Reel for speed like a boss with Accurate!

 
   

 

With another great season upon us, there’s no better time to upgrade your gear as Bass Pro Shops, Rancho Cucamonga. We have now have in stock Accurate’s new reel The “Fury”.  It is their newest addition to their line-up and their first single drag reel.  These reels, like their “Boss Extreme” counter parts, are made of 6061 T6 billet aircraft aluminum for lightweight and strength. They feature a very simplistic design with stainless steel gears, wet drag for smoothness, and an ergonomic rubber handle that fits perfectly in your hand.  The “Boss Fury” line of reels are offered in single speed in gear ratios of 4.1 & 6.1, and 2-speed models featuring a 3.1:1 low and 6.1:1 high for the 400 and 500 models, and 2.2:1 and 5.1 in the 600 model.  The line capacity of the “Boss Fury” reels are: 400 model – 20LB mono 300 yards, 40LB braid 400 yards, 500 model – 25lb mono 300 yards, 50LB braid 425 yards, 600 model – 40LB mono 300 yards, 65LB braid 450 yards. These reels were designed with fishermen’s needs in mind. If you are chasing Tuna, Dorado or trying to catch your first White Seabass, the Boss Fury has a size to meet your fishing needs at an affordable price.  Currently Accurate is currently having a contest, “#Fish the Fury” that started July 11, 2015 and will run until September 28, 2015.  Visit http://accuratefishing.com/campaigns/  Also listen to Ben Secrest of Accurate explain what you need to know about these reels at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wztew_-YeIU&feature=player_embedded

Be sure to view our entire selection of online Saltwater gear at http://www.basspro.com/Fishing/Classification-Saltwater/_/N-1z0uxbaZ1z0vagb

 

 
   
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Catching Tuna Like A Pro

Bass Pro Shops Associates & Offshore Angler Gear vs. Yellowtail Some Fishing Associates from Bass Pro Shops had the opportunity to test out our Offshore Angler Tightline and Frigate Rods and Reels aboard the, “Gail Force” out of San Pedro. The ¾ day trip destination was Catalina Island in hopes of cashing in on the hot Yellowtail bite. With rough early morning conditions they were able to land some nice Calico Bass. As the clouds broke in the afternoon and sun came out the last spot of the day produced some great Yellowtail action.

Bass Pro Shops Fishing Associate Travis Provencher took top honors with a 20lb Yellowtail. “It was a great opportunity to spend a day on the water with fellow associates and catch some quality Yellowtail” said Travis. “These Yellowtail put up some great fights and taught our associates why you need rugged durable gear out there.” Bass Pro Shops Fishing Associate Andy Sepulveda on his first Saltwater Trip quickly learned about fishing for Yellowtail when he caught his first weighing in at 17lbs. He was fishing an Offshore Angler Frigate 6000 Spinning Combo. “These Yellowtail really test the drag in your reels and even though it took me awhile to get the yellowtail in the combo held its own” said Andy. “I was so tired after the fight, but the experience of the fight I just wanted another so I put on new bait and got my line out there as quick as possible. To learn more about the gear they were using and read customer reviews please visit the following link: http://www.basspro.com/Brand-Offshore-Angler/Fishing/_/N-1z0xcjwZ1z0uxba?catalogId=10051&langId=-1&storeId=10151

 

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Offshore Angler Frigate Spinning Rod and Reel Combo

Offshore Angler™ Frigate® saltwater spinning reel is a masterpiece of design, performance, and rock-solid durability. This versatile warrior is built on an all-aluminum frame, with a carbon fiber-reinforced composite rotor. A specially-formulated, American-made Ocean Silk lubricant is designed to handle the rigors of saltwater fishing. The spool is forged, double-anodized aluminum, with a braid grip arbor to prevent slippage. Carbon fiber and Teflon® drag stack slows battling game fish with firm, smooth, pressure. Inside, you'll find 8-bearing system that includes Powerlock™ instant anti reverse that imparts ultra-smooth and stable performance, and the stainless steel main shaft provides a rigid and durable core. We've designed the Frigate to be the toughest, smoothest saltwater reel you can find. When you use it, we think you'll agree.

The Frigate Rod is built to handle the brutal conditions that saltwater fishing can bring. The blank is a hybrid of 24-ton carbon and fiberglass, with great response and just the right amount of flexibility. Stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts prevent saltwater corrosion, and the EVA foam handles are slip-resistant and lightweight.

Reel features:

  • All-aluminum frame
  • American-made Ocean Silk saltwater lubricant
  • Braid grip, forged, double-anodized aluminum spool
  • 8 bearing system including Powerlock instant anti-reverse
  • Stainless steel main shaft

Rod features:

  • 24-ton graphite/fiberglass hybrid blank
  • EVA handles
  • Stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide rings

Product Manual 

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Who Stole Spring?

See our online selection of fishing products at basspro.com.

Ok, just one question. Who stole Spring?  It seems I remember snow, sleet and cold blowing  rain just a moment ago.  I'm not Rip Van Winkle. I didn't sleep through it.  It's late March and it's 84 degrees outside.  Spring is supposed to have brisk mornings followed by brilliant rays of sunshine that melt away the gloom of Winter, not cranking the air conditioner to full blast to fend off the heat.

  What does this have to do with fishing? Well, pretty much everything at this time of year.  The four most popular fish, largemouth bass, crappie, sandbass/hybrids,and catfish use the cool of Spring to do their spawning.  If the water temperatures soar above the optimal for our favorite species, they will most likely have an abbreviated spawn. What does that mean?

First, and most importantly, it means if you want to catch fish during their spawn you better get cracking.  The largemouths were just beginning to get into their pre-spawn patterns when that frozen blast knocked the bottom out of water temps. It also caused the the water  to rise into places it hasn't been in three to four years. Combine these conditions and just when poor mama bass was just about ready to drop her eggs and go into defensive mode  Mother nature threw her a curve.  It also muddied up the water in the areas they prefer to lay their eggs. These thee factors changed not only where you might want to look for them, but what you might use to catch them.

  Lots of folks traditionally creep lizards or crawfish soft plastics through likely places. With the water deeply stained by sediment  you pretty much have to hit that big spawning female right in the nose to get her to react.  So far this season we're getting  good reports from fishers who've added lures that both represent nest poachers and either vibrate or click to their usual collection of "normal" Spring offerings. If you let the fish know that potential danger is near the nest with bass jigs with rattlechambers, like the Bass Pro Shops Rattling Enticer  Jig  you will surely let that trophy bass have something to zero in on.  You can also try slow rolling a colorado-bladed spinnerbait around fairly shallow, stained water, that  is close to cover and deeper water. A couple of good choices in spinnerbaits are the Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye Tandem Spinnerbait or  add a selection from Booyah Spinnerbaits. The best selling bass lure right now has been the all new Bass Pro Shops Chatterbait. This new bait comes in a number of colors, but there is one called bully bream that I can't wait to try out!

