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.

May1 fishing report

Note: This will be my last report for 5 weeks or so. I am getting a little “maintenance” done along with a vacation.

Once again, I spent all of my time fishing the deep grass flats. The action was steady, improving each day as we came off the full moon. Speckled trout were plentiful, with fish to 22″ being caught. Silver trout were also landed, with several up to 16′, which is a nice silver trout! A few Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, grouper, small sharks, sea bass, and ladyfish hit jigs and flies as well. All of the flats from Siesta Drive north held fish and I saw no evidence of red tide.

Sarasota speckled trout fishing

April 24 Sarasota Bay fishing report

Weather was an issue early in the week. Severe thunderstorms shut us down Monday and Tuesday. I was not sure what to expect on Wednesday, sometimes an infusion of fresh water can slow down the bite, but that was not the case. Action on the deep grass from New Pass north to Buttonwood was very good on a variety of species. Anglers casting Bass Assassin and Gulp baits on a 1/4 ounce jig head caught speckled trout to 4 pounds, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano, jacks, flounder, ladyfish, sharks, catfish, and more.

Sarasota fishing report

April 17 Report

fishing report

I spend the majority of the week drifting the deep grass flats casting lures and flies. Speckled trout were plentiful with some decent fish to 22″. Spanish mackerel, pompano, bluefish, jacks, small sharks, ladyfish, silver trout and other species were also caught. A variety of baits produced, in all honesty it really did not seem to matter. Bass Assassin and Gulp baits were used. Fly anglers did well casting Clouser patterns. We also did a little bottom fishing one breezy morning, catching a bunch of whiting and silver trout on frozen shrimp.

April 10 Sarasota fishing report

The bite on the deep grass flats continues to provide clients on Sarasota fishing charters with steady action. Bass Assassin split tail shad baits and Gulp Shrimp on jig heads fooled a lot of speckled trout along with Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano, ladyfish, jacks, sharks, sea bass, and more. There are still quite a few silver trout on the flats and in the deeper basins, with whiting mixed in. One morning was spent casting Rapala X-Raps in search of snook, but jacks, trout, snapper, and grouper were caught instead.

Sarasota fishing report

April 3 report

I spent most of my time casting Bass Assassin jigs and Gulp Shrimp on the grass flats throughout the area. Speckled trout were numerous, with fish up to 22″ being landed. A few Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, sharks and other species were mixed in as well. The best spots were between New Pass and Buttonwood. Vertical jigging in and around Big Pass produced silver trout, whiting, mackerel, and ladyfish. The sheepshead numbers declined drastically. Anglers casting Rapala X-Raps one morning hooked a few small snook. I ran out in the Gulf one morning and there was bait everywhere, but very few game fish around.

Longboat Key fishing charters

March 27 fishing report

Speckled trout were the name of the game this week for clients on Sarasota fishing charters. Just about every grass flat in 4′ to 8′ of water from Big Pass north to Long Bar held trout. Most were caught on Bass Assassin jigs and jerk worms along with Gulp baits. Live shrimp fooled a few as well. Silver trout showed up in decent numbers along with the occasional mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, jack, shark, and catfish. Hoping for the action out on the beach to fire up this coming week!

Sarasota fishing report

Sarasota fishing report March 20

There were two solid bites for anglers on Sarasota fishing charters this week; trout hitting jigs on the flats and sheepshead taking shrimp in the passes. Just about every submerged grass flat in 5′ to 8′ of water held speckled trout. Bass assassin jigs and Gulp Shrimp worked well. Silver trout, mackerel, bluefish, jacks, small sharks, ladyfish, and more were also caught. Just about every piece of structure in either pass has sheepshead around it. Live or frozen shrimp fished on the bottom will catch them up!

Sarasota fishing report

March 13 Sarasota fishing report

Fishing was decent this week, though wind was certainly an issue early in the week. Conditions improved daily after Tuesday. Still, the bite was steady, though the fish were not quite as active as last week. Every trip produced a few decent Spanish mackerel and decent numbers of spotted sea trout along with pompano, bluefish, jacks, and ladyfish. Jigs, Clouser Minnow flies, and live shrimp were used. Sheepshead are stacked up in large numbers in both passes. Anglers seeking a fillet or two can catch these saltwater panfish by fishing live or frozen shrimp near any type of structure in either New pass or Big Pass.

Sarasota fishing report

March 6 fishing report

Fishing in Sarasota Bay was good again this week. The best action was on the deeper grass flats throughout the area. Pompano, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, and other species hit Bass Assassin baits and Gulp Shrimp on a 1/4 ounce jig head. Speckled trout in particular were quite plentiful on the flats, their numbers are clearly rebounding. Anglers seeking a fillet or two can hit the passes with shrimp. Sheepshead are stacked in in big numbers as they prepare to spawn. I ran a couple river trips (probably the last ones this season) and it was pretty slow.

Sarasota fishing report

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

 

 

 

 

Good fishing in Sarasota to start 2021!

Fishing was good this first week of 2021! 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.

Chumming – a Very Effective Fishing Technique!

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

Flats Fishing – Pro Tips!

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

Fishing with Popping Corks, Pro tips!

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

Surf Fishing for Striped Bass – Pro Tips!

