TEXAS SURF FISHING – Surf Fishing for Bull Reds in Texas
This Texas Surf Fishing Report from their recent Surfside Jetty Fishing Trip was written by Christopher Deaver of the Texas Shark Fishing Website. Andy, Chris and Oscar went to the Surfside jetty just before Christmas in search of Bull Reds and Black Drum from the Texas Coast. They had a great trip with several monster catches. Surfside Jetty is one of the top texas saltwater fishing locations to catch redfish using blue crab for bait.
Surfside Jetty December 20th Redfish and Drum Trip
With the previous weekends action being so good, we decided to make a short trip this weekend. Got a call from Fishfood and he wanted to head down to Surfside to see what the excitement was all about. Oscar was also interested in coming over and fishing for a few hours. After we got there casted the lines out and got into some nice action once again.
We fished from about midnight to dark the next day. All fish were caught on blue crab. Hope you enjoy the pictures.
Here is a picture of our team mate FISHFOOD on the jetty after midnight with the Freeport Refinery Lights in the Background.
Here is Chris Deaver hooked up on a big black drum.
Here we are releasing air from the fishes air bladder.
This is what a big dum looks like.
Here is another black drum caught on blue crab. This is Texas Surf Fishing at it’s best.
Here is Oscar with a nice full sized bull red he caught out of the jetty channel. Awesome.
Here is Chris with another Black Drum. The Bite Is ON!
Here is Oscar again!
This was a great surf fishing trip. Look forwards to next time.
Shark Fishing 2009
Well it is finally here the 6ft Plus Club Video for 2009! Putting this video together brought back a flood of memories from this past year. I can not say it enough; what an AWESOME year for the members here at TSF.
There were many contributors to the video, new members, old members, members that are no longer here (some that I personally miss), one time posters etc. THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR PARTCIPATION HERE AT TSF! We hope to see you again in 2010!
The members are what make this site so great and without all the members we wouldn’t have “The greatest collection of sharkers in the world!” Please take no offense if I missed one of your sharks it was not done intentionally! Hope you enjoy!!
Submitted by: LaSharkHunter
It’s often said that 10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish. I believe that, especially in winter fishing, and I think there’s a good reason for it. That reason can be summed in one word – preparation. While, we may occasionally make a spontaneous trip to the beach, and have a banner day, most of the time, our success is due to planning and preparation. My typical trip consists of three separate stages.
1. Pre-trip preparation.
2. Actual trip execution, observations and adjustments.
3. Post trip analysis.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
While many reading this article are forced to fish only during very limited times off, as I’ve mentioned before, I am blessed to have a flexible enough schedule to be able to pick my day to fish, at least most of the time. Because of that, I usually start checking several factors at least three to four days ahead of my target time period. The first thing to look at is the long range weather forecasts. I don’t put much stock in these, because they’ll probably change daily, however, it does begin to show me a one or two day window when things might work out. I will then check a couple of wind forecast sites that I’ve found to be reliable most of the time.
* Note that the default measurements for windguru are knots for the wind and meters for the wave heights. You have to toggle to mph and feet.
I will continue to monitor these sites up to the evening before my trip, and sometimes the morning of the trip, if the conditions are still changing. The preferred condition I’m looking for is a day with very light winds from any direction, accompanied by light seas. As an alternative, I will accept a NW wind up to the mid-teens, but only because a wind from that direction is blowing directly from the beach to the water on the beaches where I fish. While the advantage of a stiff offshore wind is that it can add yards to my casts and blows the surf flat, the downside is that it can make for a tiring day of yakking back to the beach after dropping baits.
