Skip to Content

archive

Monthly ArchivesMonthly Archives: October 2013

post

Sight fishing reds!

The morning was thick with humidity. You could almost see it. I didn’t particularly want to fish and would have been happy to stay in the air conditioned confines of my home. But, fishing buddy Joe Jones had harassed me into submission and there we were, looking at a dead low tide in Estero Bay.

We launched early into semi-clear, very skinny water. There was no wind and it was already hot. We made our way to a little stretch of backwater that has produced some redfish and snook in the past. The tide was so low it made for a difficult passage. The water was still and I thought for a moment that we may see some tailing going on. As we entered out target area, I began to take notice of my surroundings. There was an osprey at the top of a mangrove enjoying a freshly caught mullet while watching us intently. A little further up the bay there was a heron standing like a statue while looking for his next meal. All the reasons I had not to go fishing began to disappear and I changed my attitude and focus to the mission.

IMG_0855

I was using a topwater lure and it produced right away with two small redfish. Joe was using a Gulp shrimp and caught a small snook and several jacks. As we moved along we came to the backwater flats, a small area of about 6” of water where one can occasionally catch a redfish crossing. After casting at a few shadows, it was clear that only mullet were there. The tide had only just begun to rise, so we moved on with the intention of checking this spot on the way back.

IMG_0840

A few more small fish were captured, but nothing really of note. I switched to a DOA glowshrimp as the fish seemed to shy away from topwater bait. After a while we found ourselves again at the shallow flats. I was standing on my Pro Angler and could see several fish milling around. Some were mullet, but there were a few loners as well. Redfish! As I drifted closer I saw a decent fish pushing water toward me. When I was within casting range I tossed my glowshrimp in front of the fish and twitched the lure. The fish propelled itself and violently crashed on the lure. I set the hook and my drag sounded off as line began to peel from my reel. Just as I called out “fish on!” Joe called out “me too!” as we doubled up. The fish were skating across the flats, splashing water and kicking up mud. I landed my 26 incher and Joe’s larger fish unhooked itself boat side. What a morning!

IMG_0819

We lingered a while longer, but all of the commotion had removed all remaining fish from the flats. We headed in and talked excitedly about our morning. All of the perceived reasons I had for not fishing that morning had vanished and we were already making plans for fishing the next day. As we made our way back to the launch, I reflected on the scenery, the stillness of the water and of the fish we caught and I thought of how lucky I am to live in Florida.

post

Unfair Lures

Every year new developments happen in the fishing lures industry. Some are subtle tweaks to old baits while others offer radical new ideas that totally change the way we fish. Unfair Lures fits into the latter and if you have not heard of them yet it will not be long until you do. About a year ago I met a guy by the name of Paul Van Reenen. He took the time to talk to me and really explain his company, Unfair Lures, and what it was about. In our conversation Paul stressed two main things to me about his lures, accuracy and affordability. Keeping that in mind, lets take a look at the emerging Unfair Lures arsenal.

Keeping it simple is a big thing in fishing . Sometimes you just need that bait you can cast out and crank in which is why I like the “Stickminnow”. It is a classic lipped diver that comes in four different sizes and a variety of colors. The nice thing about these plugs is that, like all of Paul’s Lures, they have a built in heavy duty swivel that eliminates line twist and ensures that the lure swims properly.

Stickminnow

Every lure company needs a top water, and Unfair Lures satisfied that need by the creation of the “Dawgwalker”. Although it does not have the popular one knock rattle, inserted in it is 5 ball bearings which creates a subtle noise with each movement. The “Dawgwalker” also has a reputation of nearly walking itself making it very user friendly especially for people just getting in to fishing top water plugs

Dawgwalker

Let’s move on to Paul’s “Dinkum” (meaning accurate in South African) line of lures. To start we have the  “Dinkum Shrimp”. They come in two different models one that floats and the other is a sinking lure. Paul comes from a fly-fishing and engineering background which really encourage accuracy in all of his lures. Both shrimp really exemplify that concept down to the way real shrimp scurry away from predators, backwards. They are both terrific lures especially in an area where you are sure there is fish. Fishing them correctly takes a bit of practice, but as we all know every fish in the sea will eat a live shrimp and these two lures are about as close as you can get. The best feature of the sinking shrimp is that when it sinks it actually glides forward allowing you to reach far under docks or mangroves where the big fish are. The floating shrimp allows you to work shallow water and hit the depth where the fish are hanging out.