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

Surf Fishing for Whiting – a Complete Guide

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

Trolling in Saltwater

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

Fishing for Triggerfish – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

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

Black Drum Fishing – a Complete Guide

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

Florida Saltwater Fishing in Fall

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

7 Useful Flounder Fishing Tips

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

Black Sea Bass Fishing

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

Snapper Fishing – A Complete Guide

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

Fishing for Redfish, a Complete Guide

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

What is the best Saltwater Fishing Reel under $100?

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

Saltwater Fishing with Shrimp

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

7 Essential Surf Fishing Lures

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

Top 14 Chesapeake Bay Game Fish

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

Inshore Saltwater Fishing, a Complete Guide

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

What is the Best Pompano Fishing Lure?

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

Fishing for False Albacore, Pro Tips and Techniques

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

Best Cobia Fishing Tackle and Lures

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

Best Speckled Trout Fishing Tackle

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

Surf Fishing Tackle and Techniques

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

Best Jerkbait for Saltwater Fishing

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

11 Valuable Tampa Bay Fishing Tips

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

Best 6 Topwater Plugs for Saltwater Fishing

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

Best 7 Saltwater Fishing Spoons

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

Best Sheepshead Fishing Tackle and Baits

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

Tarpon Fishing Tackle and Gear, an Angler’s Guide

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

Best Redfish Fishing Tackle and lures

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

Best 12 Spotted Sea Trout Fishing Lures

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

Best Flounder and Fluke Fishing Tackle and Techniques

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

Best Grouper Fishing Tackle and Lures

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

Best False Albacore Fishing Tackle and Lures

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

Best Live Baits for Saltwater Fishing in Florida

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

Best 7 Fishing Lures for Redfish

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

Top 9 speckled trout fishing lures

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

Top 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures

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

Jack Crevalle Fishing, a Complete Guide

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

Light Tackle Bottom Fishing Tips

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

6 Essential Saltwater Fishing Flies

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

How to Catch Saltwater Fish with Jigs

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

Spotted Sea Trout Fishing, Tips to Succeed

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

Fishing for Redfish and Speckled Trout

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

Fishing for Bluefish, Tips and Techniques

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

Top 15 Sheepshead Fishing Tips

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

Best 6 Saltwater Fishing Lures

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

Top 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures

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

Florida fishing articles

largemouth bass fishing in Florida

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

Surf Fishing in Florida

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

Florida Saltwater Fishing in Summer

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

Flounder Fishing in Florida

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

Largemouth Bass Fishing in Florida

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

Best 14 Tampa Bay Fishing Spots

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

Fishing for Snook, a Complete Guide

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

Florida Offshore Fishing Tips

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

Florida Pompano Fishing

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

Florida Bluefish

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

Freshwater Fly Fishing in Florida

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

Fly Fishing in Florida, Gulf Coast Tips

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

Tarpon Fishing in Florida, an Anglers Guide

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

Best Snook Fishing Tackle and Lures

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

Florida King Mackerel Fishing, Tips and Techniques

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

Top 21 Florida Saltwater Game Fish

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

What is the Best Bait for Shark Fishing?

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

Fishing for Florida Panfish and Crappie

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

Top 25 Florida Game Fish

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

Florida Saltwater Fishing in Winter

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

Fishing for Ladyfish in Florida

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

Freshwater fishing articles

top freshwater game fish

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

Carolina rig Fishing, Tackle, Tips, and Techniques

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

Finesse Fishing – Pro Tips!

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

Wacky Worm Fishing – Tips and Techniques

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

Best 11 Buzzbait Fishing Lures

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

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

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

Blue Catfish Fishing Tips

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

Spinner Fishing for Trout, a Complete Guide

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

26 Productive Trout Fishing Tips

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

Top 15 Pennsylvania Game Fish Species

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

Top 12 Michigan Game Fish Species

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

Top 15 Wisconsin Game Fish Species

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

Streamer Fishing for Trout – Pro Tips!

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

Trout Fishing Equipment – A Complete Guide

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

Fly Fishing for Bass

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

10 Essential Spotted Bass Fishing Lures

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

Largemouth Bass Fishing – Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

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

Top 18 Minnesota Game Fish

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

Bluegill Fishing- Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

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

Best 11 Brook Trout Fishing Lures

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

What is the Best Fishing Bait for Blue Catfish?

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

What is the Best Fishing Bait for Channel Catfish

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

What is the best largemouth bass fishing lure?

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

What is the best crappie fishing lure?

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

9 Essential Smallmouth Bass Fishing Lures

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

14 Essential Walleye Trolling Lures

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

Top 6 Fishing Lures

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

What is the Best Live Bait for Crappie Fishing?

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

Top 5 Freshwater Fishing Spinners

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

Best Small Spinnerbait for Bass Fishing

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

Best Brook Trout Fishing tackle

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

Best Lake Trout Fishing Tackle and Gear

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

Best Musky Fishing Tackle

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

Northern Pike Fishing Tips and Tackle

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

Best Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tackle and lures

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

Rock Bass Fishing Tips and Tackle

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

Panfish Fishing

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

Walleye Fishing Tackle and lures

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

Top 13 Freshwater Fishing Plugs

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

Best 11 topwater plugs for freshwater fishing

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

Top 11 Freshwater Fishing Spoons

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

Largemouth Bass Fishing in Creeks

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

Spinnerbait Fishing Tips and Techniques

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

Bass Fishing Tackle and Equipment

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

Best Catfish Fishing Tackle and Gear

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

Best 13 Brown Trout Fishing Lures

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

Freshwater Fishing Tackle and Lures, a Beginners Guide

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

Ice Fishing Tackle and Gear

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

Top 10 Northern Pike Fishing Lures

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

Best 13 Largemouth Bass Fishing Lures

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

Best River Trout Fishing Lure

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

What is the best live bait for freshwater fishing?

