Sarasota Fishing Report

Sarasota Fishing Report

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.

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

Sarasota fishing report 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 Sarasota fishing report

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

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

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

Sarasota fishing report 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

8/15/2020 Sarasota fishing report

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

Fishing report for Sarasota, 8/8/2020

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 Sarasota fishing report

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

Fishing report for 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 Sarasota fishing report

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

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

Fishing report for Sarasota, 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

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

Sarasota Bay 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 fishing report for Sarasota

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

Sarasota fishing report

May 2 Sarasota fishing report

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

Sarasota fishing report

April 25 fishing report

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

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

fishing report for Sarasota

Sarasota Fishing Report, April 18

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

Sarasota fishing report

April 11 fishing report

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

mackerel on fly

Fishing report for Sarasota, April 4

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

Sarasota fishing report

Sarasota fishing report March 28

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

Sarasota fishing report

March 21 fishing report for Sarasota

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

Sarasota fishing report

March 14 Sarasota fishing report

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

Sarasota fishing report

Sarasota fishing Report for March 7

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

Sarasota fishing report

Sarasota Fishing Report, 2/29

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

Sarasota fishing report

February 22 fishing report for Sarasota

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

Sarasota fishing report

February 15 Sarasota fishing report

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

Sarasota fishing report

Sarasota fishing report for February 1

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

Sarasota fishing report

January 25 Sarasota fishing report

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

Sarasota fishing report

January 18 fishing report for Sarasota and Myakka River

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

Sarasota fishing report

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

Sarasota fishing report

Jan 10 Sarasota fishing report

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

fishing report for Sarasota Florida

Good fishing in Sarasota to start 2020!

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

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

Sarasota fishing report

Last fishing report of the year!  12/29/2019

Action on the deep grass flats was hot early in the week as a severe front approached. Trout to 22″, pompano, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, grouper, ladyfish, and other species hit jigs over grass in water between 4′ deep and 10 feet deep.  The flats north of New Pass were best.  Pompano were thick in the passes later in the week.  The bottom of the falling tide was best and there were plenty of ladyfish mixed in to keep the rods bent.  Action on the flats slowed later in the week as persistent wind had the water churned up a bit.  A trip to the Manatee River produced some nice jacks on Rapala X-Raps and white Gulp Jerk Shad on a jig head.  We missed a few snook as well.

Sarasota fishing report

December 21 Sarasota fishing report

Wind was a bit of an issue this week for clients on Sarasota fishing charters. The deep grass flats at Stephen’s Pt and Middlegrounds produced a wide variety of species. Speckled trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, ladyfish, and more hit Gulp! Shrimp and Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits on 1/4 ounce jig heads. Stiff breezes made it a bit tough to fish as well as stirring up the water. The key was to keep moving and casting. Perhaps the best bite this week was in Big Pass. Ladyfish were plentiful, with a few pompano, Spanish mackerel, and bluefish mixed in. Small chartreuse pompano jigs worked best. We went up into canals to hide from the wind and landed jacks and snook trolling and casting #8 Rapala X-Raps.

Sarasota fishing report

December 14 Sarasota fishing report

The big news this week was the increase in pompano that showed up throughout the area. Pompano are one of the most desirable species, both for their hard fighting abilities and their incredible flavor. Pompano are fantastic eating! Small jigs bounced along the bottom in the passes and out on the flats work well as they mimic the crustaceans that pompano feed on. Anglers drifting in the passes caught pompano as well as bluefish, mackerel, and ladyfish. Pompano on the flats were found fairly shallow along the edges of bars. Speckled trout, jacks, bluefish, grouper, sea bass, ladyfish, and other species hit jigs and Gulp Shrimp on the deep flats north of New Pass.

Sarasota pompano

December 7 Sarasota fishing report

Action in Sarasota Bay has been very good! The deep grass flats north of New Pass provided clients casting jigs and flies with a variety of species. Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, pompano, bluefish, jacks, grouper, and ladyfish kept the rods bent.  Gulp Shrimp and Bass Assassin jigs produced for spin anglers while Clouser patterns worked well for those casting a fly. River trips produced snook and jack crevalle on Rapala plugs and flies.

Sarasota fishing report

November 25 Sarasota fishing report

The best bite the last two weeks has been on the deep grass flats. Bluefish to 5 pounds, Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, pompano, speckled trout, grouper, sea bass, jacks, ladyfish, and other species hit Bass Assassin baits and Gulp Shrimp on a 1/4 ounce jig head. The flats north of New Pass were the most productive spots. Big Pass had ladyfish and a few mackerel, pompano, and small permit. Action on the beaches has slowed in regards to mackerel and kings, though patient anglers are finding some very large tripletail on the crab pot buoys.

Sarasota fishing report

November 11 Sarasota fishing report

Action in the Gulf of Mexico off of the Sarasota beaches has been outstanding the last two weeks! The water temperature is now in the low to mid 70s and bait fish are plentiful. Not a lot of the action was found on the surface. The best bet has been trolling spoons and planers and chumming with live bait. Clients did have a few casting opportunities. King and Spanish mackerel, sharks, bluefish, and the stray false albacore were caught. Sharks are plentiful and great fun on medium tackle. They tend to migrate with and feed on the mackerel. This bite is dependent on conditions; strong winds from any direction other than east shuts things down. Hopefully, this will continue until Christmas.

Light tackle trolling in Saltwater

October 26 Sarasota fishing report

Weather has been an issue the last couple of weeks. A harsh rain storm, persistent east winds, and unusually warm temperatures made fishing a bit challenging. The best bite continued to be the deep grass flats. Spanish mackerel to 2 1/2 pounds, bluefish to 3 pounds, speckled trout to 20″, gag grouper, ladyfish, and more hit jigs and live baitfish on the grass flats in 6′ to 8′ of water. Snapper and small redfish took live shrimp under docks near the passes. I ran my first river trip this week. The water temperature was 81, which is too high for the snook to move in. Still, largemouth bass to 3 1/2 pounds and big gar made the trip fun.

Sarasota fishing report

October 13 Sarasota fishing report

Fishing has been steady over the last several weeks. Speckled trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and ladyfish hit Bass Assassin jigs cast over grass flats in 6′ to 10′ of water. The flats north of New Pass have been best. Spanish mackerel are showing up in the inshore Gulf of Mexico as well. This action should really take off and hopefully false albacore and king mackerel will join the party. Jacks are schooling up in Robert’s Bay and Little Sarasota Bay. Snook are moving into these areas from the passes and beaches.

Sarasota fishing report

September 17 Sarasota fishing report

This will be my last report for a couple of weeks as I am heading to the NC mountains to terrorize the smallmouth bass and trout!  LOL  I had a charter today with my local regular clients Doc and John.  Action was steady for the 6 hours we fishing with 17 species being landed.  With zero breeze, we started in Big Pass, bouncing pompano jigs on the bottom. We also saw some breaking fish and cast into them. The boys caught tons on ladyfish, jack crevalle, another type of jack, blue runners, and a small permit. A move to structure using live shrimp produced red and gag grouper and mangrove snapper. We finished up casting Gulp Shrimp on a 1/4 ounce jig head on the deep flats north of New Pass, catching Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, bluefish, catfish, and other species.

Sarasota fishing report

August 30 Sarasota fishing report

Between vacation and some rain, it has been a while since I posted a Sarasota fishing report. Action continued to be very good on the deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay. The water is a bit less murky north of New Pass. Anglers casting Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits, Gulp shrimp, Rapala X-Raps, and chartreuse over white Clouser Minnow flies did well. Speckled trout (several were between 20″ and 23″), bluefish, jacks, gag grouper, mangrove snapper, ladyfish, mackerel, and a cobia were landed in recent weeks. Stephen’s Point, Middlegrounds, Bishop’s Pt., and Buttonwood were all productive spots. Fishing will probably shut down for a week or so due to the hurricane.

Sarasota fishing report

August 10 Sarasota Fishing Report

Fishing continued to be good on the deep grass flats in north Sarasota Bay, though we did have to deal with storms early in the week. The flats north of New Pass were the most productive. Clients on Sarasota fishing charters caught bluefish, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, ladyfish, grouper, and catfish casting Bass Assassin jigs and Gulp Shrimp. The Middlegrounds, Stephen’s Pt., Buttonwood, and Long Bar were all productive spots. Snook are in the passes and starting to move back inshore. Spanish mackerel were schooling in the inshore Gulf of Mexico before the wind turned west.

Fishing report for Sarasota

August 3 Sarasota Fishing Report

Anglers on Sarasota fishing charters experienced good action on a variety of species this week. Once again, the best bite was on the deep grass flats. Afternoon showers have the water temperature around 85 degrees, which is good for this time of year. Spanish mackerel showed up in decent numbers and were found feeding on small bait on the surface. Speckled trout, bluefish, jacks, grouper, snapper, ladyfish, and catfish were also caught. Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits and Gulp Shrimp caught all of the fish. Stephen’s Pt. and Buttonwood were the top spots. Structure in the bay is loaded with snapper and grouper, though most of the fish are small. Live bait fished on the bottom worked well.

Sarasota fishing report

July 26 Sarasota fishing report

The best bite continues to be working the deep grass flats in North Sarasota Bay with jigs. Bass assassin Sea Shad baits and Gulp Shrimp were very productive. Both were fished on a 1/4 ounce jig head. Speckled trout numbers were on the rise and bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, grouper, snapper, catfish, and other species were landed. Stephen’s Pt. and Buttonwood were the top spots, though the Middlegrounds produced a few fish as well. Weather was an issue late in the week and I had to cancel a couple of trips.

Sarasota fishing report

July 16 Sarasota Fishing Report

Weather was an issues last week as Tropical Storm Berry shirted the area, bringing some rain and wind. As it passed, fishing rebounded quickly. The Gulf of Mexico is churned up a bit, bringing dirty water in through the passes. The best fishing spots have been in north Sarasota Bay where the water is clearer. One great sign is the dramatic increase in speckled trout. The season is closed to harvest as they bounce back from last year’s red tide. Along with trout, anglers landed bluefish, jack crevalle, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, ladyfish, catfish, and other species. Bass Assassin jigs and Gulp Shrimp caught all of the fish.  Stephen’s Pt. and Buttonwood were the top spots.

fishing report for Sarasota, Florida

July 5 Sarasota fishing report

I took the end of the week off as the 4Th of July festivities kind of take over the town.  Action was steady this week, though we had one morning that was breezy and the fishing a bit slow.  The best spots this week were Stephen’s Pt. and Big Sarasota Pass.  Clients on Sarasota fishing charters caught Spanish mackerel and ladyfish in the pass on jigs and live minnows.  Spephen’s Pt. and the Middlegrounds held bluefish, speckled trout, jacks, snapper, grouper, sharks, ladyfish, catfish, and other species.  Most of the fish were caught on Bass Assassin jigs and Gulp Shrimp.

Sarasota fishing report

June 29 Sarasota fishing report

Despite water temperatures in the upper 80’s, fishing was very good this week.  The deep grass flats yielded speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano, bluefish, jacks, grouper, snapper, and ladyfish.  Most of the fish hit Bass Assassin jigs, but free lined shrimp produced a few fish as well.  Bait is plentiful on most of the flats and that attracts the game fish.  Stephen’s Pt., Middlegrounds, Bishop’s Pt., and Buttonwood were the top spots this week.

Sarasota fishing report

June 22 Sarasota fishing report

Once again, the best bite has been on the deep grass flats in north Sarasota Bay. Just about every flat with submerged grass in 6′ to 8′ of water held fish. There was a lot of bait fish that accounted for the good fishing. Anglers casting Bass Assassin jigs and Gulp Shrimp caught some decent sized bluefish, speckled trout, jack crevalle, ladyfish, catfish, and more. Middlegrounds, Bishop’s Point, and Buttonwood were the top spots. There are a lot of snook in the passes and off the beaches. However, west winds have hampered that fishing.

inshore saltwater fishing

June 15 Sarasota fishing report

Clients on Sarasota fishing charters experienced good action on the deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay.  Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits and Gulp Shrimp on a 1/4 ounce jig head caught most of the fish.  Southwest wind had the Gulf churned up a bit, so the flats that were a bit away from the passes produced best.  Middlegrounds, Buttonwood, and Bishop’s Pt. were the top spots.  Bluefish, speckled trout, jacks, flounder, mangrove snapper, sail cats, and loads of ladyfish were caught.