Following checking the wind forecasts, I check the tides for my target location.
http://www.saltwatertides.com/dynamic.d … sites.html
To me, the tides are the least important factor in the surf, but I like to know what I’m looking at. I’ve had successful trips on every conceivable stage of the tide, and on every possible combination of tides during the course of a day’s fishing. However, the predicted tides may determine some of the decisions I make. For instance, in some of the areas where I fish, the wade gut can be over head deep during an extremely high tide. If I see an extremely high tide predicted, I know to either consider another location, or to plan on yakking out any baits I want past the first bar all day. Likewise, if I’m debating between two days, and one day has neap tides, while the other has at least some tidal movement, I’m probably going to opt for the day with some movement.
So, now based on the weather forecast, the wind forecast and the tide forecast, I’ve decided on what day I’m going to go (assuming work doesn’t jump up and get in the way). What’s next? I’ve got to make certain what the temperature range is going to be. As most of us know, here along the upper Texas coast, a winter day can range from freezing to the 70s, sometimes in the same day. However, let’s assume for the sake of this article that we are looking at a temperature range from a morning low in the 40s to an afternoon high in the 50s on our fishing day. The water temperature is also going to be somewhere in the 50s. That’s about the minimum range this old man will fish in. That temperature range is going to determine my basic choice of clothing for the day. Let me throw in one piece of advice here. Always take about twice as many clothes as you think you might need. The extras won’t hurt anything staying in the truck all day, but if you get cold, they’re sure nice to have.
The key to my winter clothing system is layering. The other key to winter fishing, if there’s any possibility of getting wet, is not wearing anything cotton. In wet and cold conditions, cotton can actually wick heat away from your body. Under the right circumstances, it can be deadly.
My winter wear starts with nylon or polypropylene underwear. Again, no cotton please. Following that comes my Farmer John wetsuit with a 100% polyester fleece shirt over. Next, but not least, comes some type of waterproof and windproof jacket. In my case, I prefer a Frogg Toggs jacket, but others will work as well. I wear this jacket anytime I’m on, or in, the water. Before I wade out to cast, and after fastening the jacket over my other clothes, I secure everything together with a wading belt. Depending on how warm the day might get, and how active I get during the day, I may shed the over shirt or jacket from time to time. One item I have added for this winter is a heavy insulated jacket to put on once I’m back on the beach, if it’s cold enough. The jacket is nylon inside and out so it doesn’t matter if I put it on over wet clothes.
Here’s my basic clothing arsenal.
There is one final aspect of dressing for winter surf fishing, and that’s protection of your extremities. One of the most important areas to consider is the head. Experts say that huge amounts of body heat can be lost from the head. Therefore, I like to wear a watch cap, or other insulated cap. We naturally have to have something on our feet in the winter, and I like neoprene wading or dive boots. The last aspect is the hands. I’ve never liked fishing with gloves, so I don’t normally wear them, but I do keep a couple of pairs handy just in case I need them. I have a pair of neoprene diving gloves and a pair of leather insulated gloves. If I absolutely have to use gloves in a wet environment, such as out in the kayak, I use the neoprenes. Otherwise, I use the non-waterproof gloves. Even better, the fleece over shirt I wear has pockets I can stick my hands into as I need a quick warm up. Also, if my hands get really cold, I can unzip my wetsuit a bit and stick my hands next to my body. That is a wonderful way to get a quick warm up.
Here is another good article on dressing for winter on the water. Although it specifically addresses kayaking, the basics apply as well to surf fishing. Note the various water temperature ranges that have sub-articles.
http://atlantickayaktours.com/pages/exp … ss-1.shtml
So, I’ve chosen my day to fish, and I’ve got my clothes lined out. Now what? Well, I guess I’d better choose a location to fish. I’ll typically be fishing the beach somewhere from Sea Rim State Park to the western part of Bolivar Peninsula. However, that’s about 30 miles of beach to choose from. I’m going to make my decision based on a few criteria.
