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Gear for fishing mangroves

R_W_PR_W_P Virginia BeachPosts: 13 Deckhand
Hey all!

   Great community you have here, I am happy to be a part of it. This winter I am heading down from Virginia Beach to do some fishing. I am not 100% sure where yet, but it will be in the SW of the state.

   I have two rods/reels that I am bringing, both are set up for musky, and are overkill for all the fish I catch in VBs tidal creeks, but the water isn't clear here, you could pretty much fish with paracord and the fish wouldn't notice.  I will be fishing mostly swim and glide baits, some cuda tubes, soft baits, etc.  All the lures are in the 2-4oz range. I will be fishing from shore and from a kayak.

   Both rods are set up with Tranx 400's, high gear with power handles, both rods are set up for long distance casting.  One reel is already set up with 150 yards of 80lb braid (bright yellow, if it matters), and will be bringing and additional spool of 80lb line (blue). This is pretty typical for musky fishing.

   The other reel is brand new, and will need line.  Is 80lb crazy overkill? The reel will fit 300 yards of 50lb, is that a better option?  I don't like to use lighter than 50lb braid because it tends to dig into the spool at higher drags. Either way I have an assortment of leader material, from 20 to 100lb (mono and flouro), and some AFW 7x7 in a few sizes.  I plan to run about 6 inches of steel and 6 feet of mono.

   Thanks for any tips!

  
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Replies

  • R_W_PR_W_P Virginia BeachPosts: 13 Deckhand
    Thanks Jack.

    My musky rods aren't overly heavy. One is an XH bass rod and the other is a MH musky rod (which is the lightest it was available in).

    I am mostly interested in catching snook, tarpon and cuda. The lures that I use are swimbaits, most are 6-8" long. The weights seem heavier than most people are used to, but they are a slow sinking fish shaped bait.

    I think I will put the 50lb on the other reel, having the extra line sounds smart.

    Again, thank you for the advice.
  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 1,100 Officer
    edited October 17 #4
    i'd consider spooling 30 lb, amybe 20 lb braid on the lighter reel on the mh rod.  30 lb if your fishing the mangroves. no steel leaders!!!. you would not need much more than 30 lb leader for the fish you mentioned. unless you find some adult tarpon. 50 lb would work then.  tied two feet of leader to mono w uni to uni knot, no swivel.   80lb would work for grouper offshore. heavy lures sink and get hung up in the mangroves. rapalas and jerk baits moving fast will get ya a snook, hopefully.
  • R_W_PR_W_P Virginia BeachPosts: 13 Deckhand
    Thanks! Here's an example of what I will be fishing with. Even though these lures are heavy, they can be fished at any depth, including at or just under the surface. They are very very slow sinking, and even the ones that weigh half a pound can be fished slowly towards the surface.  Swimbaits are a weird addiction, but ever since I started fishing with them, I don't want to throw anything else.



  • One DropOne Drop Posts: 306 Deckhand
    While all that marketing and stuff looks great here's why I wouldn't use that lure here in Florida. The bait swims awesome but the problem is in the presentation. A half pound lure splashing down will scare just about any fish that swims near the mangroves. Thats not to say it won't work and I imagine long range casts over open grassflats will produce a fish but stealth with above described gear from Jack and Permit will be your best weapons. 
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 866 Officer
    One Drop said:
    While all that marketing and stuff looks great here's why I wouldn't use that lure here in Florida. The bait swims awesome but the problem is in the presentation. A half pound lure splashing down will scare just about any fish that swims near the mangroves. Thats not to say it won't work and I imagine long range casts over open grassflats will produce a fish but stealth with above described gear from Jack and Permit will be your best weapons. 
    Listen to what the locals are saying here.  Those big lures are going to hit the water like a cannon ball and spook any snook in the neighborhood.  They just hit the water too hard.  It's not the depth that they will run, it's just too much of a splash when they land.
  • R_W_PR_W_P Virginia BeachPosts: 13 Deckhand
    One Drop said:
    While all that marketing and stuff looks great...

