The Gulf of Mexico is a hard place to fish offshore. You have to travel upwards of a hundred miles to get to 100 fathoms, if you live in the Big Bend or south towards the Tampa area. The Panhandle, you are a lot closer to the deep water, but also a lot closer to that huge muddy river to the west.
In this FS Seminar, Rick Ryals shows us that heading offshore for tasty bottom creatures doesn’t always require picking up frozen baits or stopping to throw the net or sabiki rig, it can be as easy as grabbing a pack of scented soft plastic lures.
Florida Sportsman member: Bigchocolatelab Broke the jetty’s to light NE winds and pretty seas. Plan for the day was to load up on white baits and fish deep. Found all the bait we wanted at the barge and pointed her east. Arrived in 160 feet and didn’t see much on bottom. We dropped lines anyways and found bite to be sluggish at first. Finally found the fish and managed to get on an incredible drift.
In this FS Seminar, Rick Ryals tells us what the most important things are to consider when selecting the right hook for the job. Ryals explains which hooks are best for live bait and dead baits, and the key differences and advantages of using j-hooks and circle hooks.
One of the keys to successful live bait fishing is matching the size and style hook to the bait you fish. Regardless of whether you catch or buy your bait, baits vary in size from trip to trip. That’s why we’ve developed a hook box system so that we are always prepared to find the right hook for the bait at hand and the species of fish that we are targeting.
No fish in the sea is immune to the lure of fresh menhaden. If menhaden ranged throughout Florida, I’m convinced they would top every angler’s list of best baits. These fish are oily, reflective and loaded with energy. From the backwaters to the beaches, they’re a top menu item for a huge variety of gamefish, from seatrout to sailfish.
Florida Sportsman member: mahiwahi Several casts in I hooked a fish and it went flying into the air. I thought I had foul hooked a bonita but my friend yelled “it’s a dolphin”. Since it’s January I was in disbelief but as it got closer and I saw yellow I knew he was right.
There is one time where we always include a swivel in our wind-on leader system: when we are chunking dead bait for yellowfin tuna. Unlike all of the other wind-on leader applications such as trolling and live baiting, retrieving chunked dead bait can cause severe twist in your main line and leader. To help reduce line twist, we connect the wind-on leader to the main line with a high quality barrel swivel.
Florida Sportsman Member: KayakMacGyver The next spot had an absolute incredible show of fish on the bottom. As quick as we could get a bait to the bottom, our rods were getting doubled over. HUGE sow snapper, one after the other. In between the snapper, we caught a few red grouper and a healthy stock of sea bass.
An often fast-paced and highly visual pursuit, snaring mangroves within a rod length of the transom defines “cool,” but it’s also practically advantageous. Normally, when a guy tells me my fishing day will involve glass minnows and pompano jigs, I assume we’re talking flats and beaches.
Many of the largest swordfish of the year are caught as they migrate through our waters in winter. Each year as the weather turns cold, Florida east coast anglers begin targeting sailfish as they migrate south with each passing cold front. When chasing sailfish, the best fishing usually occurs on the leading edge of the cold front when the wind is blowing the hardest and the seas are rough.
Fishing kites withstand a lot of abuse, but over time components may fail. Even the most experienced kite fisherman occasionally dunks a kite, and now and then a strut, string or crosspiece breaks. At least for recovered kites, there’s a good chance it will fly again. Torn ones won’t, but can be kept for parts. Here are some ways to save your kites.
High-leaping Atlantic sails gather at the northern end of Sailfish Alley in early winter. Ft. Pierce, at the north end of Sailfish Alley, heats up when temperatures drop. A walk down Fort Pierce docks reads like a Who’s Who list of sailfish chasers.
The way a live bait is rigged when trolling can make a world of a difference when it comes to the way the bait swims through the water. Florida Sportsman’s Rick Ryals explains a few simple techniques that will get your bait swimming the right way, depending on they type of fishing you want to do.