  Crappie fishers have been hitting good numbers and the photos I've seen recently show a lot of big fat "slabs".  The water temperatures haven't been as critical on the crappie population as far as their spawn...yet. Crappie usually hang in deeper water around cover like brush piles until the water temps reach between 52 and 65 degrees. Hopefully the shallows where they love to lay their eggs will clear up in the next week. When it does, all you waders, float tubers and paddle-powered fishers need to be ready to pounce !  The air temperatures will warm the water quickly if this quick warming trend continues so be ready.  For now the best results have been on crappie jigs. All kinds of color combinations have been flying out the door. If you want to know my personal favorites...well...you'll just can't go wrong with the Bass Pro Bumble Bee in Monkey Milk color for deeper water.  Switch to  black and chartreuse when they do move up shallow.


  For our minnow dunking friends the reports have been good too. Don't wait til the last minute to get your minnow bucket, aerators, dip nets, hooks and bobbers . The spawn may be abbreviated this year. Don't miss any of it waiting to gear up.

 Attention sandbassers and hybrid hunters!  The recent rains that have raised our lakes with water, pretty much emptied our area lakes of huge numbers of sandbass and hybrids.  Yes, as the water from the feeder creeks pouring into the lakes, the sandbass head upstream looking for moving water in which to lay their eggs and fertilize them. Sandbass don't make nests, they are actually programmed to do all their reproductive rituals in moving water so get out your mud boots and find a good feeder creek. Running water is good, but creeks that are fast moving and swolen by rain are dangerous and the fish tend to scatter. Remember that hybrid stripers are a mix of sandbass and saltwater stripers. They can't reproduce, but they did not get that memo and travel along with the sandbass into creeks and rivers.

  I found a really good creek stomping sandbass chasing, dependable, strong, smooth reel. It's actually a Crappie Maxx spinning reel. It's drag is smooth and strong enough to handle the strong sudden smash of a hybrid when adjusted properly.  One great lure selections for sandies in the creeks are the Blue Fox inline spinner, either silver or blue with the number 2 blade. Another is any one of a group of soft plastic three inch minnow imitations mounted on a 1/16 or 1/32 jig head. Bounce these offerings off the bottom and as close to the channel as you can. Hang on!


You'll have to hurry on the sandbass/hybrid action to. As soon as the water temp in the lakes and the stream temps are equal the sandies won't bother making the trek upstream. They will simply spawn in the lake off windy sandbar points.


 Catfish have not been as affected by the rising warming water too much yet. They're still going to be found fairly shallow. Their spawn is right around the corner, as a matter of fact, it may be accelerated by warming waters.  Here are a couple rules of thumb for you. Generally speaking...I say generally... blue cats tend to hit fresh dead shad. Get a cast net and a bucket and probe boat launches to get your fresh bait.


Channel cats seem to prefer stink baits, also called "prepared baits."  The big flatheads lean toward prefer to munch on bream (sunfish) .  Get some worms, crappie nibbles, small hooks and go "perch jerking," to garner goodies for these monsters.  Don't forget you'll need size appropriate hooks too. Catfish in the "eater" class usually take baits that can be mounted on 3/0 hooks and smaller, while "trophy cats" require a larger, stronger hook to handle their lockjaw grip, weight, and fighting ability. Come in soon to get outfitted with the Catt Maxx rods and reels for all the cats you want to catch, it's an extremely dependable outfit that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg.


  So it doesn't really matter where Spring went. What matters is that you get busy, get equipped, get informed and get on the water.


 Bend a rod for us!
 Bill Sankey
Fishing Lead
Bass Pro Shops, Garland Tx.

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in shore salt water like a boss!

Inshore Saltwater Heats Up As our local waters heat up and we prepare for another El Nino our Inshore Saltwater Season is already in full gear with everything from Yellowtail, Rock Fish and Calico Bass being caught.

Come in and visit Bass Pro Shops where our associates can fit you into the right gear from our Offshore Angler lineup featuring models such as the SeaFire, Ocean Master and Frigate that will meet any angler’s needs for their inshore fishing trips. Visit the link below for more information on these great products: http://www.basspro.com/Brand-Offshore-Angler/Fishing/_/N-1z0xcjwZ1z0uxba?catalogId=10051&langId=-1&storeId=10151

Bass Pro Shops Trout Event March 30th-April 12th It’s that time of the year to start gearing up for the opening of the Sierra’s Trout Season. Come visit Bass Pro Shops as we host our Trout Event Sale which will feature many great Bass Pro Shops trout items on sale. During this event we will also feature seminars on April 4th, 5th, 11th and 12th featuring Pro Staffers from our local lakes that will cover everything you need to know about trout fishing. Check our website for times of seminars or call (909) 922-5500.

http://www.basspro.com/ Join Pete Marino April 18th and 25th for Fishing the Bass Spawning Season Come join our own Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff Member Pete Marino as he discusses techniques for the Spawn Season. An accomplished tournament angler and local guide Pete show you everything from rods, reels, line and baits that are must haves for any angler fishing this season. These seminars will start at 2 p.m. at our main fish tank. Visit the link below to learn more about Pete Marino. http://www.petemarinoguideservice.com/default.html

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/360275927511441/

 

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Give Me 45 Minutes -- And I'll Show Unbelievable Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite Spinning Combo

Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite Spinning Combo Bass Pro Shops is proud to introduce for 2015 the Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite Spinning Combo. This light-weight combo is available in 4’6 Ultra-Light, 5’6 Ultra-Light and 6’6 Ultra-Light models. With a graphite frame and 7 bearings these reels will handle any Angler’s Trout or Panfish needs. The Rods are built with RT2 Graphite that offers sound, reliable performance to anglers of all skill levels. At $69.99 this is a great Combo for any angler. The reels are also sold separately at $39.99.

For more information visit the following link: http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-Micro-Lite-Elite-Rod-and-Reel-Spinning-Combo/product/1409230646374/

Pre-Spawn and Spawn Season Approaching Fast As water temperatures heat up and Spring approaches it becomes every Angler’s favorite time to catch Large Mouth Bass. Come visit Bass Pro Shops and speak with our associates about the latest new gear or upgrade your current gear before the season kick off. If you have any questions about drop-shots, bed-fishing or sight-fishing stop by and talk with our associates.

Visit the following link to view all your needs for this upcoming season. http://www.basspro.com/

Rock Fish Season Opener: SeaFire Reel A Must Have Bass Pro Shops is proud to add the Offshore Angler Seafire Reel in 2015. With a 1pc CNC Machined Aluminum Frame, 4 bearings and an anodized power handle this reel will handle all your rock fish needs. Priced at 79.99 these reels are a great buy.

This reel is also featured in a combo at $129.99. For more information visit the following link: http://www.basspro.com/Offshore-Angler-SeaFire-Conventional-Saltwater-Reel/product/14071107420110/

 

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Fishy Facts: Bow Fishing

So this month we will be taking a different approach to our Fishy Facts blogs. Instead of focusing directly on a fish itself, we will take an in-depth look at a certain way to catch fish. And if you read last month’s Tracker Time blog you would know exactly what kind of fishing we are talking about: bow fishing!

Using specialized equipment, bow fishing allows fishers/archers the opportunity to take fish. I am not sure what you would be classified out of those two (fisher or archer) exactly but you definitely get the best of both worlds. The main differences between regular archery and bow fishing is that the bow will have a line holder that holds the line attached to your arrow. Your arrow does not have any kind of fledging as it not necessary in water. What is necessary though is understanding how your arrow will react when in hits water. Also the arrowhead used will usually be a barbed one that will hopefully keep your fish from getting away. After a fish is pierced it is reeled back and taken.

