Tips and Pointers Please share your winning tactics.

For now i would like to stick this thread
This place Rocks if yer a crabber
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  • Landlocked_Landlocked_ Posts: 590 Officer
    :thumbsup amen, there's always learning to be learned. I try to absorb as much as I can from each and every post, article or show I see.
  • troutman57troutman57 Posts: 3,691 Officer
    Reef rig.
    This place Rocks if yer a crabber
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,076 Captain
    You will catch more fish when bottom fishing if you use barbless circle hooks. The smooth hook point penetrates the hard part of a grouper's mouth more easily and you will waste less time releasing shorts. You can usually just lift the head of the fish out of the water, grab the bend of the hook with a needle nose plier, and twist the hook out with a flip of your wrist. Spending less time wrestling with fish in the boat while you pry a barbed circle hook out of their mouths lets you spend more time fishing. Since grouper often bit in short flurries, you don't want to be wasting time releasing shorts.

    Grouper, snapper, and other bottom fish don't shake a barbless circle hook. You won't lose any because of the absence of the barb. Barbless doesn't work as well for fish like kings and cobia that change direction rapidly while shaking their heads and often run toward the boat. You wiloccasionallyly drop one of these when fishing barbless.

    I use a dremmel to completely remove the barb and leave the hook point smooth.

    barbless.jpg

    Kyle removes the barb with a pair of conventional pliers. He twists as he crushes the barb, which causes the barb to break off. Just crushing the barb leaves a burr that makes it harder to remove the hook.

    Leader length isn't very important when using cut bait for grouper. You can use a knocker rig, but I find that even a short leader will improve the hookup ratio. I find that 0.080" 60 lb test mono is a good compromise between abrasion resistance and the ease of tying knots. Be sure to use true leader material sold in narrow spools rather than fishing line. It is stiffer, which minimizes tangles, and more abrasion resistant. I like Ande but all of the brands seem to work OK. Fluorocarbon makes no difference since grouper are not leader shy. That being said, you will get far fewer hits with a wire leader for some reason or other.

    I like to use a leader length beween 24" and 30". This is long enough to allow live bait to move about freely yet is short enough for cut bait. I get this length by holding the leader at arms length and measuring the distance to my chin. This is not technical and it's fast. I use nail knots at the hook and swivel, because they hold up better than anything else that I've tried. A loop knot at the hook helps a little with hookups, but that type of knot isn't as strong as a nail knot. I also use a nail knot to splice a 3'-4' piece of 60 lb mono leader to the 65 lb test braid main line. This allows the sinker to slide on the smooth mono without fraying the braid and also lets me rapidly switch between the bait rig and jigs.

    Nail knots are hard to tie in a boat, so I pre-rig the hooks, leaders, and swivels at home and store them on arbors made from pipe insulation.

    hookarbor.jpg

    I have seen other folks use pool noodles for arbors.

    If I have to tie rigs or leaders in the boat, I use uni knots, which are much easier to tie.
  • troutman57troutman57 Posts: 3,691 Officer
    Doc has the barbless hook thing dead right. I like to crush the barb when the bite gets going. With a crushed barb there is a lump or burr left. That still makes it easy to release fish but the lump helps keep the bait on. Never had a Rapala loop knot break but I have flubbed tying it before and had it fail.
    This place Rocks if yer a crabber
  • Hawk232Hawk232 Posts: 327 Officer
    wow, excellent info guys!! unfortunatly most people dont seem to be as forethcoming with knowledge, i guess they feel like our catching 10 of the millions of fish might cut into their catch???

    unfortunatly the only knowledge i can add about lures and what not is my "go to" lures. when NOTHING is biting i can almost ALWAYS get something on a new penny (gulp) shrimp under a cork in ~4' of water with patches of sand/rock/hard bottom. this REALLY works for trout when the water temp is 70 or above (like two days ago he he he)

    for knots i use polomar for line to lure and uni-uni for line to line...
  • troutman57troutman57 Posts: 3,691 Officer
    Hawk232 wrote: »
    wow, excellent info guys!! unfortunatly most people dont seem to be as forethcoming with knowledge, i guess they feel like our catching 10 of the millions of fish might cut into their catch???

    unfortunatly the only knowledge i can add about lures and what not is my "go to" lures. when NOTHING is biting i can almost ALWAYS get something on a new penny (gulp) shrimp under a cork in ~4' of water with patches of sand/rock/hard bottom. this REALLY works for trout when the water temp is 70 or above (like two days ago he he he)

    for knots i use polomar for line to lure and uni-uni for line to line...