Sinking Shrimp                OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Floating Shrimp

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The next lure is one people go crazy over because it resembles one of the most prevalent fish in the coastal waters. The “Dinkum Mullet” is another super accurate bait that, for now, comes in one size which is a 70 mm dart that you can cast a mile and when fish see it gets absolutely nailed. A slogan that Paul uses for his lures is “Designed to the Gills” which is apparent in this lure due to the 3-D bright red gills attached to it which really get the fish going. The mullet also features the customary swivel that allows the lure freedom to wobble back and forth without any twitches on the angler’s part. The 70mm Mullet comes in two variations fast suspending and slow suspending allowing you to fish whichever depth the fish are at.

Mullet

Mullet trout-1

Every fisherman has his or her favorite lure and soon the Unfair Lures “Rip N Slash” will be just that to many anglers whether they are expert fishermen or weekend warriors. This durable suspending twitch bait gives you the freedom to have the fish attracting flash of search baits or the accuracy of a lure you would use to sight fish reds and snook. The Rip N Slash casts far, has a long life (some people have caught over 200 fish on one lure), and is extremely easy to use.

Rip N Slash

DSCN0083

**Also, all of the lures in the article are my personal, heavily used arsenal so please excuse any scuffmarks on them. Check out unfairlures.com for more sizes and models or to find a store near you.

-Preston Haytac
 

 

post

Tips for Rookie Kayak Anglers

Tips For Rookie Kayak Anglers

By: Preston Haytac

 

Kayak fishing is currently the fastest growing outdoor activity in America. Nearly every region with an active fishery is seeing a surge of kayak anglers enter their waters. Fishing from a kayak is fun and addictive, but that does not necessarily mean it’s easy. There is definitely a learning curve to the sport. Here are some tips from my personal experience that will help tremendously with being on the water and catching fish:

  • Safety First: This is an essential point for kayak fishermen. Don’t try to be Superman by paddling with lightning around. Always check the weather right before you launch just to be sure that you know when the storms are coming. Always carry BOTH a lifejacket and a whistle/horn. They are both required by state law and you’re a lot safer with those on board. If you’re kayaking at night you also must have a flashlight. Also, don’t go out by yourself without someone knowing where you’re going and what time you are supposed to be back.
  • Simplify and Condense: This was a big part for me in particular. There’s no need to bring a lot of stuff. Pack a couple boxes with lures that you’ll need that day, because you know you won’t have time to throw your entire tackle box at the fish. You also don’t need to bring you’re entire collection of soft plastics with you. If you’re like me and have way too many soft plastics, get a box and put an assortment of colors, just not ten of one.

 