Sarasota fishing report

June 8 Sarasota fishing report

Anglers experienced good action this week. The best bite was on the beach, in the passes, and on the flats close to the passes. Jigs with a Gulp Shrimp produced most of the fish. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, speckled trout, catfish, and a bunch of ladyfish and a little shark kept the rods bent. Spanish mackerel were found in the Gulf, just off of New Pass, although they were scattered out and a bit fussy. Small Rapala plugs fooled a dozen or so. Ladyfish were schooled up heavily on the New Pass bar, feeding on the surface.  Middlegrounds and Marker #5 were the best flats.

Sarasota fishing report

June 1 Sarasota fishing report

Fishing was good this week on the flats, passes, and off the beach.  Clients on Sarasota fishing charters caught a ton of Spanish mackerel off of the Lido Key beaches.  Schools of aggressively feeding mackerel were seen between Big Pass and New Pass.  The top producing bait was a #8 white Rapala X-Rap slash bait.  Jigs and spoons fooled fish as well.  Large ladyfish, bluefish, whiting, catfish, and mackerel were caught in both passes on jigs and X-Raps.  Gulp Shrimp on a 1/4 ounce jig head produced ladyfish, jacks, bluefish, and speckled trout on the flats near the passes.

May 25 Sarasota fishing report

The best bite this week for anglers on Sarasota fishing charters was Spanish mackerel out on the beaches. Schools of mackerel were plentiful as there is a ton of bait. Silver spoons, plugs, and jigs cast into the fish produced strikes. A lot of the fish were on the small side, but there were some decent ones mixed in, too. Both Big Sarasota Pass and New Pass also had breaking fish, along with ladyfish and a few bluefish. The flats at Marker # 5 and Middlegrounds produced a couple of speckled trout, ladyfish, and sailcats.

Sarasota fishing report

May 19 Outer Banks fishing report

I was up in North Carolina in Kill Devil Hills this week for a little vacation. Of course, I did some fishing along with some great seafood meals and adult beverages.  Whiting, known locally as “surf mullet”, and skates hit shrimp fished on the bottom. One of the whiting went 18″, which is a good one.  On calmer days, I cast Gulp Shrimp on jig heads from the surf and landed spotted sea trout and bluefish.  The trout were tough to land in the surf with their soft mouths, but most were going to be released anyway.  We saved enough whiting and a couple of trout for a little fish fry, great fun!

fishing report

May 11 Sarasota Fishing Report

Fishing was decent this week, with the highlight being schools of breaking jack crevalle. We encounters schools of jacks feeding on the surface in several locations throughout Sarasota Bay and Roberts Bay. They hit Bass Assassin jigs and Rapala X-Raps. Ladyfish were caught in Big Pass, the nearby flats, and up in the north bay. Snook hit plugs early in the morning and speckled trout and bluefish were caught on jigs on the deep grass flats.  I am headed to the Outer Banks for some surf fishing and R&R, next report will be in two weeks.

Sarasota fishing report

May 4 Sarasota fishing report

Once again, ladyfish on the deep grass flats provided the majority of the action for clients this week.  Most of the fish were caught by anglers casting Bass Assassin jigs, but live shrimp caught fish, too.  It was good to see that some very healthy speckled trout were caught as well.  This is a good sign as Sarasota Bay bounces back from the red tide.  The FWC has just passed a law that speckled trout, reds, and snook are catch and release for the next year.  Some anglers look down on ladyfish, but they really are a lot of fun and put up a good fight for their size.  They are a great little fish for kids and novice anglers to practice on and gain experience.

fishing report for Sarasota, Florida

April 27 Sarasota fishing report

With sheepshead pretty much done, the best action this week was on the grass flats.  Ladyfish provided most of the action, keeping rods bent for clients.  Bass Assassin jigs and live shrimp worked well.  A few bluefish, mackerel, speckled trout, and sailcats were caught as well.  It was tough on Monday as a severe front had moved through.  However, the bite picked up each day, with Thursday being very good early in the morning.  Another front moved in on Friday.  Bait is showing up on a lot of the flats, which is a good sign for our summer fishing.

Florida bluefish

April 20 Sarasota fishing report

Clients on Sarasota fishing charters had decent action tis week, although weather was an issue early and late in the week.  Wind not only makes it difficult to fish, it stirs up the water.  Finding “clean” water was important.   Every spot that was dirty only produced catfish.  Flats that were better produced a lot of ladyfish with a few jack crevalle and bluefish mixed in.  Most of the fish hit Bass Assassin jigs, but shrimp caught some fish as well.  We had an excellent fly fishing trip on Thursday morning.  The grass flats north on New Pass were very clear with a lot of bait.  Fish were busting on the surface and chartreuse/white Clouser MInnow patters were very productive.

Sarasota fishing report

April 13 Sarasota fishing report

It is all about bending the rods with a lot of family trips this time of year.  Action was decent this week for clients going out on Sarasota fishing charters.  Big Sarasota Pass, Marina Jack flat, and Middlegrounds had good numbers of hard-fighting ladyfish along with bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and speckled trout.  Bass Assassin jigs (glow/chartreuse), Rapala X-Raps were all productive.  Friday was the best day, as we encountered large schools of ladyfish with bluefish and mackerel mixed in terrorizing bait in shallow water on the Big Pass sand bar.  Then, later in the morning, we caught Spanish mackerel and blue runners trolling spoons near Siesta Key Beach.  Sheepshead are really thinning out, though there are still a few around, mostly smaller males.

fishing report for Sarasota, Florida

April 6 Sarasota fishing report

Anglers on Sarasota fishing charters this week experienced decent action on the grass flats near Big Pass.  Ladyfish were fairly plentiful with a few other species mixed in.  Speckled trout to 18″, Spanish mackerel and bluefish to 2 pounds, jacks and sail cats hit Bass Assassin jigs, live shrimp, and threadfin herring.  Brian caught the fish of the week as he wrestled a nice redfish out from under a Siesta Key dock using live shrimp.  Ladyfish were also caught in Big Pass on jigs.  I only targeted sheepshead one day, but the bite was still strong in the rocks in the pass.

fishing report for Sarasota, Florida

March 30 Sarasota fishing report

Fishing was decent this week, though clients on Sarasota fishing charters had to battle some wind and a little rain.  The sheepshead bite continued to be very good.  Live shrimp fished on the bottom near structure and docks in both Big Sarasota Pass and New Pass produced plenty of nice sized fish.  Though the spawning run is winding down, there are plenty of fish that are still around.  Anglers seeking action found it by casting Bass Assassin jigs on the grass flats on the east side of the bay.  A couple of speckled trout were caught as well, which is a great sign.

fishing report Sarasota

March 23 Sarasota fishing report

Fishing was steady once again this week, though anglers did have to battle some breezy conditions.  The sheepshead bite was very good, with most of the fishing being in the 2 pound range.  Rocks, docks, and other structure, particularly in the passes, held plenty of fish.  Live shrimp was the best bait.  Ladyfish hit Bass Assassin jigs in Robert’s Bay on the incoming tide.  Anglers casting flies hooked them as well as a snook up in a residential canal.  One young angler sight cast to a couple of tripletail in the bay and caught one on a live shrimp.

Sarasota fishing report

March 16 Sarasota fishing report

The sheepshead bite remains strong in both Big Sarasota Pass, New Pass, and surrounding docks and bridges.  Live or frozen shrimp fished on the bottom worked well.  Most of the fish were in the 2lb range, with some larger ones mixed in.  Small Spanish mackerel hit Rapala plugs trolled and cast in the passes and inshore Gulf of Mexico.  Ladyfish and the occasional Spanish mackerel and speckled trout hit jigs and shrimp on the deeper flats.  We had perfect conditions on Tuesday and caught a half dozen king mackerel trolling spoons in the Gulf of Mexico just off off the inshore artificial reefs.

fishing report for Sarasota

March 2 Sarasota fishing report

Sheepshead were caught around structure in Sarasota Bay and on the artificial reefs in the inshore Gulf of Mexico. This has been the most consistent bite for the last few weeks. Live shrimp caught them along with a few mangrove snapper. Docks and structure in both passes were the top spots. Also, there is a ton of tiny fry bait in Robert’s Bay which has attracted good numbers of ladyfish. Clients caught them using Bass Assassin jigs and live shrimp. Dolphins were aggressive and shut down the bite several times. A few speckled trout were landed as well.

Sarasota fishing report

 

February 23 Sarasota fishing report

Action really picked up this week in Sarasota Bay!  Water temperatures were in the mid 70’s and small fry bait is plentiful on the flats.  Anglers casting jigs experienced fast action on large ladyfish and a couple of speckled trout.  Snook and jack crevelle hit live shrimp and Rapala plugs in creeks and residential canals.  The sheepshead bite remains strong.  Very few of the fish are under the 12″ minimum.  Some decent mangrove snapper were landed as well.  Live shrimp worked well fished on the bottom.

Sarasota fishing report

February 16 Sarasota fishing report

The best bite in Sarasota Bay right now is sheepshead.  These tasty saltwater panfish are hitting live and freshly frozen shrimp under docks, bridges and around submerged structure.  Most of the fish were decent sized, over 14″ or so.  Mangrove snapper to 14″ were also taken in the same areas.  In addition, a few snook and jacks were caught on Rapala X-Raps in creeks and canals.

Sarasota sheepshead fishing

 

February 2 Sarasota fishing report

The big jack bite was hot for another week, but then slowed down after the cold front.  Water temperatures in the mid 50’s sent the fish seeking warmer water. Before the front, jacks to 12 pounds, snook, and redfish hit Rapala plugs in the Manatee River.  Hopefully the upcoming warm weather will get them biting again.  The best action in Sarasota Bay was sheepshead hitting live shrimp around structure.  The fish are spread out and it seems like their numbers are increasing each week.  Small snook hit lures in creeks and residential canals.

Sarasota fishing report

January 19 Sarasota fishing report

Winter fishing patterns continue in Sarasota.  The best two patterns have been fishing docks with live shrimp for sheepshead and black drum and casting plugs and jigs in creeks and rivers for jack crevalle and snook.  Docks in 8′ to 10′ of water near Big Pass produced sheepshead and drum.  Most of them were solid fish in the 14″ to 16″ range.  Anglers casting Rapala plugs in Phillippi Creek fooled snook and jacks.  The Manatee River has some VERY big jacks that were breaking on the surface and hit jigs and plugs.

Sarasota fishing report

January 5 Sarasota fishing report

Fishing has been fair over the last two weeks.  Fishing pressure was high due to the Christmas traffic and we are still rebounding from the red tide.  Sheepshead showed up under docks and around structure near the passes.  We caught them and mangrove snapper using live shrimp fished on the bottom.  Big jacks were found on the flats and in the channel and hit plugs, jigs, and flies.  Ladyfish were caught in deeper areas using jigs.

Sarasota fishing report

December 22 Sarasota fishing report

Weather was an issue over the last two weeks.  However, the forecast is good for the holiday week. Ladyfish hit jigs on drop-offs in 7′ to 10′ of water.  Sheepshead were present in good numbers under docks near Big Pass.  Snook and jacks have moved up into residential canals and creeks.  Anglers fishing the Myakka River hooked snook and gar casting plugs.

Sarasota fishing report

December 8 Sarasota fishing report

Weather has been an issue the last two weeks. Several severe fronts moved through and I had to cancel several trips due to wind around 20 knots. It does seem to have helped the rd tide, though. Ladyfish and small Spanish mackerel were breaking on the surface off of Siesta Key. Sheepshead and snapper took shrimp fished under docks and along rocky channel edges, especially south of Siesta Drive Bridge. Cooler water has snook and jacks moving up into area cheeks and rivers.

Sarasota fishing report

November 24 Sarasota fishing report

Fishing remained steady, though unspectacular, over the last two weeks.  Red tide still persists off the beaches and in Sarasota Bay, from the passes north.  The best fishing has been in the area from Siesta Drive south to Blackburn Point.  Sheepshead moved into the area and were caught under docks by clients using shrimp.  Mangrove snapper were caught in the same spots as well.  Jack crevelle hit plugs in residential canals and creeks.  Ladyfish were caught on jigs on the open flats.

Sarasota fishing report

November 10 Sarasota fishing report

I ran both Myakka River charters and Sarasota Bay charters this week.  Anglers casting Bass Assassin baits and Gulp! Shrimp on jig heads experienced fast action on ladyfish.  With the persistent red tide, the area between Siesta Drive and Blackburn Point were the most consistent areas.  A few speckled trout were caught as well.  Pilchards fished under docks fooled jacks, snook, and snapper.

