How To


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finding the Secret Creeks

I remember vividly the day I discovered the pleasure of fishing water with current. One day, on a whim, I took my boys—they were very young then—to the Santa Fe River north of Gainesville. We found gin-clear springs spaced perfectly for swim breaks. Eel grass waved in the current. Silver mullet darted, while golden shiners and snails slowly foraged on the algae growing on the blades of grass.

Bait struggling against a float rings the dinner bell for dolphin. The float itself may be an appetizer of sorts.

Fishing a Float Offshore

I’m convinced that pegging a foam cork about four feet above a live bait is one of the best tactics for mixed-bag drift-fishing on the summer ocean.

FLSP-150800-Fly-01

Counter-Current Casting

This “current-countering” cast is ideal whether you’re casting from the opposite bank on a narrow creek, or from a stationary boat on bigger water. It helps around docks, and is useful when surf fly fishing, too, where waves or longshore current tends to sweep your fly down the beach too quickly.

hullcleaner

Removing Hull Stains

If you leave your boat in the water for extended periods of time, or even just run in dirty waters, you’ll find yourself dealing with a stubborn yellowish stain from the waterline down. Freshwater and soap won’t even make a dent in removing this discoloration. Having the right cleaner will make the job painless.

redfish-grass-canoe

The Grass Anchor

Spoil the reed and spare the fish. Let’s face it. Dropping even the smallest anchor in a tidal creek or wilderness canal can turn off the fish. Whether it’s the splash, or simply because fish sense your presence, they can be frightened by anchors, particularly in tight quarters.

cast

Video Your Cast for Better Results

Recently, an expert from a national outdoors company came to Tampa to teach fly casting. He used a video camera on a tripod to show casters their mistakes. The novelty was showing casters their errors, hoping they’d be motivated and capable of correcting them.

lake eden

Wi-Fi Sonar Logging

Marine Wi-Fi technology has some clear utility for owners of large vessels. Say you’re down in the crew cabin, and you want to look at navigation data or a camera view of the cockpit. No sweat. With a network Wi-Fi hub, such as the Simrad GoFree or Raymarine RayControl, you can turn your phone or tablet into a remote Multi Function Display that lets you look at, and even control, your chartplotter, camera—or anything else that runs through your network.

roffs

Finding the Blue Water

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.

canepole

Un-Reel, Cane Pole Fishing

Besides that, sometimes it’s just fun to shed the gadgets and drift back to basics. Relax. Kick your shoes off. Set a spell and harken back to a simpler time.

seth casting

Presenting a Fly

You’re on the flats, hunting. You’ve spotted a fish, or perhaps a school. What you do in the next 60 seconds determines whether you taste the thrill of victory, or the agony of defeat.

FLSP-090500-semboat-02

Reach for the Top

How a T-top makes the boat. T-top offers shelter, an unobstructed deck and a platform to carry an array of electronics, antennas, rod holders, outriggers and overhead storage.

flounder

Rigs for Catching Flounder

Flounder—the southern and Gulf varieties— are the ultimate bottom-dwellers, shuffling into sand or mud to lie in ambush. Flatties, or “doormats” when they get big, like their meals low and tight, so you’ll do best to keep a tempting bait in their zone.

bt

Beach Shark Break-Away Weight

A modification to a popular block-weight system has helped us catch more fish without leaving unnatural gear in the water.

red 13 r jim mccully 8

Fishing the Edges for Redfish

Haines made a long strip, resulting in a good hookset, then raised his rod as the fish powered back onto the oyster-laden mud flat. Playing his fish with the line in his hand, Haines brought the fish safely to the boat for release. We hoped for another shot, but the school of reds had simply disappeared.

blazer

Getting the Most from Power Anchors

It was easy to see the advantage of the device immediately, but I’d guess even Oliverio at that time had no idea just how successful the product would become. Not only are power anchors now standard equipment on all well-equipped flats boats, but most tournament bass boats sport a pair of them on the transom.

Backing on litespeed

Fly Line Backing

Since fly line backing can cost only pennies per foot, the function of taking up space is cheaper with backing. Most importantly, backing helps you catch fish. In Florida, we grow fish that require long casts and that run when struck with the hook. They will bring your backing to hand and make you glad that you paid attention to it.