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

Fly Fishing for Bluegill and Panfish

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

Fishing with Spinners in Rivers and Streams

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

Top 13 Rainbow Trout Fishing Lures

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

What is the best live bait for smallmouth bass?

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

Best 9 Fishing Lures for Streams and Small Rivers

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

Crappie Fishing Tackle and Lures, a Complete Guide

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

Best 9 fishing lures for bluegill and panfish

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

How to Catch Catfish, a Comprehensive Guide

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

Walleye Fishing, a Beginners Guide

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

Fishing for River Catfish, Tips and Techniques

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

Smallmouth Bass Fishing for Beginners

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

Best 7 River Smallmouth Fishing Lures

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

Fishing Franklin North Carolina

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

Top 27 Freshwater Game Fish Species

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

Trout Fishing in Blue Ridge, Georgia

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

Manitoba and Alberta Fishing

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

River Fishing Tips and Techniques

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

Fishing the North Shore of Minnesota

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

Ice fishing articles

ice fishing for rainbow trout

Ice Fishing with Wax Worms

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

5 Essential Ice Fishing Jigs

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

Best 13 Ice Fishing Spoons

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

Ice Fishing for Crappie, a Beginners Guide

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

Ice Fishing with Tip Ups

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

Sarasota fishing articles

guide to inshore saltwater fishing

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

Fishing Sarasota Bay, Pro Tips!

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

Fishing Siesta Key

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

Sarasota Fishing Calendar

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

Sarasota Bottom Fishing

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

Best 11 Sarasota Fishing Reefs

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

Sarasota Offshore Fishing

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

Sarasota Redfish

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

Sarasota Chumming Techniques

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

River Snook Fishing Charters

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

Sarasota Bass Fishing

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

Sarasota Snook Fishing

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

Sarasota False Albacore

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

Sarasota Fishing Forecast

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

Sarasota Crappie Fishing

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

Sarasota Sheepshead Fishing

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

Sarasota Mangrove Snapper Fishing

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

Sarasota Speckled Trout Fishing

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

Longboat Key Fishing Charters

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

Sarasota Freshwater Fishing

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

Best 6 Sarasota Fishing Lures

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

Fly Fishing Sarasota Rivers

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

Best Sarasota Fishing Charter

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

35 Best Sarasota Fishing Spots

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

Sarasota Jig Fishing

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

Sarasota Trolling Techniques

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

Siesta Key Snook Fishing

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

Best 7 Lido Key Fishing Spots

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

17 Best Bradenton Fishing Spots

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

Fishing Charters in Sarasota

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

Miscellaneous Fishing Articles

fishing for striped bass

Swimbait Fishing Lures – a Complete Guide

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

Best 8 Search Bait Fishing Lures

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

Soft Plastic Fishing Lures – a Complete Guide

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

Best 11 Chatterbait Fishing Lures

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

Best 13 Crankbait Fishing Lures

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

Fishing with Lures, a Complete Guide

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

Jerkbait Fishing _ Pro Tips!

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

Lipless Crankbait Fishing, a Guide to Success

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

Best 11 Spinnerbait Fishing Lures

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

Best 5 Fishing Techniques

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

Fishing for Striped Bass, Tips, Tackle, and Techniques

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

Top 25 Carolina Game Fish

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

7 Essential Striped Bass Fishing Lures

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

What is the Best Striped Bass Fishing Lure?

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

What is the best fishing knot?

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

What is the Best Scented Soft Plastic Fishing Lure

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

Best Striped Bass Fishing Tackle and Lures

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

Top 12 Texas Game Fish

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

A Guide to Kayak Fishing for Beginners

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

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

Carolina Rig Fishing, Tackle, Tips, and Techniques!

Carolina Rig Fishing, Tackle, Tips, and Techniques!

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

bass fishing in Florida

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

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

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

Carolina rig fishing components

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

carolina rig

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

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

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

Best artificial lures for use on a Carolina rig

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

Carolina rig fishing

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

Read more about Finesse Fishing in this article by Capt Jim

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

zoom trick worm

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

Best rod and reel for fishing the Carolina rig

bass fishing

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

walleye fishing in Michigan

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

Carolina rig fishing techniques

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

Florida bass fishing

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

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

smallmouth bass fishing

 

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

Fishing live bait with the Carolina rig

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

blue catfish

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

gag grouper fishing

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

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

 

 

Swimbait Fishing Lures – a Complete Guide!

Swimbait Fishing Lures – a Complete Guide!

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

swimbait largemouth

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

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

Swimbait varieties

swimbait

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

Hard plastic swimbaits

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

finesse fishing

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

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

Soft plastic swimbaits

swimbait fishing lures

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

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

swimbait fishing lures

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

swimbait

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

Best rod and reel for fishing with swimbaits

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

fishing

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

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

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Best fishing lines

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

Swimbait fishing techniques

swimbait

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

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

swimbaits

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

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

Best swimbait fishing lures

search bait fishing lures

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

Bass Assassin swimbaits

bass assassin

 

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

Strike King Rage Swimmer

rage swimmer swimbait

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

Berkley Swimbaits

berkley swimbait

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

Hard body swimbaits

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

Lixada swimbaits

lixada

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

Catch Company

catch co swimbait

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

bass fishing with swimbaits

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

 

 

 

 

Chumming – a Very Effective Fishing Technique!