Action in the Myakka River was fair this week.  It got VERY warm by the end of the week, and that slowed the bite.  Still, anglers casting Rapala plugs hooked a couple large snook and landed fish to 24″.  The approaching cold front should improve the fishing.

Sarasota fishing report

November 3 Sarasota fishing report

I did most of my fishing in the area rivers.  Anglers had good success on snook, jack crevelle, and largemouth bass casting Rapala plugs.  Snook ranged from 15″ to 15 pounds.  We landed fish to 35″ and lost two larger ones.  #10 gold Rapala X-Raps and BX Minnow plugs fooled all of the fish.  The Braden River, Myakka River, and Manatee River were all productive.  Charters in Sarasota Bay were a bit slower, with jack crevelle to 4 pounds and mangrove snapper hitting pilchards fished under docks and along shorelines.

Sarasota fishing report

October 20 Sarasota fishing report

Sarasota fishing report

Fishing was fantastic this week! I got out four days, taking a mixture of clients and friends. The snook bite was on fire all along Siesta Key. Snook to 34 inches were landed this week and several were hooked that we could not handle. A few the fish were caught on white #8 Rapala X-Raps first thing in the morning. Speckled trout to 16 inches, ladyfish, mangrove snapper to 14 inches, and jacks also hit the plugs early in the morning.

However, most of the fish hit live pilchards. Redfish to 24 inches, jack crevelle to 4 pounds, and mangrove snapper to 15 inches were also caught on the live bait. I like the combination of taking an advantage of the early morning bite with lures than switching over to live bait when that action slows.

Action from this week!

 

Regular clients Doc and John had a great day on Thursday. They caught snapper, jacks, snook, ladyfish, and a trout casting Rapalas. A switch to live bait resulted in over 40 snook along with several other species. Doc finished up with an inshore slam, catching snook, trout, and redfish all in one trip.

Bait fish were plentiful in Sarasota Bay this week. At the end of my charter on Thursday, we saw a dozen large schools of bait on the flats near Marina jacks. This is a great indication of quality water. It can also mean that the mackerel, false albacore, and other migratory fall species will be arriving soon. They are generally right on the heels of the bait. Hopefully the approaching front will kick start the inshore Gulf fishing.

October 13 Sarasota fishing report

The area south of Siesta Drive down to Blackburn Point provided steady action for clients on Sarasota fishing charters this week.  I got out a couple of times after Hurricane Michael moved through.  The water was a bit stirred up, but the fish did not mind.  We had outgoing tides in the morning this week.  The best spots were creek and canal mouths along with docks on points.  Rapala X-Raps produced a few fish at first light, but most of the fish were caught using live pilchards.  Bait was present on the flats in several spots near Big Pass.  Chumming docks, shorelines, oyster bars, and creek mouths produced snook (mostly schoolies), jack crevelle to 4 pounds, and mangrove snapper to 15″.  Action should improve as it cools off.  Great to see the bay clearing and the fish biting!

Sarasota fishing report

October 7 Sarasota fishing report

I am back from a long road trip up to New Hampshire and Maine. Red tide was pretty bad when I left around Labor Day. It is still present, though the effects have eased off a bit. Persistent anglers can find juvenile snook, jacks, and mangrove snapper’s in the area at the south end of Siesta Key. A few schools of ladyfish are showing up in the flats around the passes and out on the beach. This is a good sign of things clearing up!

Sarasota fishing report

I have been doing a little freshwater fishing and local lakes. Bluegill and other panfish along with a few crappie are caught using jigs and small spinner baits. This fishing, like our saltwater fishing, will pick up as it cools off and the water temperature drops.

Sarasota fishing report information

There are many factors that go into fishing success. My Sarasota fishing report page will reflect this. Seasonal patterns are one of the primary factors influencing fishing success. Anglers can view my complete Sarasota fishing forecast.

Fishing in the cooler months is all about the weather. We start receiving serious cold fronts here in Sarasota, Florida around November. They usually persist until mid-March. Unseasonably pleasant winters will result in fish maintaining their spring and fall patterns. Conversely, an unusually cold winter will keep fish in their winter pattern.

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

Fishing Articles from Capt Jim Klopfer

This post is the list of fishing articles written by Capt Jim Klopfer. 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

Inshore Saltwater Fishing, a Complete Guide

Best Cobia Fishing Tackle and Lures

Best Speckled Trout Fishing Tackle

Surf Fishing Tackle and Techniques

Best Jerkbait for Saltwater Fishing

11 Valuable Tampa Bay Fishing Tips

Best 6 Topwater Plugs for Saltwater Fishing

Best 7 Saltwater Fishing Spoons

Best Sheepshead Fishing Tackle and Baits

Tarpon Fishing Tackle and Gear, an Angler’s Guide

Best Redfish Fishing Tackle and lures

Best 12 Spotted Sea Trout Fishing Lures

Best Flounder and Fluke Fishing Tackle and Techniques

Best Grouper Fishing Tackle and Lures

Best False Albacore Fishing Tackle and Lures

Best Live Baits for Saltwater Fishing in Florida

Best 7 Fishing Lures for Redfish

Top 9 speckled trout fishing lures

Top 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures

Jack Crevalle Fishing, a Complete Guide

Light Tackle Bottom Fishing Tips

What is the Best Saltwater Fishing Fly

How to Catch Saltwater Fish with Jigs

Spotted Sea Trout Fishing, Tips to Succeed

Spanish Mackerel and False Albacore Fishing Tips

Fishing for Redfish and Speckled Trout

Fishing for Bluefish, Tips and Techniques

Top 15 Sheepshead Fishing Tips

Best 6 Saltwater Fishing Lures

Fly Fishing for Jack Crevalle

Top 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures

Florida fishing articles

Fishing for Snook, a Complete Guide

Florida Inshore Fishing Tips

Florida Offshore Fishing Tips

Florida Pompano Fishing

Florida Bluefish

Freshwater Fly Fishing in Florida

Fly Fishing in Florida, Gulf Coast Tips

Tarpon Fishing in Florida, an Anglers Guide

Light Tackle Trolling in Saltwater

Jacksonville Florida Fishing Tips

Best Snook Fishing Tackle and Lures

Florida King Mackerel Fishing, Tips and Techniques

Top 21 Florida Saltwater Game Fish

What is the Best Bait for Shark Fishing?

Fishing for Florida Panfish and Crappie

Top 25 Florida Game Fish

Florida Saltwater Fishing in Winter

Fishing for Ladyfish in Florida

Freshwater fishing articles

Top 6 Freshwater Fishing Lures

Top 5 Freshwater Fishing Spinners

Best small Spinnerbait for Bass Fishing

Best Brook Trout Fishing tackle

Best Lake Trout Fishing Tackle and Gear

Best Musky Fishing Tackle

Northern Pike Fishing Tips and Tackle

Best Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tackle and lures

Rock Bass Fishing Tips and Tackle

Fishing for Crappie, Bluegill, and Panfish

Walleye Fishing Tackle and lures

Top 13 Freshwater Fishing Plugs

Best 11 topwater plugs for freshwater fishing

Top 11 Freshwater Fishing Spoons

Largemouth Bass Fishing in Creeks

Spinnerbait Fishing Tips and Techniques

Bass Fishing Tackle and Equipment

Best Catfish Fishing Tackle and Gear

Best 13 Brown Trout Fishing Lures

Freshwater Fishing Tackle and Lures, a Beginners Guide

Ice Fishing Tackle and Gear

Top 10 Northern Pike Fishing Lures

Top 11 Musky Fishing Lures

What is the best Northern Pike Fishing Lure

Best 13 Largemouth Bass Fishing Lures for Beginners

Best River Trout Fishing Lure

What is the best live bait for freshwater fishing?

Fly Fishing for Bluegill and Panfish

Fishing with Spinners in Rivers and Streams

Top 13 Rainbow Trout Fishing Lures

What is the best live bait for smallmouth bass?

Best 9 Fishing Lures for Streams and Small Rivers

Ice Fishing for Crappie, a Beginners Guide

Crappie Fishing Tackle and Lures, a Complete Guide

Best 9 fishing lures for bluegill and panfish

How to Catch Catfish, a Comprehensive Guide

Walleye Fishing, a Beginners Guide

Fishing for River Catfish, Tips and Techniques

Smallmouth Bass Fishing for Beginners

Best 7 River Smallmouth Fishing Lures

Fishing Franklin North Carolina

Top 27 Freshwater Game Fish Species

Minnesota Walleye and Pike Fishing

Trout Fishing in Blue Ridge, Georgia

Manitoba and Alberta Fishing Tips

Women Bass Fishing, Tournament Tips

Fishing Texas Lakes and Rivers

River Fishing Tips and Techniques

Fishing the North Shore of Minnesota

Sarasota fishing articles

Fishing Sarasota Bay, Pro Tips!

Fishing Siesta Key

Sarasota Fishing Calendar

Sarasota Bottom Fishing

Best 11 Sarasota Fishing Reefs

Sarasota Offshore Fishing

Sarasota Redfish

Sarasota Chumming Techniques

River Snook Fishing Charters

Sarasota Bass Fishing

Sarasota Snook Fishing

Sarasota False Albacore

Sarasota Fishing Forecast

Sarasota Crappie Fishing

Sarasota Sheepshead Fishing

Sarasota Mangrove Snapper Fishing

Sarasota Speckled Trout Fishing

Longboat Key Fishing Charters

Sarasota Freshwater Fishing

Best 6 Sarasota Fishing Lures

Fly Fishing Sarasota Rivers

Best Sarasota Fishing Charter

35 Best Sarasota Fishing Spots

Sarasota Jig Fishing

Sarasota Trolling Techniques

Siesta Key Snook Fishing

Best 7 Lido Key Fishing Spots

17 Best Bradenton Fishing Spots

Fishing Charters in Sarasota

Miscellaneous Fishing Articles

What is the Best Scented Soft Plastic Fishing Lure

Best Striped Bass Fishing Tackle and Lures

Top 12 Texas Game Fish

Striped Bass Fishing Tips and Spots

A Guide to Kayak Fishing for Beginners

Best Speckled Trout Fishing Tackle

Best Speckled Trout Fishing Tackle

This article will thoroughly cover the best speckled trout fishing tackle. Speckled trout are a very popular saltwater inshore game fish. In order to be successful fishing for speckled trout, anglers will need the proper tackle and equipment.

The best speckled trout fishing tackle includes a 7 foot medium light rod and reel, hooks, floats, leader, and a selection of artificial lures. The top lures will consist of jig heads and soft plastic baits, spoons, and plugs. This is the tackle that anglers will need in order to consistently produce speckled trout.

best speckled trout fishing tackle

Best fishing rods and reels for speckled trout

Anglers fishing for speckled trout can choose between spinning and baitcasting tackle. Spinning tackle is more popular as it is a bit easier to use, especially for novice anglers. It is also best for smaller fish and for casting light lures free lining light baits. Baitcasting tackle is popular along the upper Gulf Coast, where anglers use heavier corks and lures for larger fish.

light tackle bottom fishing tips

The Rod and Reel are arguably the most important components. The best route for speckled trout fishing is a 7 foot to 7 1/2 foot medium light rod with a fast action. Fast action refers to the strength and taper of the rod. Fast action rods are stout in the butt section but very limber at the tip. This allows anglers to cast light baits and lures a reasonable distance while providing the strength to fight a decent fish.

Speckled trout are also famous for the very thin membrane in their mouth. It is very easy for a speckled trout to shake its head and throw the hook. A rod such as the one outlined above with a nice limber tip will help facilitate landing more speckled trout. The rod should be matched with a 2500 or 3000 series spinning reel or appropriate baitcasting reel. Capt. Jim likes the Penn conflict combo, it is a quality outfit for around $200. Lew’s sells some quality baitcasting combos at a very affordable price.

Anglers can click these links to shop Amazon for Penn Conflict spinning and Lew’s baitcasting combos.

Fishing line options

Top Florida saltwater game fish

Anglers have two basic choices when it comes to fishing line; monofilament line in braided line. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Monofilament line is much less expensive. However, it does not last as long and does have some stretch. Some anglers actually prefer the stretch when fish and force speckled trout, which have those tender mouth mentioned above. Braided line is more expensive but last a long time. It also facilitates longer casts and has excellent sensitivity with no stretch. It really is just a matter of personal preference.

