Archive for the ‘How To Articles’ Category

Skip-cast your way to more fish

Thursday, June 5th, 2008


Reach Fish Where No Man Has Gone Before.

You’ve been there, I’m sure. We all have. You’re standing on the bow of a skiff, arm cocked, lure dangling, ready to cast. A moment before, you heard a smashing hit around a bend in the shoreline. As you approach the general vicinity of the strike, you hear another. But it’s strangely muffled, and you know what that means. A big fish has burrowed its way far back under the overhanging branches, and it’s rooting around, stacking bait into corners where it can feed at will. The problem? It’s so far back under the “junk” that there’s no way to present your lure. So you sit there with a wistful look on your face, listening to that big fish ravaging bait within feet of the skiff, as unreachable as the moon. So…what are your alternatives? (more…)

8 tips for quality fishing photos

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008


So you fish often, and you’d like to take better photos that capture your love of angling? No problem. Read the list of tips below, follow the suggestions, and your photos will noticeably improve. Note that most of the info below applies to both conventional and digital cameras, though I’m assuming that you use a digital version.

1. Avoid “posing and grinning” shots

OK, so your buddy caught a big fish and wants the moment frozen in time. Fine. Frame it up and snap a glamor shot. But here’s a news flash: most folks find those types of pics boring and clichéd. Use your imagination and experiment with angles, flash, and lighting. Take a pic of the fish head on or being released, or snap an action shot of your buddy casting or of a fish jumping. Point is, an out-of-the ordinary approach can make for extraordinary photos, so take chances. Need ideas? Flip through a high-quality fishing magazine.


The hard facts on soft plastics

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

When it comes to realism and versatility, soft plastics are hard to beat.

Of all the lures available to the shallow water angler, plastic “softies” may be the most versatile. Different styles of soft plastics have caught everything from bluefish and stripers to snook and redfish, and almost everything in between. Why are these lures so productive? There are a number of reasons. (more…)

Sweet Summertime

Friday, August 17th, 2007

Hot weather equals hot action in shallow water.

Ah, summertime in Florida. The word conjures up images of smoking grills, white beaches, sunny skies and tan bodies. But to a skinny water angler, the word “summer” means one thing: redfish and (especially) snook, and lots of them. Roughly from May through mid-October, snook gather in Florida’s inlets and passes to breed and feed, and it’s the time of year in which anglers have the best chance of experiencing a banner catch-and-release day. Some passes are literally choked with fish, and if you catch them on the right tide, they’ll hammer just about anything you throw their way. But there are some rules to follow if you wish to make the most of your summertime opportunities. The one variable that you cannot ignore at this time of year is heat, so temperature is the central thought behind the following recommendations: (more…)

Fly by Night

Saturday, June 9th, 2007



When it comes to shallow-water success, your odds rise with the moon

There’s a sliver of moon barely peeking through the low lying clouds, lending scant light to the scene. You stand on the deck of a skiff gliding placidly through a residential canal, inching toward a dock light as the trolling motor at your feet hums. It’s the third light you’ve tried – the first two were holding no fish that you could see or raise. You’ve already stripped out enough line for the cast, but you lay another coil on the deck, just in case. Hanging from your rod tip is a small, white, nondescript fly, tied to a long section of 20 lb. leader. As you near the light, you catch your breath. Are those dark shapes just beneath the surface, on the edge of the circle of light? Yes, they are. Several nice fish, lying like stacked cordwood, their noses into the slight current. Why this light, and not another? No matter. They’re here, and so are you.


Dance a Little jig

Saturday, June 9th, 2007


Don’t overlook the most productive lure in the history of angling

Jigs aren’t flashy. They aren’t new and exciting. They don’t require special skills, and most of them aren’t all that attractive. They don’t lead to dramatic topwater strikes, they aren’t glamorous, and throwing one all day can get a little monotonous. So…why would anyone fish a jig? Simple: since the dawn of angling, no lure has accounted for more fish than the plain old jig. That applies to all gamefish, including shallow-water species.


Backwater Bombing

Saturday, June 9th, 2007


Plugs Can Work Magic Along Mangrove Shorelines

There are many methods used to catch fish in shallow water. Finding and cast-netting bait is an acquired skill, as is using bait effectively. Jig fishing requires patience and an acquired feel, and accounts for a lot of fish. Reading the wakes and disturbances on an open flat is a thrill all its own, and fly fishing is a virtual art form practiced by an accomplished minority. But among longtime backwater anglers down Florida way, one method of angling has long separated the men from the boys: Casting hrad-bodied “plugs” along mangrove shorelines. This tactic is almost as old as the sport itself, and the state’s rich angling history is replete with accounts of anglers plying virgin waters, tossing broomstick plugs tied to bulky reels along shorelines teeming with big snook, redfish and tarpon.


Cold Weather Commandments

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

Follow these simple guidelines to catch more chilly-weather fish

1. Forget the flats
So you found a lot of fish in a skinny water hotspot earlier in the year, and you’re sure they must still be around? Sure, the water temperature has dropped into the high 60s, but judging by the number of fish you saw, there’s no way you won’t scare up something, right? Don’t bet on it. Good fishing trips are defined by the time you spend in productive water. Hit a grassflat in chilly weather – especially once the water temperature has been on the low side for a few days – and you’ll likely spend your time casting at open, clear – and empty – water. An important caveat here: If a warming trend has preceded your trip, give the flats a look. A few degrees in temperature change can lead more cold-tolerant gamefish (like redfish and trout) up onto the flats to bask in the sunlight and look for food.


Ten Terrific Topwater Tactics

Saturday, June 9th, 2007


Proven ways to get more out of your topwater plugs

Fishermen who use topwater plugs exclusively are a funny breed. They’ll spend hours working a flat or shoreline, hoping for that one smashing hit. In fact, most die-hard topwater anglers I know would rather catch one fish on the surface where they can see the take than ten fish on bait or a sub-surface lure. I’m one of them. Regardless of your personal inclination, it’s undeniable that topwater plugs can be deadly on shallow-water gamefish. Follow these simple tips, and you’ll improve your results “on top.”


Baitfishing Basics

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007


Many anglers swear it’s best to “feed ‘em what they eat”.

Why natural bait?
Like the song says, there’s nothing like the real thing, baby. I’m an avid fan of artificial lures – mainly flies and plugs – but it’s impossible to argue that, day in and day out, live bait in its many forms catches more fish than artificials. It’s relatively easy to acquire, gets the attention of hungry gamefish and is the the best way to entice picky fish. An added bonus: fishing live bait is the best way for a novice angler to learn the sport, as it dramatically increases the odds of at least hooking something that will pull back, even for folks who don’t know how to crank a reel.