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It's Time to Take Your Kids Fishing

It's Time to Take Your Kids Fishing It's Time to Take Your Kids Fishing
By Jim Hammond

It seems like they have been buried in the mud or hiding under the oyster mounds. Overnight the small redfish have shown up in numbers like I have not seem in a couple of years. The creeks are teeming with small reds. Almost every oyster mound has from 2 or 3 to 30 reds, waiting for you to send them an offering.

This past week, I have averaged fifty small (rat) reds per day and some days a few trout and flounder to go with the reds. Here are a few ways to find these fish and have a great time with your kids.

1. Scale way down in the size of the tackle that you would normally use to fish for redfish. I normally use a medium light rod and reel to fish the creeks for redfish but this time of the year if you would like to get the most out of the trip, try one of these rigs. Shakespeare Intrepid 3025 reel on an Ugly Stik SPL 1100 4' 8" rod. This is a spinning outfit but if you need to use a push button the I would use the Shakespeare SC Kit. It comes with a rod and reel that are ready to fish.

2. I normally spool the reel with twenty pound test Power Pro, but on this VERY light tackle scale down to ten pound test.

3. For the hook I would use a Jaw Jacker 1/8 ounce lead head, any color will work.

4. Now we need some bait. Here are the two baits that I have had my best success with on these small red fish. Shrimp is by far the all time standby and it works for most fish, as almost everything eats shrimp. Fish Bites has a new flavor/scent out to imitate the shrimp and off course it is called shrimp flavor. I comes in three colors, pink, chartreuse and lime. I have tried all of the colors and they all seem to work well. The advantage Fish Bites has over shrimp, is that the TR's cannot get it off of the hook as easily as shrimp. If you are going to use shrimp, you want them to be about three inches long or if you get big ones, cut them in half. If you are going to use mud minnows, you better get the very small ones.

5. Okay, we have rod and reel, line, hooks and bait, now, where are the fish.

6. Ease into any creek off of the ICW on the last three hours of the outgoing tide or the first three hours of the incoming tide. Find an exposed oyster mound and cast your baited rig along the edge. If they are there you will know right away. If they are not move down to the next one and give it a try.

7. When I find them, I like to put my anchor down, gently, and fish them until they stop biting. If you have found a nice school, you could catch forty or fifty from that one oyster mound or as few as two or three. Most of the time there is at least ten or twelve fish if there are any.

If you are planning to take your kids and now is the time of the year to do that, help them cast, if they need the help. One of the tricks to oyster mound fishing is to have the bait just off of the mound. If they are trying to cast and keep throwing it on the mound or are falling short with their cast, it wont be long before they are frustrated and lose their enthusiasm.

What to do if you should hook a big fish:

One of the reasons that we are using Power Pro is that you can get a lot of it on the reel, much more than mono of the same test. If you hook a nice fish and have a Jaw Jacker jig head and Power Pro line, no problem. Play the fish just as you would as if you had your normal larger outfit. Let the fish run. If you let him run and there are not any obstructions for him to get behind, you should be able to get him in. DO NOT cinch down on the drag. Just play the fish. If you do get him in you might not go back to the normal size tackle that you have been using. I used to fish for big creek reds with four pound class tackle and boated many of them, it just takes a lot longer to play them out and a whole lot more angling skills, especially when they run on the back side of an oyster mound.

Give this a try and you will be surprised how much fun it can be. Email me and let me know how you did.

For charter information please call me at 904 757 7550 or email me at [email protected]. Don't forget to watch my TV show, every Tuesday at 10pm on cable channel 7 in Jacksonville, Clay County and the Beaches and Thursdays at 7:30 pm on channel 22 and 53 in St. Augustine and St. Johns County.

Remember mom and dad, spend some time with your sons and daughters taking them fishing and you will not be looking for them come Friday and Saturday nights, as they will be home in bed waiting to go the next day.

Don't forget to check out my website for other information on fishing this area and charter info at

Christmas is just around the corner and a gift certificate for a day with Capt. Jim might make a good present for someone. They start at only $275. I accept Visa and Master Card or your check.

Starting in January my show that airs in Jacksonville, Tuesday nights at 10:00 pm will air on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm.

Good Fishing
Capt. Jim Hammond

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