Click these links to shop Amazon for monofilament and braided fishing lines

Leaders are used when saltwater fishing

Anglers fishing and saltwater almost always use some type of leader. This is true with speckled trout fishing as well. Speckled trout did not have a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth, such as is the case with bluefish and Spanish mackerel. However, they do have raspy teeth and anglers will encounter other species when chasing speckled trout. Therefore, a leader is required.

Sarasota speckled trout fishing

Most anglers opt for a 24 inch to 30 inch piece of 25lb or 30lb fluorocarbon leader. This is an excellent all round choice for most situations anglers will encounter. An extremely clear water, anglers can drop down to 20 pound or even 15 pound test. Conversely, and muddy water or went fishing around heavy structure, anglers can go up to 40 pound test. The leader can be attached with a line to line not such as a double Uni-knot or by using a small black swivel.

Click this link to shop Amazon for flourocarbon leader

Hooks and floats

Live bait is extremely effective when fishing for speckled trout. In fact, more trout have probably been landed by anglers fishing a live shrimp under a popping cork and by all other methods combined. A few different hook sizes will cover most speckled trout fishing situations.

Siesta Key fishing charters

As mentioned above, speckled trout have a thin membrane in their mouth. This requires the use of a fairly light and fine wire hook as opposed to sturdy live bait hooks that are often used and saltwater for other species. Anglers will definitely land more trout using a lighter hook. A #1/0 short shank live bait hook will cover the vast majority of situations speckled trout anglers will find themselves in. Some anglers do prefer the long shank Aberdeen style hook, though this may straighten out on a larger redfish or other game fish.

Click this link to shop Amazon for hooks

Speckled trout are often caught over submerged vegetation. These are most often referred to as grass flats. In these situations, anglers use a float of some sort to suspend the shrimp or other live bait just above the top of the grass. There are two types of floats that anglers use; popping corks and a larger, noisy clacking style float.

Lido Key fishing charters

Popping corks have a slot that runs down the length of them and a pin to hold them in place. When twitched sharply, the concave surface of the float digs into the water producing a popping sound which attracts game fish. The larger clack are style floats accomplish the same thing, only they are larger and put out a lot more noise.

Click these links to shop Amazon for Popping corks and clacker-style floats

Popping corks have the advantage of being easily added or removed, while the clack are style floats require a leader between the hook in the float. Both are very effective when fishing for speckled trout.

Top artificial lures for speckled trout fishing

Speckled trout will certainly hit artificial lures. Jigs, spoons, and plugs are all effective artificial lures for speckled trout and most other inshore saltwater species.

Jigs are productive speckled trout fishing lures

Without a doubt, the most popular artificial lure when fishing for speckled trout is the jig and grub combination. This consists of a jig head and in some type of soft plastic grub or tail added. The weight of the jig head will vary depending on fishing conditions such as depth and current. One quarter ounce is a very popular jig head size.

guide to inshore fishing

Anglers have endless choices when it comes to the soft plastic body that they add to the jig head. These come in a myriad of sizes, shapes, and colors that mimic just about every forage that’s tackle trout feed on. Most imitate either a crustacean such as a crab or shrimp or a bait fish. 3 inch to 4 inch baits are most effective in the majority of fishing applications. Capt. Jim’s two favorite soft plastic baits are the 4” Bass Assassin Sea Shad and the 3 inch gulp shrimp.

Best Speckled trout fishing lures

Click these links to shop Amazon for Bass Assassin baits and Gulp Shrimp

Fishing for speckled trout with spoons

Spoons are another very effective artificial lure for speckled trout and other species. There are two basic types of spoons, weedless spoons and open water spoons. Weedless spoons have a single hook in a weed guard in the spoon runs through the grass with the hook up, reducing snags. Open water spoons have a single treble hook instead. The Johnson Silver minnow and Johnson sprite are two examples of very effective weedless and open water spoons.

Click these links to shop Amazon for Johnson Silver Minnow and Sprite spoons.

Plugs catch speckled trout, too

Plugs are very effective speckled trout fishing lures as well. Plugs either work on the surface, these are called top water plugs, or they dive down into the water and work different parts of the water column. Some plugs float on the surface and a lip causes the plug to dive down. Others sink slowly and suspend in a certain depth.

guide to inshore saltwater fishing

Capt. Jim’s favorite top water plug is the Rapala Skitter Prop. It has a conical nose and a single propeller on the rear. When twitched sharply, it puts out a very enticing fish attracting noise. It is also a fairly easy bait for novice anglers to use as it has a lot of built in action. Top water plugs work best early and late in the day and on days with cloud cover.

Capt. Jim’s favorite shallow diving plug is the Rapala X-Rap slashbait. He most often uses the #8 size as it closely imitates sardines, herring, and finger mullet which speckled trout often feed on. Anglers can certainly go up in size to mimic larger bait fish. Olive and white are excellent all round colors. These are very versatile lures which can be cast out towards shoreline cover, over bars and flats, and even trolled effectively.

Top saltwater species in Florida

Click these links to shop Amazon for Rapala Skitter Prop and X-Rap plugs

MirrOlure manufacturers several extremely effective suspending lures for speckled trout. These are time-tested baits that are legendary among saltwater anglers. The MirrOdine very realistically emulates a sardine. The 52 M series is better for larger fish as it imitates pin fish, grunts, and mullet. Both baits are slow sinking and when twitched sharply will suspend at that depth.

Click these links to shop Amazon for MirrOlure plugs

In conclusion, this article on the best speckled trout fishing tackle will help anglers acquire the correct gear in order to be successful catching these popular and great tasting inshore game fish!

Top 6 Freshwater Fishing Lures

Top 6 Freshwater Fishing Lures

Many anglers that enjoy freshwater fishing do so using artificial lures. While live bait is certainly productive, lures have advantages as well. They are more convenient, versatile, and will elicit strikes when fish are not hungry. Lures are also a lot of fun to fish! However, anglers can be confused by the vast amount of lure choices. Capt Jim will list the top 6 freshwater fishing lures in this article.

musky fishing tackle

The top 6 freshwater fishing lures are:

  • Inline spinners
  • jigs
  • soft plastic baits
  • spinnerbaits
  • spoons
  • plugs

These lures will cover every fishing situation that a freshwater angler will encounter.

Capt Jim Klopfer is a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. He grew up in Maryland and has fished extensively in freshwater throughout the country. He will break down each lure type along with his personal favorite lures.

top 6 freshwater fishing lures

One advantage lures have over live bait is the ability to cover water much more quickly in search of fish. Lures will also cause fish to bite out of reflex, angler, excitement, curiosity, and more. Artificial lures are also more convenient; no need to keep bait alive. It can also be easier to release fish when using lures, especially those with a single hook.

Inline spinners

Inline spinners were one of the first freshwater fishing lures. They consist of a metal shaft with a blade that rotates around a body. At the rear of the spinner is a hook, most often a treble hook, that can be dressed with hair or fur and is sometimes plain. Spinners put out a lot of flash and vibration and are very easy for novice anglers to use. In most cases, a slow steady retrieve is best.

bluegill fishing

Spinners work extremely well and rivers. The current alone will usually cause the spinner blade to rotate and flash. Anglers simply cast the spinner across the stream or river and allow it to drift down stream on a tight line, retrieving it just fast enough to keep the blade turning. In-line spinners also work very well in lakes, they can be cast out and retrieved but are also very productive when trolled.

best trout tackle

Read more about Fishing with Spinners!

Spinners catch a wide variety of freshwater species, from small panfish up to giant pike and musky. This versatility is one of the attributes that makes it one of the top 6 freshwater fishing lures! Capt. Jim’s personal favorite in-line spinner is the Wordens Rooster Tail spinner. It is very light which makes it an excellent choice when fishing and streams and small rivers as it will not sink down and get hung up on the bottom.

rooster tail

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Mepps spinners are another favorite lure of freshwater anglers. They have been around a long time and have caught countless fish over the decades. While Mepps offer several varieties, the Aglia spinner is there best seller. The combination of the gold blade and brown tail is an excellent all round color combination.

mepps

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As mentioned above, in-line spinners will catch large fish as well. The best in-line spinner for larger game fish, especially musky and pike, is the Mepps Musky Killer spinner. It is a large lure with sturdy hardware, which makes it a good choice when fishing for powerful fish with a mouth full of teeth such as musky and pike. Generally speaking, bright color combinations work best.

musky killer

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Jigs

Tailwater fishing tips and techniques

The jig is an extremely versatile fishing lure that produces fish in freshwater as well as saltwater and catches just about every species that swims. They are number two on the list of the top 6 freshwater fishing lures. Jigs are available in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and colors. They can be cast out and retrieved as well as presented vertically. Jigs can mimic bait fish, crayfish, and other popular freshwater forage. Jigs are most often cast out or fished vertically, however there are instances where trolling with jigs can be effective as well.

Jig and grub

One of the most popular jigs is the jig and grub combo. This consists of a jig head, which is a hook with some lead molded at the front near the eye. This offset weight causes the jig to have its erratic action. Some type of soft plastic body is then threaded onto the jig head.

Sarasota crappie fishing

One of the advantages of the jig and grub combination is the versatility. Anglers can easily change the grub body to match the conditions and the locally available forage. They are also quite economical as the grub body can be replaced once a fish tears it up. The same applies to anglers fishing in areas where snags are common, the jig and grub usually costs less than one dollar.

fishing for crappie

Grub bodies are available in a myriad of styles, shapes, and colors. They can mimic crayfish, leeches, bait fish, and even come in styles that do not look like anything found in freshwater. While they all catch fish, Capt. Jim’s personal favorite is a chartreuse curly tail grub on a jig head. The size of the lure is matched to the fish being pursued. Tiny 1 inch jigs are deadly on panfish while 3 inch to 4 inch versions work well on bass, walleye, and larger game fish.

mister twister

Click to shop Amazon for Mister Twister grubs

Hair jigs

Jigs are also available with some type of natural or synthetic care tied onto the jig head. These are often referred to as bucktail jigs or marabou jigs. They are extremely effective lures for a variety of species. Tiny marabou jigs are extremely effective on crappie and panfish. Large bucktail jigs are very effective lures for striped bass and other larger game fish.

striped bass fishing tips and spots

While very effective freshwater fishing lures, these hair jigs do have a couple of disadvantages; primarily being cost and durability. Unlike the jig and grub, once the hair dressing is torn up, it cannot be easily replaced. Also, these jigs are more expensive to fish than a jig with a soft plastic body.

bucktail jig

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Bass jigs

There are several different styles of bass jigs available to anglers freshwater fishing. Most of these have a fairly heavy head, a sturdy hook, and some type of rubber legs for dressing. The rubber legs undulate naturally in the water and are very effective. Anglers often add some type of soft plastic trailer to add bulk and even more action. These are generally used around weeds and heavy cover. Capt Jim likes the Booyah Boo jig in dark colors.

Booyah jig

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Soft plastic baits

Third on the list of the top 6 freshwater fishing lures are soft plastic baits. Soft plastic baits are extremely effective freshwater fishing lures. Plastic worms were introduced in the late 60s and revolutionized bass fishing. The soft plastic baits available today are much more sophisticated and effective. Anglers can purchase a soft plastic lure that resembles just about anything in the water, including worms, salamanders, crayfish, leeches, bait fish, and more.

Women bass fishing tips

Soft plastic baits can be fished several different ways. Anglers can thread them on a jig head as mentioned above. They can be rigged on special hooks which allow anglers to present these baits in an almost weedless manner. Soft plastic baits can also be fished on hooks either in a drop shot presentation or wacky rigged. The combinations are really endless.

Capt. Jim’s favorite soft plastic bait is the Yamamoto Senko worm in green pumpkin. This is a fairly unassuming bait that does not look like much, however it really catches fish. It can be fished drop shot style, wacky rigged, Texas rigged, and on a shaky head jig. All of these are effective presentations. In most cases, a subtle action works best. These are finesse style baits and fish often respond with little or even no action by the angler.

senko

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Spinnerbaits

Spinnerbaits are extremely effective freshwater fishing lures. They are next on the list of the top 6 freshwater fishing lures. Spinnerbaits consist of a wire frame that resembles a safety pin with a blade or blades at the top and some type of body with a hook at the bottom. The weighted hook can come with a rubber skirt or some type of soft plastic trailer, and sometimes both.

spinnerbait fishing

Spinner baits are very easy for novice anglers to use. The lure is simply cast out and retrieved back in in a steady pace. They are fairly weedless and will bounce over submerged timber and other structure. While they really do not look like anything that is in the water, spinner baits put out a ton of flash and vibration, which attracts game fish. In most cases, they resemble bait fish. However, they are available in darker patterns which can be bounced along the bottom to mimic crayfish as well.