Typically bow fishing takes place on a boat, as you need to be rather close to the fish to get one and they spook quite easily so be prepared to cover some water. The most common species harvested are bottom feeders including carp but also alligator gar are common targets. In saltwater though, things get kicked up a notch and sharks are a targeted species along with rays. Bow fishing also typically takes place at night when fish are slightly more active and using bright lights are easy to spot.

Of course you will want to look at your local rules and regulations concerning bow fishing. Because not only could you be fishing in the wrong place but now “discharging a weapon” as well if you find yourself in real trouble. Bow fishing has increased significantly over the past few years. What once was a smaller niche market is now proving to be a huge game-changer. Not only in sporting good stores but also ecosystems.

Unfortunately invasive species have done a good job and making a mess of our waterways. One of the most prolific is the Asian Carp. You know, that fish that jumps out of the water when disturbed and have caused serious damage to ecosystems and people that they have hit. Huge efforts to eliminate these fish have been undertaken, and bow fishing allows people the change to specifically target them and remove them much quicker and safer than other methods.

The son of the founder/owner of Bass Pro Shops is huge outdoor enthusiast. Bow fishing has become a huge passion of his, and he loves to show it on his YouTube channel. Our stores now carry a wide variety of bow fishing products as well. Bass Pro Shops also started its own Bow Fishing Championship! It is pretty awesome and definitely deserves a checking out!

While the new products and advancing technologies definitely have a lot of people drooling, it is cool to think about how this sport has evolved from its once simple and survival-importance ways. Our ancestors had to learn to bow fish in order to get the food they so desperately needed.

So do your homework and look into what it would take to get into bow fishing. It may provide that niche sport to get your fisher into archery or your archer into fishing. Either way it is a great way to get outdoors and make some awesome memories on the water. And that is what it is all about.

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Finned-Friends:

Grayling

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

Catfish

Bull Shark

Tilapia

Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout

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Spring Fishing Classic

 

 February 6th -15th

It is that time again, Spring Fishing Classic! Sales, Sales and more Sales that go on at Bass Pro Shops around this time! If you are an avid fishermen(and women!) or wanting to pick up the sport and learn what is the best tricks, advise and products, make sure that you come to our event!

Here is the schedule and times of all the different events that will be taking place:

Rod and Reel Trade in

 February 6th –February 15th

New season new equipment? We think so! Bring in your old rod and reel during our “Trade in Promotion” and walk out feeling ready to conquer the water with your new rod and reel!

Line Spooling

February 11th – February 15th

Instant Rebate up to $100

February 6th – February 15th

On selected products, get instant rebates! See ad for details

Fried Fish Sampling

Saturday February 7th 2pm-5pm

Come up to our Camping Department and try out some FREE Fried Fish Sampling! You get to see how it is made with all the products that are used. To make it even better, all the products that are used are sold in stores. Talk about convenient!

Local Pro Seminars

Local Pro Seminars

FEBRUARY 13-15

First 25 customers to attend a workshop will receive a mug at the aquarium

Feb 13th-Will be held in the Marine Department by the Marine Associates.

7pm- Electronics Essentials: Effective use for Saltwater Success.

 

Feb 14 and 15th- Front of the aquarium.

11am- The Baitfish Connection- Understanding seasonal movements will help you catch more fish

2pm- Cutting- Edge offshore Gear- A guide to the Latest Advances on Tech and Tackle

2:30pm-KIDS SEMINAR- Kids will receive certificate of completing a workshop there at the aquarium!!

3pm- ONLY SATURDAY FEB 14TH-Women’s Workshop- Fishing and Outdoor cooking tips.

4pm- Surf Fishing: Beach and Wading strategies that work.

4:30pm-KIDS SEMINAR- Kids will receive certificate of completing a workshop there at the aquarium!! 

 

Women’s Workshop

February 14th at 3pm in front of the aquarium

Ladies, have you been curious about learning how to fish? Nice relaxing getaway sport. Perk of learn is to gloat to your husband how is better (all fun)! We will be hosting a FREE Workshop that will include some great tips, demos and products of best outwear. To make it even better, for the first 25 ladies to attend will be receiving a FREE tumbler!

Local Fishing Tips and Seminars by Local Pros

Friday February 13 -7pm

Saturday and Sunday- February 14 & 15 - 11am, 2pm and 4pm

Avid fishermen and women or beginners! Come get some tips and watch some product demos right from our aquarium! All given by our on Local Pro! For the first 25 customers (18 and older) to attend these seminars will receive and FREE tumbler!

 

Kid’s Next Generation Weekend

February 14 and 15 – Noon-5pm

Don’t think we forgot about the kids! We will have some fun fishing activities from:

Casting Challenge- Learning how to cast a fishing pole. (Fish Shaped water bottle for kids who complete the Casting Challenge (while supplies last)

Crafts- Color Wood fish stand-up and coloring sheets

Free 4x6 download - receive a free photo download 

 

Kids’ Workshop/Seminar

Saturday &Sunday during the Next Generation Event

February 14 & 15- 2pm & 4pm both days

Subjects to include:

-Discuss how we can learn to catch fish by thinking like they do

- Have a few items for kids to view and have “hands-on” experience

(First 25 kids to attend workshop/seminar will receive certificates and lanyard)  

 

 

 

As you can tell it is going to be a busy 2 weeks that you cannot miss! So remember February 6-15 – Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic!! 

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rods and reels You Can Be Proud Of

Saltwater Seminars, Vendors & More In Store Only It’s time to mark your calendars for the Bass Pro Shops Saltwater Event. Throughout the weekend there will be vendors such as Accurate, Daiwa and Seeker with Representatives in store to answer all your specific product needs. Also Captains Frank Ursitti and Tucker McCombs will be hosting seminars discussing gear and techniques to catch that prize fish. Visit the following link for more information about this event.

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=52

Frigate Reels: Now On Sale Also it is a great time to restock your gear with great sales on Offshore Angler Products such as the Frigate Spinning Reels. With sizes from 3000 to 8000, these reels will fit any angler’s inshore and offshore needs. These reels will be on sale from $69.99 to $89.99 until November 9th. Check out the following link for more information about this great product.

http://www.basspro.com/Offshore-Angler-Frigate-Spinning-Reels/product/1304290721425/

New Johnny Morris Carbon lite In Store Now One of our most popular low profile reels is now featured in a white finish. Weighing in at only 5.8 ounces and featuring six alternating carbon and stainless steel drag washers. The Carbon lite is one of the lightest and strongest reels on the market. Also priced at $129.99 the Carbon lite is one of the most affordable lightweight reel on the market. This reel is available right-handed in 5:4:1, 6:4:1 and 7:1:1 gear ratio. Currently left-handed reels are only available in 6:4:1 gear ratio.

 

 

 

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Tie One On: Crawshrimp

Just like this month’s Fishy Fact, we are gonna get a little salty with this month’s Tie One On! Not only are we getting salty but we’re going slightly 1950’s B-Grade Horror Film with it. It is almost straight out of one of those cheesy monster movies, ladies and gentlemen I give you: The Crawshrimp!

