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.

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.

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.

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 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

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.

Best 11 Chatterbait Fishing Lures

Best 11 Chatterbait Fishing Lures

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

largemouth bass fishing in Florida

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

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

bass fishing

Best 11 chatterbait fishing lures

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

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

The best 11 chatterbait fishing lures are;

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

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

Best rod and reel for fishing a chatterbait

bass fishing

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

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

Best times and spots for chatterbaits

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

11 fantastic Tampa Bay fishing tips

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

Z-Man Original Chatterbait

original chatterbait

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

Click to shop Amazon for Z-Man Original Chatterbaits

Z-Man Chatterbait Elite

elite chatterbait

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

Click to shop Amazon for Z-Man Chatterbait Elite lures

Strike King Thunder Cricket

Thunder Cricket

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

Click to shop Amazon for Thunder Cricket chatterbaits

Z-Man Jack Hammer

Jack Hammer

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

Click to shop Amazon for Jack Hammer chatterbaits

Strike King Rage Blade

rage blade

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

Click to shop Amazon for Rage Blade chatterbaits

Booyah Melee Chatterbait

Booyah chatterbait

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

Click to shop Amazon for Booyah Melee chatterbaits

Z-Man DieZel Chatterbait

DieZel

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

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Terminator Shuddering Bait

Terminator Shuddering

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

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Z-Man Project Z Chatterbait

project Z

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

Click to shop Amazon for Project Z chatterbaits

Picasso Shock Blade Pro

Piccasso

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

Z-man Micro Chatterbait

Z-Man micro

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

Click to shop Amazon for Z-man Mini chatterbaits

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

 

 

Best 11 Buzzbait Fishing Lures

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. For the most part, they are used by freshwater anglers.

best buzzbait fishing lures

The best 11 buzzbait fishing lures are;

  • Booyah Buzz
  • War Eagle buzzbait
  • Strike King Premier Plus buzzbait
  • Terminator Original Titanium buzzbait
  • Lunker Lure buzzbait
  • Strike King Buzz King
  • Megabass Jamaica Boa buzzbait
  • Tackle HD Worldwide Buzzer
  • Strike King Swinging Sugar buzzbait
  • Strike King Spot Tail Special buzzbait
  • Molix Lover Buzz

Buzzbaits are mostly used in shallow water situations when fish are fairly active. The prime time to use a buzz bait would be from spring through early fall. Generally speaking, this is one bass and other species will be found in shallow cover near the shoreline as well as in submerged vegetation.

bass fishing

In most cases, buzzbaits are not a great choice when the water gets cold. This is a fairly aggressive presentation and tends to not be as productive when fish are less active. The one exception to this might be anglers targeting northern pike and musky. Both of these fish will readily hit a buzzbait and thrive in cold water environments.

Best rod and reel for buzzbait fishing

Buzzbaits are fairly heavy for the most part and require a reasonably fast retrieve. For these reasons, bait casting tackle is better suited for casting these lures than is spinning tackle. Bait casting reels have a faster retrieve ratio for the most part, making it easier to retrieve the bait quickly over the course of the day. They also give anglers a lot of power to pull a big fish out from heavy weeds or heavy cover.

bass fishing

Spinning reels can certainly be used when casting buzzbaits. However, they just require a bit more effort. In either case, the rod should be a 7 foot to 7 1/2 foot model with a medium heavy action and a fast action with a fairly soft tip. This will allow for long casts and good power when setting the hook on a nice fish.

Fishing with buzzbaits is easy and productive

One great advantage of buzzbait fishing is that it is quite easy to do. All an angler needs to do is make a long cast and retrieve the lure steadily over the surface of the water. It does take a bit of experience to learn the perfect cadence. When properly retrieved, the buzzbait will emit a rhythmic gurgling noise. This, along with the action of the skirt, will elicit strikes from largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, musky, and other species.

top Michigan species

As mentioned above, for the most part this is a shallow water pattern. Prime spots would be any type of shoreline cover such as fallen trees, boat docks, riprap, and any type of vegetation. Buzzbaits work extremely well when fished over top of submerged vegetation, no matter what the water depth. Fish will blowup on the lure out of the grass and some very exciting strikes!