Sarasota trolling techniques

Read more about Fishing with Spinnerbaits in this article!

Capt. Jim’s favorite spinner bait is the Johnson Beetle Spin. This is a fairly plain looking lure, however it is extremely effective on a variety of species. The 1/16 ounce versions are deadly on panfish. The larger one quarter ounce model is extremely effective for bass and other species in lakes and ponds. His favorite color combination is a black body with a silver blade.

beetle spin

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Strike King offers anglers a wide variety of spinner bait options. The KVD finesse spinner bait is an excellent choice when anglers are trying to imitate smaller shad or other bait fish. It also works well when fish are a bit finicky. The larger versions work very well in larger bodies of water where shad are present. They will catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, walleye, pike, and other game fish.

best small spinnerbait for bass fishing

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Spoons

Spoons have been catching freshwater fish for anglers for many decades. A spoon is a very simple yet effective fishing lure. It consists of a curved piece of metal with a hook in it. In most cases, the spoon comes with a treble hook that swings freely on the rear. The shape and curve of the spoon will dictate the action. Long slender spoons have a tight wiggle and are best worked quickly. Wider spoons have a slow deliberate wobble and produce better when slowly retrieved.

top 11 freshwater fishing spoons

Spoons are very effective fishing lures that can be presented in a variety of ways. Spoons can be cast out and retrieved back in. They are also very effective when vertically fished over structure. Anglers ice fishing you spoons extensively for walleye, lake trout, and other species. Finally, spoons are extremely effective when trolled for salmon, trout, walleye, and other species.

Read more about fishing with spoons in this link!

The discussion of freshwater fishing spoons starts with the venerable Eppinger Daredevil spoon. This simple fishing lure has been around for decades and has probably accounted for more northern pike than any other lure. It is also effective on just about every other freshwater species. It comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors. The 1/4 ounce red and white daredevil spoon is Capt. Jim’s favorite.

daredevil

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The list of effective and productive freshwater fishing spoons is very long. Johnson offers anglers a couple of very effective spoons. The Johnson Silver Minnow is a weedless spoon which is a very effective lure for bass and pike that can be used when the fish are in heavy vegetation. The spoon wobbles with the hook writing up in a weed guard, making the lure fairly weedless. Anglers will often add some type of soft plastic trailer to add more action and bulk. The 1/4 ounce spoon in the gold finish is Capt. Jim’s favorite.

silver minnow

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Johnson also offers anglers a casting spoon, called the sprite spoon. This is more of an open water lure as it has a single treble hook on the rear. It comes in a variety of sizes and both the silver and gold finishes are very productive.

sprite spoon

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Another excellent spoon that Capt. Jim likes is the Acme Kastmaster spoon. It has a bit of an unusual shape and design. The cast master is a dense spoon which casts very well. It works best when using a fast, erratic retrieve. Anglers can also troll with it or presented vertically. The chrome spoon with a blue prism finish works very well, as does gold.

kastmaster

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Plugs

Last on the list of top 6 freshwater fishing lures are plugs. Plugs are hard bodied baits, usually made of plastic, that for the most part mimic bait fish. Some plugs do scour the bottom and are designed to mimic crayfish. Some plugs float on the surface, these are called top water plugs. However, most plugs work below the surface.

best soft plastic lure

Plugs are generally float and then dive down to a determined depth upon retrieve. The depth that they achieve is mostly dictated by the plastic bill on the front of the plug. Some plugs do sink on their own. Other plugs, known as suspending plugs, will slowly sink down and then can be worked at a certain depth in the middle of the water column.

Topwater plugs

Topwater plugs are great fun to fish! It is very exciting to see a largemouth bass or other game fish attack a plug as it is being worked on the surface. There are numerous effective top water fishing plugs that will catch a variety of species. They come in several styles including poppers, propeller baits, and walk the dog baits.

Read more about the best fishing plugs in this article

Capt. Jim’s favorite top water plug is the Rapala Skitter Prop. This lure has a conical nose and a single rear propeller. When twitched sharply, it puts out excellent action and commotion on the surface of the water. Like most top water plugs, it is best fished close to a weed line or other type of structure.

skitter prop

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Jerkbaits

Jerkbaits are long slender plugs that have a very erratic action and the water. They are worked by using short twitches of the rod tip followed by a pause, thus the name, jerk bait. The hard jerk in flash will attract the game fish and the pause simulates easy prey and is usually when the fish strikes. There are many manufacturers of quality jerk baits that come in many different sizes and colors.

Capt. Jim’s favorite jerk bait is the Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slash Bait. This lure comes in many different sizes small versions that will fool crappie and panfish to six-inch models that will catch pike, musky, and lake trout. The #10 X-Rap in ghost (white) is a very effective and versatile lure. When the forage is running a little smaller, anglers can drop down to the number eight size.

Rapala x-rap

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Crankbaits

walleye fishing tackle and lures

Crankbaits generally refer to plugs that dive down deeper in the water column. For the most part, they have a larger profile which resembles shad or bluegill. 2 inch to 3 inch long models are the most productive. Capt. Jim’s favorite crank baits is the rapid a shad rap in the number 5 size and silver finish. Crank baits are often cast out and retrieved but they are extremely effective lures for trolling as well.

Click to shop Amazon for Rapala Shad Rap lures

Lipless crankbaits

Lipless cranbaits are another type of plug. These do not float nor do they have a lip. They are cast out, allowed to sink, then retrieved back in using a fairly steady pace. These lures put out a tremendous amount of vibration and are excellent lures for covering a lot of water quickly. The discussion of lipless crank baits really starts and ends with the Bill Lewis rattletrap. The half ounce model in chrome with a blue back is Capt. Jim’s top choice.Anglers can troll them as well.

rat-l-trap

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In conclusion, this article on the top 6 freshwater fishing lures will help anglers understand which lures they need and to ultimately catch more fish!

Best Cobia Fishing Tackle and Lures

Best Cobia Fishing Tackle and Lures

Cobia are a popular saltwater game fish. They grow quite large, reaching weights of over 100 pounds. Anglers pursuing cobia will need to have the correct fishing tackle in order to be successful.

cobia fishing tackle and lures

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The best cobia fishing tackle consist of a heavy spinning or medium conventional outfit and a good selection of hooks and artificial lures. Cobia are a pelagic saltwater species. They are found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, both inshore along the coast and in offshore waters. In the United States, cobisa are found along the eastern United States coast from Texas to Maine. The world record cobia is 105 pounds. These large fish will put an angler’s tackle to the test. Therefore, stout fishing tackle is required.

Cobia vary greatly in size. This makes it difficult for one rod and reel to cover every cobia fishing situation. Smaller fish, averaging under 10 pounds, are commonly caught in the inshore bays and passes. Occasionally, larger cobia are caught in these waters as well. Generally speaking, most large cobia are are caught along the beaches close to shore and near offshore structure such as wrecks, reefs, oil rigs, and hard bottom.

cobia fishing tackle

Cobia fishing techniques

Cobia are caught by anglers using several different techniques. Sight casting to cobia is fantastic sport! Cobia have a unique habit of swimming right on the surface of the water. This allows anglers to visually spot the fish and then present a lure or bait in front of it. This type of fishing can occur all along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastline. In this situation, heavy spinning tackle is usually the best choice, though anglers who are proficient with bait casting tackle can use those outfits as well.

best tackle for cobia

While cobia are often seen cruising in open water, they are quite often caught by anglers fishing structure. Very large cobia are caught by anglers in the Gulf of Mexico fishing the numerous oil rigs as these attract bait and provide cover for cobia and many other game fish species. Hard bottom areas, natural ledges and sunken wrecks and artificial reefs will hold cobia as well. These cobia will often hold close to the bottom structure.

Chumming is a very effective technique used by anglers fishing structure. Chum will pull fish out away from the heavy cover and give anglers a chance to land them. Chumming also gets fish excited and in a mood to feed. Since cobia like to come to the surface, chum works especially well for them. Frozen chum will work, but live bait fish used as chum is extremely effective.

cobia fishing lures

Cobia are often seen in small groups, referred to as pods. It is not uncommon at all to see a group of six or eight cobia swim right up to the transom of the boat. They are a curious fish, and this habit has led to many a cobia’s demise. Cobia are also less fussy than many other game fish. In most cases, locating them is the most difficult part. Cobia will usually take a well presented lure or live bait.

Best rods and reels for cobia fishing

The best all round cobia fishing rod and reel is a medium heavy spinning outfit. A 7 foot to 8 foot medium heavy rod works well. Spinning tackle is very versatile. This type of rod has a heavy butt section which allows anglers to land a large cobia, while tapering to a fairly limber tip. This tip is important as it aids in casting lighter lures and live baits a fair distance.

cobia fishing

The rod is matched with a 6000 to 8000 series spinning reel. This real will have a lot of line capacity, which is important when chasing large game fish such as cobia. It will also have a substantial drag which will be needed to turn a large cobia went fishing around structure.

There are places where anglers catch small cobia, in the 5 lb to 10 lb range. For the most part, this occurs in the shallow, inshore waters. In these instances, the same inshore tackle used for schoolie stripers and bluefish, speckled trout, and redfish will work fine.

cobia tackle and lures

Conventional tackle

There are situations where conventional tackle will be a better choice when cobia fishing. For the most part, this is when casting is not required. Anglers bottom fishing near heavy structure such as oil rigs and sunken wrecks will need stout tackle to pull a fish away from this heavy cover. A heavy conventional outfit does a better job in this application than spinning tackle will.

Some experienced anglers do prefer baitcasting outfits. These are conventional reels that allow for casting. Freshwater bass anglers use them extensively. It does take more practice, but in a skilled angler’s hands, they are an excellent choice. Baitcasting reels have more power than spinning reels and in most cases a faster retrieve ratio.

Best fishing line

lures for cobia fishing

Anglers have two choices when it comes to fishing line; monofilament line in braided line. Most anglers fishing for cobia opt for braided line. It is more expensive, however it will last a very long time. The main advantages of braided line are that the thin diameter allows for more line to be wound on the spool as well as longer casting distances. Braided line also has almost no stretch, which is advantageous when fishing near heavy structure. 50 pound test 280 pound test braided line is used on both spinning and conventional outfits, depending on the size of the fish being pursued and the area being fished.

Leaders

Saltwater anglers are very familiar with the use of a shock leader. This is a section of heavier line that is used between the running line and the hook or lure. Fluorocarbon leader is preferred as it is less visible in the water. While cobia do not have teeth, they do have raspy jaws which will fray lighter line. Most anglers use a swivel to connect the leader to the running line. In most cases, 50 pound to 80 pounds leader is used for larger cobia.

Hooks

Anglers cobia fishing with live bait will obviously need hooks. Since cobia grow fairly large, larger live baits are usually used. These basically include any locally available forage species such as threadfin herring, pogies, mullet, sardines, blue runners, and more. In some areas, live eels are a top bait as well.

cobia fishing tackle

Cobia have a special affinity for crustaceans! Large live shrimp and medium-size live crabs are top baits. Anglers will do well with large, heavy live bait hooks. 4/0 to 8/0 conventional “j” hooks and 6/0 to 10/0 circle hooks will usually get the job done.

Fishing for cobia with artificial lures

While many anglers fish with live bait, cobia are curious fish and will readily take artificial lures. The top cobia lure is without a doubt a white buck tail jig with a soft plastic trailer. The jig provides casting weight as well is a stout hook and the trailer adds bulk and action to the lure. It is also a versatile bait in that it can be used to cast to fish seen cruising on the surface as well as fishing the entire water column from the bottom to the surface.

tackle for cobia fishing

Lures are used for both sight casting and when vertically fishing wrecks and other structure. Another very effective cobia fishing lore is a butterfly jig. These are quite heavy and sink down to the bottom quickly, which is an advantage when fishing in deeper water. Once the lore gets to the desired depth or the bottom, it is jig very sharply and allowed to fall. Most strikes occur on the fall as the lure flutters, mimicking a helpless bait fish.