1. Recent weather
a. If the water temps are exceptionally low for my area, I’m going to consider areas that have muddy bottoms. Muddy bottoms absorb and hold warmth much better than sandy bottoms. In the case of very cold water temps, sometimes those warmer bottoms, and the warmer waters over them, can make all the difference between a successful day and a less sterling day.
b. If we have had a lot of rain recently, I’m going to avoid any beaches near any major passes that are subject to runoff. My favorite beach is relatively near to the Sabine Neches ship channel. Many times, after major rains, I’ve seen the waters around the east end of McFaddin muddy and fresh, while those a few miles farther down the beach at High Island will be green and salty.
2. Recent fishing reports.
a. Nothing beats first hand reports, however, you have to take them with a grain of salt, both for the better or for the worst. Unless you personally know the people fishing, and know them to be usually productive fishermen, a bad report may not tell the true story. We all know some people would get skunked fishing in a barrel of fish. On the other hand, some fishermen can’t resist embellishing their reports. The key is to try to pick up trends. If you see a few decent reports from a particular stretch of beach, it’s probably worth trying. On the other hand, if you see a half dozen bad reports from the same weekend, you might should avoid that beach.
3. Past fishing logs.
a. I’ve kept fishing logs of every trip for years (don’t you?). If I can’t remember what I did at about the same time last year and the year before that, I go to my logs to see.
Okay, so I’ve picked my day, and my beach. There’s one other thing to do before I hit the sand. I need to make sure I’ve got some bait lined up. Fresh wintertime bait can often be hard to gather onsite, so I always take bait with me. If I have frozen mullet or whiting left over from the previous trip, I bring at least enough with me to get me started. If I have plenty frozen, I’ll bring quite a few, but only thaw enough onsite to keep me fishing. I’ll then take any leftovers back home for the next trip. The other thing I normally do is stop along the way and pick up a dozen live crabs. Blue crabs really come into their own as bait during the cool to cold water months. Some days they will be all the fish want to eat. I will also sometimes pick up some bait shrimp when I stop for crabs, but I often rely on FishBites for my bait rod.
So, I’ve completed my pre-trip preparations, now I’m ready to go fishing.
ACTUAL TRIP EXECUTION
Now comes the fun part. The first thing I do after arriving onsite is get my bait rod in the water. I use a double drop leader on my bait rig and bait with pieces of shrimp about the size of my thumbnail, or with FishBites, or a combination of the two. I start the bait rig out in the wade gut. If I see no action there in the first half hour, or so, I’ll start casting farther and farther, until hopefully I find where the fish are. Following setting the bait rod out, I’ll check the wade gut for any bait that might be showing. I might even make a few blind casts with the net, but I don’t usually have much, if any, success with the cast net during the winter. Next I’ll rig the long rods and the kayak. The two yakked rigs will be the first to go out, so they get rigged first. With any luck, by the time I’ve got those two rods and the kayak ready to go, the bait rod has produced a nice whiting for me. If not, I’ll bait one yakked rod with one of my frozen whiting or mullet, and the other yakked rod with a fresh crab. During the winter, I typically drop one bait out about 200 yards and the other 30 to 50 yards farther than that. These will often be the baits that get the most action during the winter.
Incidentally, I usually keep my bait rod in the water while I’m yakking those baits, but I’m very careful to insure that the drag is light enough that the rod won’t be pulled in should something big decide to eat one of those small baits. I’ve caught both bull reds and big uglies on the bait rod. Either one will certainly snatch a rig away if you’re not prepared.
Following the yakked rigs, I cast two more rigs baited in a similar fashion. I will keep my baits divided 50/50 between crabs and fish unless one or the other is getting hit much more often on a given day. While I sometimes put a long rod bait in the wade gut during the summer, I cast all winter baits from the first bar. I will try to cast one farther than the other. All the rigs, whether yakked or casted, are also fanned out from each other to provide as much separation between baits as possible. I like to cover as much ground as I can with my baits.
Here is my typical beach setup.
The two yakked rigs are in the truck rack holders. The bait rod is nearest to the camera, and the two casted rigs are farthest away.