No please note, every time you say Crawfish it needs to sound like how Lord Business from The Lego Movie would say “The Kragle!” Please note, if you have not seen The Lego Movie that you have permission to stay inside and watch it instead of being outside fishing or what-have-you.

Just like you use certain patterns for certain fish in freshwater, the same goes for saltwater fishing. Fly patterns are an attempt to create/mimic natural prey to initiate a strike from a fish. You wouldn’t toss a big ol’ bass plug at a dainty brown trout, and you’re not gonna use a salmon egg for snook or redfish!

So now we have to think about the kind of prey saltwater species go after and start making flies to match! The Crawshrimp combines two very common prey items for saltwater fish, especially inshore ones, a crustacean and shrimp.     

This is a sinking bait, as it is not common to find these kinds of prey floating on top of the water. Commonly, sinking saltwater flies are designed to bury themselves into the sand. This one does not. Because of this, it is easy to work off the bottom in a number of ways. This allows the fisherman to create a number of scenarios with the pattern including the bait being injured or fleeing in order to tempt a strike. If a fisherman were to retrieve in short successive strips it gives the illusion of being a shrimp scurrying away.

Commonly this pattern is used on sea trout, snook and redfish. All of these fish are a lot of fun to catch and put up a good fight. One thing to consider with getting any kind of saltwater gear for fly-fishing is how corrosive saltwater can be. Just like with regular fishing, you will want a good saltwater reel specially built for that purpose. Stop by the White River Fly Shop and get all the goodies you could possibly need. Our very own Ed just took a saltwater fly-fishing trip with his family. You can bet he took stock before heading out.

-Giddy-Up!!

Previous Patterns

Woolly Bugger

Royal Coachman

Pheasant Tail Nymph

 

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Catch Me If You Can

We can taste salt on our lips and smell it in the breeze blowing past us. We can see for miles as the sun rises to the left of us. How did we get here? Where are we? What are we doing? We’re saltwater fishing.

It all started at Bass Pro Shops. We saw a Redfish/Frigate rod and reel combo that was on sale. There were so many rods, reels, combos, and great deals that as we looked around we were almost overwhelmed with the wealth of options, but we always came back to that first combo – so we put it in our basket – it was then that we decided to go fishing. 

In order to go fishing, we needed gear to take care of our new equipment; we needed things to clean up and maintain everything and things to take care of the fish when we catch them. We added a Bass Pro Shops XTS Rod Sock, a reel case and Salt Away to our cart before heading to the shelves to look at bait and lures.  There were so many choices and options when it came to bait. There were hard, soft, jigs, spoons, and trolling baits. After that we had to get hooks and then we realized we needed something to help us carry everything, Luckily Bass Pro Shops sells this awesome Backpack called the Bass Pro Shops Extreme Qualifier 360 Backpack Tackle Box. It not only separates into two separate bags, but it also fits 10 tackle boxes, the top is insulated to carry fish or yummies, and it has straps for a rod tube AND it’s water resistant!

We now have a rod, reel, bait, hooks, and other things that we knew we’d need to go saltwater fishing. Next we needed things for after we catch the fish. We needed knives and scalers and cutting boards and a processing table, gloves and a bucket or four, and deodorizer and knife sharpeners. We were lucky again that we were at Bass Pro Shops: they sell everything we would need for a fantastic trip! We were able to find folding and floating knives. We found skinners and scalers. We found a Bass Pro Shops hardwood Fillet Board and a Bass Pro Shops Folding Processing Table. We found all sorts of gear and aftercare items; next it was time to make sure we had the clothes and foot ware necessary to have a fun trip. Luckily, Bass Pro Shops sells all of that too so we didn't have to travel around searching for everything we need.

On our way out, we couldn't help but be distracted by the boats: they’re beautiful. There were big pontoon boats for fishing like the 2014 SUN TRACKER® FISHIN' BARGE® 22 DXL, and there were pontoon boats for fun like the Regency 254 LE3, and there were boats that were for fishing and fun! There were little boats too like the 2015 MAKO 284 CC w/ Twin 200 XL Verado (L4) which is specifically for offshore saltwater fishing and just what we were looking for. There was so much to see and learn about!

This is how we got to where we can taste the salt on our lips and smell it on the breeze blowing past. This is why we can see for miles as we watch the sun rising in the east. We’re saltwater fishing, and we’re having a grand time.

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"The Dance" -- Fly Fishing the Gulf

Fly Fishing --- a well orchestrated dance between the fish and the fisherman.   Using the rod as the conductor’s baton, the fisherman rhythmically entices the fish.  Fly Fishing is more an art than sport.  You are hunting and luring the fish.  You are enticing the fish to eat.  Presentation is everything.  It takes patience and study, waiting for the perfect moment.   Yes, all this is true in sport fishing yet; the presentation in fly fishing takes harmony of balance, rhythm, and motion.

When we think of fly fishing, the first thing that comes to mind is Brad Pitt’s character in “A River Runs Through It.”  Standing in swift running freshwater streams, we watched the line dance through the air as he gracefully lured in the trout.

So… when we think about fly fishing, we see a cool mountain stream, surrounded by towering trees with trout jumping after bugs…Or maybe… let’s see…. How about South Padre Island.   REALLY?  You fly fish in saltwater?  Is that even possible?  Answer:  Yes.  It is not only possible it takes fishing for the Gulf’s inshore fish to another level.

South Padre Island has several professional fishing shops that carry fly fishing rigs and plenty of expertise.  Roy Lopez at Bass Pro Shops is one of these avid fly fishermen.  He has found a way to marry his love of fly fishing with his love of saltwater fishing.   I came into the White River Fly Shop specifically looking to get my husband started in a sport that he has wanted to do for years.  Here’s what I learned.

What are you fishing for off the shores of South Padre?

Tarpon have a natural migrating pattern from Florida and the Yucatan Peninsula.  Their arrival at South Padre is still a mystery.  They seem to follow the Gulf Coast.   The tide dictates feeding patterns and their location.   According to the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, the migrations take the tarpon up the eastern coast of the U.S. to at least the Chesapeake Bay, throughout the Gulf of Mexico, and southward to the Caribbean Sea.

 

Tarpon are fished for sport.  Roy says, “I wait all year for the tarpon to come back around in the annual migration.  I put the time in to find out their patterns and eating habits.  I have respect for the fish.  They travel from Florida and the Yucatan to get to Padre. “

 

But there is more than Tarpon off of South Padre’s shores.  Fishing Kingfish, Red Fish, Speckled Trout, Jack Crevalle, Spanish Mackerel and Bonita can all be found on the surf or jetties during ideal summer weather conditions. They can be found off the Gulf Coast year round.  Typically flashy, obnoxious flies in loud colors with a wire tippit can be used to entice these toothy fish to bite

.  

South Padre offers wading from the East Side sand flats to the West Side silt and estuaries.   Fishing from the rocks or in the water, we use different tools for different fish.  Consider the rig.

