The gulf coast of Florida offers some of the best grouper fishing around. The Gulf has fairly calm water most of the year (except for our new 11 month recent hurricane season). The gear is pretty simple: a fairly stout rod, I say fairly stout because you don’t want your rod too stiff because this will effect the action it has on the bait…more on this later. I use 40lb line on the reel with a 100lb shock leader, and about an 8/0 hook. I like to use live bait for grouper fishing but some prefer jigs, spoons, and even heavy grade trolling lures.
After gear, guests, and boat are ready we need to catch some bait. I like to use the “junk” fish that you catch when bottom fishing with smaller rigs. Blue runners, sand perch, lizard fish, etc… Grouper are not real picky eaters when it comes to live bait. Yes, they do have favorites like anything else that eats, but the fish mentioned above will work great. I start my day with a piece of a large squid, about the size of you open hand is usually enough. I like to use large squid because it is tougher and stays on the hook better. Check you local fish market for availability.
We head out and stop around the 45’ area and start looking for our bait. Most of the time there are no clear signs of where the bait is, you just have to keep trying till you have some luck. The bait we are looking for is holding on the bottom most of the time unless you can find some sardines in the area, then try a Sabaki rig or something similar. Cut your squid into small strips and send it to the bottom and see if any small bait fish are going cooperate with your plans. Unless you have a favorite area to catch bait, you might have to move around till you start getting bites. We usually move about 300-500 feet each move till the bait starts biting.
After you get a couple dozen baitfish in the livewell head on out to your fishing area. Ours is around the 100 foot mark and is a series of GPS marks in a 3-5 mile square area. If we don’t get a bite in 20-30 minutes or so we will move on to another GPS mark in the area, (and no, I can’t give you my GPS #’s)…sorry!
This article is continued in part II.
Deep sea fishing is a wonderful and extremely enjoyable activity. Here are some tips that will make your salt water fishing adventure even better.
1. Watch the signs
If you see birds e.g. Seagulls that are feasting on small bait-type fishes, there are probably larger game-type fish below the surface of the water. Also, look for floating wood or debris. In most cases when you chance upon a large floating wood, you would find a large game fish in the area even encountering dolphin.
2. Stop, Snook and Listen
Fishing for snooks is quite similar as fishing for bass. Snook like to be around ledges, posts and rocks.
3. Crabs for full moon
During full moons use soft crab imitations as bait. That’s the time when crabs shed their shells and stripers come looking for them.
4. If you’re looking for tunas, find the dolphins
Yellowfin tuna are usually found schooling with dolphins. So if you see a group of dolphins, chances are there are some tuna in the area.
5. Cut and Burn
If you have trouble cutting through a spiderwire braid, try using a lighter or a match.
6. Good Reef
The best place to fish is near reefs since big game fish feed on fish that live on reefs.
7. The Circle Hook
Use a circle hook if you would like a higher hook up ratio. These hooks guarantees more catch, because of the minute gap, and the reverse point. They are generally better for the fish since they do not hook in the gut just the lip.
8. Don’t have sea legs
Watch the horizon and stay on deck. These would generally help you if you’re having trouble with sea sickness: Stay away from the boat fumes, breathing it only exacerbates the problem.
9. Anchors away
When your anchor is stuck at the bottom, try attaching a float to it. Return after the tide has changed in direction. This should be enough to loosen the anchor.
10. Fish where the fish are
A lot of fisherman have the idea that they should be catching their live baits over the reefs before going to deep waters. If the live baits are not in the area you’re planning to catch the larger games, then why would you come up with the idea that the large fish are there. Wouldn’t they be in the area where the bait fish are?
Often times as adults, we want to share our hobbies and pastimes with our children. However, it can be difficult to decide when that pastime is appropriate. Children have shorter attention spans that make it difficult to calculate when they are ready for certain things. Fishing is a common hobby of many people around the world and many people are eager to introduce their children to fishing the minute they can hold a fishing rod. Fishing is a lesson in patience for children and a structured way to teach them a sport that involves precision and safety.
When you take your child fishing, the most important thing to keep in mind is their safety. What kind of fishing are you trying to introduce? Are you thinking about a day of bottom fishing? Does pier fishing suit your needs? Are you going to go all out and take your child for a deep-sea fishing excursion?
Regardless of what you decide is best, you should have the basic safety essentials with you at all times. A first aid kit is mandatory because whenever a kid is involved accidents will happen. Children tend to get poked, scratched, and barbed, so you need to be prepared. If you are going out into the sea and away from the shore, make sure that you have life jackets and make sure that your child is wearing one even he or she has no intention of getting into the water. Keep in mind your child’s abilities when it comes to swimming. If you do not think that they are a strong swimmer, you may want to keep your boat docked.
