Want a little extra stealth? Try this...
Keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol in your tackle box and wipe down your fluorocarbon leader from time to time. A quick wipe will remove any surface dust or grime that may be clinging on to your leader, and also temporarily removes any cloudiness in your leader as well.
Pro Tip: Always replace fluorocarbon leaders when they show any abrasion, chaffing, or wear. As soon as fluorocarbon becomes chaffed it loses all of invisibility properties.
"Check, Re-Tie, Repeat"
A good habit to get in when throwing the jig for snook (and other large gamefish like redfish and tarpon) is checking the leader very often; not just after catching a fish. Dragging the jig through rocky bottom and around bridge pilings can chafe a leader very quickly. And, it doesn't take much wear on a leader to lose a fish. Start with a long leader, check it often, re-tie when you see frays and chafing, and keep your odds up! In most jig situations the odds are in the fish's favor, don't give them anymore of an advantage than they already have!
Pro Tip- When you see ANY marks on flurocarbon leader it is time to re-tie! Not only is the strength compromised; when fluro becomes nicked or frayed in anyway it loses all of its invisibility properties.
"Mix it up"
Sometimes a slight lure change is all it takes to fire up fish that have turned off. If they won't bite the DOA Shrimp anymore, toss a Vudu shrimp at them. A slight variation can get a school of fish fired back up in a hurry!
Pro Tip: When fishing schooling redfish; try throwing a slightly different lure(or same lure in slightly different color) before the fish stop biting. Changing it up is a great way to keep them biting.
"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.
"Hurry up, and slow down"
From Capt. Eric at The Freight Train Charters
One of the biggest problems I see people make when starting a fishing trip; is getting in an extreme rush right off the bat. Don't get me wrong, I still get very excited EVERY TIME I get to a fishing spot. BUT, it is very important to not rush in to fishing.
Take a minute or two and see what's going on. When I stop the boat or walk out on a bridge, before making a cast; I see what the tide is doing, is the bait here, which way the wind is blowing, how are the fish laying, etc. It only takes a minute, but by taking these things into account I know that I will be presenting my baits and lures much more naturally.
PRO TIP: When fishing snook around dock lights or bridge shadow lines the first couple of casts are by far the most important. Bad and misplaced casts, bringing the lure behind fish, or plunking them on the head will put them down in a hurry! Catching a fish on the first cast may be considered "bad luck" by some, but when it comes to snook fishing it may be the only chance you get!
"Keep On Spooling"
It doesn't work everywhere; but in certain areas "spooling" the bottom is a deadly technique for catching weary muttons and flag yellowtails.
Using the slide rig (catch #29); let your sinker rest on the bottom and continue to feed out line. The ideal situation is for the sinker to rest motionless on the bottom and the bait to float freely with the current. Keep a feel for how fast the line is feeding out, when the speed suddenly increases...your on! Engage the reel and crank like mad until you come tight on the fish. Be sure to keep light pressure on the line, a big mutton can burn some line off quick and backlash a reel in no time!
Use the lightest sinker possible to reach the bottom. A light sinker is less likely to scare the fish and allows for more sensitivity in feeling the bite.
"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.
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