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New to fishing the flats

gcsuthegcsuthe Posts: 41 Deckhand
I close on a house on Captiva in March and am headed down on April 18th for my first week of flats fishing. I've been a bass fisherman for most of my life and can't wait to learn the flats. From what I've seen and heard fishing the flats has a lot in common with Bass fishing. I want to keep it pretty simple at first so I picked up some plastics like DOA shrimp, some Zman Jerk Shads, some mirrOlure mirrOGlass baits and some tubes. I've got a couple of 7' spinning rods and one baitcaster I'm bringing down. Figuring on rigging them with 20# braid and 20# floro. I've been reading the forums an watching the videos from up here in MD where its snow covered and generally just cold. I kind of feel like a kid a few days from Christmas. So the obvious question is if you were just starting out on the flats around Captiva what would you do.

Thanks for the help
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Replies

  • FishInFLFishInFL Posts: 2,222 Captain
    Look at Google maps and look for the deeper paths/highways through the flats.

    Try to find moving water

    Hire a guide
  • gcsuthegcsuthe Posts: 41 Deckhand
    I've looked at local guides and may take that route but like most guys I figure I can figure things out on my own. Just looking for help with the timing (what bites that time of year) likely areas to start looking (not looking for gps spots but just the general areas) and generally what should I throw? I've fished the tides here in MD for largemouth. Do you like the in coming or outgoing or just moving tides.
  • PilchardPilchard Posts: 1,373 Officer
    You can absolutely figure it out solo. It will be rewarding...

    But, I would highly recommend hiring a guide at least 4 times... Winter, spring, summer, fall... It will teach you how tactics differ throughout the year and give you a great place to start from...
  • gcsuthegcsuthe Posts: 41 Deckhand
    Anyone you have experience with?
  • gettinwetgettinwet Posts: 1,366 Officer
    gcsuthe wrote: »
    Anyone you have experience with?

    Something else that helped me was searching archived fishing reports on forums like this - you can determine patterns for your area.
    There are only so many casts in life, so shut up and fish!!
  • gcsuthegcsuthe Posts: 41 Deckhand
    I've been doing that and got some insights. But I also know from bass fishing that things can change year to year. I'm just hoping to get pointed in the right general direction. Again I'm not asking for anyone's honey hole but you guys fish these areas I haven't. Just hoping for some newbie help.
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,121 AG
    What kind of watercraft will you be using....
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • PilchardPilchard Posts: 1,373 Officer
    gcsuthe wrote: »
    Anyone you have experience with?

    Ozzie lessinger
  • gcsuthegcsuthe Posts: 41 Deckhand
    18ft flats skiff.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,121 AG
    gcsuthe wrote: »
    18ft flats skiff.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    For what I would be doing.
    I would charter Cap't Butch Ricky ( Bar hopper charters) on *your boat* for a day... It will give you a running start that you can build on from there.
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • gcsuthegcsuthe Posts: 41 Deckhand
    I'll try to schedule something early in the week and then explore on my own the rest of the time. Looking at the Navionics maps looks like a lot of good water not too far from the island. Are there any restrictions on fishing the area around the Ding Darling refuge?
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,121 AG
    gcsuthe wrote: »
    I'll try to schedule something early in the week and then explore on my own the rest of the time. Looking at the Navionics maps looks like a lot of good water not too far from the island. Are there any restrictions on fishing the area around the Ding Darling refuge?

    Yes, there is a "No Motor" zone close by (wolfert keys?)...
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • JohnABJohnAB APOPKAPosts: 228 Deckhand
    Try the seawall on the north end (bayside) of Captiva for snook..on dead slack tide they like to rush in to the rocks there and snatch the "baitfish" ...sheepshead will be there too!
  • gcsuthegcsuthe Posts: 41 Deckhand
    Thanks,
    Artificial baits work OK or do you need live bait there?
  • JoeyHotFizzleJoeyHotFizzle Posts: 225 Officer
    Indian fields north of Matlacha. The mangroves holds snook, the flats trout and the oyster beds reds. Maria drive in pine island, the flats hold some bull reds and gator trout - the water is clear most of the time perfect for sightcasting reds.

    Artificial is all I use. White jerk shad rigged weedless, mirrodine type lure and top water (when the conditions are right) are all you'll need.
  • humblerhumbler TampaPosts: 131 Deckhand
    Pilchard wrote: »
    Ozzie lessinger

    x2

    That's Oz leadering the fish in my avatar
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    Run to the west side of Pine Island. On the south end, there are potholes that are loaded with reds, as well as that entire shoreline. If you see a hole under the mangroves, that will be a definite maybe for a big red or two. As the tide rises, the fish get back into the woods and might be hard to coax out. But soon after the high tide changes to go out, you'll be back in business again. Biggest thing to figure out are the 4-a-day tides during the full and new moons. The importance of these tides are the low lows, meaning that you can follow the prime water depth as it rises, for a longer time, until the water gets too high and the fish can get into the aforementioned mangroves.