Plugs will certainly fool cobia as well. Larger diving and suspending baits are usually best as cobia prefer a larger meat. However, plugs have the disadvantage in that they make handling and releasing the fish much more difficult. Many cobia will be under-sized. A thrashing cobia and treble hooks are not a great combination.

Cobia fishing tips

cobia fishing tackle and lures

Cobia are really not all that difficult to full once they are located. Therefore, finding them is of prime importance. Cobia are very temperature sensitive and are constantly on the move. Below are listed some cobia fishing tips which will help anglers achieve more success.

  1. 70° is the magic number. Cobia are very temperature sensitive and are constantly seeking the ideal water temperature. Not coincidental, this is also an excellent all round water temperature for bait fish. Sometimes just a few degrees of water temperature will make a huge difference.
  2. Look for rays. Cobia will often times be found feeding under stingrays. This is particularly true on the shallow flats. As rays move about flapping their wings, they kick up but and sand off the bottom, which often dislodges crustaceans and other prey. However, cobia will be found feeding under rays offshore as well.
  3. Cobia are often targets of opportunity. Anglers who are fishing offshore wrecks for other species such as bottom fish will do well to keep a rod rigged up and ready for cobia. This can be a live bait rig or a buck tail jig with a soft plastic trailer. Cobia are notorious for just appearing and anglers who are ready to take advantage of this opportunity will be more successful.
  4. Use a net not a gaff. In most states, cobia need to be fairly large to keep. They are fantastic eating, so they are a desirable species. However, it is easy to overestimate the length. It is better to net the fish to ensure a healthy release.
  1. Try jigs first, then use live baits if needed. This will result in the more active and aggressive cobia being caught first. Also, releasing the fish is usually easier.
  2. Don’t land a “green” cobia. Cobia are famous for kind of coming to the boat before they are really tired. The last thing an angler needs is for a 50 pound fish to be thrashing around on the deck.
  3. Chum the wrecks. Chum will bring cobia up off of the bottom where anglers can sight cast to them as opposed to catching them off the bottom.
  4. Cobia are primarily sight feeders. Therefore, most are caught during daylight hours, though disk and dawn can be great times to fish for them, as with most species.

 

Top cobia fishing spots

Cobia are found all along the coast line in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. However, there are certain areas where cobia will be found in better numbers. Cobia are a pelagic species. That means they constantly migrate and are found throughout the water column.

The mouths and waters just inside of large bays are terrific Cobia spots. This includes but is not limited to Galveston Bay, Mobile Bay, Tampa Bay, and Charlotte Harbor are top spots on the Gulf Coast. On the Atlantic side, Biscayne Bay, Georgia and South Carolina tidal river mouths, Pamlico Sound, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and Long Island Sound attract and hold fish.

cobia fishing

For whatever reason, some stretches of beach are extremely productive cobia fishing spots for sight fishing. Two of the best are the Destin, Florida area and Virginia Beach and points north and south at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is a cobia magnet. Any large bridge has the potential to hold cobia.

Anglers also run channel markers in search of cobia. They will lie right on the surface on the down current side of any type of marker post or buoy, waiting to ambush unsuspecting prey.

Pier fishing for cobia

There are very few fishing situations where a very large fish can be caught without using a boat. Cobia can be caught by anglers fishing from piers, due to their habits. Cobia cruise coastal waters several hundred yards off the beach. This is usually where fishing piers are located. Also, the height of the pier aids greatly in sighting a fish or small pod of cobia.

Most anglers use heavy spinning tackle when fishing for cobia from piers and even bridges. It can be difficult to handle a big fish near the pilings. Also, long casts are often required. Anglers can use lures, but in this situation live bait usually works best. Suspending a live bait under a cork is a good presentation.

In conclusion, this article on the best cobia fishing tackle and lures will help anglers catch more of these terrific game fish!

What is the Best Jerkbait for Saltwater Fishing?

Best Jerkbait for Saltwater Fishing

Jerkbaits are very effective saltwater fishing lures. However, there are a wide variety from which to choose. So, how does an angler know which is the best jerkbait for saltwater fishing?

The best jerkbait for saltwater fishing is the Rapala X Rap Saltwater lure. The Rapala X Rap comes in this version designed for saltwater fishing with stronger hooks and hardware. It is available in several sizes and many different color patterns. The Rapala X Rap Saltwater has tremendous action and most importantly, catches a lot of fish!

Sarasota snook fishing

jerkbait description

Jerk baits are long and slender lures that have a very erratic action when jerked sharply, that is how they get their name. Most of them float on the surface and then dive down several feet when retrieved. The lip on the plug causes the lure to dive. The design and shape of both the body of the plug and the lip determine the action. Like most productive saltwater fishing lures, jerk baits were first used by freshwater anglers fishing for bass, walleye, and other species.

best jerkbait for saltwater fishing

The Rapala X Rap comes in several different sizes, all of which dive two different depths. The # 8 X Rap is about 3 1/2 inches long and will dive down three or 4 feet below the surface when retrieved. Sizes #10, #12, and #14 are 4 inch, 4 3/4 inch, and 5 1/2 inches long respectively. The larger the plug, the deeper it will dive, with the size # 14 getting down to 10 or 12 feet.

Choosing the correct jerkbait

Anglers should choose which jerk bait they are going to used based on several factors. The most important component in the decision is matching the forage that the game fish are feeding on. Where possible, anglers should best match the size and color of the lure to the bait fish that are in the area.

Sarasota false albacore fishing

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Rapala X Raps

There are times when the size of the lure will be extremely important. When game fish are keyed in on bait fish of a certain size, a lure that is either significantly larger or smaller will often times be ignored. False albacore in particular can be very fussy in this regard. However, predator fish will often strike a lure based on the vibration in action, even if it does not realistically mimic the bait fish that are available.

White is an excellent all round color for a saltwater jerk bait. Rapala calls their white color “Ghost”. It works very well in clear water and any time that silver or light colored bait fish are in the area. In most saltwater environments, sardines and herring are present. In these situations, white is a very productive color.

Sarasota Spanish mackerel fishing

Darker colors work well in stained or dark water as well as when bait fish with a darker profile are present. Gold is an excellent color pattern when fishing in tannin or stained water. Olive is a great color choice that is very versatile as many bait fish have a green or olive back in a white belly. Plugs that mimic small mackerel are a good choice when bluefish and striped bass are feeding on small mackerel.

Jerkbait fishing techniques

Fishing the Rapala X Rap is fairly straightforward. The lure is cast out towards structure, over submerged vegetation or bars, or towards breaking fish. With the rod tip held low, the lure is jerked sharply using the rod tip. The angler then quickly points the rod tip back towards the plug, putting slack in the line. This is a crucial element to working a jerk bait! The slack in the line causes the lure to suspend there motionless for a moment or two. This is often when the strike occurs.

Tailwater fishing tips

After the bait is allowed to sit motionless for a few seconds, the angler reels up the slack and then repeats the process. These lures work best with a fairly aggressive and erratic retrieve. However, there are times when fish are feeding less aggressively. This usually happens after severe fronts move through and when the water gets cooler. Under these conditions, a less aggressive retrieve may be more productive. Anglers can even try a slow steady retrieve.

Rapala X raps are extremely productive when trolled as well. This is another aspect of the versatility of saltwater jerk baits. This is a very easy technique that anglers can use to quickly locate fish. With the boat idling along, the lure is let out 100 feet or so behind the boat. The angler then idles around over structure breaks or near schools of bait in search of fish. Anglers can put the rod in a rod holder or hold it and give the bait extra twitches while being slowly trolled.

plug fishing Sarasota

Best tackle for fishing with jerkbaits

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

Anglers can choose either spinning or bait casting tackle when fishing jerk baits. Spinning tackle is the best choice when using smaller jerk baits as these lures are fairly light. A medium action spinning rod that is 7 feet long with a limber tip into matching 3000 or 4000 series reel is an excellent combination.

Anglers can click this this link to shop Amazon for a Penn conflict combo

Bait casting tackle can be used effectively when casting jerk baits as well. In fact, these outfits have one advantage over spinning reels when it comes to fishing with these lures. Due to the nature in which they are fished, there tends to be a fair amount of slack line to deal with. Conventional, or bait casting reels do a better job of managing slack line than spinning reels do.

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A medium heavy a casting rod between 7 feet and 7 1/2 feet long with a stout butt any fast taper is an excellent rod for casting saltwater jerk baits. A fairly stout rod is required to work a large jerk bait properly. It can actually be a fairly fatiguing way to fish. However, it can be an extremely productive technique.

fishing line options

Anglers have two choices when it comes to fishing line; fluorocarbon line and braided line. Like most things, each has advantages and disadvantages. Monofilament line is less expensive but has a stretch component. Some anglers actually prefer to have this stretch of the line when fishing jerk baits. Braided line is more expensive, but casts farther and lasts longer. It really just is a matter of angler preference.

Click these links to shop Amazon for braided and monofilament fishing line

Leaders are used with jerkbaits

Most anglers fishing in saltwater use some type of leader. When the water is clear, a shock leader is usually the best choice as a heavy wire leader will drastically diminish strikes. A 24 inch to 30 inch piece of 30 lb to 50 lb fluorocarbon leader is a good all-around choice. Anglers fishing in stained water or when toothy fish such as bluefish and mackerel are around will often go with a short wire leader.

More effective jerkbait choices

While the Rapala X Rap is the best jerk bait for saltwater fishing, there are several other manufacturers that offer quality jerk baits. Two of the best examples of this are the bomber Long a in the Yozuri Crystal Minnow.

Bomber Saltwater Grade Long A

The Bomber Saltwater Grade Long A is a saltwater jerkbait that has been around a long time and has proven itself to be very effective. It is 6 inches long and weighs almost an ounce. It is a very sturdy lure with excellent action. It is available in around 18 different color patterns. Gold and red and white are two of the most popular color patterns.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Bomber Long A plugs

Yozuri Saltwater Crystal Minnow

The Yozuri Crystal Minnow is another excellent saltwater jerk bait. It is most known for having excellent prism finishes on the lure. It is available in a wide variety of sizes, from two and three-quarter inches to 5 1/4 inches long. It is also available and around 20 different color patterns.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Yozuri Crystal Minnow plugs

In conclusion, this article on the best jerk bait for saltwater fishing will help anglers catch more fish using these extremely effective fishing lures!

What is the best scented soft plastic fishing lure?

What is the best scented soft plastic fishing lure?

Soft plastic baits are very productive fishing lures. Some are even scented to add to their effectiveness. There are many quality scented soft plastic fishing lures, but there is one bait that has proven to be the best one on the market.

The Gulp line of baits is the best scented soft plastic fishing lure. They are offered in both freshwater and saltwater versions. Gulp baits are available in sizes and shapes that mimic just about every forage for game fish. The lures are actually manufactured with the scent as opposed to the scent being added to it. This is what makes Gulp baits so effective.

best scented soft plastic fishing lure

The scent adds several advantages for anglers. Gulp baits really combine the best of both lures and live bait. They have the action of a lure with the small and taste of the real thing. First, the scent will help attract game fish to the lure initially. Secondly, the scent will cause fish to hold onto the bait significantly longer. This aids greatly in hooking the fish. Capt Jim uses this on his Sarasota fishing charters, where he gets a lot of novice anglers.

Gulp baits for saltwater fishing

Gulp baits are available to saltwater anglers to imitate a variety of crustaceans and other forage that game fish feed on. These include shrimp, crabs, bait fish, sea worms, eels, and squid. They are all effective on a wide variety of saltwater game fish. The top Gulp baits will be highlighted below.

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

Gulp shrimp

The Gulp Shrimp is the top producing scented soft plastic fishing lure in saltwater. It is a versatile bait that can be fished in a variety of ways. The 3” size is most popular, but 4” Gulp Shrimp work in some applications as well. The 2” version can be effective in cooler water when fish are selective.

Best Speckled trout fishing lures

Most often, the Gulp Shrimp is fished on a weighted jig head. They can also be fished on a bare hook, just as an angler would with a live shrimp. Top colors will vary. White with a chartreuse tail is an excellent all round color. New Penny is also very popular. Root beer gold with a chartreuse tail is another very good color pattern.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Gulp Shrimp

Gulp Jerk Shad

Florida saltwater fishing in winter

The Gulp Jerk Shad is another very productive saltwater fishing lure. It is a long and slender lure that really does not directly resemble a particular forage. It is a “fluke” style lure with a forked tail. In the water, it has a very enticing action as it is jerked sharply and allowed to fall.

