat or trolling in the Great Lakes with downriggers. Spoons and plugs are the top lures used.

salmon fishing in Great Lakes

24)  Trout in lakes are constantly cruising

Unlike trout in rivers, which tend to hold in certain spots due to current, fish in lakes tend to constantly cruise in search of forage. Often times, they do so high in the water column. Many freshwater fish species relate to structure. For the most part, trout do not. However, they will hang near schools of bait fish.

25)  Fly fishing can produce trout in lakes

Fly fishing can be an extremely effective method for taking trout in lakes. Like trout in rivers, aquatic insects are often a very important source of food for trout living in lakes. When fishing in a lake you may see trout on the surface, actively feeding on emerging or mating insects. On warm summer evenings the dry and dropper approach used on rivers can be extremely effective on lakes.

fly fishing in lakes

It is important to note that the majority of trout feeding that takes place in lakes is beneath the surface and identifying the primary food source in any given lake is critical. Fresh water shrimp, snails and a host of other aquatic insects and fish can be imitated effectively with hundreds of fly patterns tailored for catching trout in lakes. Fishing with stationary nymphs below a strike indicator is a sure way to fool even the wariest trout in a lake. A more aggressive and highly effective approach is to slowly strip streamers and large nymph patterns at the depth that trout are feeding.  

Fly fishing a lake has the advantage of allowing a fisherman to present very small insect fly imitations that are often the primary source of food for resident trout. Starting with big attractive flies and then gradually reducing the size of the offering until a productive pattern emerges is an excellent strategy. This is particularly true on unfamiliar lakes.

26)  Live bait works well in smaller lakes and ponds

Many ponds and smaller lakes have been stocked with trout, particularly rainbow trout. As mentioned earlier, stocked trout are raised on man made food and respond very well to commercially available baits as well as eggs and live bait. Worms and nightcrawlers are quite productive.

In conclusion, this article on 26 productive trout fishing tips will help anglers catch more of these terrific freshwater game fish!