The advantage of a pole over a rod and reel is the ability to pick up your cricket, worm or small minnow straight up from one hole in the lily pads, or one side of a fallen branch, and move the bait without attempting to cast. With a tiny float, and a small sinker pinched on the line above your hook, your bait will move freely on the fall, if you use 4- or 6-pound test.
Ingredients: Flexible 16-foot bream buster poles or ultralight spinning rod, with 4- or 6-pound-test monofilament line. Number 6 or 8 Aberdeen style hooks, small slide through floats, and 1/16- to 1/8-ounce pinch-on weights.
The Texas-rigged worm is very effective in the grassy waters typical of Florida lakes and rivers. It is rigged so that the point of the book is shielded by the body of the bait, where it will not snag vegetation.
Two keys to fishing it effectively: choose the right size slide on “bullet” weight, and prick the hook back in the worm so it’s weedless but poised to pop free when a fish strikes. If you’re fishing still, open water, a 1/8-ounce bullet weight will allow your worm to sink slowly and seductively.
Move up, perhaps to a full ounce, if you’re trying to sink a worm through eel grass or other heavy cover. Note: Quickly catching up to the Texas rig, in terms of popularity and effectiveness in Florida waters, is the simple wacky rig, with the hook positioned at the midpoint of a straight worm.
Salt-impregnated Genotype worms are very popular here, and many fishermen use rubber O-rings to affix the small hooks which are most effective with the rig. Texas rig begins with offset-shank hook inserted into head of worm and emerging about a quarter inch back.
Step two of Texas rig, slide worm up to eye of hook, covering offset. Ingredients: Classic Texas rig is best fished on 20-pound braided line with optional 20-pound mono leader.
Medium spinner, or bait caster with rod tip stout enough to drive hook home. The most versatile rig in Florida, the fish finder can be used for everything from freshwater catfish to offshore grouper.
Fishing this rig in an area where you want it to stay put (freshwater catfish, in heavy cover) may require a flat sinker. Using this rig with finger mullet for redfish or flounder requires a short 10- or 12-inch leader to keep the bait from rising too high in the water.
Fishing in deep water, using a 30-foot, 40-pound-test fluorocarbon leader, with an 8-ounce egg sinker can fool the wariest mutton snapper. Just remember to drop your long leader slowly to avoid bait wrapping around the mainline during the descent.
When your rig hits the bottom, just keep letting it roll back with the current. For flounder (which commonly live around rocks and other shaggy bottom) I often use 30-pound monofilament fishing line and a 20-pound leader.
A basic surf fishing rig can be used to catch the usual beach suspects: pompano, whiting, bluefish, shook, redfish and jacks. Almost every big box store you visit will have heavy braided cable “surf rigs.” They may be the ultimate in “too much tackle” for the job.
Pull not as snug as possible, and clip one end, leaving a 16-inch “branch” off main line. Pompano anglers often slide a pink bead above the hooks to imitate sand flea eggs.
The beauty of this rig is, the ease of changing sinkers depending on depth and current. Add a 6-foot surgeon loop to the third eye of one swivel and your main line to the opposite end.
The beauty of this rig is, the ease of changing sinkers depending on depth and current. You’ll feel the bites better on braided line with as small a teardrop sinker as you can hold bottom with.
The rig is superior for schooling bottom fish like sea bass and vermilion snapper. The rig becomes deadly when you allow the bait to swim away (or drift away) in a heavy current.
The click a popping cork puts out, is supposed to perfectly mimic the snap of a shrimp; the splash sounds like a feeding fish. Redfish, trout, shook and flounder all cruise the edges of grass beds, oyster bars, and docks.
Dropping a jig or live shrimp in front of a cruiser, and then calling his name with the snap of a popping cork is a deadly method in 3 to 6 feet of water. The beauty of the rig is, it not only appeals to the fishes sense of hearing, but weighing down your live shrimp or mud minnow with a tiny split shot while leaving it in the strike zone as it drifts along an area, calling up a strike every time you sharply pull on the line just enough to “pop” or “click” the cork.
Ingredients: Popping cork, 2 to 4 feet of 20-pound-test mono leader, 1/16- to ¼-ounce split shot (set 8 inches above the hook) and 3/0 live bait hook or ¼-ounce jig head with soft plastic tail. Whereas South Florida drift boats may provide you with a triple hook rig, using a little stealth will catch you the biggest and best fish on the spot.
Whereas South Florida drift boats may provide you with a triple hook rig, using a little stealth will catch you the biggest and best fish on the spot. Using a figure eight knots will secure your hook on one end and a swivel on the other with a ¼- to ½-ounce egg sinker in between.