    If I had a dollar for every time someone told me why these big lures won't catch fish...... :)

    Thanks to everyone for the advise, I am going to run the 50lb line for the capacity and I will let you know how the big baits work for me.
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 764 Officer
    Those big baits with the treble hooks will be hard to skip back under the overhanging limbs. Try them out if you catch something it will be big
  • R_W_PR_W_P Virginia BeachPosts: 13 Deckhand
    Lostconch said:
    Those big baits with the treble hooks will be hard to skip back under the overhanging limbs. Try them out if you catch something it will be big

    Yep, not going to lie.... I've lost a few $60 baits in the past. It happens. I only cry for a few minutes.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,991 Captain
    I’ve been fishing mangrove jungle shorelines for a few years (understatement) and must say the gear I hand my anglers each day is pretty much the same rods and reels that any bass angler would use - with a few differences (our leader setups and the lures we use...).

    The standard load of rods on my old Maverick starts with a pair of very light seven foot spinners on rods rated for only 6 to 12lb line set up with 10lb braid and a short (18-24”) fluorocarbon 30lb leader.  They’ll be tossing 1/8oz lead heads with Gulp tails or in winter, live shrimp on them.  Most would use a 2500 or 3000 size reel, but I use 4000 size reels- even on these light rods..  

    The next pair of rods are in the medium to medium heavy size range, again seven feet with 4000 size reels but loaded with 20lb braid and 40lb leaders... the rods are rated for 8 - 17lb line (or 10 - 20lb if you want them a bit heavier...).  We’ll be working lures from 1/4oz up to 5/8oz with them all day long (and in my area, along with snook, reds, trout, triple tail, and others on any cast you might get bit by a tarpon up to 100lbs or more... 

    The remaining four rods on my skiff are heavier and either designed for large livebaits or tossing lures at sharks, cobia, tarpon of every size, and grouper... None of them have line any heavier than 30lb braid - but will have leaders in the 60 to 80lb range.   In my world it’s not how heavy your line is - but how much of it you have since a really big fish really can spool you before your partner can get the skiff moving to chase after it... 

    Those “musky rods” might make pretty fair live bait setups but you really need to set them up with 30lb line so at least you have a chance with them...

    As for the gear I’ve just described... I build all my own rods and have for many, many years and you can find me working out of Flamingo or Chokoloskee most days when I’m booked- since 1995...

    Anyone wanting a brochure with color photos send an email request to [email protected]  You’ll get that brochure by return mail that day.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • R_W_PR_W_P Virginia BeachPosts: 13 Deckhand
    Thanks for the detailed response.
  • MissedMissed O-townPosts: 252 Deckhand
    The comments above are straight shooting.  Lemaymiami is a guide you should try a day trip with him and see how it's done down here.

    All of the fish you are wanting to catch can be caught on a 4000 class spinning reel with 30# braid and a 30# leader, 4/0 hook and 4 to 5 inch shrimp or pilchard.   

    My inshore tackle is as described above or 2000 class reels w 8 pound mono or 20# braid and 20-25# leaders for bonefish, trout & small snappers, etc.  Have 2 live line rods for tarpon & kingfish and they are 50# braid, 50# leader.  Offshore trolling and light bottom fishing is 65# braid and 40-60# leader.  Heavy bottom is 100# braid and 80# leader cause 100# leader is too stiff for most smaller fish to eat.  Heavier spinners are 50# braid and 100# braid with corresponding leaders. 

    Most of my rods are 6-7 ft Ugly Stiks - they seem to last the longest and are cheap enough to replace instead of fix.  Just wish the spinning rod versions had 1 additional guide.  

    You're gonna like it down here.  Come with an open mind - and remember to rinse those jumbo swim baits of when you get back to the dock.  The salt raises havock with em.

    I never understood why folks use such heavy line for muskies but I guess it is cause of underwater obstructions.  
  • R_W_PR_W_P Virginia BeachPosts: 13 Deckhand
    Thanks @Missed

    I will be happy to explain about the heavy line for muskies. Muskies need to be horsed in, we don't play the fish. After about 2 minutes of the fish being hooked, the chance of survival goes down substantially. So, line capacity doesn't matter much. A lot of guys will use 80 or 100lb braid on a tranx 300 or 400, the drag is always cranked the the max.

    The fish could pretty easily be caught on 30lb braid, even the big ones, but the issues lie with casting the lures.

    4oz lures are small in the musky world, and realistically, 6, 8, 16 and 24oz lures are common. Yeah.... 1 1/2 POUND lures. When launching even an 6 to 8oz lure, full force from a 9 foot rod, a small overrun with the reel would send that lure into orbit with 30 or 50lb braid.