Chumming – a Very Effective Fishing Technique!

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

chumming fishing techniques

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

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

fishing for striped bass

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

Chum varieties

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

chumming with live bait

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

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

Chumming with Live Bait video

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

fishing with live bait in florida

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

Chumming techniques

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

mangrove snapper fishing

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

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

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

grouper fishing

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

Rigging when fishing and chumming

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

flounder fishing

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

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

king mackerel fishing

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

Chumming with frozen blocks

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

yellowtail snapper fishing

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

gag grouper fishing

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

Spanish mackerel and false albacore fishing tips

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

Chumming with live bait

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

Fishing in Sarasota Bay for Trout and Snapper video

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

live bait fishing in Florida

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

Chumming with cut bait

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

Florida saltwater fishing in spring

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

Chumming is overlooked by freshwater anglers

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

blue catfish fishing tips

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

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

 

 

 

Best 8 Search Bait Fishing Lures

Best 8 Search Bait Fishing Lures

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

best soft plastic lure

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

top 6 fishing lures

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

The best 8 search bait fishing lures are;

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

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

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap

crankbait fishing

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

search bait fishing

Read this article by Capt Jim on fishing lipless crankbaits

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

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

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Bass Assassin 4″ Sea Shad swimbait

search bait fishing lures

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

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

bluefish fishing

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

Click link to shop Amazon for Bass Assassin lures

Z-Man Chatterbait

search baits

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

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

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

Worden’s Rooster tail spinner

fishing with lures

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

best 13 brown trout fishing lures

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

Click to shop Amazon for Rooster Tail lures

Spinnerbaits

spinnerbait fishing tips and techniques

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

Sarasota trolling techniques

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

spinnerbait fishing for pike

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

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

Rapala Shad Rap crankbait

walleye fishing in Michigan

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

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

Click to shop Amazon for Shad Rap lures

Acme Kastmaster spoon

lues for surf fishing

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

Florida Spanish mackerel fishing

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

trout lures

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

Click to shop Amazon for Kastmaster lures

Johnson Silver Minnow spoon

redfish and trout fishing

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

Click to shop Amazon for Silver Minnow lures

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

Flats Fishing – Pro Tips!

Flats Fishing – Pro tips!

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

flats fishing

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

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

flats fishing

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

Shallow and deep flats are different

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

spotted sea trout fishing

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

Fishing for Speckled Trout (Spotted Sea Trout) video

Flats fishing in shallow water

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

Top 25 Florida game fish

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

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

Tampa Bay redfish

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

Flats fishing is very good on the low, incoming tide

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

summer fishing in Florida

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

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

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

flats fishing

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

Flats fishing techniques

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

fishing inlets

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

Jack Crevalle Fishing with Lures video

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

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

top game fish in Florida

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

Using live bait when flats fishing

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

fishing for black drum

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

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

fishing for jack crevalle

Sight fishing is challenging and exciting

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

Top Florida saltwater game fish

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

Flats fishing in deep water

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

Sarasota Spanish mackerel fishing

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

Artificial lures are effective on the deep flats

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

bluefish fishing

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

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

flats fishing

Live bait is effective on the deep flats

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

flounder fishing in Florida

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

Flats fishing on the Gulf Coast

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

fishing with popping corks

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

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

Best 6 fishing lures for redfish

Flats fishing in the Florida Keys

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

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

Flats fishing in the Southeast

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

fishing in Carolina

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

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

Flats fishing in the Northeast

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

Tailwater fishing tips

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

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

Fishing with Jigs in Freshwater – a Complete Guide

Fishing with Jigs in Freshwater – a Complete Guide

This article will thoroughly cover fishing with jigs in freshwater. Jigs were the first artificial lure used by man to fool a fish. They continue to be productive to this day.

jig

A jig is a hook with a weighted head and some type of body or tail. The weight adds casting weight while action giving the lure action in the water. The tail or dressing can be hair, rubber, or plastic.

Jigs are simple but extremely versatile and effective fishing lures. They will catch every freshwater game fish species. Jigs can be used in every fishing situation; casting, trolling, vertical fishing, and ice fishing. They can mimic every type of forage that game fish feed on.

bass fishing

Freshwater jig types

There are two basic types of freshwater fishing jigs; skirted or dressed jigs and the jig and grub. Skirted jigs have the skirt or hair permanently attached to the jig head. Skirts are usually rubber and have terrific action in the water. Both natural and synthetic hair are used as dressing as well. Bucktail and marabou are both widely used natural dressings. Synthetic hair is also used and has the benefit of being durable.

Tailwater fishing tips and techniques

The jig and grub combination is the second type of freshwater fishing jig. With this system the jig head is used in conjunction with some type of soft plastic body. This is a very versatile arrangement as it allows anglers to quickly and easily change the tail to switch up color, size, and action. These lures are also quite economical.Tube jigs fall into this category as well.

Grub bodies are available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Twister tail grubs are very effective and put out a lot of action with little movement. Shad tail grubs realistically imitate a swimming bait fish. Paddle tail grubs fall erratically after being twitched sharply. Some grubs resemble creatures and even things that do not exist. However, they will all catch fish when presented properly.

Michigan fishing

Anglers jig fishing in freshwater can even combine the two jig types! Some jigs offer the option of using a soft plastic trailer with a hair or skirted jig. Bass anglers employ this technique often. The trailer adds bulk and action. This works very well when trolling jigs for striped bass and other species.

