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Tips & Techniques

Fishing Techniques

Mastering some of these techniques will help you get to the catchin' quicker.

Great Tip For Tarpon Fishing

When bottom fishing for Tarpon with dead bait such as Shad cut the tail off and it will keep it from spinning on the way down and twisting around your line and also keeps it from spinning in the current. The cut in the tail will also give off a fresh scent trail. Good Luck www.fatcatfishingcharters.com
Contribute Originally contributed by CAPT JAY MASTERS on 04/13/09
Last edited by CAPT JAY MASTERS on 04/13/09

Awesome Trout Rig!

Go ahead and buy yourself a Cajun Thunder Bobber at any tackle shop and buy size 2/0 hooks (circle prefferably). Set the hook about 15 inches away from the bobber. On the hook either put a berkeley gulp shrimp or put a live shrimp or pinfish. Once in the water give it about 6-8 seconds and the jerk the rod lightly to get the bobber to make a popping sound. This will attract the fish and the will see your helpless bait floating and nail it. Make sure to hook it good or it will fall off when you are jerking. Good Luck. Eric
Contribute Originally contributed by Eric Dellaratta on 05/27/08
Last edited by Eric Dellaratta on 05/27/08

Tips To Setting Better Bites

You cast your topwater bait in the exact right spot, crank the reel once, and suddenly an explosion erupts as a big Bite blows up your lure and starts dancing on the water. Hold on tight. Topwater baits are the most exciting way to catch fish. If you know a couple of the tricks of topwaters, you will catch more fish than ever before; tips to setting up the bite to hook-up in one easy style.

The more tricks you have up your sleeve, the more versatile your topwater baits become. And the better you become, as an angler able to trigger bites however it takes: fast retrieves, slow retrieves, long pauses, quick jerks — you flash through your deadly dealt hand of tricks until the fish can't resist.
Some tricks you brag about; others you horde as your own device, never divulging the secret formula even to mom...

Let the fish tell you what they want at the moment, if you stop your bait and a fish hits while the lure is motionless, you should add more pauses to your presentation. But if a fish hits while you are moving the bait, speed up and stop less. Conversely, waiting too long is just as bad as setting early. Give your fish too much time and that topwater bait is going to float back up at you.
How you hold the rod during the retrieve can also play a big role in a successful hookset. “If you hold the rod low to the water in front of you, you'll have a better chance at a good set than with the rod up in the air. Another option is to hold the rod off to the side and with your rod-tip pointing downward, butt of the rod against your forearm, giving you the advantage in executing a strong, upward-sweeping motion, upon the bite and hook set. This is how I generally angle when on both salt or freshwater; it is called an ‘East Coast’ presentation.
Once a fish is hooked, keep the rod low to keep it from jumping. “If you feel the fish coming up, pull it sideways to stop the jump, The key here is not getting any slack in the line; keep the pressure on always, pointing the rod to the fish and rising the rod upward with each and every leap, dance or jump.”
For solid sets and control during the fight, I favor a semi-tight drag, even with 12-pound line; one where when pulled it almost strains to that breaking moment and then slightly twitches out. If it is a big fish, thumbing the spool is always better than loosing a fish by playing with the drag set during any battle.

Contribute Originally contributed by Gary Anderson on 07/01/08
Last edited by Gary Anderson on 07/01/08

Florida Fishing Tips

Fishing in Florida can be different from fishing in other parts of the country or world, so having an arsenal of Florida fishing tips at your disposal can be invaluable. This section has a nice long list of Florida fishing tips we've found, plus plenty of your own submitted fishing tips. Have a Florida fishing tip you'd like to share? Just contribute it!

See Florida Fishing Tips

Fishing Techniques By Species

Article about the specific techniques for targeting & catching specific species of fish.

Goto the Fishing Techniques by Species Page

Weighing A Fish Without A Scale

Just a little quick math to remember. This method is not the most accurate, but can give you an approximate weight.

1) Measure the fish from tip of nose to fork of tail. (Length)

2) Then measure around the fish in front of the Pectoral Fins. (Girth)

3) Now take the girth measurement and square it.