During the fishing day, I continually analyze what’s happening, and adjust as necessary. For instance, if the fish are showing a decided preference for one type of bait over another, I’ll bait an additional rod with that bait. If the fish seem to be hanging at a particular distance off the beach, I’ll put an additional rod out that distance. One thing I will not do is relocate. I know people who will give up on a location and either move or quit and go home if they haven’t caught a fish in two or three hours. I’ve had many trips where I had no action for several hours, then caught several fish in the next hour or two. Once I’m onsite, I’m committed for the day.
One thing I want to specifically mention is the way the fish often take baits in the winter. During the warm weather, and warm water, months, we sometimes assume that our sharks and bull reds are going to pick up a bait and head for Cuba as fast as they can. We all love the sound of those screaming runs. We often have a different ball game in the winter. While some fish will still take off on a screaming run, many more will take the bait much more timidly. It is not unusual to have a fish do one of two things. Some will simply bounce the rod tip a few times, almost like you have a hardhead working on the bait. On some of these fish, if you wait them out, they will eventually eat the bait and move off. Others will lay out there and work on the bait until it’s gone, especially if the bait is a crab. I will usually opt to pick up the rod and feel for the fish. If I continue to feel them working on the bait, I’ll attempt to set the hook. I’ll hook up the majority of the time. The other thing the fish will often do is start dropping slack. Sometimes the drop will be subtle, but other times they’ll be running beachward so fast it’s hard to catch up with them. In either case, I’ll reel up to them and pause. If they continue to drop slack, I’ll reel tight again and set the hook. If when I reel tight the first time I don’t feel them, I’ll wait for them to do something else. Usually, they’ll eventually either resume dropping slack, or they’ll turn around and head in the other direction. Again, the biggest danger is letting them fool around with the bait long enough to strip it. In either case, the key is continually watching your rods. Even subtle clues can lead to fish on the beach, if you’re paying attention.
If the plan comes together, there will be plenty of action to make it worthwhile, but even if I just catch a couple of fish, I’ve had a fun day.
POST TRIP ANALYSIS
Once back home, I log my trip and use the opportunity to analyze what happened during that day. I try to note any significant details, no matter how small because they may help me next year, or the year after.
Well, there you have it. This is certainly not the only way to approach winter surf fishing, but it’s worked very well for me for years. Hopefully it will work for you too.
Article by: bigfost
Using Surgical Tubing for Long Distance Power Casting
Power casting several ounces of weight on a surf rod with a conventional reel requires that you get a good grip on the spool so that it doesn’t slip under your thumb before you get to the release point. This simple fact never caused me any trouble when casting on the field but it give me fits when I went to the beach. Its a lot harder to keep the spool from slipping when your thumb and line are wet. Here’s one way to deal with the problem.
Take a piece of 3/8 inch surgical tubing and cut it to about 6 inches long. Make a cut half way through about 3/8 of an inch from one end. Slide the rear portion of your reel foot through the hole in the tubing.
Mount the reel on your rod. Now you can grip the spool with your thumb using the tubing as a non-slip thumb pad.
When you cast, just release the spool as you normally do and the tubing flops back and out of the way.
This tip made all the difference for me and I hope it helps someone else.
Submitted by: BLUTICK
Catching Red Drum
Jason, and I decided to meet up on McFaddin beach today to try for some more bull reds. As you can see, the conditions were much better than they were on my last trip. Today we had light winds and very light surf. We had no idea that we in for such a treat.
I got there about an hour before Jason, and started trying to make bait. There was nothing showing in the surf, so I put out the bait rod with shrimp and Fish Bites. While those were soaking, I rigged the two rods to be yakked out. One was baited with a crab, and the other with a whole frozen mullet. Just about the time I got them rigged, the bait rod produced a nice whiting, but I decided to save it for one of the casted rods. After yakking the first two rods out, both baits got eaten within 30 minutes.
The yakked rods produced most of my fish today.