    Thanks Dave. When i moved here there were a few neighbors that wouldn't tell me anything. I heard through the grapevine that they figured i would camp out on thier "secert spots". And a few that shared what they knew freely. I would rather share what I have learned and have it come back to me in good karma. When I show new folk around this area I take them to any or all of my secert spots and fully expect them to fish those areas whenever they want. It has yet to interfere with my fishing in any way shape or form. This isn't a tournament so we only can gain from sharing with each other.

    Your observation is correct about the new penney gulp. It always seems to produce fish.
    This place Rocks if yer a crabber
  • Hawk232Hawk232 Posts: 327 Officer
    troutman57 wrote: »
    This isn't a tournament so we only can gain from sharing with each other.

    My sentiments EXACTLY!!!

    In tournament fishing i totally get the whole tight lipped, im gunna kill you if you are at my spot mentality!!
  • gbaswolfgbaswolf Posts: 268 Officer
    I'm not sure this is open to anything or just FISHING. But my Tips and Pointers for winning tactics are don't bet against the 11-0 Green Bay Packers.
    Tight lines!:fishing
  • troutman57troutman57 Posts: 3,691 Officer
    Making the most of low water
    Another timely tip for the winter tides and the lack of water they bring. The extreeme low tides that winter brings can be a huge asset to your fishing any particular area year round. The obvious tip is CAUTION! I, like most folks here have misjudged a tide and banged my lower unit and had to get out and push many times. I now make mental notes of landmarks at the end of my canal and at the mouth of the river. For example if this one rock at the end of my canal is showing at all it tells me to stay tight to the channel while running the river. At the mouth of the Homosassa there are a few scattered rocks on the left as I head out and a seawall on the right. I always look at both of them and they tell me where i can run safely. If I am ever unsure I am idling or on the trolling motor. This is really not any news but just simple common sense.
    So when I fish real low water on the flats I use this to my advantage by keeping my eyes open for a few things that might help me catch a few more fish and navagate a bit more safely. Most of us have plotting GPS units aboard so plot a course to the fishing grounds during a period of extreeme low tide and repeat it later and you know it is safe under most conditions. Look for edges.....there are edges everywhere. The edge of a false channel the edge of a normally underwater shell mound or the edge of a kelp bed that is usually hidden. These edges are always a great place to look for trout and redfish. Look for Pot holes...... If you are just squeaking through an area on a flat and then you see a good sized area of 2' water mark it and return. Those pot holes are where the trout and reds will hunker down during the low tides. Look for drains....A drain is an area that has strong current that is amplified during extreeme low water. The drains/cuts are way more visable during a low water period and a great place to look for those lazy fsh waiting for a meal to be wash right into thier mouths. Another characteristic of a drain is that it usually has softer bottom in the deeper area and hard bottom on both edges that is why it formed in the first place. As most of us know where hard bottom meets soft there are usually fish. When marking these spots be sure to have a descriptive waypoint identifier. Otherwise you will have a bunch of numbers that mean nothing later on. Look for fish chasing your bait or spooking off. We will often see (we saw this yesterday) trout chasing our baits and then refusing them. These areas hold fish and because they didn't bite now doesn't mean they wont bite maybe after a tide change or maybe just a different bait. Another great advantage of low water is reading your bottom finder. Pay attention as to how areas of hard bottom show on your depth finder as opposed to soft mud bottom. With low water you can often see the hard bottom and then take note of how your unit displays it. We have all heard from some folks that love the low water because it puts or traps the redfish where they can get after them but there is way more to it for us with boats that just can't get back into those areas.
    When expolring the skinny stuff in a newer area be sure to do it when there is already an incomming tide or you are sure one is on the way. You will get stuck from time to time so this will reduce your stranded time. Remember that strong east winds and/or strong high pressures will both push water off our shore. I have learned about how much through trial and error and you can too.
    This place Rocks if yer a crabber
  • ripnlipsripnlips Posts: 2,535 Captain
    I posted this in another thread but it probly should be here.

    Winter time dock fishing is fun. Look for docks that have clean, moving water. Also look for bottom that has opposing contours or potholes relatively close to the docks. The presence of bait is always a good sign also. I like the first 2 hours of the falling tide best for fishing docks. Football head jigs (like the ones for bass fishing) with gulp ghost shrimp are a great choice of baits. Or you can go with live shrimp with a split shot.
  • tekmunkitekmunki Posts: 668 Officer
    For winter fishing, a buddy of mine uses nothing but popping corks (CT style)--- he takes the time the night before to measure out and cut 3 different lengths of leaders precisely and ties them onto different cajun thunders and light wide-gapped jig heads. He then takes a marker he puts a number on each cork top indicating the length of leader. He runs his braid through a small bead and then to a small snap-swivel, which he can then easily swap out the cork and thus the leader lengths... He has a small cut in each cork allowing him to 'spool' the leader onto the cork to keep it neat in the tackle box.