Buzzbait options

There are several different styles of buzzbaits, though they all work the same. Most have a single blade, but there are tandem blade it baits as well. The majority of buzzbaits are the safety pin type, similar to spinnerbaits. However, anglers can purchase in-line buzzbaits as well. Finally, buzzbaits are available with or without a clatter, which hits the blade and adds extra noise.

Best 11 buzzbait fishing lures

Anglers have quite a few choices when it comes to selecting buzzbaits. While all are similar, there are some differences that perhaps make one a better choice than the other. The best 11 buzzbaits will be listed below.

Booyah Buzz

booyah buzz

The Booyah Buzz is a clack or style buzzbait. It is available in three different sizes and five different colors. It features a quality jig head with red eyes and layered to gills along with an enticing rubber skirt. It is a quality bait made with premium components and is available in three sizes, 1/4 once, 3/8 ounce, and 1/2 ounce and several colors. It is first on the list of the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures.

Click link to shop Amazon for Booyah Buzz buzzbaits

War Eagle buzzbait

war eagle buzzbait

War Eagle buzzbaits are a relatively new entry into the marketplace and are next on the list of the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures. The bait features a flat headed jig head which allows the Lord to get up on the surface quickly. They are available in three different sizes and multiple combinations of blade and skirt colors. War Eagle buzzbaits also feature easy to replace skirts.

Click link to shop Amazon for War Eagle buzzbaits

Strike King Premier Plus buzzbait

strike king buzzbait

The Strike King Premier Plus buzzbait is available to anglers in two different sizes, 3/8 ounce and 1/2 ounce models. This is a double bladed buzzbait with counterrotating blades that allow the lure to get to the surface quickly and remain there on a slower retrieve. The bait also has a high quality skirt with a trailer already added for angler convenience.

Click link to shop Amazon for Strike King Premier buzzbaits

Terminator Original Titanium buzzbait

terminator buzzbait

The Terminator brand has been long known for their titanium wire frames which bounce back into shape after hanging up or catching a big fish. It has a specially designed cup blade for extra noise and commotion. The upturned head allows it to walk over submerged trees and other obstructions. It is a premium lure and is in the medium price range. It is available and one quarter ounce and 3/8 ounce sizes and several different colors. It is fourth on the list of the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures.

Click link to shop Amazon for Terminator buzzbaits

Lunker Lure buzzbait

lunker lure buzzbait

The Lunker Lure buzzbait is a simple buzzbait built in the classic design. They are available in four different sizes and a half dozen color patterns. The blade colors are specifically designed to match skirt and the body. It is a modestly priced lower that performs well. The long lower arm and extended hook result in an excellent hookup ratio.

Click link to shop Amazon for Lunker Lure buzzbaits

Strike King Buzz King

strike king buzzbait

The Strike King Buzz King is the best small buzzbait on the market. It is available in 3/16 ounce and 5/16 ounce models. It features a single three bladed prop which quickly comes to the surface and works well at a slower retrieve. The elongated head and quality skirt also add to these finesse aspects of this lure.

Click link to shop Amazon for Strike King Buzz King buzzbaits

Megabass Jamaica Boa buzzbait

megabass buzzbait

The Megabass Jamaica Boa buzzbait is a premium, high quality lure and comes with the fairly hefty price tag. It is seventh on the list of the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures. However, many anglers consider it worth the cost. It is a half ounce, single bladed lure that features a special a sonic rattle in the head. It also uses stiffer wire than many other buzzbaits. It is available in eight different colors.

Click link to shop Amazon for Megabass Jamaica Boa buzzbaits

Booyah Counter Strike Buzz

booyah buzzbait

The Booyah Counter Strike Buzz is a tandem bladed buzzbait. A lot of effort was put into the head and skirt of the bait to give it a lifelike appearance. It is 3/8 of an ounce in weight and is available in six different color patterns. This is an excellent choice for anglers looking for a bait that stands out when it comes to putting out extra noise and commotion.

