"Never Stop Learning"
One more this week from Eric of the The Freight Train Fishing Charters.
Not every fishing trip is going to be one filled with banner catches; but that's ok! Make it a point to try and learn something from every trip. Logging that info in a logbook (Angler Action Program is an awesome one to use) and using even the smallest trivial things from previous trips can pay big dividends on future trips.
Case in point...this picture. This nice cobia ate the most random of baits on a fairly tough fishing trip. And guess what, now I have a new bait to put out and try when the bite is tough and the standard things aren't working.
— with Eric Gates.
"Money Minnow is well...money!"
Today's tip is another good one from Eric at The Freight Train Fishing Charters.
The Yum Money Minnow is a great lure for provoking strikes from snook, trout, and even redfish when other lures just aren't working. It is best rigged texas style on a lightly keel weighted worm hook. This keeps the bait weedless allowing it to be fished through heavy cover and even down in the grass where the fish are sometimes hiding.
In clear water situations go with the more natural baitfish colors. In dirty or stained waters try brighter colors to stand out more.
"Let it Slide"
The slide rig, also known as Carolina rigs, may be one of the best all around fishing rigs. It can be customized to fit fresh and saltwater applications and a huge variety of depths.
Making a slide rig is easy:
1. Slide a egg sinker on your main line, it is allowed to float freely.
2. Tie on a swivel, this will keep the swivel from sliding down to the hook.
3. To the other side of the swivel rod on appropriate length leader.
4. End with hook of choice and the rig is ready to go!
Pro Tip: Always try to use the lightest weight possible. Lighter sinkers will spook the fish less and allow a better feel for those subtle bites.
While lure companies make A LOT of different colored lures, sometimes they don't make JUST the color your looking for.
When it comes to soft plastic swimbaits here is a trick Eric Gates from The Freight Train Fishing Charters uses to get specific colors he is looking for.
Start by buying your favorite brand of soft plastic swimbait in a plain base color (White is always a great starting point). Grab some assorted color sharpies and get creative with your colors. Add scales, stripes., gills, fins, spots, etc to really make your baits come alive.
Also, this is a great way to avoid buying a huge amount of production colors. A couple packs of white swimbaits and a few sharpies can provide countless color combos.
"Work With the Wind"
A light breeze to steady wind, can be a huge asset when fishing inshore flats for snook, trout, redfish, and other gamefish. Set up a drift at the upwind side of a flat, and let the wind push the boat along. This allows for the quietest approach and less spooked fish. Also, with the wind at your back it is easier to make longer casts in front of the boat to cover more water and reach spookier fish easier.
On really windy days use a sea anchor, or even a five gallon bucket, to help slow and control your drift.
"X marks the spot"
X-rap that is! The Rapala X-Rap is one of the most versatile and best catching lures on the market these days. Available in multiple sizes and colors, it is a must have lure in the tackle box for fresh and saltwater anglers.
Fish it with a fast retrieve, slow wobble, erratic stop and go jerk action, or a stop it with long pauses and let it suspend; and it will undoubtedly draw up the fish.
"Don't be tricked by diameters"
Fifty pound braided line may have the same diameter as ten pound mono, but that doesn't mean it is the right choice for a spinning reel rated for ten pound test. When spooling a spinning reel with braided line, especially a smaller sized reel, choose a braid with pound test more in line with the manufacturers recommended line test.
This will increase casting distance, increase line capacity, and increase the life of your reel. If you do choose a heavier pound test than recommended by the manufacturer make sure to set the drag at a lower level.
"Hold Em Horizontal...or Vertical"
Nope, not talking about taking care of big female snook by holding them horizontal; today we are talking about your fishing rods. While fishing reel care and maintenance gets a lot of attention, often times rods are overlooked.
To help extend the life of a fishing rod always try to do the following:
1. Rinse, wash, and dry entire rod after use in saltwater.
2. Store out of direct sunlight, and if possible in a cool dry room.
3. Avoid storing rods in a hot car for extended periods of time.
4. Try to keep the rods in some type of rack. Leaning rods against a wall, especially for long periods of time, can actually warp or cause a "set" in the blank.
"When to go big..."
In some situations a big bait or lure is the only way to go. The trick is knowing when to break out the big lures and leave the small stuff in the tackle box. While many different situations may call for a big lure or bait, here are a few very key ones.
1. Schools of large baitfish are the predominant forage in a given area. No sense in throwing a crappie jig when the fish are eating 10" mullet.
2. A weather change is coming, especially a large front. Ahead of a front fish want a large meal. With a full belly they can lazily lay around and wait for the weather to improve.
3. Lastly(though not always the case)..."Big Bait, BIG FISH." Big fish are lazy, they don't want to move much so eating once is better than eating ten times a day. Fishing a large bait slowly in the area of big fish won't ensure a bite; but the bite that comes is usually a BIG one!
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