Fishing for panfish and crappie with jigs

Sarasota fishing report

Jigs are fantastic fishing lures for panfish! They will catch every panfish species, especially large bluegill. There is no doubt that the jig is the best crappie lure as well. Both of these species are aggressive and feed on minnows. Jigs realistically mimic bait fish along with crustaceans and other forage.

Fishing for Florida Crappie video

Obviously, panfish are small and therefore a small jig should be used when targeting them. Fortunately, anglers jig fishing in freshwater have a myriad of options to choose from. 1/16 ounce is a good all-round size, but anglers often go much smaller. The jig and grub system is tough to beat for chasing panfish. Anglers can purchase kits for a very reasonable price that has a good assortment of jig heads and bodies.

Sarasota crappie fishing

Hair jigs also produce for anglers jig fishing in freshwater for crappie and panfish. Marabou jigs have been catching these diminutive game fish for decades. Panfish often react better to a less aggressive presentation. Marabou “breathes” in the water and puts out a great action with very little movement. This is perfect for panfish.

Jig fishing techniques for panfish and crappie

Anglers can cast, vertically jig, troll, and even ice fish with jigs for panfish. These tiny jigs are very light. Therefore, ultralight tackle with 4 lb line is the best rod and reel to use. Anglers can swim a jig over submerged vegetation and along weed lines. Submerged timber is always a good spot to try, especially for bluegill. In most cases, a very slow, steady retrieve works best.

fishing for crappie

Bridges are also good spots to try for crappie and panfish. The best approach is to fish vertically close to the bridge pilings. These fish will often be suspended, so anglers should start at the bottom and work up towards the surface. This same technique works well when fishing deeper structure and submerged trees. Fish will often school in the tops of the trees.

Click on the link to read Capt Jim’s E-book Fishing for Crappie, Bluegill, and Panfish

Trolling is a very effective technique that anglers jig fishing in freshwater can use to locate schools of panfish. Tiny jigs can be trolled slowly weed weed edges, over submerged vegetation, and along structure breaks. Serious crappie anglers have refined this technique and do very well trolling jigs. They often add a live minnow to make them even more attractive.

Flipping docks is another productive technique that anglers fishing for crappie and panfish use successfully. The idea it to get the jig back in the shade as far as possible. Some anglers use a “bow and arrow” cast to accomplish this. The jig usually gets hit as it falls through the water column.

ice fishing with jigs

Anglers ice fishing for bluegill and panfish use jigs almost exclusively. Obviously, ice fishing requires a vertical presentation. Jigs are perfect for that and are almost exclusively used by anglers chasing panfish through the ice.

Bass fishing jigs

Booyah jig

There is another family of jigs for anglers targeting largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. These come in a wide variety of shapes and colors as well. These are stout jigs with strong hooks. Most have rubber legs and many employ a weed guard. The head is designed to swim through weeds and over structure.

Wisconsin game fish

Bass fishing jigs come in a couple different varieties, but they are all similar. Flipping jigs, swim jigs, etc are all fairly bulky. Bass, especially largemouth, prefer a substantial meal. Anglers usually add a soft plastic trailer to add even more bulk and action.

Anglers can use bass fishing jigs in both shallow and deep water. They crawl over than through most cover and vegetation. Heavy models are used to “punch” through thick matted cover. They produce when pitched under docks as well. Swim jigs are an excellt choice to fish over submerged vegetation like hydrilla.

smallmouth bass fishing lures

The jig and grub does has a place in bass fishing, especially for smallmouth bass. Tube baits in particular are very effective on them. Smallies are often found in more open water around gravel points and submerged rocks. A jig and grub or tube bounced along the bottom resembles a fleeing crayfish, prime smallmouth forage. Shad tail grubs are productive on suspended bass of all species. A black 1/8 ounce jig head with a 2” to 3” green or orange curly tail grub is an outstanding river smallmouth lure as well.

Striped bass love jigs!

Lake Murray striped bass

Striped bass are a saltwater species that have been introduced into large freshwater lakes. They are thriving in this environment! Stripers in saltwater love white bucktail jigs, and freshwater striped bass do as well. They mimic the larger shad and herring that they feed on.

Anglers troll jigs for striped bass with great success. Special rigs called umbrella rigs are used to troll multiple baits at once. Trolling is an excellent method to locate and catch open water fish that move around a lot.

striped bass fishing tips and spots

Jigs can be vertically fished as well. This works great once fish are located. Bait schools will often relate to structure edges and cover. This will in turn attract the game fish. I white bucktail jig jerked sharply and allowed to flutter down realistically imitates a wounded herring or shad. A stip of cut bait can be used to sweeten the offering.

Fishing with jigs in freshwater; walleye

walleye fishing tackle and lures

Anglers freshwater fishing with jigs often target walleye. These very popular freshwater game fish usually feed on or near the bottom. A curly tail, shad tail, or hair jig bounced along the bottom from a drifting boat is a deadly technique. Some jigs will be lost to bottom structure, but it is usually worth it to fish right where the walleye live.

Casting jigs will certainly produce walleye as well. This is especially true in shallow water and rivers. Points and weed beds in 10′ to 20′ of water are top spots. River walleye will school up in the deeper holes. Often times, walleye anglers add live bait to the jig. A minnow or crawler can really make a big difference on a tough day.