Click link to shop Amazon for Booyah Counter Strike buzzbaits

Tackle HD Worldwide Buzzer

tackle hd buzzbait

The Tackle HD Worldwide Buzzer is a unique buzzbait. It features a flat head and a large, over-sized blade. The blade is actually designed to hit a channel in the head, providing an extra clacking sound. Anglers can easily bend the head away from the blade to avoid this extra sound when a less aggressive presentation is required. It is available and 3/8 ounce and 1/2 ounce models and 10 color combinations.

Click link to shop Amazon for Tackle HD buzzbaits

Strike King Swinging Sugar buzzbait

strike king buzzbait

The Strike King Swinging Sugar buzzbait is an excellent choice when fish are in an especially aggressive mood. This buzzbait has more action than others as the jig head and hooks are attached with a swivel, allowing the head and skirt to swing around in a very enticing action. It is available and one quarter ounce, 3/8 ounce and 1/2 ounce models in several color combinations.

Click link to shop Amazon for Strike King Swinging Sugar buzzbaits

Strike King Spot Tail Special

strike king spot tail

The Strike King Spot Tail Special buzzbait is an in-line buzzbait. It features a weighted warm hook which is adorned with a soft plastic trailer. It is an excellent lure for shallow water redfish but will certainly catch freshwater species as well. It is tenth on the list of the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures.

Click link to shop Amazon for Strike King Spot Tail Special buzzbaits

Molix Lover Buzz

molix buzzbait

The Molix Lover Buzz is an excellent choice when fish are less aggressive. This bait is a bit smaller at one quarter ounce and has an in-line design. It is a premium bait at a premium price. It was designed by legendary bass angler Ike Iaconelli. It uses very high quality components and has an excellent finish, including a 3D eye. Due to its design, it casts well, again making it an excellent choice in clear water or when fish are finicky.

Click link to shop Amazon for Molix Lover Buzz buzzbaits

In conclusion, this article on the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures will help anglers choose the best bait for their fishing situation and catch more fish using this exciting angling technique!

 

Best 13 Crankbait Fishing Lures

Best 13 Crankbait Fishing Lures

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

crankbait fishing lures

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

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

largemouth bass fishing

The best 13 crankbait fishing lures are;

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

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

Best crankbait fishing rods and reels

bass fishing

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

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

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

Crankbait varieties

jerkbait fishing

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

Traditional crankbaits

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

Read more about fishing with lures

Jerkbaits

fishing with jerkbaits

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

Read more about jerkbait fishing in this article by Capt Jim

Lipless crankbaits

crankbait fishing

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

Read more about lipless crankbaits in this article by Capt Jim

Trolling crankbaits

walleye fishing, a beginners guide

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

The best 13 crankbait fishing lures

Rapala Shad Rap

shad rap

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

crankbait fishing

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

Strike King KVD Squarebill

largemouth bass lures

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

squarebill crankbait fishing

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

Rebel Crawfish

rebel crawfish

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

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

Bomber Model A

bomber model a

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

Bomber Model A chart

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

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap

rat-l-trap

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

crankbait fishing lures

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

Rapala DT Series

rapala dt

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

Rapala DT crankbait chart

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

Cordell Big O

crankbait fishing lure

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

Cotton cordell Big O chart

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

Rapala X-Rap

Rapala x rap

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

Sarasota Spanish mackerel fishing

crankbait fishing lures

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

Storm Wiggle Wart

storm wiggle wart

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

2″

3/8oz

7-12ft

Floating

#5

 

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

Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow

walleye fishing lures

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

crankbait fishing lures

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

Berkley Flicker Shad

berkley flicker shad

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

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

Reef Runner

reef runner plug

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

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

Mann Stretch Series

mann stretch

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

trolling for grouper

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

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

 

 

Fishing with Popping Corks, Pro Tips

Fishing with popping corks, pro tips and techniques.

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

Fishing with popping corks

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

Popping cork types

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

Slotted popping corks

Sarasota Florida fishing charters

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

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.