The Gulp Saltwater Jerk Shad come in two sizes, 5” and 6” lengths. White is an excellent color, as is chartreuse. The lure is versatile and can be rigged several ways. Anglers can fish shallow grass by rigging it Texas style. Weighted swimbait hooks work as well. In deeper water, the bait can be fished on a jig head.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Gulp Jerk Shad lures

Bait fishing imitations

Sarasota fishing report

The Gulp line of saltwater baits include several lures that mimic bait fish. These include the Swimming Mullet, Ripple Mullet, Saltwater Nemesis, Pogy, and Paddleshad. All of these are effective lures for a variety of species. The Swimming Mullet is perhaps the most versatile and durable. Nuisance fish can be a problem at times as they rip off the tail of swimming baits.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Gulp Swimming Mullet lures

More saltwater Gulp baits

fishing for striped bass

Finally, anglers fishing in saltwater can choose to fish with baits that mimic crabs, eels, and even squid. These are excellent lures for striped bass and other species. These lures are mostly used in the north east portion on the country.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Gulp baits

Freshwater fishing with Gulp baits

walleye fishing tackle and lures

Anglers fishing in freshwater have a wide variety of Gulp baits to choose from as well. Game fish in freshwater feed on a wide variety of insects, crustaceans, bait fish, and more. Minnows, worms, maggots, crickets, leeches, and more are represented in the freshwater line of Gulp baits.

Gulp Alive Minnow

crappie fishing tackle and lures

The Gulp Alive Minnow is a very effective and versatile lure. It is available in four sizes from 1” to 4” to match the needs of just about every freshwater species. They can be used for bluegill, crappie, and other panfish both in open water fishing and when ice fishing. Larger versions produce bass, walleye, and other species.

fishing for bluegill

The Gulp Alive Minnow falls into the “finesse bait” category. It is a slender lure with subtle action. It is best fished slowly on relatively light line. Anglers can fish the bait on a light jig head. A drop shot rig is another effective method used to present the lure.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Gulp Alive Minnow baits

Gulp worms

best soft plastic lure

There are several choices when it comes to Gulp worms for freshwater fishing. These include the Nightcrawler, Pinched Crawler, Shaky Worm, Floating Trout Worm, Angle Worm, and Earth Worm. Most are best fished slowly on light tackle. Worms can be rigged on a hook with a split shot or two, a jig head, Texas rigged, Carolina rigged, or on a drop shot rig.

The Gulp Nightcrawler is perhaps the best and most versatile worm bait. It is large enough to interest bass and walleye. Other fish such as smallmouth bass and larger panfish will take them as well. One very easy and effective method is to fish them “wacky style”. This is just inserting the hook in the middle of the worm and letting it attract fish as it falls through the water column. They are effective trout lures when drifted in streams.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Gulp Nightcrawlers

Leeches

best 9 fishing lures for streams and small rivers

Leeches are excellent baits for walleye and bass. They undulate enticingly in the water. Leeches are fairly large, easy to catch, and have a lot of protein. They are most often used in northern waters. Gulp offers several different sizes of leeches for anglers to choose from.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Gulp Leeches

walleye pike fishing

Gulp offers freshwater anglers more choices when it comes to bait fish and finesse bait options. These include the Minnow, Fry, Sinking Minnow, Shaky Head, Minnow Grub, Jerk Shad, Jigging Grub, and Floating Minnow. These baits can all be fished similarly to the other finesses lures, on a bare hook, jig head, Carolina or Texas rigged, and on a drop shot.

Gulp baits for trout

steelhead

Gulp offers anglers who fish for trout several options as well. These are mostly in the form of corn and egg style baits. However, many of the lures listed above will certainly catch trout in streams and lakes. The corn and salmon egg baits are primarily designed specifically for trout anglers. They are very convenient, as opposed to dealing with live bait.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Gulp corn and eggs

Gulp baits for panfish and ice fishing

ice fishing for panfish

Ice fishing is very popular among anglers who live in colder climates. Ice fishing requires a vertical presentation. Fish are lethargic in most cases and the scent really plays a big role in catching fish. The same baits that are effective for ice fishing are also excellent for bluegill and panfish as well. These include Ice Fish Fry, Waxies, Maggots, Crickets, and Ice Minnows.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Gulp baits

In conclusion, this article on the best scented soft plastic fishing lure will help anglers catch more fish in both freshwater and saltwater!

Florida Saltwater Fishing in Spring

Florida Saltwater Fishing in Spring

Florida saltwater fishing in spring can be outstanding! Like most parts of the country, warming weather and rising water temperature has fish moving and feeding. Many species spawn or are preparing to spawn. Forage is abundant and the fish are hungry. Anglers have a wide selection of species to pursue. Anglers can view Florida fish species and Florida saltwater fishing regulations in the FWC link.

Tampa Bay redfish

The flats come alive in Florida in the spring. The severe cold fronts that quickly drop water temperatures to uncomfortable levels are no longer an issue. Bait fish become more plentiful, as do shrimp, crabs, and other crustaceans. This in turn attracts the game fish to move out of their deeper winter staging areas to feed on them.

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

Anglers will have plenty of offshore and nearshore options in the spring as well. Of course, offshore fishing will be dictated by the weather. Pelagic species such as mackerel and false albacore will migrate along the beaches. Bottom fishing will be good both inshore and offshore.

best false albacore fishing tackle and lures

Deep grass flats in Florida provide excellent spring fishing

Anglers seeking action and variety will do well to fish the deep grass flats in Florida in the spring. These are large areas of submerged vegetation in water that is between 4′ deep and 10′ deep. These areas will hold forage and therefore attract game fish. Many of the species caught on the deep grass school up in large numbers, which can result in fast action.

Florida saltwater fishing in winter

Spotted sea trout or speckled trout are probably the Florida species most associated with these deep flats. Trout are available in good numbers throughout the state. Along with trout, anglers will catch Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano, jacks, sharks, snapper, ladyfish, and more.

Top fishing techniques on the deep flats

There are several different techniques that anglers use to produce when fishing the deep flats. Most drift as opposed to anchor in order to cover more water. A live shrimp fished under a noisy float has probably accounted for more spotted sea trout than all other methods combined. The noisy float attracts fish to the helpless shrimp hanging below. Other live baits such as pinfish, grunts, mullet, and sardines can be fished under a float or free lined out behind the boat.

Florida saltwater fishing in spring

Once a school of fish is found or a productive area is located, anglers can anchor and use live bait to thoroughly fish the area. Chumming can be an effective method to bring fish to the boat. Frozen chum blocks can be used, but live bait used as chum is even more effective. Once a school of fish is attracted to the chum and excited, the action can be fast and furious!

Many anglers prefer to cast artificial lures when drifting the deep flats. Lures allow anglers to cover a lot more water than they can using live bait. The most popular lure is the jig and grub. This uses a jig head, usually ¼ to ½ ounce, with a plastic grub on the hook. The grub can mimic a shrimp or bait fish. Silver spoons and plugs can be cast and retrieved as well as trolled to locate and catch fish. Suspending plugs are particularly effective for trout, with the MirrOlure MirrOdine being a top bait.

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.

Shallow Florida flats come alive in spring

When the term “flats fishing” comes up, many anglers picture fishing in gin clear water that is a foot deep for bonefish, permit, and maybe even tarpon in the Florida Keys. That style of fishing was basically invented there. However, anglers chase fish on the shallow flats throughout the entire state.

Top 25 Florida game fish

In the Keys, tarpon, bonefish, and permit are pursued on the flats in very shallow water. This is quite challenging fishing as these fish are quite skittish in the shallow water. Patience is required as well as good angling skills. Anglers sneak up on fish in special skiffs designed to float very shallow. Live bait, lures, and flies are all used.

guide to inshore saltwater fishing

In the areas north of the keys, snook, redfish, and trout become the main targets of anglers fishing the skinny water. The same techniques are used, though in many cases anglers are fishing grass beds instead of sandy flats. Anglers can sight fish, but blind casting produces as well. A gold weedless spoon is a top lure. Light jigs and plastic baits on swim bait hooks work well, too. Topwater plugs can produce exciting strikes!

Best 6 fishing lures for redfish

Spring time tarpon fishing in Florida

Tarpon fishing gets going in earnest in the early spring in south Florida. As the water warms up, fish begin to school up and start moving along both coast lines. The bridges and flats in the Keys all have fish in early spring. As it gets later in the season, areas such as Boca Grande, Tampa, and Jacksonville become better spots.

Sarasota fishing guide

There are several different methods anglers can use to catch tarpon. In shallow water areas, they can be sight fished. This is great sport and is challenging and exciting! In the Keys, boats anchor under bridges in the afternoon on the outgoing tide and fish with live mullet and crabs. Schools of fish can be sight fished as they migrate along the beaches. In the passes and inlets, anglers drift with live bait or jigs.

Spring fishing off of the Florida beaches

As it warms up many migratory species begin to move along the Florida beaches. Much of this action will take place within a few miles of shore. This puts them in safe range of anglers with smaller boats. These fish include Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, false albacore, sharks, tarpon, jack crevalle, and more.

Light tackle trolling in Saltwater

One exciting aspect of fishing the beaches in the spring is that much of the action is on the surface. This results in casting lures, baits, and flies into schools of actively feeding fish. This is great fun as a bite is almost a certainty, as long as the lure resembles the bait being devoured.

When fish are not seen feeding on the surface, anglers can use a couple of techniques to catch them. Trolling is a very effective way to both locate and catch these pelagic game fish. Special spoons designed for fairly fast trolling speeds are fished behind planers. These are devices that take the lure down to a desired depth. Plugs can be used as well.

Anglers can also anchor or drift and use live and cut bait as well. This is often done over structure such as a ledge, wreck, reef, or area of hard bottom. While most of these species do not relate to structure, bait does, so game fish will be close by. Chum can be used to get the fish up behind the boat.

Florida bottom fishing in spring

Bottom fishing is very productive in Florida in the spring. This is a very popular form of fishing that anglers of all ages and skill levels can participate in. Bottom fishing is basically dropping a live or dead bait to the bottom, usually around some type of cover or structure.

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There are many different species that anglers can catch when bottom fishing in Florida. Grouper and snapper are the “glamour” species when bottom fishing, there are several species of each that are caught inshore and nearshore. Gag grouper, black grouper, red grouper, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, and lane snapper are some of the most common.

Sheepshead are abundant inshore, especially in early spring. They are a great option on windy days and are usually cooperative. Mangrove snapper are plentiful in most parts of Florida in the bays and passes. Just about every bridge and other structure will hold snapper and other species. Flounder, red and black drum, sea bass, grunts, and other tasty bottom fish can be caught as well. A live shrimp is tough to beat.

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Passes and inlets offer good fishing

Passes and inlets are terrific fishing spots in Florida in the spring. Current and structure along with bait results in an ideal environment to hold fish. Most inshore species can be caught in these areas. Anglers can drift with jigs or bait or anchor and bottom fish.

Drifting along with the current while vertically fishing a jig on the bottom is an extremely effective technique in the spring. Pompano are a prized species and many are caught by anglers doing this. Ladyfish can be thick and provide good action. Bluefish and mackerel often feed heavily in passes and inlets.

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Bottom fishing can be excellent in Florida in the spring, especially for sheepshead, snapper, and flounder. Most inlets and passes have a good amount of structure including docks, bridges, seawalls, jetties, rocks, and more. These all will attract bottom species. The best times to fish are during periods of slack tides.

Offshore fishing in Florida in the spring

Offshore fishing in Florida in the string is all about the weather. There will be some breezy days that will make fishing offshore difficult if not impossible. However, on nicer days, anglers can experience some terrific action on a variety of both bottom and pelagic species.

grouper fishing

Bottom fishing is very good all along the west coast of Florida in the spring. Water temperatures are ideal and bottom fish such as grouper and snapper will be closer to shore than in other times of year. Patch reefs and wrecks in the Atlantic Ocean will also hold a lot of hard fighting grouper and snapper.

King mackerel fishing is at it’s apex in the string. Schools of hungry kings move north from the Keys, right behind the schools of threadfin herring and other bait fish. Trolling is an excellent way to catch them. Fast trolling with spoons will put numbers into the boat while slow trolling with live bait will fool the larger fish. Spanish mackerel and false albacore will be caught as well.

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Boats heading out deeper will find the tail end of the sailfish and wahoo season. Tuna and dolphin numbers will be on the rise, especially in the southern part of the state. Amberjack will be caught on the deeper reefs. Cobia may be encountered at any depth.