Trout fishing with jigs

lake trout fishing tips

Trout anglers often overlook jigs, and this is a mistake. Spoons, plugs, and spinners are certainly productive, but jigs will catch plenty of trout as well. Jigs are used regularly by anglers ice fishing for trout. Smaller curly tail jigs will produce in streams. Larger jigs will catch big brown and rainbow trout as well as lake trout.

trout fishing

Trout species in lakes are often found higher in the water column than most other species. Swimming or trolling a jig 5′ to 10′ under the surface will produce trout. Anglers can also use a bare jig head to present a live bait to bottom feeding trout.

Most species with be caught fishing with jigs

While several species have been listed in this article, the reality is that every predator game fish will take a jig. Musky, northern pike, white bass, and even channel catfish will take a well presented bait. This is especially true if natural bait is added to the hook.

In conclusion, this article on fishing with jigs in freshwater will encourage anglers use these productive lures!

 

 

 

 

Finesse Fishing – Pro tips!

Finesse Fishing – Pro tips!

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

finesse fishing

Finesse fishing is a technique where anglers use smaller soft plastic lures and lighter lines and rods. The presentation is slow and subtle. Finesse fishing is especially effective when fish are finicky, such as after a front, in clear water, and in cold water.

While it seems fairly simple, just scale down the lures and tackle, there are nuances and techniques that will maximize finesse fishing. These include tackle, rigging and presentation along with locations.

Thanks to Sarah for the great pictures and fishing tips! She lives in the Pacific Northwest and employs finesse fishing quite often in those deep, clear, cool waters. Follow Sarah on Instagram

Best rod and reel for finesse fishing

In most cases, spinning tackle is the best choice for anglers finesse fishing. One look at a current bass fishing tournament on television will show how much more popular spinning tackle is now. Spinning outfits allow anglers to better cast and control these lighter lures and lines while still having the backbone to handle a good fish.

finesse fishing

The best spinning rod and reel combination would be a 7′ to 7 ½ rod with a fairly “fast” action. This refers to how the rod is built. A “fast” action rod is stiff at the butt and through most of the rod, but then gets limber neat the tip. This combination results in a rod that has backbone and sensitivity, yet a soft tip for longer casts and fighting a fish.

The rod should be matched with a 25/2500 or 30/3000 series reel. Anglers can spool up the reel with braid, monofilament, or newer flourocarbon line. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Most anglers opt for 10 lb braid with a 24′ to 30′ piece of 8-10 lb flourocarbon leader. Braided line has excellent sensitivity, no stretch, and will last a long time. It is a tad more expensive initially.

finesse fishing

A light baitcasting rod and reel certainly has a place in finesse fishing. Modern reels are much easier to cast without the famous “backlash” that used to be common. They are an excellent choice for Texas rigged works and other baits, especially when fishing heavy cover. Baitcasting rigs also work great for fishing with swimbaits, especially the fast retrieve ratios.

Best finesse fishing lures

The list of soft plastic fishing lures that can be used by anglers finesse fishing is literally endless. It would be impossible to list them here. Instead, several of Capt Jim and Sarah’s favorite baits and types will be listed. By no means does this suggest that the many other quality baits on the market are not effective.

finesse bait

Read more about Soft Plastic Fishing Lures in this article by Capt Jim

Worms

Plastic worms were introduced to the fishing world in the late 60s and it changed things forever. Early models were stiff and not very life-like; that has certainly changed! Many companies offer a finesse worm. Some anglers refer to them as “do nothing” lures as the less action imparted by the angler the better they generally produce.

Senko

Most finesse worms are 4” to 5” long and straight. They are versatile lures that can be rigged a variety of ways. The smaller profile and subtle presentation will appeal to bass and other game fish when they are not feeding aggressively. Both Sarah’s and Capt Jim’s favorite finesse worm is the Yamamoto Senko worm. Capt likes a 4″ bait in green pumpkin hooked wacky style. Sarah prefers the larger Senko and usually fishes it Texas style. Her second choice is the Z-Man TRD worm.

Grubs

Grubs are small soft plastic lures that can mimic bait fish, crustaceans, and other forage. They are available in several different shapes including curly tail and flat tail. They are most often fished on a jig head, but can be fished on a drop shot rig as well.

mister twister

Mister Twister curly tail grubs hit the market in the late 70’s. The action that this simple design put out in the water was amazing! These are truly finesse baits as they work best fished very slowly. The tail will spin with the slightest movement, including on the fall. These are Capt Jim’s favorite grubs, with chartreuse being his top color.

Creature baits

Creature baits are basically any soft plastic lure that does not fit into other categories. These include crayfish, lizards, shrimp, crabs, and even critters that look like nothing in the water. These baits are generally just a bit bulkier and are often used as trailers on jigs and spinnerbaits. They can be rigged in a variety of manners.

finesse bait

Capt Jim and Sarah both like the Berkley Powerbait line of creature baits. The selection is endless in sizes, shape, and color. Also, these lures has scent which will not only attract fish but more importantly, cause fish to hang on longer. They can re rigged in a variety of ways. Sarah especially likes the Chigger Craw. Her second favorite is the Yamamoto Cowboy.

Tube baits

Tube baits are very effective finesse fishing lures. Many anglers associate them with smallmouth bass, and for good reason. However they are effective on virtually every species, from panfish to northern pike. It is a bit of a secret bait for anglers ice fishing as well.

finesse fishing

The tube bait skirt consists of a bunch of thin ‘tails” that move seductively in the water with the slightest motion. They can imitate bait fish as well as crayfish and other crustaceans. Once again, Berkley gets the nod from Capt Jim with the Berkley Powerbait Power Tube.