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

slotted popping cork

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Fixed popping corks

popping cork fishing

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

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

cajun thunder popping cork

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

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

Fishing with popping corks

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

fishing with popping corks

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

Popping cork fishing techniques.

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

fishing with popping corks

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

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

popping corks

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

Top spots for popping cork fishing

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

popping cork fishing

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

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

popping corks

Best rods and reels for fishing with popping corks

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

Best 12 sea trout lures

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

Click links to shop Amazon for affordable Lew’s spinning and baitcasting outfits

Fishing with popping corks using live bait

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

redfish fishing tackle

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

Fishing with live shrimp under a popping cork

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

saltwater fishing with shrimp

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

Fishing with live bait fish

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

fishing with popping corks

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

Cut bait produces, too

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

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

Fishing with popping corks using artificial lures

popping corks

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

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

deadly combo

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

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

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

 

 

Jerkbait fishing – Pro tips!

Jerkbait fishing – Pro tips!

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

jerkbait fishing

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

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

fishing with lures

Jerkbait fishing techniques

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

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

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

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

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

Trolling jerkbaits

tackle for lake trout fishing

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

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

salmon fishing in Great Lakes

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

Best conditions for jerkbait fishing

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

bass fishing

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

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

bass fishing

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

best fishing lures for redfish

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

bass fishing

Best jerkbait fishing tackle

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

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

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

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Jerkbait fishing produces for both saltwater and freshwater anglers!

best jerkbait for saltwater fishing

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

fishing with jerkbaits

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

Choosing the best jerkbait

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

Florida saltwater fishing in summer

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

Top 13 fishing jerkbaits;

  • Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait

  • Yo-zuri Crystal Minnow

  • Bomber Long “A”

  • Rapala Husky Jerk

  • Smithwick Rogue

  • Strike King KVD Jerkbait

  • Lucky Craft Pointer

  • Megabass Vision

  • Livetarget jerkbait

  • Berkley Flicker Minnow

  • Storm Thunderstick

  • Cotton Cordell Red Fin

  • Rebel jerkbaits

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

Rapala X-Rap

Rapala x rap

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

Click the links to shop Amazon for Rapala X-Raps

Yo-zuri Crystal Minnow

walleye fishing lures

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

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

Bomber Long A

walleye trolling

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

Click the links to shop Amazon for Bomber Long A jerkbaits

Rapala Husky Jerk

husky jerk

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

Click the links to shop Amazon for Rapala Husky Jerk plugs

Smithwick Rogue

smithwick rogue

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

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Strike King KVD jerkbait

kvd jerkbait

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

Click the links to shop Amazon for Strike King KVD jerkbaits

Lucky Craft Pointer

lucky craft pointer

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

Click the links to shop Amazon for Lucky Craft Pointer jerkbaits

Megabass Vision

megabass vision

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

Click the links to shop Amazon for Megabass Vision jerkbaits

Livetarget jerkbait

livetarget jerkbait

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

Click the links to shop Amazon for Livetarget jerkbaits

Berkley Flicker Minnow

berkley flicker minnow

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

Click the links to shop Amazon for Berkley Flicker Minnows

Storm Thunderstick

storm thunderstick

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

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Cotton Cordell Redfin

cotton cordell red fin

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

Click the links to shop Amazon for Cotton Cordell Redfin jerkbaits

Rebel jerkbait

rebel

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

Click the links to shop Amazon for Rebel jerkbaits

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing with Lures, a Complete Guide