Roy generally ties his own flies, but has a few that he might use if needed.  The picture shows four of the possibilities.  A) Tarpon Toad –  Premier Tarpon Fly.   B)  Red Fish Toad – great fly for south Texas red fish and trout.  C)  Merkin Crab – another red fish fly typically used when red fish aren’t feeding, generally the fall months.  D)  Sea Ducer – fly that you would use in shallow water from 5 to 15 inches of water.  It has a real soft lay down. 

Rods:

9’ 8-weight rod typically with a stiff backbone to punch heavy flies through the wind (we have horrible prevailing south winds that don’t let up) for red fish, trout, flounder and any other species you’d find inshore. http://www.basspro.com/World-Wide-Sportsman-Gold-Cup-Fly-Rods/product/13082906212339/

9’ 10-weight rod with heavy backbone to punch flies for bigger fish from the beach or jetties – kings, Jacks, Spanish mackerel.

Inshore reel doesn’t necessarily have to be top dollar.  It needs a sealed drag system and is tolerable to the salt.  Roy suggests:  Lamson Konic/Guru and any of the Sage line-ups from the 1800 series to the 2200 series.  They retail anywhere from $150 to $185. http://www.basspro.com/Lamson-Konic-II-Fly-Reels/product/1209270507043/

http://www.basspro.com/Sage-2200-Series-Fly-Reel/product/1309110626206/

 

10-weight series – you are dealing with bigger fish.  You need a reel with stouter drag.  The Lamson offers the Konic/Guru 4 and Sage 2210 ranging anywhere from $150 to $250 for catching these bigger fish.

Your line in the inshore scene will typically consist of a weight forward floating line that can be matched to a rod.  The line is dictated by the rod or the casting preference of the fisherman.   Bass Pro Shops can typically fit the fisherman with an ideal rig to fit his/her preferences.  This is true for the 8-weight or the 10-weight.

Recently, Roy hooked a tarpon of about 5 feet/100+ pounds and watched it swim away after breaking the line.  With a smile, he remembered the “dance” and walked away satisfied.   Ok… maybe a little disappointed.

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Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 2

Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 2

by Captain Jim Barr

of www.skinnywaterchartersri.com

Go Barefoot in the Boat- If the weather/water is warm, going barefoot in the boat helps the angler to avoid stepping on their fly line. Footwear of any kind provides enough insulation to prevent you from being able to feel that you are stepping on your line. Many a cast has been ruined and a fish lost by a pinched line on deck.  Bare feet can also present a slipping hazard on a wet deck, so you be the judge. Alternatively use a stripping basket to hold your fly line. Also, remember to stretch your fly line, preferably before you board the boat, and if that's not possible or you forget, strip the fly line off the reel into the wake of the boat as you relocate. Water pressure applied to the fly line will stretch the line and remove any twists and coils. If you do not cast in a relatively straight plane, but have a circular or "oval" rod rotation, this will add twists to your line causing it to kink.

Fluorocarbon or Monofilament Leaders- I have a couple of simple rules on this subject.

1. First, I don't spend stupid money on monofilament and fluorocarbon tippet material. For fluorocarbon I buy "Vanish" manufactured by Berkley. For monofilament I buy "Berkley Trilene Big Game" in Clear.I buy spools of this quality line in different tests. For Fluorocarbon, typically 17 and 20 lb and for Big Game, typically spools in 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 40 lb. test. I tie my own tapered leaders thus the reason for buying multiple spools of different test. Ultraviolet rays combined with the effects of saltwater degrade these lines, so annually I throw out the leftover spools and buy fresh material.

2. When it comes to what lines to use. My simple rule is if I am using a floating fly line with a floating fly pattern because I want the fly to be on the surface or just below the surface, my leader and tippet system is made entirely of monofilament (nylon) line. On the other hand, if I am fishing deeper waters, particularly around cover such as heavy seaweed, ledge and boulders, the first four feet of my leader is 40lb monofilament, but the balance of the leader system is Fluorocarbon material. Fluorocarbon is nearly invisible under water and it is made of a heavier density copolymer... so it sinks. It's valued for its refractive index which is similar to that of water, making it less visible to fish. Mono floats/Fluro sinks- easy to remember.

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Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 1

Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 1

by Captain Jim Barr

of www.skinnywaterchartersri.com

Hook Set- Many fly anglers new to the salt environment utilize the same fish striking (hook set) they do when striking a trout taking a dry fly. This is an overhead, high rod tip motion with the butt of the rod somewhere between the angler's waist and shoulder. If you use this technique when striking a saltwater fish (Stripers, Bluefish, Bonito and False Albacore to name a few), you're going to miss a lot of fish. The proper technique in saltwater is to keep your rod tip low to the water during your retrieve, and even putting the tip under the water's surface is perfectly acceptable. The retrieve has the fly line loosely pinched between the forefinger or middle finger (or both) of the rod-hand and the fly rod grip as the angler strips in line with the line-hand in a fashion that best imitates the swimming motion of the bait you are imitating. As the line is stripped over the fore-fingers of the rod hand the angler applies more pressure to the pinch point so that if the fish strikes the fly as the angler drops the line to pick it up again for the next strip- the line will stay tight helping to hook the fish. As the angler repeatedly strips line imitating the swimming motion of the bait, when the fish strikes the fly, the angler is in a position to "strip-strike" the fish keeping the rod tip low. The strip-strike has the angler pulling the line with force with the line-hand as he releases pressure at what was the pinch point on the rod-hand. The fly line will go tight immediately, and the rod will begin bouncing under the pressure and head-shaking action of the fish. Typically the hook is set in the fish's jaw, however it's perfectly acceptable to strip-strike the fish again with a good degree of force to "seat" the hook. The angler then raises the rod to play the fish.

 

Rod Positioning While Playing a Fish- After the angler has set the hook and is now playing the fish, care must be taken to land the fish. I see many anglers who engage in hand-to-hand combat, "fighting" the fish as if it's a 200 lb beast. It's unnecessary, and I typically coach new anglers engaged in this life and death struggle, to Relax. Yes, keep pressure on the fish, don't allow a slack line and when the fish wants to run, let it. If the fly reel drag is set properly, it will do the work of applying pressure and slowing the fish's run. Typically there is no need (except for the macho photo shot) to rear-back and bend the fly rod in half as you play the fish. The drag and the spring action of the fly rod will do the lion's share of the work. When the fish slows and you can turn it, do so, but keep a tight line and if the fish makes a run back to the boat as Bonito and Albies typically do, reel like a mad person to maintain a tight line/contact with the fish. If the fish pulls to the right, apply pressure to the left, and vice-versa- this will tire the fish more quickly. It's also OK to the turn the fish from side to side to tire it. Remember, for toothy fish, each time you reverse direction the leader is being pulled across the fish's teeth. In the case of Bluefish particularly, a steel leader should prevent being cut off.

Never put your line hand on the rod blank above the fly rod grip to apply additional leverage. A fly rod is meant to flex deep into the handle and putting pressure on the fish with your hand positioned on the blank above the grip may very well cause the rod to break. Additionally, try not to bring the butt of the rod above your waist while fighting a heavy fish. A high rod position exerts significant pressure (bend) on the tip section of the fly rod which may result in breakage.