4) Finially multiply this by the length measurement and divide the sum total by 800.

That gives the approx. fish weight.

For example:

Length of Fish = 25 inches
Girth of Fish = 9 inches

9 times 9 = 81 multiplied by 30 = 2430

4320 divided by 800 = 3.038 lbs.


In the surf and on costal waters, an incoming tide almost always offers the best fishing.

In the morning before daybreak until one hour after sunrise.

When the Moon is between new and full.

Any Damn time you please!

Goto Tides Page

Throwing A Castnet

Contribute Originally contributed by Justin on 06/12/06
Last edited by Justin on 06/27/07

Casting Techniques

Contribute Last edited by Justin on 06/27/07

Goto Casting Techniques


Contribute Last edited by Justin on 06/27/07

Goto Spear Fishing Page

Everglades Fishing For Tarpon In The Spring

Flamingo Everglades National Park
When chasing Snook and Redfish your thoughts need to be very tide oriented this month just like any other month. But more specifically keep in mind that the majority of Snook have already traveled up in the streams to seek refuge from the cold. So Pull out your GPS and head in the Deep Back Country like areas of Hells Bay, Lane Bay, Tarpon Bay, The Rookery, Fingers, Banana Patches….etc. Though if you’re fishing with me don’t even think of bringing a GPS!!! The Rapala X-Rap and Skidder Walk has become my bait of choice to throw on 30-40 pound Flurocarbon.

Tarpon! Oh man have we been having a ball on Tarpon. You can find these awesome animals on the Beaches of East Cape in Huge numbers. Just keep in mind they are very tide and wind oriented. These fish always need moving current to get them into the feeding mode. When you enter into this Bay SHUT YOUR MOTOR OFF!!! They are very sensitive contrary to other tarpon you may chase in different areas. And if you have to move to another area please be sure to idle you boat out of the fishing spot....otherwise you are wasting your time as well as other fisherman fishing within that 5 Mile stretch. I can not stress how important this really is. Once you find where the schools of fish are working toss a large lure such as the Rapala X-Rap in bright colors. They will only be able to see it in bright colors due to the dirty water. Also check out some of the new pictures in the Richard Gibson Photo Gallery of Tarpon Jumping. Awesome shots!

Remember be courteous and Tight Lines and Great Fishing!

Contribute Originally contributed by Capt Rich Smith on 10/08/08
Last edited by Capt Rich Smith on 10/08/08

Winter Time Fishing In Biscayne Bay

Biscayne Bay:
If you are able to time the weather patterns to work in your advantage Biscayne Bay can be very productive working grounds for all your Bonefish chasing needs. The key to your success lies primarily on water temperature. Bonefish are most active in water temperatures above 72 Degrees. During these winter months cold fronts can drag the bay water temperatures below this critical number and force the bonefish to refuge to deeper warmer water. This is why you will often see bonefish in large schools waking in 2-4 feet of water. So what this means is if your temperature gauge is indicating colder water you should move toward the edge of the flat and begin your search. The majority of Permit are still hanging out on the offshore wreck located outside Biscayne Bay. However, there are a few lost schools hanging out on the West side of the bay. These are not out typical spring time numbers but if you are lucky to stumble across one a quarter sized crab will certainly entice him to do a little drag screaming action for ya like my buddy Blair often says on his television show Addictive Fishing. If its Tarpon you are after you should primarily turn your focus north ward to Government Cut Canal. Most of the numbers will be found in areas like the cut due to deeper warmer water and a constant abundance of bait fish so they don’t have to travel far for their meals. Crabs, Mullet, and Pinfish, and Pilchards are the baits of choice for these Jurassic creatures.
Fender Point
Burger King Flat
Turkey Point
Work the west side of the Bay. Because of the darker bottom you can expect 1-3 Degrees warmer water temperature than the East side.