Make sure to buy and stock your child’s tackle box. A youngster’s first tackle box should be small and lightweight. There is nothing complex about the contents of a beginner’s tackle box. All a child needs are some pre-tied hooks, some bobbers, a couple of weights, swivels, and small scissors or fingernail clippers to cut their line. A tackle box is a fingerprint for many who view it as a personal expression. Let your child see the basics so that they can build their own to represent themselves one-day.
Make sure to lead by example when you take your child fishing. Teach them how to keep the line taut so that they will be able to respond properly if a fish bites their line. As soon as your child feels the bite, teach them how to set the hook. Tug back on the rod in order to firmly set the hook in the fish’s lip. Take the time with your child to let them learn techniques like “playing the fish”. Part of the fun of fishing is the struggle between the man and the fish, so let your child have the entire experience and not just a partial one.
When you introduce fishing to your child, you have certain advantages to teaching them at a younger rather than older age. Younger child have a greater absorption rate with a desire to soak up as much information as they can. Take the time that you and your child are sharing to educate them about catch and release regulations and fishing for food as opposed to pleasure. If your child decides that they want to let the fish that you catch go, make sure that you know the right way to release. Cleaning the fish can either make a child vomit or ask when the next trip is going to be, so use discretion in regards to age when preparing your catch for dinner.
There will be good days and bad days when fishing with your kids. Kids have a tendency to not listen, become disinterested fast or fall asleep at inopportune times. Patience is the key to taking children out for a day of fishing. Repetition will also make your child more comfortable with the whole process. Regardless of whether a fish is caught or not, take the time to bond with your child while using fishing as an excuse.
Clueless about fly fishing? Me too! I have been really curious about this sport for some time now. I’ve seen it done countless of times.
Tried it. Failed. People have endlessly and tirelessly, with their utmost patience and understanding tried to rub off some fly fishing skills on me – but to no avail.
I have resorted to reading Fly fishing for beginners, for now. I decided that whatever I can’t do, I might as well LEARN – even just in theory. It helps. I think of my self right now as “A work in progress”.
Let’s all learn the basics.
DEFINITION OF TERMS!
A brief definition about some terms I need to know about fly fishing.What is Fly Fishing?
Fly fishing is an ancient and distinct angling method, developed primarily for salmonids (trout and salmon, mostly) and now extended to other species such as pike, bass, and carp, as well as a wide range of salt water species.
Fly casting is gripping or holding a fly rod correctly and to adopt the correct stance to maintain comfort and balance. The most basic rule to casting is based on the way a clock looks. Your head points straight up to 12:00, your cast (the tip of your rod) should go back to 10:00 and then forward to 2:00, releasing your line at the end of the forward motion. It is a common mistake to dip the rod below those two positions and almost always ends in a line tangle!
Angler. (Does that have anything to do with Math? I hate Math!)
That would be YOU silly! Someday, IF you learn how to fly fish, you will be called an angler. A person catching fish or shellfish with no intent to sell, this includes people keeping the catch or people that practice the “Catch and Release” method (highly recommended).
The Essentials – If you don’t have a complete list of these, you’re NOT Fly Fishing!
Fly Fishing rods are long, thin, flexible rods sometimes made of bamboo, but more recently from man-made materials. Fly rods tend to have large diameter eyes (or guides) spaced along the rod to help control the movement of relatively thick fly line. To aid in the freedom of movement required to skillfully cast with a fly rod, there is usually little to no butt (handle) extending below the fishing reel. Although fly rods are mainly used for casting from fixed positions, they can also be used for trolling for fish.
Fishing Reel is a device used for the deployment and retrieval of fishing line using a spool mounted on an axle. They are used in conjunction with the fly rod and are attached to the base or handle of the rod.
Fishing line is any cord made for fishing. Important parameters of a fishing line are its length, material, and weight (thicker, sturdier lines are more visible to fish). The refractive index is also important—lines with a refractive index similar to water are almost invisible to fish. The most important parameter in deciding what line to use is its strength. This is the amount of weight the line can hold before snapping. One must balance the trade-off between strength and visibility.
Flies as Bait? Are you kidding?
Flies or Artificial flies are constructed — “tied” onto a hook with thread, fur, feathers and other materials — in sizes and colors to match naturally occurring food or simply to excite a fish.
You will be considered a well equipped fly fisher if you bring waders, wading boots, vest net, polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes and see through the reflection on the water, a hat for the harsh sun, sun block and bug dope (bug repellant) – if you don’t want to be eaten alive by bugs before you even catch a fish!
Armed with the stuff I read, I went about to experience Fly Fishing without even going near a body of water.