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=58&tab=3

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Not So Fast! Preparing your fishing equipment for the off season: Part 2

Umpqua-Glide-Fly-Line-Dressing-KitBaitcast Line WinderNot So Fast! Part 2

Suggestions for preparing your fishing equipment for the off season.

by Captain Jim Barr- www.SkinnyWaterChartersRI.com- Bass Pro Shops, Foxboro, MA- Pro Staff- 10/23/13

 

Fly Lines and Backing:

Inspect your fly line backing closely. Dacron and Gel Spun backing is very durable however it can become damaged from exposure to the elements or if a fish takes you deep into structure during the fight and rubs the line against abrasive surfaces. If it is frayed in spots or simply has not been replaced for some time, replace it with fresh backing… it’s cheap insurance to prevent losing the fish of your life. In most cases 30 lb Dacron backing is perfectly adequate for saltwater fishing. (Use 20lb for freshwater). If you desire a thinner backing that will allow more line to be added to your large arbor spools, Gel Spun is a good choice, albeit a bit more pricey. In most cases, 200 yards of backing is plenty for stripers, bluefish, false albacore and bonito. For other faster and longer running fish, best to consult with an expert shop or guide who can advise what’s necessary. 

 

Inspect your fly line closely, particularly the first 30-40 feet, for cracks in the plastic coating. Repeated casting and exposure to salt, sand, and the sun’s UV rays will take a heavy toll on fly lines. If your line has cracks, it will likely be to the “head” section of the line and the line should be replaced.

(You may want to cut off the head section of the fly line and retain the running line portion for fashioning shooting head systems.)  If the fly line is undamaged clean it with warm soapy water and apply a dressing.  Regular cleaning and dressing of your fly lines is absolutely critical in preserving your investment.

 

Rather than rewinding your fly lines back onto the spools, coil the lines in large coils and secure the coils using pipe cleaner ties. Label large plastic re-sealable food bags with the specifics of each line (line type- floating, intermediate, fast sinking etc, and weight) and store the lines in a cool, dry location. Keep these lines stored until spring when you will wind them back onto the reel and spools using your line winder or by hand. Storing lines in large coils will mitigate line memory so that come spring you are not dealing with "slinky toy" coiled lines resulting from being tightly wound on your spools during the off season. I would also suggest that you discard all leaders/tippets tied to your fly lines and await the arrival of spring to replace them with fresh material.

 

Spinning and Baitcasting Lines:

As a fishing guide the lines on my spinning and baitcasting reels take a beating. I go back and forth between using monofilament and braid. Both have good and bad qualities. Monofilament is inexpensive and tangles less frequently than braided line. Mono’s primary downfall from my perspective is that it does not cast as far as braid and has too much stretch. Braided line permits very long distance casts, it’s strength to diameter ratio is a real plus, it does not stretch under load and it creates a super sensitive connection between the angler and the fish, however it is prone to easily developing wind knots and it is prohibitively expensive to replace each season. As for monofilament line maintenance, I simply replace it with fresh line on all reels after each season. As for braid, I replace it when I need to.

In both cases for removing old line from reels, I use empty line spools and attach them to a variable speed drill using a “MacGyver”-type bit or the line winder mentioned earlier in this article. On the spinning reels I secure the open bail with a hair tie to prevent it from accidentally tripping while the line is being rewound onto the waste spool or line winder. In both cases the use of a line winder for adding new line makes the job infinitely easier. Remember to recycle your lines to prevent injury to animals and the environment.

Baitcast Line Winder: http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-XPS-Aluminum-Line-Winder-for-Baitcast-Reels/product/104172/

Spin casting line winder: http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-XPS-Aluminum-Line-Winder-for-Spinning-Reels/product/20677/

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Not So Fast! Preparing your fishing equipment for the off season: Part 1

Not So Fast!

Suggestions for preparing your fishing equipment for the off season.

by Captain Jim Barr- www.SkinnyWaterChartersRI.com- Bass Pro Shops, Foxboro, MA- Pro Staff- 10/23/13

Ardent Reel Clean KitBass Pro Shops Reel Tote

Now that the 2013 northeast saltwater fishing season is at an end for most anglers, excepting the “die hards”,  don't be so quick to put away your equipment for the winter months in "as is" condition. End of the season maintenance of fishing equipment used in saltwater requires careful cleaning to avoid ugly surprises when spring arrives and you’re ready to get back on the water. The following suggestions will help you “wind down” from what I hope was a great fishing season by helping you prepare your equipment for its winter slumber. Another reason to clean and prepare your equipment now is for that unplanned opportunity that may arise to fish in the southern climates this winter. If your stuff is ready to go, it’s one last set of chores you need to deal with when you’re getting ready to wet a line. The process of cleaning and organizing your equipment now can also be helpful in identifying those items you’d like to add to inventory or replace that can go onto your personal holiday wish list (to avoid the socks you don’t want and the stale fruit cake!)


The following is a review of what’s critical:

 

Fly Reel & Spare Spools:

Use a line winder and remove all the fly line from your reels and spare spools (or carefully coil the fly line by hand). Anglers Image makes a simple, low cost line winder. Preferably use a high speed line winder with an electric drill to remove the fly line and the backing.

Once the lines (and backing) are removed, thoroughly clean the reel and spools using hot water, mild soap, a spare tooth brush (mark it so you don’t end up using it later to brush your chops) and a clean rag. The following YouTube video by Captain Bruce Chard may assist in the steps for both a short and longer term cleaning regimen.

I keep my fly reels and spools organized in compartmentalized reel cases. As a fly fishing guide I have several of these and they are great for keeping equipment organized and protected. I have separate cases for fresh and saltwater reels and spare spools. You can easily overspend in this category and it’s totally unnecessary:  A very good choice is Bass Pro’s Reel Tote.

For fly, spin and baitcasting reels, purchase a reel cleaning kit that contains the simple tools, solvents, oil and grease your reel needs to say healthy.  Always save your reel’s maintenance instructions that become very helpful in knowing the specific lubrication points for your equipment. If you’re not the type of angler who likes to personally maintain your equipment, find a local shop that is professional and get your equipment to them sooner than later while they are not busy.

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Saltwater Drop Shot Rig Fishing

The drop shot rig has roots in the eastern U.S., dating back to the mid-70's and was first seen in "Fishing Facts" magazine.  In the 1990's, Japanese anglers resurrected the method for use on their highly pressured waters.  The Japanese refined the technique and it soon returned to the States.  In 1997, the drop shot rig was relatively unknown except to a few Southern California fishermen who had ties to Japanese manufacturers and pros.  The system worked extremely well, and those that knew about it did their best to keep it a secret.  Then, in winter 1999, two major tournaments were won using the drop shot rig - the B.A.S.S. Invitational at Lake Oroville, and the WON Bass Classic on Lake Cachuma.  The proverbial cat was out of the bag - way out!

While largely viewed as a fresh water tactic for finessing finicky bass or fishing in highly pressured waters, the drop shot rig is readily adaptable for presenting soft baits such as Berkeley Gulp or DOA's in our bays for redfish and speckled trout.  The presentation is different from using a jig or a popping cork in that the bait can be rigged to be held just above the weeds.  This will put the bait in full view of the fish we want to catch.  In addition, the weight being below the bait allows for anglers to feel the soft bites more easily.  But this is more of a rig to use when we have a good idea of where the fish are, rather than when we are searching water using a lure.