    The Sanibel/Captiva area is arguably the best beach area in Florida for Summertime snook. It is certainly one of the best. It is also a good area for migrating tarpon. Smaller tarpon and snook can be found inside. Check out the Ding Darling area on Sanibel. Redfish pass, Captiva Pass and Blind Pass (if it is open) are also snook and trout hotspots. Hope this helps.
    .......Rick
  • gcsuthegcsuthe Posts: 41 Deckhand
    Thanks,

    That helps get me some good starting points. Now I just have to keep my sanity up here in the cold until April. I just keep looking at the pictures of my boat being built and reorganizing my gear again.
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,121 AG
    gcsuthe wrote: »
    Thanks,

    That helps get me some good starting points. Now I just have to keep my sanity up here in the cold until April. I just keep looking at the pictures of my boat being built and reorganizing my gear again.

    What are you having built?
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • DarcyDarcy Posts: 1,711 Captain
    Buy yourself a good cast net, if your going live bait. I detest paying for bait. The first time you blackout your well with bait that you chummed up and caught, you will be hooked. I find the bait catching part very rewarding. Can be time consuming at times.
    "No i'm NOT Darcizzle!":blowkiss


    https://captainsforcleanwater.org
  • gcsuthegcsuthe Posts: 41 Deckhand
    duckmanJR wrote: »
    What are you having built?

    A HB Marquesa. They've been sending some pictures as the build progresses.
    5.jpg 40.6K
  • gcsuthegcsuthe Posts: 41 Deckhand
    Darcy wrote: »
    Buy yourself a good cast net, if your going live bait. I detest paying for bait. The first time you blackout your well with bait that you chummed up and caught, you will be hooked. I find the bait catching part very rewarding. Can be time consuming at times.

    That's something I do want to learn but never have tried. I wouldn't know what a "good" cast net was or how or where to chum up the bait. I'd need some starting instructions.
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,121 AG
    gcsuthe wrote: »
    I wouldn't know what a "good" cast net was .


    Get a Tim Wade...
    A custom net at less than a lesser production net price.
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,121 AG
    gcsuthe wrote: »
    A HB Marquesa. They've been sending some pictures as the build progresses.

    Very Nice!
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • gcsuthegcsuthe Posts: 41 Deckhand
    duckmanJR wrote: »
    Very Nice!

    Thanks,
    Wanted something that would let me fish as much of the area as possible. Lots of nice rigs out there just really liked the Marquesa. Planning on picking it up when I come down in April. Really hard to wait.
  • gcsuthegcsuthe Posts: 41 Deckhand
    duckmanJR wrote: »
    Get a Tim Wade...
    A custom net at less than a lesser production net price.

    Recommended size for a beginner? They list them from 4 to 10 ft and with 3/4, 1 and 2in stretch. Where's the best place to pick one up?
  • DarcyDarcy Posts: 1,711 Captain
    I recently purchased an 10' 3/8 Tim wade. Great net. I'm usually throwing in 15- 20' of water. I'm thinking af getting an 8're as well. I find the 10' a little hard to throw, especially as I'm always by myself, and trying to getting the boat in position around the pilings, loading the cast net, running back to adjust position, running back up to throw only to have the net snag on something on my boat. Maybe If i had someone driving and I could make sure I loaded it right, it might not be so bad. Lol. Also when emptying the bait in the livewell I can't reach the horn. Lol. Yes I'm vertically challenged. I might not catch as much bait but the 8' will be easier to handle, and throw. Jmo.
    The cracker nets are pretty good, and from my experience easy to throw and open up with not much effort.
    Run you about 160 - 180 for an 8' 3/8". I paid 190 shipped for my 10' custom Tim wade.
    "No i'm NOT Darcizzle!":blowkiss


    https://captainsforcleanwater.org
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,121 AG
    gcsuthe wrote: »
    Recommended size for a beginner? They list them from 4 to 10 ft and with 3/4, 1 and 2in stretch. Where's the best place to pick one up?

    Tim is a custom builder...so he measures "stretch" which is knot to knot.
    A production (china junk) net that says 3/8 would translate to a 3/4 stretch. Normally your net (tool) is specific to the job you want it to do.

    As an all around net...I like the one my wife just gave me for Christmas A 6 ft. with 3/4 mesh. It works well for small baitfish but can net bigger mullet with no issue.
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • DarcyDarcy Posts: 1,711 Captain
    Are callsua nets made in China. ?
    "No i'm NOT Darcizzle!":blowkiss


    https://captainsforcleanwater.org
  • PilchardPilchard Posts: 1,373 Officer
    Get a 10footer and learn to throw it. 8 footer will just aggravate you in our area given that the easiest/most consistent bait spot is the sanibel causeway and an 8 footer will not get the job done there.

    3/8" mesh or 3/4 stretched is the best all around size and will work great 9 months out of the year. With your boat the other 3 months I would be throwing plugs/flies anyways in skinny water.

    With your boat's capabilities, I would strongly suggest that the guide you hire have a small skiff as well. Ozzie lessinger does I believe. You don't want to learn the area in a tower boat if the majority of your fishing will be spent in less than 2 feet of water.
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