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Author Topic: Choosing the RIGHT artificial lure! Part III by Ameshell  (Read 581 times)

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Choosing the RIGHT artificial lure! Part III by Ameshell
« on: March 03, 2013, 05:01:02 PM »
The “Dog Days” of summer are here! Most people choose to fish really early in the morning or late in the evening because of the heat. This is totally understandable! Then there are those of us that just can’t go in if the possibility of the biggest fish you ever caught is waiting at the end of your next cast! In this article I will discuss fishing the heat in saltwater.

During most of the year, the fish are predictable and you can always seem to trick one somehow, somewhere. When the surface water temperature reaches 85 degrees though, the game changes! Like most people, fish don’t like HOT water. The oxygen level gets low, and they cannot take it for very long. People often ask "Well, how do fish live on the flats and such like you see on TV?" My answer is "They don’t". It tends to shock people to hear that most of those shows are shot over several days and clipped together to make one show. The fish you see on TV in the shallows in the middle of summer are feeding. The part they do not show you is the deep channel or cut that borders where they are fishing. The fish will come up out of the channels on an incoming or high tide to feed and then back to the deeper water.

Fishing this time of year is not easy and not for the impatient but the rewards can be great for those that stick it out! One thing to always keep in the back of your mind when fishing with artificial lures is ‘Match the Hatch’. You ask "How do you do that when nothing is hatching?" Simple, watch the bait that is moving around! In saltwater, it doesn’t usually take long to figure out the size of the bait, especially if you are in an area with plenty of mullet. This time of year, the baits are going to be fairly big. With this being the case, it also means that the target fish do not have to eat as much to fill up. This in turn means the ‘bite’ will not last as long as usual. This also means that to catch a fish that is not actively feeding, you will have to entice her with something she cannot refuse.

The bait you choose is never more important than on these days! The size of bait you will want to start with should be 5” to 8” in length. My first choices are Sea Shads or Sand Eels by Assassin. The color you choose should match the water, dark water=dark bait! Something with a Chartreuse tail is always a plus. Don’t waste your time throwing top waters or suspending baits unless you are fishing early or late when the water is cooler. Choose a jig head that is atleast 1/8oz. I prefer 1/4oz during these conditions. The reason I say 1/4oz is this, you are going to want your bait to stay close to the bottom. That’s where the fish are going to be! Remember, the first secret to catching fish is to ‘fish where the fish are!’ Another reason I use the 1/4oz over the 1/8oz is so that when I jig the bait up and let it fall, the heavier jig head will make a small disturbance on the bottom causing the mud or sand to move and make it look like something is digging into the bottom to hide or eat. The fish may be full, but they will not pass up an easy meal!

Finding the fish is not so hard, it’s the catching them that is tough! First, if you have a water temperature gauge in your boat, find a place where the water is at least five degrees cooler than the average. The size of the area isn’t as important as the temperature.

For those that do not have a temperature gauge but have a depth finder, the best place for you to start is on the edges of channels. The ideal areas will have scattered shell and go from 2-3ft and drop to atleast 6-8ft. Fishing these areas can be a challenge in itself. The direction and strength of the wind and tide will determine the angle of attack. If possible, you will want to fish these areas retrieving the bait from shallow area to the deep area.

When fishing in tough conditions like this, pay close attention to where your bait is and imagine what it looks like while you are working it. You will want to do this also so that when you do get a hit, you need to remember where she hit at and what you were doing to entice her to hit. The technique that works best for me is to let the bait sit for a few seconds after the initial cast. Give the bait 2 or 3 good jigs to pull it off the bottom and ‘bounce’ it in the open water. Then let the bait fall in order to create that disturbance on the bottom again. Let the bait sit for a couple of seconds. With the next move, you do NOT want the bait to leave the bottom. I do one of two different things from here. First, I will put pressure on the bait and just kind of drag it along the bottom about 6” at a time. Then second, I will give my rod several small twitches so that the bait is sitting still but moving. When doing either of these, I am trying to simulate a fish or eel trying to dig into the mud or sand for something to eat. Then I start over by jigging the bait off the bottom again to another spot. Either of those methods will work. Depending on how much shell you have will decide how much you will be able to work this technique.

Another good choice during these times is to put on some long pants and ray boots and hit the beach! I’m not talking about getting a tan! The long pants are for jelly fish and the boots are for, well, sting rays! The beach water temperatures are always cooler than the bays. One key factor to doing this is that you need to be able to fish green or semi clear water. I say this because being on the West side of the ever flowing Mississippi River that pushes all that silt this way, it sometimes takes a few days of good weather for the beach water here to be clear! If you can’t see or reach the cleaner water, just put on your bathing suit, grab your sun glasses and a cold beverage and relax!

On the chance that the water looks good, you want to look for bait. Remember, ‘fish where the fish are!’ No bait, No fish! Beaches can be long and boring. Look for birds, whether they are diving or sitting in the water. One thing about Seagulls and Pelicans, they don’t lie! Any time you are out on the water and see a group of Seagulls sitting in the water, there are fish there!

Once you have found a spot you think looks good, walk out to the 2nd sand bar if you can. What is a sand bar and how do you know where the second sand bar is? When you first walk into the beach water, you will notice that the water will get knee deep or so then come up. That is the first sand bar! The 2nd should go waist to chest deep and then back up. From the 2nd sand bar, you have two directions to fish, between the 2nd and 3rd sand bar, or the 1st and 2nd sand bar. If the water is green enough the fish will probably be in the 2nd trough. A trough is the dip you walk through between sand bars. I will fish both sides until I catch a fish, then I know!

In the picture to the left, the area that I am standing in is the trough of the first sand bar. Just past me you see the waves breaking, that is the first sand bar. Out past that you see one wave breaking, that is the second sand bar. The water wasn't very green or clear on this day but, when I am around water, I find it very hard not to at least try. You never know!

I hope some of these little tricks will help the next time you are out on the water and that big fire ball in the sky is beating down on you!

When it all comes down to it, “You can’t catch fish if you ain’t fishing!”

Tight Lines!



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