Tight Lines,
Captain Rich Smith

Contribute Originally contributed by Capt Rich Smith on 10/08/08
Last edited by Capt Rich Smith on 10/08/08

Late Winter Or Early Spring In Biscayne Bay

Fishing in Biscayne Bay for Bonefish and Permit

Cold fronts! Cold fronts! Cold fronts! This should be your main thought to focus on this month here in South Florida when targeting flats fish.

Biscayne Bay
When you have a few days of warming you can expect the Bonefish to be working in schools on the flats and even tailing in large numbers in skinnier water. Most of my concentration has remained on the Western Side of Biscayne Bay with the occasional venture over to flats like Cutter Bank and the Snake by Caesars Creek. I have had great success on the days you really have business Bone fishing and spotty days on the rougher colder days.

Permit are starting to show up working flats on the Western Parts of the Bay and I have heard other reports of fish hanging on the long stretch of flats outside of Caesar’s Creek in pretty good numbers at times. This lets us know that they are finally heading in from the offshore wrecks. Toss their bait of choice a live crab on a circle hook and hang on for the ride of your life. But remember these fish are very spooky so be sure to make your cast at least 5 feet in front of their traveling path. Scent is often times more important than sight when dealing with these ultra spooky species on the flats.

Tight Lines and Get our there and Fish

Captain Rich Smith is a Native South Florida Full Time Fishing Guide based out of Homestead, Florida. He fishes Biscayne Bay, Everglades National Park and the Upper Florida Keys. If you would like to get in touch with the captain you can reach him at www.CaptainRichSmith.com or (786) 299 - 4813

Contribute Originally contributed by Capt Rich Smith on 10/08/08
Last edited by Capt Rich Smith on 10/08/08

Mix It Up

Fishing pressure is taking its toll on Central Florida lake and river fishing, but the clever angler can overcome finicky fish by doing different things. Try mixing it up on your soft plastics, both color and size wether it be pitching, flipping, or casting at vegetation, wood, or whatever the available structure may be. Try different scents than what you would usually use and be thorough, meaning cast repeatedly at targets to aggravate fish to strike. Another and important factor in being successful is mixing up the times that you fish. If fishing is poor during the hot Florida Summer mornings and early afternoons, then try late afternoons and early evenings. Try topwater baits and mix them up also 'til you find what the fish want. Hope these tips help.

Captain Boe Jacquard - Boe Bass

Contribute Originally contributed by Boe Jacquard on 06/30/11
Last edited by Boe Jacquard on 07/01/11

Jiggin' The Flats

Jiggin’ The Flats!

Another pristine morning on the water finds lots of bait schools in the shallow waters that Florida has to offer. Nervous baitfish trying to find a safe haven to feed, while the predators are tagging along looking to feed on them. Jigging along the flats can provide some great action for any angler. As soon as the sun comes up, I switch to soft baits.

There are so many soft baits on the market….it’s like buying a bottle of shampoo or tube of toothpaste! Which color, type, size or brand works best. That’s always a personal preference and you sure would have a tough time convincing any angler that your favorite works better than his. I have always believed that color is secondary to presentation. Light or dark can make a difference for sure. I tend to try to match color to what is happening in the river at that particular time. If you are new to fishing soft baits, ask your local tackle shop for some advice on the popular colors and types that are being used in your area.

Styles are yet another type of which soft lures work best for you. Shad tails, curly tails, jerk baits, shrimp imitations, etc…etc….are all different styles of soft baits and each one has its own kind of action. Some are injected, infected and projected with scents to add as attractants. Gulp, DOA and Exude are a few that are known for that. Pay attention to what kinds of bait are in the area that you will be fishing. I prefer jerk baits when bait schools are prevalent throughout the river. But that’s another topic for another day….