I continued to work the bait rod, picking up the occasional whiting, croaker and sand trout. I also got the two casted rods out with a crab and a whiting head.
The whiting head finally got eaten after an hour or more.
The crab wasn’t getting any action at all on my casted rod, so I changed it out for a croaker head that was eaten pretty quickly by a little red that may have just barely been out of the slot. By that time Jason had shown up and was catching a few fish, but I’ll let him tell his story.
By late morning, and especially into afternoon, the yakked baits were producing pretty steadily. I was spending enough time catching fish, yakking baits back out, catching baits, etc., that I didn’t take many more pictures. Here’s one from somewhere during that time.
Incidentally, by afternoon, pretty much all the fish wanted was crab, and the bite was getting pretty hot. Both Jason and I were catching fish on just about every crab we put out, although I did manage to miss a few in the process. I eventually ran out of crabs and just put my rods up and watched Jason catch fish. By that time, I was pretty beat. I didn’t sit down for the first time all day until almost 5:00.
I ended the day with 10 reds and could have undoubtedly caught more if I hadn’t decided to quit for the day. Jason continued to catch fish right up to dark when we both decided to leave the beach to the mosquitoes.
It was another fabulous day at McFaddin beach – possibly the best bull red beach in the state of Texas.
I arrived about 10:45am.,and Jim already had a few on the beach. As Jim stated, the conditions were very nice. Got set-up and looked over to see Jim bowed up.
Jim caught a couple more, and then I got in on the action.
I casted all my baits today,and it was a little slow for me over the first few hours. Jim consistently found fish approx. 200 yards off the beach on yakked baits. In the afternoon, I started finding them in the first gut.
I had a screaming run on whole crab. The fish felt heavy and was.
44" 38# Red
BigFost beaching another…….
Crab was getting hit before I could get the rod in the holder.
And I finished the day off with a Bull Black Drum
I finished the day with 8 Bull Reds and 1 Black Drum. Between us, we caught 18 Bull Redfish and 1 Big Ugly….. Jim, I had a great time fishing with you. We stayed busy all day, catching bait,keeping fresh bait out, and Jim yakking his lines…………..
Article by: bigfost and BigUgly
Jigging for Amberjacks
By 5:15AM, the boats pushed off the loading ramps and under a clear sky with the constellation “Orion” above us, the Metal Militia quietly made their way to the battle ground
With most of the activity for AJ jigging taking place when the sun comes out, we chose to troll a bit in the morning for Wahoo as the bite has been VERY good in the past few days. Unfortunately for us, the bite was non-existent However towards the end of the troll, we did run into a gang of Mini Mahi which provided some fun action to start off the morning for us….but we didn’t come here for that. We came for BIG Amberjack. Off to the spot we go….
On our first spot, Glenn immediately hooks up. The day has begun!! I quickly hook up after Glenn and after both fish are released, we drop back down again without any rest and get hooked into 2 more fish! Not before long, Nick gets tight and lands his first AJ into the boat! Great start Nick to the FANTASTIC day of AJ jigging you had! Brian also hooks into his first AJ of the day and before you know it, a nice 40lb AJ cracks the ice for Brian!
We continued to move from one area to another while constantly putting solid 50-60lb’ers on the boat and then we hit Godzilla-world. On Nick’s 2ND AJ EVER…. his Saragosa is just screamin’ …his JM400 rod bent over and when we finally see color…we all know this is a VERY LARGE FISH! After a few pics, the fish tapes out to be 54 inches long (at the tail fork) and 34 inches in girth It’s so amazing to see the size of the heads’ of these BIG AJs…they look fake …..well that just fueled the fire for me, Glenn and Brian…game on biatch!!