Sarah loves fishing with tubes baits! She likes the Bite Me Tackle Big Dude Goby jig heads with Strike King Coffee tubes and Big Bite Baits Craw tubes threaded on. Sarah mostly uses the 4″ size on the larger bass that she fishes for.

Swimbaits

swimbait largemouth

Swimbaits are soft plastic lures that resemble a bait fish. They have a bit of a bulky body along with a tail that puts out a steady action and vibration when retrieved. Anglers can purchase lures that are one unit ready and rigged or just the soft plastic body which they can then rig themselves.

These lures are most often fished on a swimbait hook, but can be used on a jig head as well. While these lures can get a bit larger, the fact that they are retrieved slowly and steadily still puts them in the “finesse fishing” category. Capt Jim likes the Bass Assassin line of lures while Sarah does well on the Megabass Dark Sleeper series.

bluegill

Finesse fishing, rigging and techniques.

There are several rigging and fishing techniques that anglers use when finesse fishing. These include Texas rig, drop shot rig, swimbait hooks, jig heads, Carolina rig, and wacky worm rig. Some bait can be rigged using all of these methods, while others are more specific.

Texas rig

texas rigged worm

Texas rigging a soft plastic lure involves the use of a specially designed hook. This hook allows for the bait to hang straight while having the point buried in the lure, rendering it virtually weedless. A sliding sinker can be added to get the lure down. It is most often used with a worm or creature bait.

finesse fishing

The Texas rig is a terrific choice when fishing in or near heavy cover or vegetation. Anglers can slowly pull a worm or lizard over every log or rock as well as through weeds. Anglers “punch” a Texas rigged creature bait through mats of heavy cover as well. This is one situation where baitcasting tackle works fine.

Drop shot rig

drop shot

The drop shot rig is an extremely effective finesse technique, particularly when used in a vertical presentation. It uses a weight at the bottom with a hook tied 12” to 18” above the weight, tight to the line. A soft plastic lure (any type can really be used) is then hooked through the nose.

The effectiveness of this presentation is that it suspends the lure just off the bottom, right in front of the fish. The rod tip is jiggled gently, causing the lure to dance and flutter. Game fish find this irresistible and this will trigger bites from inactive fish like to other presentation.

Swimbait hook

swim bait hook

Swimbait hooks are similar to worm hooks, with a couple differences. They use some type of keeper to attach the bait to the eye of the hook. A weight is located on the bend, resulting the bait presenting horizontally in the water. The bait can then be hooked weedless. Most swimbaits have a “pocket” for the hook to ride in.

Swimbaits work best with a slow, steady retrieve, often just above the bottom or the tops of submerged vegetation. In most cases, this is a “big fish” bait. Anglers will usually get fewer bites, but they will be larger fish.

Jig head

A jig head is an excellent vehicle to present a soft plastic finesse bait. A light jig head and a small grub will catch just about every fish species that swims. Many an anglers casting a 1/16 ounce jig for panfish has been surprised by a larger bass or pike that took it. Anglers can fish a grub, swimbait, or worm on a jig head effectively.

There are also a few “specialty” jig heads out there, specifically designed for finesse fishing. These include a Ned rig, which uses an oddly shaped head and a small, straight worm. Also, “Shaky Head” jig heads have a fine wire hook and if needed a weed guard. They are excellent for fishing worms and other finesse baits.

Wacky worm

wacky worm fishing

Wacky worm fishing is a very productive method. It almost always uses a finesse worm. What sets it apart is the hooking method; the hook is inserted in the center of the worm. It is cast out and allowed to slowly sink through the water column. The best aspect of this is that it is very easy for novice anglers to use.

Read more about wacky worm fishing in this article

Carolina rig

carolina rig

The Carolina rig is used less than it used to be, due to the popularity of the drop shot rig. It is mostly used in deeper water over structure such as channel edges and other cover. It uses a leader between the hook and the weight allows the worm to float up above the bottom while the sinker crawls over the structure.

Finesse fishing produces a variety of species.

musky

While many anglers associate finesse fishing with bass, the reality is that this technique of downsizing lures and slowing the presentation can produce on most fish species. There will always be days that smaller baits and more subdued retrieves will produce, even on bluegill and panfish.

Larger game fish such as walleye, northern pike, striped bass, and even trout will respond to finesse fishing techniques. Ice fishing is a perfect example of this. Anglers downsize everything in the cold, clear water. The same applies in open water fishing after a cold front moves through, bringing bright skies and cooler water.

In conclusion, this article on finesse fishing will help anglers better understand this extremely effective technique!