While most soft baits can be rigged weedless and in many different ways, I have always relied on jig heads for my best opportunities of hooking up on fish. Jig heads have been a stickler for me on how they will act in the water. Once again, there are many brands, styles and weights of jig heads. If fishing very shallow water, I like a 1/16th or 1/8th ounce jig, while heavier ones are great for deeper water or windy conditions. The shallower the water, the lighter the jig head is my creed. I pay particular attention to the way the jig is made and what it does when you are working it. Where the eye of the hook is located can suggest what the jig will do when popping it across the grass flats. I look for one that will jump smoothly up and settle back into the grass without latching onto it. The DOA CAL jigs are a great example of the types the are made especially for shallow water fishing. An upward curve to the head and the hook eye situated to allow the jig to jump up from the bottom will make your jiggin’ days work much better and be more productive.

Rod tip up…..will give you the edge on jiggin’ the flats. You will automatically have the line pulling in an upward motion and the jig will follow along. Make sure that you are using a loop knot to allow the lure to present a more natural presentation. Work your jig slowly across the grass flats in short pops and be ready for that strike. You can find redfish, snook, trout and many more species on the flats that can be tempted by working a jig properly along the bottom. Next time you are looking at jig heads, notice how they are made and how they will actually work in the water. It can help make your day more successful. Have fun jiggin’ the flats!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Just a few of the many types of jig heads available for your needs. Notice how they are made and how they might work on the flats when selecting your next jig head.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

DOA CAL jig heads and how they are specifically made for shallow water fishing.

Contribute Originally contributed by fishtales on 10/23/08
Last edited by fishtales on 10/23/08

Flatactics On The Treasure Coast...

While snook fishing is on most anglers minds these days, I am still out there in search of redfish on the flats. We have been fortunate to have a growing population of red drum around the Treasure Coast. It's great to see so many slot size fish in our area once again. I have been lucky enough over the last fifteen years to witness the increase of size and number of our redfish.

I break down fishing the flats into three aspects:
1. Learning the area you want to fish.
2. Reading the water.
3. Presentation of your lures

Most flats in our area will be the hangout for reds. It provides lots of fun and excitement for the anglers. Learning the flats takes time and patience, but will pay off with that first hook up on a top end slot fish. I watch anglers idle up on the flats, which will make most fish high tail it out of there. Stealth is one of the most important parts of the puzzle. Start fishing off the flats and slowly work your way up on them. You will be amazed that a lot of fish hang just off the edges.

Take some time to study the water....can you find the redfish school?

Pick one flat and learn it well. You might be amazed at the different contours and variety along the area. Tidal cuts give fish many options to feed or find a retreat from danger. One part may be shallow and almost unfishable, while another part provides deeper areas that are accessible to fish and anglers. Spend some time and be patient. Learn the area you want to fish, then move on to another area to learn.

Tides also play a role in how to fish different areas. Naturally, high tides provide more areas to fish, while low tides limit access to many shallow parts of the flats. Learn where to fish on both tides. I find that low tides will many times congregate fish into deeper cuts, while they wait for the water to turn around. Once again, time and patience pays off.

The rewards can pay off with hookups like this....

Lures are so varied that you could write volumes about what to use and when to use it. Everyone has their favorites that they tend to use most of the time. I always try top water, soft baits, spoons and twitch baits. Don't be stubborn and not be willing to try something different. It's been proven, over and over again, that presentation is the most important part of lure fishing. Give two people the same lure and one will catch, while the other is mumbling sweet nothings under their breath. Don't give up on a lure till you have tried working it in different patterns first.

Learn to read the water. Most anglers will miss good fishing areas by not watching what is happening on the water. Redfish are lazy most of the time. A school will lie quietly on the bottom undisturbed unless you happen to work your way on top of them. The majority of times, you won't see them pushing water or tailing. One slight movement in the water could be a school of mullet or redfish. You just never quite know for sure. Work slowly and watch every movement on the water.

I've mentioned time and patience a number of times in this article. After over twenty-five years of fishing the Indian River, I still learn something new each time I get on the water. Our flats are great places to fish and learning how to fish them will give you hours of fun and excitement seeking out the reds in the area. The Treasure Coast is a great place to live and fish. Redfish are back and the fishing gets better each year!

Good Fishing,
Captain Charlie Conner

Contribute Originally contributed by fishtales on 10/03/06
Last edited by fishtales on 10/03/06

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