The basic rig resembles a standard dropper used in the ocean and for freshwater catfish, with one difference - there is no line (dropper) between the hook and the main line.  Tie a standard Polomar knot - start by going through the "hook-point" side of the eye, and leaving at least two extra feet of line on the tag end.  The extra line will be used to attach the sinker.  Once the Polomar is tied, take the tag end and thread it back through the "hook-point" side of the eye, again.  This last step forces the hook shaft to lie against the line, which aids hook setting.  Another option is the VMC Spinshot wide gap hook, which has a swivel through the eye of the hook, allowing the bait to move without twisting the line. 

Once the hook is in place, attach the weight.  Drop shot leads have an eyelet on the top that pinches the line, allowing the lead to pull off if snagged.  Choose one that is heavy enough to stay in contact with the bottom, but not too heavy.  In most situations, use a 1/8 to 5/16 ounce, but a 3/8 to 1/2 ounce can be used in extremely deep water or during windy situations.  I use 1/4 ounce normally or 3/8 ounce when the wind is up a little.  Experiment with the weight, as this rig will cast well, and increasing the weight slightly will let you cast further.  The "drop" (distance from hook to weight) can range from six inches to four feet, or more, depending upon how high the grass is relative to the bottom.  Remember, we want our bait just over the top of the grass we are fishing.  Another thing to consider is bottom composition.  Use a cylinder weight over grass, and save the round sinker for a rocky bottom as the round is more likely to snag.

I am just starting to experiment with this rig.  My first trip using the drop shot rig resulted in five specks in about half an hour.  After casting, take the slack out of the line and hold the rod at a 10 o'clock position.  After raising the rod tip slowly 2 or 3 times, reel up the slack to get a tight line again.  Fish this rig slowly.  This rig has a lot of versatility and I cannot wait to try variations of the drop shot rig.  I can see a lot of different ways to use this and to target different species.

Jim Martino

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Coming Up: 2013 Salt Water Expo

Saltwater Expo

Join us for the 2013 Saltwater Expo. This year's event will be bigger than ever. Come join us on Saturday Sept. 7th from 10:00am to 5:00pm. The event will host a day of hands on educational seminars, great door prizes and a silent auction table benefiting Wounded Warriors.

 

Keynote speaker George Poveromo, host of the NBC Sports TV show George Poveromo's World of Saltwater Fishing will be on hand for seminars and autographs.

George Poveromo is a world-renowned angling authority, National Seminar host, television host, and Editor-At-Large for Salt Water Sportsman Magazine.

Poveromo, a native of South Florida in the United States, has fished most of the U.S. coast as well as many countries. He demonstrates his expertise through his column "Tactics and Tackle" in Salt Water Sportsman. Poveromo is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, Southeast Outdoor Press Association, and Boating Writers International. He is an advocate of catch and release fishing, and is a member of the Coastal Conservation Association.

Poveromo is Editor-At-Large for Salt Water Sportsman magazine, the oldest and most widely distributed sport fishing magazine in the United States. Salt Water Sportsman has a paid monthly circulation of over 150,000 readers. Poveromo has been part of the Salt Water staff since 1983.

In addition to Salt Water Sportsman, George has been the host of their National Seminar Series for all twenty five years of the tour. The National Seminar Series, which has eight country-wide stops per year, instructs people on how to catch popular coastal and offshore game. The Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series is the largest and most successful fishing seminar in the nation.

George Poveromo is also producer to a line of how-to videos and DVDs regarding sport fishing. These educational videos are published under High Hook Incorporated and are hosted by Poveromo himself. The High Hook videos range from bottom-fishing to sailfish tactics and everything in between. These videos are the top-selling salt water fishing DVDs on the market.

Most popularly noted would be George's television program, George Poveromo's World Of Saltwater Fishing, which runs on the NBC Sports Network. The show, which aired on ESPN2 for 10 seasons was picked up by the NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus (TV channel) when ESPN cancelled its coverage of fishing television lineup. Each week, Poveromo presents a cool and informative fishing episod from a U.S. coastal, or Bahamas fishing destination. Poveromo's show entered into its 12th season on national television in 2012.

Plan on a great day with some of the top fishing guides/captains of the carolinas; along with some of the top manufacturers and the latest in saltwater gear. See some of the pictures from last years vendor / captain area!

lowrance

Lowrance will be on hand to talk electronics again this year!

vendor

Come see the latest in saltwater gear and technology!

Penn Battle

Penn let the battle begin!

This years Seminar Schedule will promise to be exciting, educational and experiential.

  • 10:30 – Mark Patterson – Kayak Fishing NC/SC intra coastal water
  • 11:30 – Sonar Class - Navionics
  • 12:15 – 12:45 Lunch Break
  • 12:45 – Capt. Ricky Kellum – Fishing for Speckled Trout
  • 1:30 - Capt. Fred Rourke - Fishing for Redfish
  • 2:15 – How to Throw a Cast Net
  • 3:00 – George Poveromo – Rigging Ballyhoo
  • 4:15 – Navionics Side Imaging

The Ballyhoo Rigging class will be hands on, you will acutally get to rig your own bait while George Poveromo instructs you on the how to. This class will fill up fast!

There will be a silent auciton table benefiting Wounded Warriors in NC.

Wounded Warrior

Items on the auction include but are not limited to, fishing technical gear, rods, reels, combos, fishing electronics, other useful satlwater items and Artwork by Guy Harvey.

overview

 

Check out the vendor tables from the 2012 Saltwater Fishing Expo! Most of the vendors will be back this year!

vendors

Last years event had an amazing turnout, this year looks to be even bigger still. Make sure to come out and experience the 2013 Saltwater Expo at your Charlotte, Bass Pro Shops!

Happy Fishing! & Tight Lines!

~Dave Miller, Fishing Manager

 

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Wade Routes

By Ty Butler

 

Wade fishing on the Georgia Coast and the South Carolina Low Country is one of the best ways to access the marsh flats which redfish invade on a bimonthly basis.  Most tidal swings in the area average 6 to 7 feet, which is a large swing anywhere else on the Southeast coast.  However, for a few days around the new and full moons each month the tidal change can approach 10 feet or more.  Fishing for species such as seatrout, sheepshead, or flounder can be very problematic during big tidal changes.  These periods, called “spring” tides, flood the higher areas of the tidal flats where bottom predators can’t normally reach.  Redfish (locally known as spottail bass), invade these virgin areas in order to gorge themselves on fiddler crabs and shrimp.  This gives anglers a unique opportunity to sight fish for the premier inshore saltwater gamefish of the South.


Redfish on the flood tide

A beautiful Georgia redfish caught sight fishing.

 

There are some issues with accessing these areas.  Georgia and South Carolina marshes are mostly bottomed with soft, deep “pluff” mud, which is not only annoying to wade in, but can also be life threatening and has taken lives.  There are areas that are much safer, though, and luckily redfish flock to them.  Hard, sandy bottom can be found at the back of most saltwater creek systems, and this is exactly where reds go when the tide floods high.  I recommend that you scout for such areas at low tide before you start targeting fish when the grass floods.  There are several indicators you should look for in a redfish flat, but you need to know what to look for.