  • Rig It Right: Always use stainless steel hardware for attaching your rod holders or anchor trolleys. If you don’t do that, you will most likely be replacing them way too often because of how quickly other hardware rusts. Also, before drilling holes in your kayak, go to kayak fishing forums and look at how others rig their boats to give you ideas. Which brings me to my next point…
  • Utilize the Internet. There are literally hundreds of kayak forums, blogs, Facebook groups, and websites with a plethora of information. TemperateTides.com, Southwest Florida Kayak Anglers Association, Yakangler.com, and Space Coast Kayak Anglers are just a few examples of places with a wealth of information on them. You will find that kayak fishermen tend to be extremely friendly and welcome everyone. If you have a question, they’ll answer it.
  • Use Google Earth: Google Earth is a great way to find fishing grounds and launches. I have found countless areas to fish from with its maps and the nice thing is you can sometimes even see bottom structure like potholes and grass flats as well as small creeks that hold a lot of fish. Google Earth also allows you to create a “path” that you can use to measure distances traveled so you can get a good feel for what you’re capable of and what your intended trip will be like.
  • Fish Slowly: The biggest disadvantage to kayak fishermen is that they cannot cover as much ground as quickly as guys in boats do. That being said, fishing slowly is actually a better way to go. Nearly every kayak angler will tell you that they catch a ton of fish while watching skiffs race across the flats to their different “spots”. Trust me, if you have “areas”, not “spots”, and you know how to fish them, you’ll catch more fish than anyone in a boat. Fishing slowly also entails how you work your lures. Shrimp don’t jump 4 feet at a time so when you’re working a DOA or Unfair Lures shrimp slow it down! Same goes for bait fish. Although they are quick, the slower and more injured looking one will get the bite better then the fast moving ones.
  • Lighten Your Tackle: A 2000-3000 size reel paired with a medium or light-medium action rod for most Snook, Redfish, and Trout is plenty. If you’re beating the bushes for big Snook then maybe a 4000 size reel and a medium-medium heavy rod is required, but any more then that is overkill. Lighter setups paired with lighter line enables you to cast farther and more accurately without any fatigue, which is key when you also have to paddle or pedal all day long.
  • Use Smaller Lures: “Big Fish Eat Big Baits” yeah that’s true, but they also eat smaller ones and smaller ones also catch the smaller fish. So if you’re looking for quantity as well as quality, lighten it up. I also find that when fish are being picky, switching from a 5” jerk bait to a 3” can turn the bite on in an instant.
  • Little Tweaks Can Make All of The Difference: You can launch with a guy at the same place and fish the same area and have him completely out fish you that day. It takes a combination of tides, bottom structure, lures, presentation, and knowledge of what the fish are eating. Luck of course does play a part in it, but that’s not to say that you can’t improve your chances.
  • Be Patient: It took me YEARS to be able to go out and consistently catch fish and even now I get skunked on occasion. Find your areas to fish and use lures that look like the baitfish around you, slowly you’ll find your stride and be able to consistently put slime in your boat.

Kayak Fishing can be a frustrating sport, but following advice from fellow anglers and using Internet resources will help you tremendously. These tips are all things that have helped me during my time as a kayak fisherman and I hope they can help you too. Thanks for reading and tight lines!

post

Snook on Foot

By: Bob Bramblet

Recently, my friend Manny from the Caymans came to visit. If you have been to Grand Cayman and chartered a fishing trip, took a boat to stingray city or enjoyed a ride in the Atlantis submarine at Georgetown, chances are you have run into Manny. The waterfront is his playground and if he is not diving for spiny lobster, he’s hand lining tuna from a kayak.

So where does one take a guy like Manny for fishing? My original idea was to take him on kayaks into the backwater for redfish, but a severe cold thwarted that plan. Work got in the way for several other schemes to be hatched until the eve of his departure. Over dinner I asked Manny how the snook fishing was in Cayman. “It’s nonexistent” he replied. “Perfect”, I said and laid out plans to hit the beach in the morning for snook. Not so perfect I thought, as snook fishing on the beach has been a hit or miss proposition as of late. I worried that Manny’s last day in Florida would be spent wasting time.

We hit the beach at sunrise. It was a beautiful morning and Manny, my brother in law and fishing buddy Joe Jones and I began by using topwater lures in the clear but still shaded water.

IMG_0776

In the early morning hours it’s difficult to spot snook, so we blind casted across bait schools, and the effort paid off. I landed the first one. He was a small fish, but acrobatic and persistent on the end of my 10lb braided line. He was followed by a couple more as Manny and Joe scored as well. As the sun rose, the fish became a little pickier and we switched to paddletails, then to live pinfish and greenies.

IMG_0790

IMG_0787

That’s when things really picked up. We began seeing schools of snook, ladyfish and Spanish mackerel up and down the beach. They were crashing into bait all around us and we were hooking them.

IMG_0796

We stayed at it for a couple of hours, but all too soon, it was time to go. Manny had to catch a plane back to the islands.

On the ride back we talked about all the fish we are going to catch the next time I make it down to Grand Cayman. I really wish we could have spent more time fishing, but maybe next time Manny. See ya soon, brother.

IMG_0786