    Now, he has a modular setup that allows him to quickly change from 18" / 24" / 36" depths based on the bottom our boat is drifting... He showed me this on the last trip and it was quite neat how he just walked over to the bottom reading and quickly changed corks until he found which length was producing bites for that depth of water. Meanwhile, I was tying on mirrolures and slashbaits, so the system didn't really work for that style of fishing.

    I just thought it was a 'neat' system and felt like sharing, I'm too finicky at the boat and probably spend more time changing baits than fishing, but may be tempted to try it on a lazy day.


    BTW, Kyle- we talked about it briefly when I went fishing w/ you... I did some further research on the differences between the vanish fluoro 20lb line and the vanish fluoro 20lb leader material--- I couldn't fathom why it was so much more expensive (for less line); it turns out, it is in fact a thicker diameter line to prevent cut offs--- but I still don't think I'll use it--- it's way more expensive and I can visibly tell the difference, so I know the fish probably can, too.
    sigsmallx.jpg
    Q: How much fishing equipment can a man have before his wife throws him out?
    A: I do not know for sure; however, I believe that the experiment is almost complete!
  • troutman57troutman57 Posts: 3,691 Officer
    I like the cork ID system and leader keeper. Just can't be too organized out there.
    This place Rocks if yer a crabber
  • APEAPE Posts: 972 Officer
    I had a guy tell me about a lure that he was using to catch trout and reds with that is a soft plastic shrimp like lure made by the Culprit company it is the Riptide 3'' shrimp it is a soft plastic that has long plastic legs that is made to be used on a jig head. I bought several different styles and they are as tough as a Gulp! but they dont have the same smelly stuff and they dont shrink. I bought some white ones and some with the white/ yellow tails and they cost about .38 cents a piece unlike the 1.00 a piece Gulp! lures. If I can find the link I will post a link to the site. This should be the link http://www.culpritstore.com/catalog2/products.php?line=2&type=32
  • WB DrifterWB Drifter Posts: 192 Deckhand
    A small piece of vinyl tubing on the shaft of a circle hook can help to keep a live bait from clogging the gap when setting the hook on a run. Put the point through both sides of the tubing and slide it up the shaft far enough to let the bait hang down. You could also use a drop of epoxy. It stays in place better, but can't be repositioned for different sized baits.
    Toothy critter rig (click to enlarge) ...
    Tooty-CircleHook-rig-tm.jpg

    As used on the flats ...
    wbfishing05.jpg
  • ReelhootReelhoot Posts: 251 Officer
    There's a book by one of our Big Bend Captains,Capt Ken Roy (now retired), that can be purchased online that has tons of info that he's learned over an eon of fishing. The Book of Fishing Secrets Saltwater edition can be found by going to www.panhandlefishingbooks.com/
    I'm waiting on my book that should be under the Christmas tree soon.
    http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p341728

    FOR RENT: Beautiful 2 bed 2 bath condo in Hunter Springs, Crystal River
  • tekmunkitekmunki Posts: 668 Officer
    I saw this on the FS TV show; if you frequent the same boat ramp, put some tape around your guide posts at the exact water level for the easiest loading/unloading of your boat. That way, it makes it easier for you to back it down quick, and if someone else backs down your truck- you can explain it easy.
    sigsmallx.jpg
    Q: How much fishing equipment can a man have before his wife throws him out?
    A: I do not know for sure; however, I believe that the experiment is almost complete!
  • SlackerSlacker Posts: 1,346 Officer
    When drifting in shallow water I leave my motor part way down as an early warning device that I am too shallow.
  • ocalaocala Posts: 132 Deckhand
    I used to fish the Rainbow River a lot and fishing that clear water opened my eyes a bit. While fishing a rapala one day I retrieved it by a few bass that didn't even give it a second look. On the next cast instead of a straight retrieve I jerked the lure making it slash side to side. Those bass jumped on that lure. That erratic action is what got them going.
    I use that same tactic on the flats using lures like a Storm Thunderstick or Rapala X-Rap and have really good results. You do need to put better hooks on them then what comes with lures. Those factory hooks will get straightened out real quick.
    Also like spoons. I use the aftermarket Johnson Spoons. Cut off the weed guard and clamp down that hook barb and you are good to go. I dress it up with a chartreuse Berkley power grub curly tail and a sliver of gulp shrimp.
    Of course no fishing trip is complete without some topwater gear. I really like the Skitterwalk. Instead of walking the dog try a simple straight retrieve. The only problem with this approach is sometimes the fish really inhale it and you are digging the lure out of their throats.
    I am by no means an expert. I have only been fishing SW since 08 but so far these techniques work for me. I really don't target a specific fish but try to catch whatever is active at the moment.
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,163 Moderator
    Here is how I tie circle hooks to heavy leader . I use a uni-knot with the shank of the hook acting as the "line" I'm tying to.
    Reason is to get the line through the barb side of the hook. More on that later.
    Start by threading the line through the front (barb side) of the eye.