With the energy of competition and AJ blood on the deck of the boat, we all started to jig with a purpose. Chip positions the boat again at the top of the drift and without any notice Nick, Glenn and I triple up!!! Awesome! After several agonizing minutes of swearing and cussing….three 70lb AJs are brought onboard!!! woohoo! Biggest fish I’ve ever caught…..so far
Well, Nick screams over to Brian to get his butt up, he couldn’t stand not being in the triple hook up, so he decides to drop his jig…moments later…his Daiwa 6500 Saltiga reel start SCREAMIN for 40 seconds straight. QUAD HOOKUP! After a good initial 5 minute fight, Brian’s line popped and we all knew that was a BIG fish. But that didn’t stop Brian from re-rigging immediately after the rest of us 3 landed all of our AJs. So Brian drops again and BAM, a looong 15-20 minute fight, he lands a 90lbs AJ! He takes the lead!!! The fish measured out to 56? Fork Length and 33? girth. A BIG 95-100lb AJ! Now Brian is in the lead!!! Way to go my southern Korean brother from another mother
And then….it happened.
Glenn hooked into a fish that felt like it was dead weight….for the first 20 seconds …AND Glenn even said it wasn’t a big fish!!! ….then it was ON like Donkey Kong! For 25-30 minutes Glenn was at a stalemate. We all knew it was a BIG fish when Glenn couldn’t even move his Shimano Blue Rose and Stella 20000 from the underarm position upwards….it looked like he was just stuck it was soo heavy. So finally, we see color and we all go crazy…at deep color the AJ already looks enormous. By the time it was on top of the surface we all knew Glenn did it. He landed a 120lbs+ AJ and it was a GIANT. The thing looked like a friggin’ dinosaur! The fish ended up being the largest of the trip and measured out to 63? Fork Length and 36? Girth 70 inches overall!!! Arlen contested that the fish was easily over 120lbs and that’s coming from the guy that caught a 100lbs AJ on our last trip.
**Glenn, I’m so proud of you man. I’m so happy I was there to see your accomplish your goal of AJ jigging down in NC. Words cannot express how happy I was for you….AND YOU FINALLY SMILED IN YOUR PICS!!! **
Soon after the highlight of Glenn’s weekend, I hooked into another Big fish. On a Hots Fake Lez rod and a Stella 8000, it took me 30 minutes to land this fish which ended up taping out to 52? Fork Length and 32? girth. A solid 80lb’er. My biggest fish (not sharks lol) ever to date. I was thrilled!
I was only broken off 2 times yesterday where 2 unstoppable AJs just took my stella 8000 to the max and ended up cutting me off on structure. The other jigs were donated to the Wahoo Free Charitable Foundation
After seeing Glenn’s dinosaur, Brian wanted a 100lb AJ cuz he and Chip didn’t think his last BIG AJ hit the 100lb mark ….which was ONLY hovering in the 90lb range. So he dropped his Nagamasa jig again and I swear, it was like Babe Ruth point towards to the stands in Yankee stadium. A good 25 minute fight ensued and Brian’s biggest AJ was landed. It taped out to 57.5? tail fork and 36? girth. It was an easy no brainer…. that fish was a 100lb’er…solid. It was amazing. If I ask for a million dollars, could I have it? Cuz I would spend the couple of hundred bucks fishing with Arlen and Chip again to get MY 100lb AJ! haha
We also filled the box with some nice Scamp Grouper which both Nick and Glenn jigged up. yummy!
All in all, Saturday was the BEST day of jigging I’ve ever had with such LARGE class fish. Most of our fish on our previous trip was anywhere between 40-60lbs with a few 70lb’ers and a rare 80lb’er or so. On this trip, the class of fish we were landing were steadily into the 60-80lb range with the occasional 90 and 120+ lber!!!! Insane! By the end of the day, we had all landed several 50+ inch (at tail fork) AJs into the boat and the weather could not have been more beautiful. Calms sees with a nice breeze (unlike last trip, right Tony ) made it for a great day to jig offshore in the gulfstream.