I can attest to the fact that the biggest snapper and grouper on a spot will watch the smaller fish get hooked, spit out the bait on the way up, and then gobble what is falling back to the bottom. If you’re king fishing, lose the sinker, and drift the wire rig in a whole bait.
Maybe you moved to Florida with an offshore boat, or maybe your neighbor has invited you fishing for king mackerel. Place the end of the cable through the eye on the flat side of the treble, barely extending beyond shaft.
Hold the wire down while you make six tight wraps of the cable around the shank of the hook, starting at the eye. A correctly rigged ballyhoo will make a huge difference in your fishing success.
Circle hook rigs may well play a role in your first Florida sailfish (they are also deadly on black fin tuna). Without removing them from the tube, wrap the end of each piece through a #3 rubber O ring (if it’s hard to see it in your hand, it’s the right size).
Put a pencil or wooden dowel of similar size through the eyes of a dozen small to medium ballyhoo. Take a rigging needle and bore a hole through the head of a ballyhoo, right where his “lip” is attached.
The copper wire is inserted down through the jaws of the ballyhoo (pull to snug the O-ring tight against the bait). Eyes of bait removed with dowel or arrow shaft, and bill, or beak, was snipped to about one-quarter length.
If you’re a bunker lover looking to turn pro, the last thing you want to hear about is an ultralight spinning reel loaded with hair-thin line. No way will this combination provide the necessary power to haul big bucket mouths out of heavy cover.
Florida is a freshwater angler’s paradise, dotted with countless landlocked ponds, canals and small bodies of water that are hunted by a wide variety of pan fish, including a colorful assortment of tilapia and sunfish, juvenile peacock and large mouth bass, perch, Oscar, cichlid, crappie, shad and more. Aggressive by nature, these small stature sensations don’t exactly provoke the wow factor when encountered on typical bass gear.
Test provides freshwater fishermen with a thirst for excitement and a number of inherent advantages. While ultralight outfits enable small fish to pull hard, they more importantly provide decreased line visibility, improved lure action and an overall balanced experience.
…a silky smooth drag system is a must with fragile line where even a brief glitch could cost you a fish. Ultralight gear enables finesse fishermen to present tiny lures with precision while also giving anglers the opportunity to hone their fish fighting skills.
Turning to such frail line means patience is an absolute must when playing any size fish, as is paying close attention to your surroundings before presenting any sort of bait or lure. It doesn’t take much more than a sharp reed or jagged obstruction to damage your line to the point of inevitable failure.
With the goal of presenting lures on light line, you should purchase the very best ultralight spinning reel you can afford. The broad price range is based partially on manufacturing materials and processes, along with innovative features and to some extent brand recognition.
That being said, I have yet to speak with an angler who regrets purchasing top shelf gear, but I’ve heard countless horror stories associated with equipment of lesser quality. Line, excess cranking power really isn’t of great concern.
If you prefer slightly more power to speed, then select a reel with a lower gear ratio. Conversely, the main advantage of a rear adjustable drag is that it is easier to tweak when fishing super-thin monofilament in an ultralight situation.
In either case, a silky smooth drag system is a must with fragile line where even a brief glitch could cost you a fish. You will find the recommended line range, lure weight and designated action printed on the shaft of every rod near the fore grip.
Rods with a slow or parabolic action tend to curve all the way to the butt section when loaded. This is the right choice and serves as an excellent shock absorber for ultralight lines.
You can feel the bites more and the trout can seemingly put up more of a fight, making for a better fishing experience. Even though they occasionally cost a bit more, ultralight rods improve casting with lighter lures, increase sensitivity when a fish bites, and make reeling in trout more challenging and fun.
Rods that are lighter also have an easier time casting bait and lures that have a low weight, or near weightless. This shows that light rods can make a good experience when it comes to fishing for trout.
Although rods with an ultralight action are manufactured a bit differently, and can cost more, there are plenty of affordable options out there. Depending on the fish you’re targeting, you might need a light line and small lures to be successful.
It allows you to cast almost weightless lures at a good distance, which is perfect for fishing for trout. The line sensitivity will be reduced and you likely won’t be able to feel the fish biting.
Not to mention the rod tip will be constantly flexing from the weight of the heavier lure. Not only can you cast better and more accurately, but the increased line sensitivity and overall experience will prove to be worth it.
Ultralight rods are great if you either want to downsize for the fun of it, or for the necessity of casting light-weight lures. While ultralight rods can be more expensive, recent strides in manufacturing have leveled the playing field and have made them more available.