 

 

 

 

Wacky Worm Fishing, Tips and Techniques

Wacky Worm Fishing, Tips and Techniques

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

best largemouth bass fishing lure

Wacky worm fishing consists of placing a hook through the center of a plastic worm. The worm is usually short, between 4 inches and 6 inches long. As the worm sinks, it undulates very naturally in the water, an action that fish find irresistible. No added weight is used.

wacky worm fishing

The hook placement is what separates wacky worm fishing from other types of worms and soft plastic baits. With other rigging methods such as Texas style, Carolina rigging, drop shot, and swim bait hooks, the worm is hooked in the front. This works very well when moving the lure through weeds and over other structure.

best bass lure

Thanks to Jess for the great pics and tips. She never leaves the dock without one outfit rigged up with a wacky worm. Follow Jess on Instagram

Wacky worm fishing techniques

The wacky worm rig is designed to elicit a strike as the worm falls through the water column. The majority of strikes will occur on the cast as the worm slowly sinks, undulating seductively in the water. Anglers can give it a twitch or two after the initial cast as well. It is a form of finesse fishing. However, the worm is not retrieved all the way back in. Instead, it is reeled in quickly and cast to another likely spot.

bass fishing with a worm

This approach to wacky worm fishing makes it very efficient. The lure spends its entire time in the strike zone without a lot of wasted time. It allows anglers to concentrate on prime ambush spots while fishing fairly slowly and still covering a fair amount of water at the same time. It sounds a bit contradictory, but in reality this is what makes it such an excellent fishing technique.

Another advantage of wacky worm fishing is at the strike is usually fairly easy to detect. This makes it an excellent choice for novice and beginning anglers. As mentioned above, most strikes occur as the worm falls through the water column. Sometimes the fish just inhales it, but on many occasions the fish just swims off with the worm. This makes it very easy to detect the strike as the line can be seen running out sideways.

fishing a wacky worm

Best rods, reels, lines, and hooks

Spinning tackle is preferred by most anglers when wacky worm fishing. There are couple of reasons for this. First off, the worm and hook combination is fairly light. Spinning tackle works best when casting light lures. Also, after the initial cast the bail can be left open allowing the fish to grab the worm and swim off with it without feeling any resistance. After a few moments the bail can be slammed shut and the hook set.

wacky worm

The best rod and reel combination for fishing a wacky worm would be a 7 foot to 7 1/2 foot rod with a fast action paired with a 3000 series reel. A fast action rod means that the rod has a stout butt section but a very limber tip. This allows anglers to cast light lures such as the wacky worm while still having decent power to muscle of fish away from heavy cover.

Anglers can use braided line, monofilament line, or fluorocarbon line. It really is just a matter of angler preference. Many anglers prefer braided line is it has zero stretch and excellent sensitivity. A 2 foot long fluorocarbon leader between 10 pound test and 15 pound test should be added, especially in clear water conditions.

wacky worm fishing

A hook completes the wacky worm rig. Most anglers use a wide gap 3/0 to 4/0 finesse style hook. This is a lighter wire hook that is thin, yet strong. A heavy hook does not work well with this finesse type of presentation. Anglers fishing in weedy areas well at times use a hook with a weed guard. Shaky head jig heads are popular as well, as they combine a tiny bit of weight if needed along with a hook and a weed guard. They work very well when fishing slightly deeper water or when current is present.

Fishing the wacky worm

For the most part, wacky worm fishing is a shallow water technique. It is well-suited to fishing depths between 1 foot deep and 6 feet deep. It is an efficient technique that allows anglers to cover a fair amount of water quickly while still fishing slowly. Anglers cast the worm to the high percentage targets such as weed edges, boat docks, submerged timber, and other fish holding spots.

best largemouth bass lure

The wacky worm can be fished in deep water, however that is not really it’s strong suit. The rig simply takes too long to sink and it would take anglers a long time to cover an area thoroughly. It is also not the best choice when fishing heavy cover as the design of the rig will result in it hanging on weeds. Texas rigging and Carolina rigging are better options in these situations.

Lure options

Senko

Just about any plastic worm or other soft plastic bait can be fished wacky style. However, for the most part anglers use a 4 inch to six-inch finesse type worm. This is sometimes referred to as a do-nothing bait. The reason for this is that the angler does not impart any action but instead allow the subtle actions of the bait to attract fish.

The most popular worm used by anglers wacky worm fishing is by far the Yamamoto Senko worm. This is a fantastic lure that can be rigged wacky style as well as all of the other methods. It comes in 4 inch long and 5 inch long versions and in a wide variety of colors. Green pumpkin is probably the most popular and universal color.

senko

Click to shop Amazon for Senko baits

There are certainly other baits that work well for this technique.They include but are not limited to the Zoom Finesse worm, the General Worm by Berkley, and Yum Dinger worms. Also, any full sized worm can be used when wacky worm fishing. Curly tail worms put out extra action which can at times be more attractive. Larger worms can become more clunky and can tangle. For the most part, the 4″ and 5″ straight worms work best in this application.

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

Click to shop Amazon for Zoom, General, and Yum Dinger worms

The same philosophies regarding color apply to anglers fishing a wacky worm as well. Natural colors such as green and darker colors such as blue and black work almost anywhere. White and light colors work well in clear water. Hot pink and chartreuse are good choices in water with very low visibility.

Read this article by Capt Jim on soft plastic fishing lures

Wacky worm hooking tips

The best finesse worms for wacky worm fishing are usually very soft and supple. This gives them an excellent lifelike action and the water. However, it also makes them less durable. Therefore, anglers have devised a few different techniques for hooking the wacky worm that will allow anglers to catch more than one fish on each bait.

wacky worm fishing

Wacky worm fishing started by anglers simply putting a hook through the middle of the worm. While this is still effective, it does result in less fish per bait being caught. Some anglers threat the worm through a very short piece of plastic straw, then insert the hook through the straw. O rings can also be used. With this technique, the hook is simply placed under the O-ring and not even piercing the worm. Anglers can purchase kits which have all these components in one location.

In conclusion, this article on wacky worm fishing will help anglers catch more fish using the easy and effective technique!