    IMGP0533.jpg

    Make a loop and wrap 6 times away from the hook eye.

    IMGP0534.jpg

    Pull main line while holding loops untill snug. Finish by pulling main and tag good and tight.

    IMGP0536-1.jpg

    That's only 5 loops but it's just to see the finished knot. I cut the tag about even with the bottom of the hook and it helps some to keep the bait from sliding up the shank.
    If you pull it through or across you hand it will roll the barb INTO position to set . A tight palomar or other knot can let circle hook swing away sometimes and miss the jaw.

    Again , it works best with stiffer/heavier leader material and was shown to me by a commercial longline guy although he uses a different knot.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • BillyBilly ChassahowitzkaPosts: 2,614 Captain
    ocala wrote: »
    I used to fish the Rainbow River a lot and fishing that clear water opened my eyes a bit. While fishing a rapala one day I retrieved it by a few bass that didn't even give it a second look. On the next cast instead of a straight retrieve I jerked the lure making it slash side to side. Those bass jumped on that lure. That erratic action is what got them going.

    I've fish the Rainbow a few times, and the bass seemed to want that erratic action, as you mentioned.

    We use wacky rigged worms and you can catch those 1 to 2 pounders all day long. The bigger ones are even spookier so we used jigs with plastic and make long casts.

    And that's a nice tip, on the knot for the circle hook, louie. I'm going to try it out the next time.

    Bill
    "And the ocean is howling for the things that might have been..."
  • Snook SpankerSnook Spanker Inglis / YankeetownPosts: 1,708 Captain
    One very simple rule I use at the boat ramps> When backing my boat down I take it out of gear and roll back in "N", that way there is no chance of gassing it too much and ending up in too far! You never know, espessially if the ramp is crowded and you are in a hurry> Stranger things have happened!!!
    I am'z what I am'z and that'z all that I am'z!! > Popeye!
  • Snook SpankerSnook Spanker Inglis / YankeetownPosts: 1,708 Captain
    Take a handycapped person fishing in your boat and if he / she has a handycapped parking pass, you will most likely get a parking space right next to the boat ramp!!!!>>> Just a thought!!
    I am'z what I am'z and that'z all that I am'z!! > Popeye!
  • troutman57troutman57 Posts: 3,691 Officer
    On a thread abbout soft plastics Ponce asked me a question about jig heads. I thought I would share this old trick we used on Lake Erie for smallmouth bass before we could buy wide gap jig heads. Smallmouths like sea trout hit the surface and jump and shake as soon as they were hooked often throwing the jig before landing them. The weight of a jighead offers leverage for the fish to use to help throw the hook. Using bullet weights and worm hooks this is a great (and cheaper) alternative to jig heads. Most bass fisherman will reconize this as a texas rig with a twist. Using a loop knot to tie on your hook keeps the weight in place until the fish shakes it loose then there is very little leverage left for the fish to throw the hook. A few different sized hooks and weights gives you lots of options as to weight / hook gap. This rig workjs well under a cork as well as a simple way to present soft plastics along the bottom. This also allows you to rig weedless.

