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Need some SW Florida inshore saltwater tackle suggestions.

1simplemann1simplemann Posts: 200 Deckhand
This is my 1st post here. BTW this is a great forum you guys have got here. Very informative! Your inshore fishing is fantastic. Different than what I'm used to but fantastic none the less. I'm very envious that you have this type of fishery so close. Anyway, the last few years we have been fortunate enough to vacation in your great state. I've been expanding my fishing each year. 1st year bait fishing on the pier. OK but boring. 2nd yr I rented kayak, more my style, loved it. I stuck to the basics and used silver spoon, red/white rapala, Sebile stick shadd, gulp shrimp. Had luck on all of them. I want to try some new stuff but currently my saltwater bag is more geared towards fluke, blues and stripers. I would like to stock up early on some inshore tackle and use up some Cabela's points I've earned. I hear alot about Z-man, DOA and other simular baits. What do you think of them and why? What should I get? What size? Which colors? Also what about weighted hooks vs. plain old jig heads. I may even try live bait this year, if I can catch it. Any suggestions in that department would also be appreciated. Thanks, Rob in Montana


  • CalusaCalusa Posts: 11,881 Officer
    Rob, I'll throw in a good recommendation for DOA shrimp. They are particularly effective on Snook from my experience. We've caught literally hundreds of Snook using the 1/2 oz near clear DOA shrimp freelined and twitched. They are equally effective for other species such as Trout and other local fish big and small, from a pier or from a boat. I've heard similar reports about these artificials in different colors too.

    Welcome to the FS Forum. :beer
  • former bluefishinnyformer bluefishinny Posts: 1,492 Officer
    Welcome Rob.... I will start by saying it all depends on what time of the year you are vacationing down here? I am a former blues/stripers/fluke guy myself, different ballgame for sure as most of our inshore fishing is done in 3 foot of water or less, not 3 to 15 foot!

    DOA Shrimp: Great bait. Not a great search bait. Once you find some fish, and you think they are there and somewhat sluggish OR they are feeding on crustaceans.... In other words, if you are on a flat and you see "life" - mullet milling around, mullet flopping around, wading birds, and you see "spook" fish... The DOA is a great bait to throw into the potholes you see, or on edges of flats. As for colors, I have confidence in Clear, Glo, and Gold. That is just me, again, my confidence colors.

    Topwaters: My favorite is the Zara Spook. As for colors, I prefer bones, or natural bottoms. Great search bait.... As you are covering lots of water with it... It casts far, and you are moving it along up top covering areas pretty good... .Unlike the DOA Shrimp where you are slowly working it above the bottom. Try different retrieves....Slower side to side (walk dog) with "pauses" seems to best.. But i have caught many snook by walking dog fairly quick with no pauses... Again, let the life in the area dictate how to work it. If you see bait getting popped on, and there is alot of white bait around... Speed it up.... If there is an occasional mullet, things are some what quite... Try a slower, pause type retrieve.

    Plastics: This can cover a huge assortment of baits. From Zoom Fluke Jerkbaits to MirroLure Lil Jons. I like those 2 exactly... If I had a choice of three colors.. IT would be black and gold, black and gold, black and gold.... Sometime called Golden Bream. Here is how I rig both (below). The Lil john (bottom) - rigged on a 1/4 oz Cottee Jig head - is great when weeds are not that bad, and you can work the bait on edges, or in potholes. No joke, 75% of the fish I caught last year came on this bait. I snap the crap out of this bait... .As in cast.... and on retrieve, snap, snap, pause, snap snap, pause. I am constantly snagging crap lol.... Pinfish mostly... I believe the hits on this is a total reaction bite... So if the fish are eating great... If not, they still may eat it out of reaction.. Much like a human, if a fly is buzzing in your face, you "swat" at it with your hands.. Fish dont have hands lol.. so they react by biting it.... The Fluke (top) is rigged on a weighted Gammy EWG jerkbait hook. Strong hook, and on slack line, falls perfectly! Great bait in areas where you cant get away with exposed hooks because of grass. Retrieve should be almost like an underwater walk the dog..... Side to side with pauses. As I said, this bait with this hook falls very naturally... Almost "shimmies".

    I think I have put you on the right path for now! Any questions, feel free to PM me
  • Artificial ArtistArtificial Artist Posts: 19 Greenhorn
    WOW Bluefish...you REALLY are the MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • pjstevkopjstevko Posts: 513 Officer
    DOA Shrimp in Near Clear or Glow colors
    Zara Spook Jr in Bone, Chartuese top and bottom with clearish sides
    DOA CAL shadtails in Key Lime and Figi Chix colors on a 1/4 oz jig head
    Mirrolure mirrodine 17mr in red head/white body and purple demon
    DOA baitbuster shallowrunner
    DOA terroreyz red head /white body

    Those 6 things will catch just about everything that swims in SW Fl!!!!!! The key is to figure out which time of year to use which lure for whatever species you're after!!!

    Tell us what time of year you visit and we'll help ya from there.....

  • former bluefishinnyformer bluefishinny Posts: 1,492 Officer
    PS... Gold Spoon..... Have at least 2 sizes.... If reds are feeding and up on the flats... They will hit a gold spoon!
  • pjstevkopjstevko Posts: 513 Officer
    PS... Gold Spoon..... Have at least 2 sizes.... If reds are feeding and up on the flats... They will hit a gold spoon!

    I've never ever ever caught a red on a gold spoon!!!!!!!I think all the gold spoons I've bought over the years have been defective, I've since gotten rid of all my spoons and will NEVER buy another one.....but i know others have had great success with them and they're cheap so why not add one to the list
  • former bluefishinnyformer bluefishinny Posts: 1,492 Officer
    lol.... Its not my first choice... .But one guy (Fatsnook) and my cousin, they'll throw them allllll day long if we are up shallow chasing reds... And they are VERY successful!!!!
  • 1simplemann1simplemann Posts: 200 Deckhand
    Thanks for the suggestions. We're coming down 3/8 till 3/22. Hope the water and the action heats up. Right now we just got 6"s of fresh white stuff. I'm so ready for winter to be over. Bluefish, good detailed info thanks a bunch I'll PM you. You said you used to fish stripers and bluefish? Where? Cape Cod is the place! You gotta try it once. I'm gonna try it thisyear for the 1st time in a kayak! PJ Looks like DOA is your brand! What about Z-man? They say they're really tough. You folks got some toothy critters so I would think durability comes into play. I'm also w/ you on the Gold spoon. Gold spinnerbaits, yes! Gold spoons, No. Never caught anything on one.This year I will try one just for the heck of it though. Last year,I just used a silver spoon because in the past I've had success w/ silve on stripers and bluefish. I caught alot of Jacks on it. However, I did hook something REALLY big on it! It hit like mack truck. It made a big run and the drag screamed off. I tried to slow him/her down but right after I touched the spool the hook pulled. I never saw the fish and have no idea what it was. That's part of why I like fishing down here. You just never know what's going to be on the end of the line. The lure that I had the best luck with was the Sebile Stick Shadd Suspending 90mm in Blue Chrome. The my last day was my best. I caught a Slam plus 2 other species including a double header on Jacks. All 5species were my personal best. Anyone else have any color suggestions? Black and gold will be on the list. As will white
  • former bluefishinnyformer bluefishinny Posts: 1,492 Officer
    March is good!!! Especially toward end of March! Right now with all this cool weather and rain, it would not be a good time to come! Where about are you heading? I grew up on Staten Island, blues/bass/fluke/tautog etc. Shoot me a PM
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