In conclusion, this article on Florida saltwater fishing in spring will help anglers understand the species and options when fishing in Florida that time of year.

Top 5 Freshwater Fishing Spinners

In-line spinners are extremely versatile fishing lures. They are mostly used when freshwater fishing. Spinners will catch a wide variety of species, from small panfish to giant musky. There are many different spinners to choose from. In this article, Capt Jim’s top 5 freshwater fishing spinners will be listed.

river fishing for musky

The top 5 freshwater fishing spinners are;

  • Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner
  • Mepps Aglia
  • Blue Fox Vibrax
  • Panther Martin
  • Mepps Musky Killer

These five in-line spinners will cover every freshwater fishing situation and angler will face.

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In-line spinners are fairly basic lures that have been around a long time. They consist of a wire shaft with some type of body in the middle. The body adds color and weight. A blade rotates on the shaft around the body, emitting both flash and vibration. There is a hook at the end, usually a treble hook. The hook can be plain or dressed with some type of hair, usually bucktail.

Spinner fishing techniques

Spinners are versatile lures they can be effective in a wide variety of angling situations. They can be used throughout the entire water column, from just under the surface all the way to the bottom. They are effective in all bodies of water, but particularly so in rivers with moving water. Spinners are also extremely effective when trolled, especially for trout.

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Spinners fishing in rivers

Spinners really shine when fished in moving water such as creeks, streams, and rivers. The current just assists in getting the blades to rotate and flash. Spinners also mimic the type of forged that game fish find in rivers. The best approach when fishing spinners in smaller rivers is to cast across the current and retrieve the spinner back just fast enough to keep the blades turning. The strike often occurs as the lure swings on a tight line at the end of the drift.

Anglers fishing in larger rivers do well to both casting and trolling. In this situation, heavier spinners are often used to get the lure down deeper in the water column. Slow trolling the deeper holes is an extremely effective technique for trout, salmon, and other species.

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Spinner fishing in lakes

Spinners are certainly very effective in lakes as well. Very small versions are deadly on bluegill, crappie, and other panfish. Anglers cast out small brightly colored spinners towards submerged vegetation and trees as well as docks and other structure. In most cases, a very slow and steady retrieve works best. The same approach using larger spinners will catch bass as well.

Larger spinners are extremely effective on northern pike and musky. These apex predators lie in wait, generally in submerged weed beds, and ambush helpless prey as it swims by. A large spinner flashing overhead, putting out vibration will often trigger a strike. For the most part, spinners mimic a wounded bait fish which is the primary forage of pike and musky.

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Spinners are very effective for just about every species of trout in lakes as well. Rainbow trout in particular are stocked widely throughout the country. They tend to feed and the upper part of the water column and spinners are extremely effective lures, both cast and trolled. Larger spinners will catch lake trout and salmon in lakes as well.

The top 5 freshwater fishing spinners

While spinners are similar in how they operate, there are differences in the way spinners are manufactured. These differences will affect the optimum spots that they will be used in and techniques that will produce fish. Also, anglers will need to use different size spinners based on the forage available as well is the species being pursued.

Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner

Capt Jim’s favorite in-line spinner is the Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner. This is the lightest of the spinners on the list, making it particularly effective in streams and small rivers. Not coincidentally, these are Capt. Jim’s favorite waters to fish with spinners. These lures are available in a wide variety of sizes and color patterns, all of which can be effective.

rooster tail

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The 1/16 ounce and 1/8 ounce Rooster Tail spinners work extremely well in streams and small rivers. Capt. Jim’s favorite color patterns are brightly colored bodies with a gold blade. White with a silver blade would be his second choice. This is an extremely effective lure for all species of trout in waters that hold them. In warmer waters, bass and panfish will readily devour them.

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Rooster tail spinners can certainly be used in lakes as well. They are particularly effective for panfish in smaller ponds and lakes. They can be used by anglers trolling as well, though due to their light weight trolling sinkers or some other device will be required to get them down in the water column.

Mepps Aglia spinner

The Mepps Aglia spinner is another fairly light lure that has been around a long time. Mepps has been an industry leader when it comes to fishing spinners for decades. It is a bit heavier than the Rooster Tail spinner, however is still an excellent choice for fishing streams and small rivers. It is available in multiple sizes and blade color in tail color combinations.

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The smaller sizes are excellent when used in streams and they will catch every species of trout along with warm water species such as panfish and smallmouth bass. Larger sizes are better for bass, pickerel, and pike as well. They do come with treble hooks which makes them better for fishing in open water. The most popular color combination is a gold blade with the brown hair skirt on the hook.

Blue Fox Vibrax spinner

The Blue Fox Vibrax spinner is a bit heavier than the previous two lures. It has a patented two-part brass body that along with the plated blade puts out a very unique vibration. This lure is available in sizes from 7/64 of an ounce to 5/8 ounces. It is available in a wide variety of body and blade color combinations.

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The Vibrax spinner is a excellent choice in larger rivers with deeper holes. This bait is fairly heavy and will sink quickly, getting down to the deeper depths where lighter spinners will not reach. For the same reason, they are fantastic lures to troll for trout and other species. The heavier versions will get down deep enough in the water column that they do not require any extra weight. This is a great convenience when trolling in lakes.

Panther Martin spinner

The Panther Martin spinner is also a fairly heavy lure. It is credited with being the first in-line spinner where the shaft ran through the body and the blade. Obviously, it is a proven bait with over 100 million units being sold. It has a larger and heavier body which emits a unique vibration as well as working a little bit deeper in the water column.

panther martin

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Panther Martin spoons are excellent trout lures, but will catch a variety of other species as well. They are a versatile spinner that can be cast as well as trolled. It is similar to the Blue Fox spinner, but with a slightly different vibration.

Mepps Musky Killer spinner

The Mepps Musky Killer is similar to the Mepps Aglia, with a few exceptions. It is one of the largest spinners available and is designed to be used by anglers fishing for musky in northern pike. These are large game fish with sharp teeth, which requires a stout lure. The Musky Killer is made from extra strong components and holds up better under these fishing conditions than other spinners do.

musky killer

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This bait works best when fished over top of submerged vegetation. Musky and Pike are long and sleek and well designed to ambush bait fish in this environment. The spinner will not run through heavy weeds, the treble hook will snag up. However, in sparse vegetation and over submerged vegetation it is extremely effective.

In conclusion, this article on the top 5 freshwater fishing spinners will help anglers choose the right spinner for their fishing application and therefore catch more fish!

What is the Best Finesse Bait for Bass Fishing?

What is the Best Finesse Bait for Bass Fishing?

Fishing with finesse baits is a very effective bass fishing technique. It involves using smaller lures for finicky fish. There are many different finesse baits to choose from. However, there is one artificial lure that stands out above the rest.

The best finesse bait for bass fishing is the 4 inch Yamamoto Senko worm. This is a very versatile finesse bait. It has a very enticing, fish attracting action. It performs best with subtle movements, which works perfectly when finesse fishing. The Senko worm comes in many different colors, green pumpkin being the most popular.

The Senko worm looks like any other ordinary worm in the package. However, the main difference is the texture of the lure. It is very soft and “gummy”. This results in an excellent undulating motion in the water. It also causes bass and other game fish to hold onto it a bit longer. The unique shape also allows anglers to rig it in a variety of ways.

Best finesse fishing tackle

Spinning tackle works best when fishing the Senko worm and other finesse baits. While it bait casting tackle can be used, most anglers find spinning tackle more effective when casting these lighter baits. A 7 foot medium spinning rod with a fast action is an excellent all round choice. This rod will allow anglers to make long casts and feel delicate bites while still having the power to move a fish out of heavy cover. It should be matched with a 30 series reel.

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Line choices very important when it comes to finesse fishing. While braided line is the choice of many anglers bass fishing, particularly and heavy cover, fluorocarbon line is the better choice when fishing finesse baits. Fluorocarbon line is virtually invisible in the water and has less stretch than monofilament. It is a bit more expensive. However, most anglers consider the advantages worth the additional cost.

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Rigging up the Senko worm

One of the advantages of the Senko worm is its versatility. This bait can be fish and a variety of ways, including wacky rigged, Texas rigged, on a drop shot rig, on a shaky head hook, and on a Ned rig. All of these rigs take advantage of the lifelike action of the Senko worm. For the most part, finesse fishing really shines when bass are finicky or when anglers are fishing in very clear water.

Fishing the wacky worm

Fishing a worm wacky style is both easy and extremely effective. It is an excellent choice for inexperienced anglers as the bait does most of the work itself. It looks a bit odd as the hook is placed through the center of the worm. It is generally fished without any weight, though can be fished on a shaky head. The worm is cast out towards a weed line or other structure and allowed to sink naturally through the water column.

senko

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Most strikes occur as the worm initially falls. Anglers can hop it several times and allow it to fall slowly. The bait is then reeled in and cast out to another likely looking spot. Anglers need to be patient, it is amazing how long the Senko can sit there before a bass picks it up. This is a testament to how effective the Senko is as it puts out action with the slightest movement.

Texas rigging the Senko

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Anglers can certainly Texas rig the Senko worm as well. A smaller hook, 3/0 is a good size, works best with this smaller worm. It can be fished without a way, the most anglers add a 1/8 ounce or 1/4 ounce sliding worm weight above the hook. The lure is then cast out and worked through, over, and around structure. The worm is virtually weedless when fished in this manner. Anglers can peg the sinker to the warm hook to keep it from sliding if desired.

Drop shot fishing

Drop-shotting is a fairly recent bass fishing innovation. It is an extremely effective method used to catch all species of bass. The rig consists of a hook tied on the main line and then a special drop shock sinker 12 inches to 18 inches below the hook. The result is that the Senko is suspended just a bit above the bottom and can be danced seductively right in front of the fishes face.

In most cases, a drop shot rig is used in a vertical presentation. It is extremely effective when largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass are schooling over a piece of structure and deep water. Underwater islands, channel edges, and submerged structure such as fallen trees are all prime examples.

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The bait is simply dropped to the bottom and worked subtly. Small, gentle movements work better than sharp violent ones. The Senko is most often hooked through the nose, but can also be hooked wacky style. Anglers can also fish a drop shot rig and water that is not as deep by casting it out towards weed edges and structure. However, it is not as weedless as other presentations are.

Shaky head fishing

Shaky Head jigs are another excellent way to present the Senko worm and other finesse baits to largemouth bass. This is basically a light jig head with a thin, but strong hook. The rig is quite versatile and can be fished in both shallow water and deep water. The Senko can be hooked through the nose or wacky style. Again, most of the strikes will occur as the bait initially falls through the water column, but it can be jig along the bottom as well.

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Ned rig is effective for bass fishing

The Ned rig is another fairly recent bass fishing innovation. Once again, this is a fairly plain looking set up that is very effective. The Ned rig uses a specially designed jig head. The soft plastic bait is then placed on the jig head. In most cases, using the back half or pointed and of the Senko worm works best. Anglers can start off using a 2 1/2 inch to 3 inch piece and then even going shorter from there.

The Ned rig is extremely effective when fished over submerge grass and 5 feet of water to 10 feet of water. Anglers can cast out or use a vertical presentation, depending on the situation. This is an extremely effective technique for smallmouth bass on gravel bottoms. It is an open hook rig and will snag in very heavy cover or weeds.

Fish slow with the Senko worm

One of the biggest mistakes most novice anglers make when finesse fishing is moving the bait to quickly. While the Senko worm looks fairly ordinary, it has a very realistic and lifelike action and the water. Anglers may think the bait is just sitting there still and motionless, but wave action and angler movements will result in the bait undulating very naturally in the water.

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One of the great ironies of bass fishing is that plastic worms are incredibly effective, yet they really do not exist in the water. The reality is that the bass is really just striking at the motion in action as opposed to it thinking that it is an actual worm or nightcrawler. A white worm can be used to mimic a shad while an orange worm will mimic a crayfish. It is more about presentation and action that actually simulating a true live worm.

Another difference and this style of fishing is that anglers do not really need to set the hook. In most instances the take will be fairly soft. The best approach, especially when using fairly light line, is just too real tight removing the slack and then gently lifting the rod up high. This will usually result in more fish hooked and will also help get the fish moving away from whatever structure it is holding on.

In conclusion, this article on the best finesse bait for bass fishing will help anglers catch more fish, especially when conditions are tough!