And as per usual, Chip was a fantastic guy to fish with. Funny as all hell and KNOWS the spot to hammer on these Big Dawg AJs. It was my utmost pleasure to fish with Nick, finally, after hanging with each other and talking about fishing so much! lol As well as Brian (kidflex) who is a VERY cool guy and a lucky SOB for catching that 100lb AJ RIGHT AFTER you catch that nice ~95lb’er! I wish I had more time to spend with Brian because his funny personality is just contagious and you just want to laugh all the time when you hang out with Brian.
We ended the day with a fantastic dinner at the Front Street Micro Brewery where we recapped the days events on both boats as well as meeting Sami and his crew which were going to fish on Sunday for their crack at the 100lb mark. It was like having dinner with 14 of your dearest friends in a random restaurant in NC….all just because we all have a passion for fishing…and jigging slob AJ’s in general
Capt Chip Baker
Chip getting in on some action
Al with a nice fish. Jigging Master belt
Nick and Glenn – notice Glenn’s AJ blood warpaint!
Nick licking the AJ eyeball. A jigfest tradition
Nick hooked up
Glenn and Brian resting before the battle!
Al fighting a fish
Nick with a nice fish
Doug with a nice fish
Brian with an 85lber
Jersey Brian with a 100lber
Chip laughing as Brian can’t pic the big boy up!
NOW HERE COMES THE FREAK!!!!!!
Submitted by: bretabaker
Shark Identification: Sandbar vs. Bull
The cold weather usually brings Sandbar Sharks and it might be useful to have an article handy for easy identification. The most commonly mistaken shark with Sandbars is the Bull shark.
-Much larger heads with blunt and round snouts
-Smaller differently shaped dorsal fins
-Do not have an interdorsal ridge.
Here’s a picture of a bull shark. Notice the big fat head!
EDIT: Here is another shot of a 6′ bull showing the shape of the head and snout.
-Have pointier snouts
-Tall over-sized triangularly shaped dorsal fins. They look like sails.
-They have a defined interdorsal ride, which is a ridge of skin going down their back in between their two dorsal fins.
Here is a picture of one of Jake’s nice Sandbars
Here is one where you can see the ridge and the much more pointy snout.
Here is the close up. There is a ridge of skin that goes from the first to second dorsal.
EDIT: Two pictures that show the shape of the snout of a Sandbar from another angle.
Article by: Matzy
Flounder Fishing Tips
Where to Find Flounder and What to Look For:
Generally when I am looking for flounder I try to find areas that have water movement and bait in the area. It is generally best to try to target flounder around the tide changes and fish throughout the tidal movement.
I like to look for areas where flounder will generally like to lay and ambush their prey. Since flounder are more of an ambush predator then a active hunter they will find areas that suit these attributes best. One area that I like to look for is bulkheads.
Bulkheads provide a place for flounder to lay up against and position themselves in the current in deeper water and wait for bait to come swimming along the bulk head using it as cover.
I also look for areas that have a lot of cover like pilings.
The pilings provide a great area for flounder to stay in cover that also hold bait really well.
The area that I look for most is the most difficult to find, its mud flat areas that come up from deep channels. These areas seem to be staging areas for flounder when they are running where they come up on the edge of the channel into the mudflat.
Slope banks can also be a very productive area as long as they tend to have some kind of structure around them.
Rigs to use for Flounder:
The type of rig that I use depends greatly on the type of area that I am fishing. For mudflat or areas that do not have many snags areas I tend to use a tandem rig rigged up one of two ways. The first is a double gulp rig with the first leader rigged about 6 inches off the swivel with the trailer about 18 inches back off the swivel. For this just use your favorite gulp or soft plastic. The second is rigged up the same way but the trailer is a treble hook baited with a finger mullet or mud minnow. With both of these rigs I tend to work it pretty fast. I let the bait hit the bottom and start bouncing it back (as soon as it hits bottom bounce it again not letting it on the bottom). Generally with the double gulp rig I wait about 15 seconds before I set the hook. It seems with artificials when they hit they generally have it good enough. With the tandem rig with the mullet or mud minnow trailer I will wait for up to 2 minutes before I set the hook. I do this because with live bait they tend to grab it and hold it for a little bit before swallowing it good.
