Archive for June, 2007

Fishing Tip: a rule of thumb on tides

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

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As a (very general) rule of thumb, fish deeper water (passes/inlets) on an outgoing tide, and fish shallow water (flats/shorelines) on an incoming tide. Fish tend to gravitate toward passes on an outgoing tide, facing the current to gobble up any morsels washed out of the backcountry by the tidal flow. On an incoming tide, they like to follow baitfish as they “push” further and further into the shallows.

Fishing Tip: rainstorms can improve angling

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

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After a hot day, an afternoon rain can significantly lower water temperatures, making gamefish — especially those in skinny water — more active. Get on the water after a late afternoon thunderstorm and your odds of finding aggressive fish are very good. But be careful and patient–an errant lightning strike can make a good day fishing seem awful insignificant.

Fishing Tip: where to fish in hot weather

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

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When it’s been hot for a prolonged period, fish shy away from very shallow water. The reason: flats and other skinny-water areas heat up more quickly than deeper water does. Fish shallow areas early/late in the day, but if the sun is high and has put a pall on the action, consider deeper, cooler spots (or at the least cuts and channels adjacent to shallow flats or bars) until things cool down. A few inches can make a difference, so try cuts and channels along flats, as well.

Fishing Tip: consider both wind and tides

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

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Remember that wind can severely influence tide heights. A strong wind moving in the same direction as the tidal flow can literally “blow out” a dropping tide, exposing shallow areas and leaving boaters stranded in the shallows for hours. Conversely, a wind blowing with an incoming tide can increase tidal flow — and water height — considerably. Be sure to check weather reports along with tide charts.

Fishing Tip: fishing murky water

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

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Many anglers avoid fishing on days when wind and waves cause beaches and bays to get murky. And with good reason — muddy water can often turn off the bite. However, at times cloudy water can work to your advantage. Though fish in murky water can be much tougher to spot, the limited visibility makes them less spooky and selective, which can allow for closer casts and lead to more aggressive strikes. And try chartreuse jigs and plugs when it’s muddy – they’re easier for fish to see and track.

Fishing Tip: get fish out of structure

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

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If you’ve ever used a dive mask to look at underwater structure (like mangrove roots) you know that a certain measure of luck is required to extract a fish that makes its way into “the sticks”. Once a fish muscles its way back into roots (or other underwater snags like dock pilings, downed trees, etc), though, consider a reversal of fortune: point your rod tip toward the water and stick it as far down as you can without submerging the reel. Be sure to keep pressure on the fish the entire time, palming the reel for added pressure if required. This gives you an extra 5-6 feet of leverage and creates a straight (and less obstructed) line to the fish…which can buy you enough time to move the fight back into open water.

Fishing Tip: look past the wash

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

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Walking beaches to sight-fish can be productive, especially early and late in the day. In the summer months, snook are often seen cruising the “wash” along Florida’s beaches. When you see a smaller fish cruising close to shore, peer into the deeper water behind the fish you see. Larger snook (and redfish, and even tarpon) tend to cruise farther from the shore, where they’re harder to spot. In fact, the largest snook you’ll see are usually alone or with one other large fish, and they often cruise just out of your line of sight. Pull down that hat brim, use a good set of polarized glasses, walk slowly and do a lot of squinting.

Fishing Tip: watch waterfowl

Monday, June 18th, 2007

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When fishing near shorelines, bars, flats, etc., keep an eye open for wading birds lined up along the water’s edge. These birds are often after baitfish, and their keen eyesight usually puts them in good position to find a meal. By extension, if bait is present you can bet that fish are close by. It also helps to know which types of birds you’re seeing. Species such as the ibis or spoonbill are generally after small crustaceans, whereas herons, though they eat crustaceans as well, tend to target baitfish such as mullet, menhedden, thread herring, and the like — all popular menu items for gamefish. Note that the ibis has a long, thin, curved beak, and the spoonbill’s beak is – as the name implies – more or less spoon-shaped at the end. A heron’s beak is thicker and straighter (see photo) — they use it to stab baitfish with quick jabs. Find a group of herons actively feeding, and odds are high that gamefish are nearby.

Fishing Tip: check your leader line often

Monday, June 18th, 2007

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Slide rule: Along Florida’s Gulf coast and in other saltwater hot-spots, savvy anglers check their fly or lure as a matter of course after catching a fish. But also remember to run your hand down the last two feet or so of your leader to check for frays or cuts. Snook, for example, are notorious for beating up fishing line. A marked-up leader is highly visible and prone to breaking if you hang into a good fish. If it’s scuffed, take the few minutes it takes to tie on a new one. It’ll result in more strikes and fewer lost fish.

Fishing Tip: use low tides to your advantage

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

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Get the lowdown: Veteran skinny-water anglers know low tides can provide excellent sight-fishing opportunities, but lower water levels can also be incredibly useful for anglers who study the secrets they expose. Very low tides can unveil deep channels and shallow sections for safer navigation, potholes on flats where fish might hide at lower stages of the tide, and fish-holding structure that other anglers pass right by. Use them to study your favorite fishing haunts, and watch your catch rate improve.