A site that sells fly fishing products – with pretty pictures too! – Riverbum.com
The nearest thing I got to Fly Fishing was to play the fly fishing game I downloaded from Fly Sim
The evolution of fishing gear and accessories along with the development of the bass fishing industry brought about the development of various lures specifically used for different fish species.
There are many types or class of lures and they all depend on what type of fish works for them. Many only work for specific types but some cover a wide range of species of fish.
Below are some of the typical lures used for fishing.
Light Standard Casting Lures
For Standard casting lures, they are mostly able to attract a wide range of fish varieties from albacore, bluefish, bonita, oho and crappies. These lures are also excellent for certain species of bass fish and work best when retrieved from water at low to medium speed. They pass through water with undetectably synthetic material.
Their sizes are excellent for lightweight fish and a host of freshwater species. They range from 1/16 oz. to 3 oz.
The hand painted eye is enticing enough to allow schooling of fish. This feature allows for more chances of trapping one of the target fish in the water.
Heavy Standard Casting Lures
Heavy Standard Casting Lures are excellent for quite heavy fish specifically, walleye and bass. While the lightweight lures are used in most circumstances, it was shown that heavy counterparts provide more reliable fishing output.
Moreover, the heavy standard lures are able to catch fish than diamond and light standard casting lures.
Long Casting/Jigging Lures
Perhaps the most popular among the fishing lures are the long, tapered jigging lures. They are perhaps the most commonly used fishing lures among the fishermen in Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Just recently, it was found out that the long casting lures work best for catching trout and pike. They were also found to effectively catch stripers and bluefish. They can catch tuna and walleye in a breeze!
Unlike heavy standard lures, this gear won’t produce good fish-catch output up to 180-200 ft under water but be sure to effectively match your lure color, bait and related accessories to maximize performance.
Deadly Diamond Lures
These lures are one of the smallest with sizes ranging from 1/8 to 1oz. They can seamlessly attract attention among fish and could form a school of fish in a minute!
The reason is it lies on its structural surface formation and cut. The top handle is cut like a diamond and causes the reflection of light striking on its surface. The diamond lures are best for catching bass fish varieties, crappie and stripers although they work on a small range of fish species.
If you are new to the sport of fishing, you need to know some of the basic rules of fishing. Like other forms of hunting, fishing involves both your environment and those around you. Be respectful of both. You can responsibly enjoy this treasured pastime in several ways. Fishing is an ancient practice. It dates back nearly 10,000 years.
Fishing Techniques and Traditions
A number of various techniques and traditions have been used during fishing’s progression. Modern technological developments have changed the way people fish, but many of the same rules, regulations, and social norms involving fishing remain. Always practice good stewardship of our waterways when you are fishing.
Remember that these waterways were around thousands of years before you and will remain long after we are gone. You can make a conscious decision to leave the areas in which people fish in better condition than when you found it. Take care of our lakes, rivers, and other waterways so that others will enjoy these areas for years to come.
Practicing certain behaviors will ensure that you are taking good care of the places where people fish. Never litter when you are fishing. Always bring a trash bag or other receptacle to use for the collection of your trash. You can easily deposit it in a nearby trash receptacle. Dump your refuse in properly assigned dumping stations instead of tossing it in the water. You do not need to spend much time figuring out the many ways in which this hurts the environment.
Use The Right Bait and Tackle
As you fish, always use the correct type of bait and fishing gear. Certain areas allow for certain bait and gear. You will also encounter limits on the number, size, and kind of fish that you can keep. Become familiar with what these limits are and pay attention to them. Do not wait until you are at your fishing spot to search for what is allowed and what is not. Check with your destination before you head out on your fishing trip to see what the local regulations allow. If you plan on using a boat while fishing, research to see what kinds of watercraft are allowed where you are going to fish.
Every fishing location is different, so pay special attention to local procedures and cautions. This also applies when you decide to clean your boat after you leave the water. You do not want to spread non-native species to another body of water. Finally, never fish where it is not permitted. There is always a reason why it is illegal. Some reasons include the protection of certain wildlife, the proper care of vegetation, and the safety of you and others who want to fish. You should also follow a number of cautionary behaviors to ensure your safety.
As with all forms of hunting, safety is first. If you will be using a boat while you fish, always wear your life jacket. Make sure that your passengers wear their life jackets, as well. Be very careful when baiting and removing hooks. Make sure that you never fish on unauthorized waterways. Follow the posted speed limits and wake warnings that accompany the use of a boat.
Bring with you all relevant safety items, such as water, flashlights, maps, and a cell phone. Fishing continues to be a favorite pastime. 2001 saw nearly 16% of the U.S. population over the age of 16 spend 16 days fishing. You enjoy the sport of fishing, so follow the rules that allow for the continuation of fishing. Be responsible and courteous of others and your environment. Take time to discover how you can be both a better and safer angler.