Monday, May 6, 2013

Some Wading Thoughts…

Like my buddy Mark Hightower says, “It’s all about the hit”. It’s what keeps fisherman out all day and some of us up all night even when the bite is not red hot. I am one of those guys that is always looking for a new lure to catch fish on and enjoy the challenge of trying to get an uninterested fish interested.
Right now the trout bite is heating up in the Indian River so I decided to take my new 7’2’’ Juno Custom Rod up to the flats and break her in. When wading you are limited on the amount of tackle you can bring with you, so bringing a few different lures for a few different situations is a must. Local knowledge of what the fish are doing is important but as with anything you never know what kind of mood the fish will be in until you get out there. There are a few standards that everyone should bring with them everytime they wade fish the Indian River. The D.O.A shrimp (with the glass rattles), a topwater plug, a suspending jerkbait, and your favorite 3-4” shad tail with a few different jigheads. Matching the hatch is key but most of the places I fish have a little bit of every type of bait and you never know what the fish will be keyed in on at that time. The bass fishing market is the largest market in the fishing industry and should not be over looked when it comes to trying something different. I will go over some of the products that have “saved the day” for me, and how to fish them.
The first is Gamblers Flapn’ shad on a ¼ to ½ oz jighead depending on wind, current, depth etc. I am using a 3000 size spinning reel with 10 lb braid, 3’ of 15-20 lb fluorocarbon, and a 7’6’’ Juno Custom Rod with a fast action. The reason for the fast tip is simple, better hookset when the fish hits. With this set-up I am not wasting any time setting the hook. The fish hits, I reel the slack and give a quick, short, jab in one motion keeping the rod in place until the fish turns and I feel the hook penetrate. Ok, so how do you get the hit in the first place? There is not one answer to this question but the retrieve that has been most successful for me is a simple reel, pause, reel, pause. Experiment with the retrieve, sometime a little twitch in the retrieve is all it takes to get that bite.
The next bait that will take a seemingly uneventful day and turn it into a high fives and a car ride home where all you can say is, “I can’t believe how big that trout was!” is Yum’s Money Minnow. I am using this on the same reel, line, and leader but the rod I prefer for this type of fishing is a 7’2’’ Juno Custom Rod with a medium to medium fast action, and you guessed it the action is different because the hookset is different. I am using the 5’’ Money Minnow rigged with Owner’s 5167w twistlock weedless hook. This has been the best weedless hook for this application that I have found. When there are pods of mullet running for their lives on the flats nothing will get that big trout to come out of her home to eat like a slow, wobbling, easy to catch mullet imitation. This hookset is different then the one I use with the Flapn’ Shad, the retrieve of the lure is the same just slower. I keep the rod tip at about 40 degrees and when the fish shoots out of the grass and grabs the lure I do nothing at first, itself back in the grass and the rod is loaded, when you are 100 percent the fish is sitting still in the grass slowly and evenly apply more and more pressure on the fish until you ‘’feel’’ the hook penetrate. You want to keep firm pressure on the fish in the beginning of the fight because when done properly the hook point will find its way into the meaty part of the trouts cheek (not the easiest place to bury the hook with a lighter rod). Palming the spool during the initial hookset is not a bad idea, the fish will shake its head when she feels the hook and constant to increasing pressure plus the head shake will seal the deal when it comes to driving the hook home.
Written By:
                                      Eric Gates
                            Juno Bait Shop Manager
                     Land Based Light Tackle Fishing Guide

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