Archive for December, 2007

Twain and the new year

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

marktwain.jpg“The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book–a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day… there was never a page that was void of interest, never one that you could leave unread without loss…”

My buddy Joe called a few minutes ago to ask if I wanted to head into the Everglades tomorrow. As I sat pondering the coming trip, I switched the TV channel from the Bucs-Panthers game to a documentary on Mark Twain. A narrator read the excerpt above out of Twain’s famous work “Life on the Mississippi”, and the author’s love for the river spoke to me. The ‘Glades, like Twain’s cherished Mississippi, never cease to amaze, to surprise, to enthrall. Trip after trip, it holds new challenges and reveals new mysteries. I’d wager anglers across the planet feel much the same about the wild places they frequent. Leave it to a literary master to capture that haunting, exhilarating feeling. Happy New Year, folks. May 2008 hold for you many moments of water-inspired wonder.

Fishing and floating in Costa Rica

Friday, December 28th, 2007

A recent NY Times article focuses on a shallow-water fishing club that demands passion and dedication from its members. Here’s an excerpt:

25outdoorlarge2.jpgUPALA, Costa Rica — In Costa Rica, there are fishermen, and then there are members of the Club Nacional de Pesca. In my first six months living in the country, I had been content as a fisherman. I had caught wild trout in the mountains, small snook in the surf, even a rainbow-colored guapote in a city park pond in the country’s capital, San José. Then I happened upon some photos from a tournament the fishing club had held. They pictured wild-eyed men kneeling on the foamy edges of dark volcanic beaches, hoisting 40-pound snook, straddling 100-pound tarpon, all caught on light tackle and from shore, no less.

Read the full article here.

Review: MirrOlure MirrOminnow

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

From time to time, we’ll put a new angling-related product through its paces and share an opinion about its quality, appeal and performance. This review addresses a hot new lure from a respected manufacturer.


MirrOlure (L&S Bait) is a Florida-based company that has produced quality lures for decades. One of their latest offerings – the 19MR, or “MirrOminnow” – is a slim, streamlined lure designed to loosely mimic any number of small bait fish that are favored snacks for coastal gamefish. I recently tested one on a trip far down into the Glades.



Saturday, December 22nd, 2007


Fishing Tip: go flush with hookpoints in softbaits

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

softy-point.jpgSoft plastic baits are wonderful lures that offer numerous advantages, the most evident being the ability to rig them so they’re essentially snag-less. This “Texas-style” rigging is invaluable when fishing shoreline structure, as it allows you to cast more aggressively and reach further back into the nooks and crannies where fish hide. This article covers the steps required to render your soft-baits weedless. Pay special attention to Step #7. Ideally, the hook should penetrate the body of the lure, with the entire point lying flush along the body. Rigged this way, the hook point does not need to penetrate the thick body before contacting the fish’s mouth, with increases hook-ups. As a final measure, you can barely insert the point of the hook back in the body — just enough to keep the point covered.

“Favorite time of day to fish Florida’s shallows?”

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Each month I field a question from a reader and answer it as best I can, focusing on those inquiries and responses that I believe will be of general benefit or interest. I recently received this email from Ted in south Georgia, who asks: “What’s your favorite time of day to fish shallow water in Florida?”

sunup.gifThat’s a deceptively simple question, since the time of day I prefer to fish changes with the seasons. Of course, in southwest Florida we essentially have two seasons: summer and winter. (That’s generalizing things, but it’s fairly accurate). During the long summer months when the sun is relentless, I prefer to fish early and late in the day, with the two hours after sunup and the two hours before sunset accounting for most fish. In the winter time, once the weather (and water) cools significantly and stays that way for weeks on end, I prefer to fish late morning until late afternoon, since fish in the skinny stuff tend to get more active once the sun is overhead and warming things up. Of course, there are times when all of this fine logic amounts to a hill of beans, and you catch fish in defiance of the clock. But as a rule of thumb, the aforementioned approach will serve you well down this way.

Fishing Tip: make the most of your soft plastic lures

Friday, December 7th, 2007

recycled-softie.jpgIf you use soft plastic lures to fish shorelines or flats, you know that they are prone to tearing after repeated casts or a solid hook-up. Many anglers simply toss the torn baits and tie on a new body. If the lure is shredded badly, that’s the wise move. But if the tear is isolated to a small section at the front of the lure — as is often the case — consider this: simply rip off a small section (a quarter of an inch or so, or past the torn area) and rig up again. This creates a blunt “nose” that often gives the lure a more erratic action below the surface, and a slight chugging action when fished quickly atop the surface. It’s an especially useful trick when you find yourself on active fish but low on soft plastic lures.

The good-bye snook

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

One of my favorite authors, regardless of genre, is John Geirach. If you’ve never read his stuff, do yourself a favor and pick up one of his books — “Death, Taxes & Leaky Waders” being a fine place to start. Mr. Geirach contends that most anglers don’t want to hear lots of details about other people fighting fish, since they already know what it’s like to be on the other end of the rod. It’s a solid point that I often disregard.