My favorite rig that I use is a red and white curly tail on a 1/8th oz jig head tipped with a live finger mullet.
I use this rig to try to catch my bigger flounder and in areas they have a lot of hang-ups. Work this rig fairly fast. I tend to let it only hit bottom for a split second if at all. Once I fell the bite I will let the flounder have it for up to 2 minutes. Again I do this because they tend to grab the bait but not get it in their mouth very good. Wait until you at least fill a second gulp or thump. Don’t be afraid to put some pressure on the fish, trying to slide the flounder a little. I don’t know why but it seems to make them mad and swallow the bait faster.
I always use a 50 lb leader while fishing for flounder, because they have teeth and can work their way through a light leader and break you off.
You can cast out live finger mullet and let it sit and you will probably catch a few flounder, but it just never made much since to me to do this because they are a fish that generally waits for their meal to come to them.
15 caught on mudflat with tandem rig with mud minnow trailed in an hour and a half.
8 caught on a red and white curly tail tipped with finger mullet along bulkhead and sloped bank area.
25 1/8 inch 8lb 1 oz compared to a 15 inch flounder caught on red and white curly tail tipped with finger mullet on a sloped bank.
12 averaging 3.5 lbs caught by me and a buddy on a sloped bank using red and white curly tail tipped with a finger mullet.
2 5 pounders caught on a red and white curly tail tipped with finger mullet.
10 fish limit averaging 3.5 lbs caught on red and white curly tails tipped with finger mullet on sloped paving.
Article by: fish-n-agg
Catching Spanish Mackerel
Spanish Mackerel are torpedo shaped, high speed, predatory fish that are great sport to catch on light tackle. They can be caught from the beach, pier, or kayak and are fun no matter how you catch them.
I use a medium light spinning outfit with a 7’ rod with 10lb test mono or 20lb test braid. It gives you plenty of power to handle the biggest Spanish Mackerel and other common by catch species.
Using fresh or live shrimp, finger mullet or virtually any other baitfish free lined or chunked out on bottom will readily produce hard hits from voracious Spanish Mackerel. As much as live bait is a sure thing for catching Smacks so are quickly retrieved artificials including spoons, various hard and soft jigs, and my favorite, topwater poppers. Go to Mackerel lures are Gotcha Plugs(especially from a pier or kayak where water is deep), Krockodile and Kastmaster spoons, and Rapala skitter pops. Topwater lures tend to work more effectively in the hours around dawn and dusk and when the sky is cloudy. Depending on the day the retrieve speed and presentation may vary a little bit but it is a safe bet to work your lure in a fast erratic motion that will draw instinctive strikes.
Mackerel have very sharp teeth so using heavy monofilament or fluorocarbon leader is a necessity no matter if you are using bait or lures. You can also add a small 6 inch trace of thin wire to help prevent cut offs but I personally prefer to fish with heavy fluorocarbon. A typical fish finder rig with a 2ft section of 50-100lb mono or fluorocarbon attached to a small swivel and a 4/0-6/0 circle hook and a weight sliding on your mainline is a sure way to fish using bait. If you are fishing from a pier free lining live baits without a weight using the same rig is a go to way to produce.
When fishing artificial lures I use the same rig without a weight but sometimes I exclude the ball bearing swivel because the mackerel tend to even hit the swivel when they are in a frenzy. When they are feeding heavily you could put a treble hook on a key chain and throw it out there and expect to hook up immediately. If they are blitzing like that, tie a uni-uni knot and from your mainline to your leader and you are ready to fish. Although, I can’t make any promise that they won’t hit the knot either!
Go out and give fishing for Spanish Mackerel a try!
Article by: Matzy