Fishing with Lures, a Complete Guide

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

fishing for largemouth bass

Advantages of fishing with lures vs live bait

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

fishing with lures

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

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

best 11 smallmouth bass fishing lures

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

Best rods and reels for fishing with lures

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

top 12 Michigan game fish species

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

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

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

Artificial fishing lure types

Saltwater fishing with artificial lures

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

  • jigs,

  • spinners

  • spoons

  • plugs

  • soft plastic baits

  • spinner baits and buzz baits

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

Jigs

Tailwater fishing tips and techniques

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

best crappie fishing lure

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

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

Sarasota jig fishing

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

Jig fishing tackle and techniques

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

Manitoba walleye fishing

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

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

fishing for largemouth bass

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

Click to read more about fishing with jigs

saltwater fishing with artificial lures

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

Spinners

fishing with lures

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

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

best 13 brown trout fishing lures

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

Spinner fishing techniques

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

steelhead

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

Read more about fishing with spinners in streams

rock bass fishing tackle

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

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

best northern pike fishing lure

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

Spoons

trolling for mackerel

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

Read more about fishing with spoons in freshwater

brook trout fishing lures

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

Spoon fishing techniques

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

lues for surf fishing

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

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

Best 6 fishing lures for redfish

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

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

Great Lakes salmon fishing

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

walleye fishing

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

Plugs

best jerkbait for saltwater fishing

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

Check out the top freshwater fishing plugs!

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

snook fishing tackle

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

Different plug types and fishing techniques

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

Topwater plugs

best 6 topwater plugs for saltwater fishing

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

Read about the best topwater plugs for saltwater fishing

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

Chesapeake Bay bass

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

Crankbaits

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

Sacramento River striped bass

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

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

bass fishing

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

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

walleye fishing, a beginners guide

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

Jerkbaits

fishing for snook

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

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

fishing with lures

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

Soft plastic baits

spotted sea trout fishing

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

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

fishing for crappie with jigs

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

inshore saltwater fishing

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

Fishing with soft plastic baits

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

texas rigged worm

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

carolina rig

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

wacky rig

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

drop shot

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

guide to inshore fishing

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

Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits

spinnerbait fishing

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

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

Best fishing lures for bluegill

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

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

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

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

best buzzbait fishing lures

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

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

Best 13 White Bass fishing Lures – Hybrid Bass Too!

Best 13 White Bass fishing Lures – Hybrid Bass Too!

This article will list the best 13 white bass fishing lures. Since hybrid bass are very similar in habits, this list applies to them as well. Anglers fishing for white bass and hybrid bass often find them in large schools, feeding aggressively. Therefore, the best white bass and hybrid bass fishing lures are compact and cast well. White bass and hybrid bass are found throughout the country, particularly in the Midwest.

best 13 white bass fishing lures

The best 13 white bass fishing lures and hybrid bass fishing lures are;

  • Acme Kastmaster spoon
  • Blakemore Road Runner lure
  • Rat-L-Trap Tiny Trap
  • Mann’s Little George
  • Mepps spinners
  • Bass Assassin grub on a jig head
  • Rapala Husky Jerk plug
  • Rebel Pop-R topwater plug
  • Johnson Beetle spin spinnerbait
  • Johnson Sprite spoon
  • Mister Twister curly tail grub on a jig head
  • Hopkins jigging spoon
  • Rapala Shad Rap crankbait

White bass and hybrid bass characteristics and habits

white bass lures

Special thanks to Jamie Smith for the great pics and info!  She loves fishing and fitness and lives in Texas. Follow Jamie on Instagram for more great pics!

white bass

White bass, Morone chrysops, do not grow very large. The world record is 6 pounds, 13 ounces. However, most white bass caught are around a foot long. They are quite aggressive and are often found in large schools. Many anglers target them as they feed actively on the surface. Both white bass and hybrid bass have varied diets, but feed primarily on bait fish as they mature. White bass are found in larger lakes and river systems. They spawn in the tributary rivers in the spring.

hybrid bass fishing

Hybrid white bass are a mix of white bass and striped bass. They grow larger than white bass, growing to over 20 pounds, and can be distinguished by the broken lateral stripes on the lower half of the fish. Hybrid bass exhibit many of the same habits as white bass. The same artificial lures work well when fishing for both white bass and hybrid bass.

white bass fishing lures

White bass fishing tackle

Spinning tackle is the best choice for anglers targeting white bass. White bass lures are small and light, matching the shad, minnows, and other forage that white bass feed on. Ultralight rods and reels are usually the best choice.

white bass fishing tackle

A 6 foot light rod with a 1000 series reel spooled up with 6 pound line is an excellent all round combination for anglers fishing for white bass. This will cover most situations where white bass and hybrid bass will be encountered. Anglers fishing in areas where larger hybrid bass are available can certainly bump up the tackle a bit.