 

Coastal Georgia holds a winding maze of inland wetlands within its 100 straight miles that holds one third of all salt marsh on the entire Atlantic East Coast.  The Low Country of South Carolina and the First Coast of North Florida have similar ecosystems.  Most of this salt marsh is composed of smooth spartina cordgrass, which is very tall, thick, and re-grows each year.  It grows in the soft “pluff” mud which should be avoided if one wants to wade fish.  The best areas to look for are those with a compacted sand bottom with a species of short, scattered spartina grass known as “salt marsh hay”.  You can tell from afar that these areas look like “potholes” in the taller grass.  These are the types of areas that fiddler and ghost crabs burrow in large colonies and redfish love to target them.  Old timers will tell you that another plant to look for in a good redfish spot is a short, bright green edible plant known as “saltwort.”

 


A kayak is a perfect choice to attack the marsh flats.

 

Once you find a good spot with firm, safe wading bottom, you need to choose your approach.  There are a select few areas that are accessible by foot from dry land.  However, most areas will require a flats boat or kayak to access.  A flats boat can get you to far, remote areas- but a kayak can get you right up on the fish with a stealthy approach.    Some ambitious anglers combine both by using their boat as a mothership and launching their kayak within striking distance.  Either way, I like to get out of my vehicle and foot it into the enemy territory.  I find this is the most “ninja-like” approach and least likely to spook the fish.  For protection I do prefer to wear a full coverage, draining shoe, such as Sperry SON-R.  You never know when you might encounter a stingray or razor-sharp oyster shells.  For gear, I prefer a fairly long rod, 7 to 8 feet, with a 3000 or 4000 size spinning reel.  This will give you the longer cast you will want.  Braided line is a must as it will allow you to use 17 to 50 pound test line though it is a much smaller diameter.  This will give you much-needed line capacity and abrasion resistance in grass and shells.  I like to end it with a 15 to 25 pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader.  Fluorocarbon is even more abrasion resistant and is almost invisible underwater.  


So much marsh, so little time...

 

When you arrive on the marsh flat, you will only have a short window to go after the red battlers.  Most flats are only flooded an hour or two before and after high tide.  When the current starts to pull off the flat, redfish know they need to leave quickly.  I like to arrive about 3 hours before high tide and move back through the grass as it floods.  Even though time is short, you need to slow down and be observant.  Use polarized sunglasses, such as Costa del Mar and search for tails breaking the surface and slowly waving.  If the wind is blowing, this can be tricky- but look for anything that doesn’t move with the wind.  These are usually redfish grubbing around on the bottom in search of fiddler crabs and other crustaceans.

 

 

Z-Man Jerk Shad

 

When you spot a redfish, or a school, it is time to make a presentation.  With all the possibilities out there, I have a few select go-to lures.  When fly fishing I prefer Clouser Minnows or shrimp/crab patterns, like the redfish toad.  With conventional gear I almost exclusively use the scented Z-Man Jerk Shad or a weedless-rigged DOA Shrimp.  I buy DOA  baits in the money-saving body kits offered by BPS and hook them using a ⅛ ounce weighted-shank Gamakatsu swimbait hook.  I heavily scent all my baits using shrimp Pro-Cure Super Gel, which we offer at Bass Pro Shops in Savannah.  This scent is a gel-based concentrate that lasts all day and has proven results.

 

The most critical juncture when chasing redfish on the flat is when you make your cast.  If you are off my just couple of inches, you may spook the fish.  Take note of the direction the fish is moving, take account for the wind, and aim just beyond and ahead of the redfish.  When your bait lands, make just a couple of cranks to reel in the slack and pull the bait into the path of the fish.  Then just let the bait sit and hold your rod tip high.  If the fish attacks, you will see a swirl and feel weight through your rod tip.  Set the hook hard, because redfish have rubberlike lips and hard jaws.  If you are successful in your hookset, you will know quickly.

Attwood Folding Net

 

With a fish on, keep your rodtip high, but let your drag do the work.  Redfish, especially large ones, will take a very hard first run.  It will strip yards off the drag, but just let it run and use your rodtip to maintain its direction.  If the fish starts to near a thicker, taller patch of grass (which they all seem smart enough to do), then you should try directing it away or  slightly  tightening the drag.  If you are successful in stopping that first run, you are in good shape.  Reel the fish in, slowing down if the fish shakes its head or takes a secondary run.  I like to use a folding net to land the fish once it gets close.  Attwood makes an excellent net which folds up into a very compact package.

 

 

SpyPoint X-Cel Camera

 

Redfish can only be kept in this area within a slot limit.  In Georgia, they can only be kept in a slot between 14 to 23 inches with a 5 fish per day limit.  Similarly, in South Carolina they can only be kept 15 to 23 inches with a 3 fish per day limit.  A lot of fish caught on the flats, though, are above the slot limit.  Breeding-age fish 24 to 36 inches are often caught on the marsh flats before they move off the beaches.  I would hope that all these fish are released to secure the future of this amazing fishery.  Take a picture with your smart phone or use a video camera like the Spypoint X-Cel Sport or the GoPro Hero to capture the moment for the future.

 

The Southeast coast from the Low Country through the Coastal Empire, the Golden Isles, and into North Florida offers some unique opportunities to target redfish in an environment where they are particularly vulnerable.  Take some time to look ahead to the next new or full moon tide, and plan on visiting Bass Pro Shops to gear up for the next “red dawn” when the spottails invade the territory of the walking angler.

 

Some info provided by our friend Captain “Wild Bill” Jarrell- http://captainwildbill.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Inside Scoop on Salt Water fishing

I have a rather lengthy fly fishing bucket list, but recently I was able to check one trip off of it. My husband Chris and I went to Boca Grand, Florida to do some saltwater fly fishing. I planned out my gear weeks before we went to make sure that I didn’t forget anything.

We loaded up 8, 10, and 12 weight fly rods with saltwater line and bass taper fly lines. Why so many rods? Most of the saltwater fish are pretty large and we had a chance at catching a tarpon. Tarpons are huge so a 12 weight is perfect for them. The 8 and 10 weights are great for snook, redfish, and other saltwater species. Bass Pro carries TFO rods which are my personal favorite when it comes to fly rods. However, the models BVK and Axiom are my favorites. Pair these up with BVK reels or Lamson reels and  you have an excellent combo to fish with. The lines that we used were Rio Saltwater lines and Scientific Angler Bass Taper lines. Both are fantastic when it comes to turning over big streamers.

Another important factor was our clothing because no one wants to get a second or third degree sunburn while fly fishing out in the mangroves. We chose to wear Columbia and World Wide Sportsman products which are light weight pants and shirts. The Columbia and WWS clothing can be purchased at Bass Pro Shops.  We also used Buffs over our necks and ears which helped protect us from the sun and the wind (see photo).

My husband and I had a wonderful time and caught snook, redfish, jacks, and snapper. All of these saltwater fish hit hard and pulled like a freight train. It was so much fun! Stop by the fly shop at Bass Pro and let us outfit you for your next saltwater fly trip!

Make sure to stop by the White River Fly Shop at Bass Pro in Memphis to visit me!

Until my next fishing adventure, see you soon!

Mrs. Lesley

 

 

 

 

 

              

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