"Mix in a Curve"
Fish, snook especially, can get tired of seeing the same lure time after time. While some lures have a long tried and true history, throwing a little curve at the fish sometimes can trigger a bite when the classic lures are being ignored.
Pictured is a Gambler Lures swim jig(normally considered a bass lure) that when presented correctly absolutely drives snook crazy. Of course that may be because they don't see it much...YET!
Ask any seasoned pier fisherman from Juno Beach down to Miami what one lure they can't do with out, and a majority of them will most likely say....Crappie Jig. A crappie jig (yes the same little jigs they use for speckled perch in the rest of the country) is a dynamite lure for a whole host of species commonly caught on south Florida Piers.
A white 1/8oz crappie jig is a perfect match for small glass minnows and baby pilchards. Fish it on very light spinning rod with light monofilament or braid and 30lb flurocarbon leader for best results.
A small (shad style) swimbait is an excellent lure for covering large amounts of new or unfamiliar waters. Rigged on a jighead (as pictured) a small swimbait can be buzzed just below the surface, swam steadily at varying water depths, or hopped along the bottom. These options make this lure one of the most versatile in the tackle box.
Most lure companies make a small shad style bait; but the DOA CAL and Gambler Lures Little EZ are two great choices. More info on soft plastic baits coming soon...
"Steer em' out"
Ever find yourself in this situation...a snook inhales your lure and promptly finds himself wrapped up in a pile of mangrove roots or numerous dock pilings? As soon as a snook, and many other species, feels the hook it is going to the first structure it can find. To keep them from getting to that structure try these tricks.
1. Try gradually steering the fish away from the structure. The harder you pull against a snook the harder it pulls back. BUT, "leading" a fish in the direction you want it to go by steering him with the rod can change his direction in a hurry. It takes a little practice, but over time it is easy to actually lead (not unlike walking a dog on a leash) the fish right around structure into open water.
2. If the snook wins and gets into, and wrapped up, in structure first try putting the reel into freespool and/or backing off the pressure completely. With no pressure often times the fish will swim back out the exact way it came in. If it doesn't, it can often be slowly and easily lead back around and out of a tangled situation. Just remember the harder you pull, the harder the fish pulls back...so back off, ease up, and steer the fish out.
Below is a little video of Capt. Eric (http://www.freighttrainfishing.com) using these tricks while fighting a snook at Jupiter Inlet.
"Soft Plastic Variety"
Soft plastic jerkbaits (like the DOA CAL Jerkbait Pictured) are a great inexpensive way to add a lot of variety to your tacklebox. By rigging them a few different ways a soft plastic jerkbait can be used to fish as a surface bait, mid-level lure, or for even bouncing along the bottom. (Upcoming Catch365 Video Tip on rigging soft plastic lures this week.)
Looking at a wall of lure colors can be a little bit perplexing and overwhelming. But, to start picking out lure colors is actually pretty simple. Start with a bag of pearl(white), rootbeer(or similar dark color), and a natural baitfish pattern (like DOA #419-Greenback). These colors will cover clear, murky, and dirty water situations (More on Lure color selection coming soon also).
Stay tuned for more info this week on rigging soft plastics, fishing methods, and picking out colors. As always feel free to come by JUNO BAIT for more info. Also, check out artificial lure expert Capt. Eric at The Freight Train Fishing Charters website for updates and tips on lure fishing (http://www.freighttrainfishing.com)
Thanks as always for reading,
"Super Swimmer and Super Sharp Hooks"
Bruiser Baits "Super Swimmer/Super Swimmer Plus" and LAZER TROKAR HOOKS are a match made in heaven for hunting giant largemouth bass and lunker size snook. The action and vibration put off by the "Super Swimmer" has the ability to call in trophy fish from a long way away. Rig it weedless and swim it through heavy cover where the big ones are hiding.
Pro Tip: Capt. Eric at The Freight Train recommends keeping a few Super Swimmers in the box for the nights that the snook don't want to bite the flair hawk. Swim a "Super Swimmer" slowly along the bottom and hang on, it may just be one of the biggest snook bites of your life!
"Jig and Bait Combo"
An effective way to trick yellowtail snapper is the jig and bait combo. Use a jig from 1/8-3/4 oz depending on the current. Color is a personnel preference; but, yellow and chartreuse are always good. Tip the jig with small strips of squid, Bonita, or sardines. The jig allows for presentation throughout the water column, and is often the ticket for catching suspended snapper.
PRO TIP- Use the lightest weight jig that conditions allow to get down. The slower fall is less likely to spook any weary snapper.
"Bust em on a Baitbuster"
The Baitbuster by DOA Lures is a dynamite lure to throw when fish are feeding on 3-5" baitfish. While it was designed to imitate a finger mullet, it resembles a wide variety of other small baitfish. Available in a wide variety of colors and three weights, it is always possible to find a Baitbuster to meet the conditions.
Pro Tip: The "trolling model" of the Baitbuster is not just for trolling. Use it when you need a little extra distance on your casts or to get down to the bottom in a stronger current.
"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.
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.
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