Best 13 white bass fishing lures

fishing for white bass

Here is Capt Jim’s list of the best 13 white bass fishing lures. As mentioned above, white bass and hybrid bass feed aggressively. Therefore, lures that offer a fast, erratic presentation are usually the best choice. Many anglers chase “breaking” fish. These are hybrid bass and white bass that are feeding on shad and herring on the surface. Anglers often need to make quick, long casts to get in on the action. Small, compact lures and light lines are the most effective for this application.

Acme Kastmaster spoon

kastmaster

The Acme Kasmaster spoon is the perfect spoon for fishing for white bass and hybrid bass. It is first on the list of the best 13 white bass fishing lures. The Kastmaster is a slender spoon with a unique action. It casts well and can be fished throughout the entire water column, from breaking fish to vertical jigging. These spoons available in many sizes, 1/8 ounce and ¼ ounce are the most popular sizes for white bass fishing. Chrome, gold, and “split” finishes work great.

Blakemore Road Runner lure

road runner

The Blakemore Road Runner is a terrific white bass fishing lure! It sort of combines two great lures in one; a spinner and a jig. Road runner lures are compact and cast fairly well for their light weight. The 1/8 ounce and ¼ ounce sizes are best. White, chartreuse, and pink are top colors. They can be cast into breaking fish as well as working submerged structure, points, and channel edges.

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap Tiny Trap

rat-l-trap

The Bill Lewis Tiny Trap is a small version of the venerable Rat-L-Trap, a lure that has been catching fish for decades. It is a great example of a lipless crankbait. Tiny traps are third on the list of the best 13 white bass fishing lures. These lures vibrate and rattle when retrieved through the water. They work very well for casting to fish on the surface as well as blind casting. It is an outstanding search bait and can be trolled as well.

Mann’s Little George

mann's little george

The Mann’s Little George is an old school bait that has been around a long time. It was designed by legendary angler Tom Mann. Little George lures are quite dense and compact and can be cast a very long distance. It is a terrific lure to use on busting fish, particularly when they are a bit spooky. It also is very effective in a vertical presentation when white bass and hybrid bass are schooled up deep over structure.

Mepps Spinners

mepps

Most freshwater anglers are familiar with Mepps spinners. They have been used to catch a wide variety of species, and white bass are no exception. Mepps spinners work best in the spring when white bass have moved into tributary rivers to spawn. Spinners in general are excellent lures in rivers. They can also be trolled effectively.

Bass Assassin 2″ Crappie Dapper on a jig head

bass assassin

The jig and grub combo is one of the most effective fishing lures in both fresh and salt waters. It will catch just about every species that swims. Capt Jim prefers the Bass Assassin line of baits. They offer a variety of sizes and colors. The 2” Crappie Dapper on a 1/8 ounce jig head is a good all round white bass fishing lure. The 3 ½ inch Die Dapper is a better choice when larger hybrid bass are feeding on bigger shad and herring.

white bass fishing lures

These lures are quite versatile. They can be cast, both blind casting and into breaking fish, as well, as trolled and presented vertically. White and chartreuse are top colors. These baits work very well when fish are a bit less active and react better to a more subtle presentation.

Rapala Husky Jerk plug

husky jerk

Jerkbaits are very effective white bass and hybrid bass fishing lures. They have a very erratic action and put out a bunch of flash and vibration. They very realistically mimic wounded bait fish. There are many fine jerkbaits on the market. Capt Jim’s personal favorite for freshwater fishing is the Rapala Husky Jerk. It is fairly economical and comes in a variety of sizes and colors. Lighter shad patterns as well as silver and gold in the 08 size work great. They can be cast and trolled.

Rebel Pop-R topwater plug

rebel pop-r

Topwater plugs are both great fun to fish and are extremely productive in the right situation. They are a natural fit when white bass are feeding on the surface. Capt Jim’s favorite freshwater topwater plug is the Rebel Pop-R. It has a concave face which puts out a loud “pop” when twitched sharply. They also work well when fish have moved shallow near shoreline cover. Pop-R plugs are 8th on the list of the best 13 white bass fishing lures.