    Note the loop knot at the hook
    DSC_0051-2.jpg

    Weight is kept next to the hook by the knot
    DSC_0052-1.jpg
    This place Rocks if yer a crabber
  • leadheadleadhead Posts: 86 Greenhorn
    hey Troutman, would you please post up another pic of that trout rig you use. Thanks.
  • troutman57troutman57 Posts: 3,691 Officer
    It's time to dust off the medium weight spinning gear and head out to the deeper flats (9'-15') and drift up some serious action. Shark, cobia keeper size seabass, mackerel, grouper and last but not least TROUT. Yes trout and lots of them. The trout head out to deeper waters to escape some of the Florida sun and feed. Pick an area that has grass and pot holes and you will find plenty of good sized trout roaming out there along with just about anything else that swims. Drift the carolina rig like in the picture below about 100' behind the boat with the tide at 1mph with a strip of cut bait or gulp shrimp and it's easy action packed fishing for us kids of all ages.
    troutmancarolinarig-1.jpg
    This place Rocks if yer a crabber
  • SleepyDaveSleepyDave Posts: 18 Greenhorn
    Thanks guys!
  • doolittle3701doolittle3701 Posts: 158 Officer
    tekmunki wrote: »
    For winter fishing, a buddy of mine uses nothing but popping corks (CT style)--- he takes the time the night before to measure out and cut 3 different lengths of leaders precisely and ties them onto different cajun thunders and light wide-gapped jig heads. He then takes a marker he puts a number on each cork top indicating the length of leader. He runs his braid through a small bead and then to a small snap-swivel, which he can then easily swap out the cork and thus the leader lengths... He has a small cut in each cork allowing him to 'spool' the leader onto the cork to keep it neat in the tackle box.

    Now, he has a modular setup that allows him to quickly change from 18" / 24" / 36" depths based on the bottom our boat is drifting... He showed me this on the last trip and it was quite neat how he just walked over to the bottom reading and quickly changed corks until he found which length was producing bites for that depth of water. Meanwhile, I was tying on mirrolures and slashbaits, so the system didn't really work for that style of fishing.

    I just thought it was a 'neat' system and felt like sharing, I'm too finicky at the boat and probably spend more time changing baits than fishing, but may be tempted to try it on a lazy day.


    BTW, Kyle- we talked about it briefly when I went fishing w/ you... I did some further research on the differences between the vanish fluoro 20lb line and the vanish fluoro 20lb leader material--- I couldn't fathom why it was so much more expensive (for less line); it turns out, it is in fact a thicker diameter line to prevent cut offs--- but I still don't think I'll use it--- it's way more expensive and I can visibly tell the difference, so I know the fish probably can, too.

    The varied leader length popping cork idea is a good one. Here is a variation on that. Place a snap swivel or plain snap at the bottom of the popping cork rig with a split ring, then tie some various length leaders with a rapala loop knot at one end and your terminal tackle at the other. Keep them in separate zip lock bags(labeled), and easily change to a different length using the snap. Should work well.
  • troutman57troutman57 Posts: 3,691 Officer
    Take a handycapped person fishing in your boat and if he / she has a handycapped parking pass, you will most likely get a parking space right next to the boat ramp!!!!>>> Just a thought!!
    Now Pete why didn't we think of that!
    This place Rocks if yer a crabber
  • troutman57troutman57 Posts: 3,691 Officer
    Gulp....the tail is gone now what?
    I think it's safe to say the majority of us have used gulp from time to time and some it might be thier main bait. It's a great product there is no denying that but it is expensive considering a jerk shad seldom makes it through 2 casts intact. I consider it bait fishing but it is way easier than bait way less mess and will keep the shark count down. Joe (Angler18) has shed some light along with some acquired confidence on other forms of soft plastics. If the trout or other species are sight feeders then a good plastic replica of shrimp or bait fish will often be just fine and put lots of fish in the boat. On those tougher days scent is a welcome addition and sometimes the element that it takes to get a strike. While fishing with a friend that took DOA CAL jigs out of the pack and I took the very same bait same color same rig and fished it. For some reason the fish liked my bait way better. I store all my soft plastics along with my gulps in a 2 gal container that has several containers of "GULP ALIVE" juice in with them. At least for a while I believe it stays on the plastics of all kinds. I also believe that since they live in that juice some might soak into the non gulp baits and make them a bit more attractive by adding the scent element.
    I keep the bits and pieces of the gulps that have been obliterated by puffers and porgies in a separate container. I will use the pieces for grunts, pinfish and other bait fish on sabiki rigs or just a small hook. I once left the dock and ran out 12 miles with my gulp container sitting on the dock but the pieces saved the day by catching bait that I cut and caught trout on all day long. Of course this is not rocket science by any means but it just might help put an extra fish or two in our coolers.
    I will always remember my dad almost exclusively using a red Cotee jig head and a white with a red paddle tail Cotee grub and masterfully plucking trout after trout while I just watched and scratched my head and tried to learn his jigging technique! I think one day soon I am going to try just that but I will soak them in my gulp slurry. I still fish his spots almost every time I head out for a drift.
    This place Rocks if yer a crabber
  • SlackerSlacker Posts: 1,346 Officer
    This week the trout really seemed to like the cajun thunder jerked very hard, but a short distance. Working it with lighter jerks was almost non-productive. We were using gulps of varied colors.
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