    I had a small overrun with a 6oz lure and 80lb braid that literally ripped the rod out of my hands and into the water.
  • Lake-LinkerLake-Linker Posts: 121 Deckhand
    I live 6 miles from a musky lake that some folks travel 100 miles to fish. I have fished a northern WI lake for decades that routinely gives up the biggest 'skis in WI every year. I have friends who guide primarily for musky. I have friends who make a portion of their income making and selling musky baits. I've chased fish to an extent that occasionally has damaged personal relationships and have done so for half'a century....I'm better now. Mostly.

    I fish south Florida for 2 months every winter.

    Trust the locals advice. It ain't musky fishing. It ain't musky water....although big 'cuda even SMELL just like big pike. lol They're both stinky snot rockets.

    I leave my Lund at home and fish from a kayak while in S. Fl. I have a Hobie with Mirage drive...and outrigger and 2.5 horse outboard...I've gotten into a routine where I fish the 10K hard for 2 weeks then head out to the keys for another 6 or 7 weeks.. Mostly fishing the backcountry.

    I didn't start doing well fishing S. FL until I chucked everything I stubbornly thought I knew and started learning from scratch...When Cap't Lemay makes a detailed post I read it twice. Or three times...

    I've always enjoyed the learning more than the catching. Enjoy yourself.

    Take a look at Key West Kayak Fishing's youtube videos. Look thru his archived vids. There's many that won't apply to what you intend on doing and some that absolutely will.

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,991 Captain
    For what it’s worth all fishing is local...  If I was away from the areas I’ve been fishing all these years I’d be lost, period...  That’s why I go out of my way to help folks that are new here - and my business cards have always said beginners welcome.

    That’s what I’d be up north - a beginner....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • flagoldflagold AbbevillePosts: 408 Deckhand
    For what it’s worth all fishing is local...  If I was away from the areas I’ve been fishing all these years I’d be lost, period...  That’s why I go out of my way to help folks that are new here - and my business cards have always said beginners welcome.

    That’s what I’d be up north - a beginner....
    Boy did you nail it with that.  And it doesn't take very far north either to give a hard learning curve.  When we moved up here to AL river country I had to go back to school even on the fish I knew how to catch.  I suspect when I get down to Gulf Shores/Orange Beach for beach fishing that will be different from what I knew in Daytona/Ponce Inlet as well.
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    Big Sheepshead With Snails: https://youtu.be/gqE0az7WqH4
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,403 Captain
    For what it’s worth all fishing is local...  If I was away from the areas I’ve been fishing all these years I’d be lost, period...  That’s why I go out of my way to help folks that are new here - and my business cards have always said beginners welcome.

    That’s what I’d be up north - a beginner....
        You'd think, but sight fishing is sight fishing. The learning curve is minimal in most cases. There are some tricky fisheries scattered across our nation (great lakes walleye and steelhead come to mind), but for the most part 12lb test and a 3" soft plastic swimbait is as effective here as it is anywhere else. My first musky was on 6lb, the whole fight is on video and it's about 2.5 minutes long. It was still green when released, she might have been 20lbs. The Quebecois strongly discourage people from targeting them in the summer months for the reasons described by RWP. 
  • nowinchattnowinchatt Posts: 89 Deckhand
    10 points for stinky snot rockets. That outdoes my sabertooth salmon description of a 'Cuda
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,991 Captain
    edited October 19 #20
    Funny thing... although every 'cuda has a very distinctive odor when fresh caught... Once you filet the meat and then "filet" the skin away - it's just good quality white meat... without a trace of it's former scent at all..... 

    Warning... Never eat a large 'cuda (ciguatera poisoning danger...) but 'cudas under five pounds are perfectly safe to eat... 

    We used to call small barracuda "sabre-tooth bonefish" since they lived on bonefish flats in great numbers and would strike and cut off a shrimp or jig or that perfect bonefish fly just as quickly (and cleanly)...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • R_W_PR_W_P Virginia BeachPosts: 13 Deckhand

    Warning... Never eat a large 'cuda (ciguatera poisoning danger...) but 'cudas under five pounds are perfectly safe to eat...