Johnson Beetle spin spinnerbait

beetle spin

Spinnerbaits are terrific fishing lures. While they really do not look like anything that white bass or hybrid bass feed on, they put out flash and vibration. They combine a jig and a spinner in one unit. Capt Jim’s favorite freshwater lure is the Johnson Beetle spin. It is a compact spinnerbait with a short, grub body. The 1/8 ounce and ¼ ounce baits in black, white, and green are great choices. They work best when cast and retrieved when white bass are in fairly shallow water.

Johnson Sprite spoon

sprite spoon

The Johnson Sprite spoon is a great example of a classically shaped spoon. It has the teardrop shape and puts out a great wobble that flashed and vibrates. It really mimics a wounded bait fish. The Sprite spoon works best when cast out and reeled back in using an erratic retrieve. They can also be trolled as well. The ¼ ounce model in gold or silver works best.

Mister Twister curly tail grub on a jig head

mister twister

Mister Twister revolutionized fishing back in the mid 70’s when they introduced the Mister Twister curly tail grub. A curly tail grub has incredible action in the water when simply reeled in. It can be used to fish the entire water column. It is very effective when bounced down a sloping point or over a ledge. It also works great when whit bass are in the rivers. The 3” grub on a 1/8 ounce jig head works great. White and chartreuse are top colors.

Hopkins jigging spoon

hopkins jigging spoon

The Hopkins jigging spoon is a bit of a specialty bait. While it can be cast out, it is almost always used in a vertical presentation when white bass and hybrid bass are schooled up over structure in deep water. It is one of the best baits for suspended fish of all bass species. Silver with a hammered finish is by far the top finish. ¼ ounce is a good size for white bass.

Rapala Shad Rap crankbait

shad rap

Crankbaits are last, but certainly not least, on the list of best 13 white bass fishing lures. Crankbaits differ from jerkbaits in a couple of ways. They are wider and better resemble shad and herring. They are can be purchased with larger lips that cause them to dive fairly deep. Capt Jim’s favorite crankbait is the Rapala Shad Rap. It comes in shallow and deep models in a variety of sizes and colors. It is an excellent trolling lure as well.

In conclusion, this article on the best 13 white bass fishing lures will help anglers catch more of both white and hybrid bass!

Lipless Crankbait Fishing, a Guide to Success!

Lipless Crankbait Fishing, a Guide to Success!

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

bass fishing

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

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

ice fishing for walleye

Best lipless crankbaits

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

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The top 8 lipless crankbaits are;

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

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

Bill Lewis Rat-LTrap

rat-l-trap

Click to shop Amazon for Rat-L-Trap lures

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

Rapala Rattlin Rap

rapala rattlin rap

Click to shop Amazon for Rattlin Rap lures

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

Berkley Warpig

Berkley Warpig

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

Booyah Hard Knocker

Booyah Hard Knocker

Click to shop Amazon for Hard Knocker lures

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

Cotton Cordell Super Spot

Cordell Super Spot

Click to shop Amazon for Super Spot lures

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

LiveTarget Golden Shiner

livetarget golden shiner

Click to shop Amazon for Golden Shiner lures

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

Strike King Red Eye Shad

red eye shad

Click to shop Amazon for Red Eye Shad lures

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

Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe

rattl'n vibe

Click to shop Amazon for Rattl’n Vibe lures

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

Best rods and reels for fishing with lipless crankbaits

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

bass fishing

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

Click to shop Amazon for spinning and baitcasting combos

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

Lipless crankbait fishing techniques

smallmouth bass fishing for beginners

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

Casting and retrieving lipless crankbaits

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

best bass lure

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

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

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

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

Lipless crankbaits can imitate crayfish

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

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

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

Trolling with lipless crankbaits

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

walleye fishing tackle and lures

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

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

Lipless crankbaits produce in a vertical presentation

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

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

Lipless crankbaits are more than just bass lures

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

top Michigan species

 

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

Lipless crankbaits produce in saltwater fishing

river snook fishing charter

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

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

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