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Florida Fishing - As Winter Approaches

Florida Fishing - As Winter Approaches Florida Fishing - As Winter Approaches
By Jim Hammond

Hurricanes are gone, summer is winding down and the cooler weather is here. This as you all know, brings fish together in tight schools.

Last week, I had the pleasure of finding two massive schools of trout and were they ready for my offering. The first day, I was chunking and winding a MirrOlure prop bait. I started by going to a place that usually produces good numbers of trout this time of the year. I eased up close tot he the area that I wanted to fish shut off my Honda 225 and slipped my Minn Kota 3-X trolling motor into the water for that stealthy approach. My rig consisted of a 7 foot Shakespeare medium action rod, a small Pflueger spinning reel, 10 pound test Power Pro and for the bait I was throwing a MirrOlure prop bait.

Click here to purchase the MirrOlure prop bait.

I like to get as far away from my targeted area as I can possibly get and still make the cast. I do this because I believe if you can stay as far away from the fish as possible, you will have a better chance of NOT spooking them.

The outfit that I mentioned above will give you that edge that you need to make extremely long cast to where the fish live.

I usually turn the trolling motor on as low a speed as will allow me to move down the shoreline with the boat parallel to the edge. If you have a little wind and it blows the rear of the boat either towards or away from the shoreline, you can turn your outboard toward the shore to get the back of the boat closer or away from the shore to get the back of the boat farther away from the edge.

When making my cast, I usually throw a little ahead of the boat so as the boat moves down the edge, I am working my bait straight back towards me instead of dragging it behind the boat.

Now for the hard part: The fish never seem to want the presentation the same as the last time you were in this spot, so you have to experiment. What I mean by this, is experiment with your retrieval back to the boat. Some days they want it fast, some days slow, some days work it then pause it, some days work it then jerk it and so on. Once you have established a pattern, you should have good success in that area for the rest of the tide.

I like to start with my cast right up on the edge of the shoreline and as soon as it hits the water, I start with my working it back to the boat. I usually twitch the bait and move it back towards me about 3 or 4 inches and continue this type of action for a few minutes or until I get a strike.

NOW, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: When you get a strike, DO NOT pull back on the lure until you feel the rod double over. If the fish strikes the lure and does not get hooked up and you yank on the lure, you will usually pull it several feet away from the fish and most of the time the fish will lose the lure and you will not catch that one. Imagine, you are under the water and you see a bait twitching on the surface. You swim rapidly towards the bait and strike at it. You miss it and it is gone, three, four or ten feet away and no longer making twitching vibrations in the water. You have lost that bait and move on to find another.

When I have a strike, and the fish is not hooked up, which happens a bunch. I leave the lure in this spot and just twitch my rod tip or continue to move it slowly. I know it is difficult not to rare back and set the hook on a top water strike but bite your tongue and do as I have described. Even Roland Martin has a hard time with this but just try my way and you will be surprised.

Here is another little trick. Take another rod and tie on an Exude Rt Slug or a Sea Striker Trout Killer with just a Daiichi Copperhead hook through the bait. Leave this rod laying next to you and be ready to cast to the spot where the strike occurred. As the lure sinks, the fish might think that he damaged the bait and it is now sinking and he will come over and suck it up. This is a very effective way to get fish in the boat that keep missing the top water lure.

You have to use this on light line or you will not be able to make a cast that is long enough.

This is also a great combination to throw into the flooded grass, as it is weedless.

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