    This has been brought up a lot to me and definitely something I will pay attention to.
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 764 Officer
    When I used to fish in the Southern Bahamas the guides would fillet the cudas if you caught one (and you almost always did) then give a local cat a little piece if the cat didn't suffer adverse effects we would eat the cuda
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,991 Captain
    Not something I'd ever want to trust - but the Bahamas is ground zero for ciguatera toxins... Not just barracuda either - any big reef fish might or might not have the toxin.... Here's the chain - certain small reef plants have the toxin and are eaten by small fish without the slightest problem but big fish feed on them and accumulate the toxins in their flesh and it doesn't go away, just builds up over time.  No difference between a fish with the toxins present or not - and no cooking or careful preparation, refrigeration is involved in the outcome if you eat one that has ciguatera.  Entire families have needed evacuation and hospitalization after a single meal of ciguatera tainted fish - and remember that the 'cuda is only one of several different species implicated (you can include outsized grouper, snapper, and amberjacks to the list of species that have had the problem).  By the way, from what I've read ciguatera is a neuro toxin and the effects of an encounter can last for months afterwards.... Doesn't sound like fun to me.

    The best method to insure safety? Simply toss back the big ones and only keep smaller specimens for the table... that's good conservation practice as well... since big fish are the breeders that ensure a good population of the fish we all like to catch (and occasionally eat...).

    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 866 Officer
    edited October 20 #24
    Not something I'd ever want to trust - but the Bahamas is ground zero for ciguatera toxins... Not just barracuda either - any big reef fish might or might not have the toxin.... Here's the chain - certain small reef plants have the toxin and are eaten by small fish without the slightest problem but big fish feed on them and accumulate the toxins in their flesh and it doesn't go away, just builds up over time.  No difference between a fish with the toxins present or not - and no cooking or careful preparation, refrigeration is involved in the outcome if you eat one that has ciguatera.  Entire families have needed evacuation and hospitalization after a single meal of ciguatera tainted fish - and remember that the 'cuda is only one of several different species implicated (you can include outsized grouper, snapper, and amberjacks to the list of species that have had the problem).  By the way, from what I've read ciguatera is a neuro toxin and the effects of an encounter can last for months afterwards.... Doesn't sound like fun to me.

    The best method to insure safety? Simply toss back the big ones and only keep smaller specimens for the table... that's good conservation practice as well... since big fish are the breeders that ensure a good population of the fish we all like to catch (and occasionally eat...).

    This is all accurate and correct.  We've released big black grouper, cubera snapper and monster jacks in the Bahamas, primarily out of an abundance of caution over ciguatera.  In all honesty, though, I don't think I'd ever kill a big cubera, ciguatera or no.

    Oh yeah, forgot to add, barracuda really are excellent eating fish.  As good as grouper.  But you gotta avoid the bigger ones.
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 764 Officer
    Just stating what I have seen done in the Bahamas. It has worked for them. I don't expect that anyone around here would be feeding fish to cats. KL is right any big predator that lives on the reef is likely to have it.
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 1,155 Officer
    Why would anyone want to eat a fish that could make you sick for a long time when there's all the legal Yellowtail, Muttons, Grovers, and other delicious fish out there? I know a few that have contracted ciguatera and it's not pretty. Mostly from The Bahamas, but who knows? And yes, I've tried small cudas on some of the islands in the southern Caribbean and it was good, but not that good!
  • GotseaGotsea Posts: 766 Officer
    I personally don't eat cudas, but I had a friend that was crazy about them,  he use a small mice as a guinea pig, if the mince survived, then he will eat it, to me it is not worth the problem   
  • MissedMissed O-townPosts: 252 Deckhand
    I have heard that flies won't land on the tainted fish - only stuff folks could eat.  Not sure if true.
  • mlangemlange Posts: 102 Deckhand
    This really went a different direction from proper gear.
    I took my lightest musky rod on my first trip with the same idea. There is a somewhat famous musky guide that is destroying musky baits on tarpon in the Marco island area with  good success. That stiff rod doesn't load up very well with a 1/2 oz jig and the 25# drag just breaks the line or leader when a tarpon grabs your bait and heads for the next county. Would probably be just fine for sucker, i mean mullet fishing. from what i have seen they are very similar. Dont do the live bait thing myself. If anyone wants to chase some toothy fresh water barracuda, there are plenty around here. They are protected so dont expect to eat any. 
    Oh ya. listen to Bob. 
  • Lake-LinkerLake-Linker Posts: 121 Deckhand
    I've never cleaned and eaten a barracuda. Do they have Y bones like a freshwater pike?
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 866 Officer
    I've never cleaned and eaten a barracuda. Do they have Y bones like a freshwater pike?
    Nope.  Bones in the lateral line (which you don't want to eat anyway), but none of the annoying Y bones in the meat.
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