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Hernando Beach
02/07/12 12:33 PM
Captain Keith Tomlinson
Fishing surface plugs is a great tactic to try in winter months. Top water plugs can be challenging to use initially and can wear you down at times. Anglers that have patience and persistence might not get the quantity, but the quality of the fish is truly rewarding!

Many species of fish will hit surface plugs. Tarpon, red fish, big trout, jack crevalle,blue fish, mackerel, snook and more will all inhale a variety of top water lures. When fishing the skinny waters of the Nature Coast, my "go to" lures are a Rapala Skitter walk (sw8), Heddon Rattlin Spook, or a Storm Chug bug. All of these top water plugs offer something different. They all move slightly different and they all have their own sound. I feel that a lure creating a different sound (or click) and worked at different speeds or rhythms is more important than the color. That being said, I like a white, chartreuse, and a mullet color.

Be ready to mix up the pace. A slow rhythm might work, but be ready to speed up your retrieve if the bite stops. When casting to an area, be sure to cover all of the water. These fish will detect your lure as far as 50 ft. away, but wont eat it until it gets close. Make the next cast about 10 - 15 ft. from the last. If you get a strike or land a fish from a certain spot don't be afraid to go right back to that spot on your next cast because there might be more where the last came from.

The best advice I can give anglers on top water is to not set the hook when you see the strike. Wait until you feel the heaviness of the fish and then set it. It is a herd habit to break at first because when you see the explosion on the surface the excitement gets the better of you and the lure is pulled right out of the fishes mouth before he gets a hold on it!

Good luck out there and tight lines!

Capt. Keith Tomlinson

Bulldog Fishin Charters




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