Artificials vs. Oyster Beds & Structures

As we move into March here in the Lowcountry, most anglers are excited, anticipating the arrival of Spring.  As we move closer to Spring, our inshore game fish become more active.

A lot of experienced anglers start to look for these active fish around structure in shallower water and lurking over and around Oyster beds.

Some may ask themselves—why do fish like Spotted Seatrout, Red Drum and Flounder lurk around these types of structures?  The answer is simple.

They are looking for food, their prey, such as Shrimp, Mud Minnows, Mullet, Crabs and other small species of crustaceans and fish.

hard part of trying to target these inshore game fish in these locations is doing it without snagging

But the hard part of trying to target these inshore game fish in these locations is doing it without snagging or getting hung up in the debris or Oysters.

After all, plenty of us inshore anglers have experienced fishing with all kinds of lures and trying to twitch them through and over Oyster beds and around dock pilings without getting hung up and losing our tackle.

One of the most popular types of artificial combinations that are thrown is a quarter ounce jig head with a paddle tail or curly tail Grub in all kinds of colors.

They do work fantastic for catching the inshore slam. But if you are looking for a way to fish these locations and increase your ability to not only catch fish, but to cast the same lure over and over.

It’s increasing your chances without getting hung up nearly as often, I will share a trick that works quite effectively and has been successful for me often.

Growing up, not only fishing inshore, but I also was addicted to fishing for a lot of freshwater game species, Largemouth Bass being at the top of the list.

When it comes to fishing for Largemouth Bass, you find yourself using all kinds of lures.

But, unlike a Bass pro who is pressed for time and rushing to catch and land their fish for tournaments, we find ourselves fishing with a little more finesse.

We use lighter lines, lighter rods and reels and lures that can be rigged weedless, like artificial worms, rigged Texas style, weedless tube baits and weedless Flukes because Bass love to hide and lurk in debris, rocks and weeds.

Trying to drag an open hook through these locations can be almost impossible.

So, I decided years ago to use some of these weedless hooks and Flukes to target inshore fish around Oyster beds and structure.

What I had discovered for myself is that I was able to target and successfully land more fish

Primarily to find out if I could successfully cast repeatedly into the debris where these fish are lurking and jig, twitch and jerk my bait, imitating Mud Minnows, Glass Minnows and Mullet, and retrieve my lure without losing it.

What I had discovered for myself is that I was able to target and successfully land more fish and use the same lure over and over without losing it, 10 times more effectively than my standard jig head and Grub.

Exhibit A

In Exhibit A, you will see 4 weedless hooks. The first 2 hooks from the top down are weightless. The third and fourth hooks are weighted.

Exhibit B

In Exhibit B, you will see 3 Flukes by Zoom rigged weedless. The first Fluke from the top down is rigged weightless.

This style will allow the Fluke to descend slowly, sinking from the belly forward. The second Fluke is rigged weedless, weighted.

The weight on the hook is at the belly. This allows the Fluke to sink faster, dropping by the belly and slightly forward.

This technique allows for more of a jerk-bait motion. The third Fluke is rigged weedless, weighted and the weight is at the front of the hook.

This allows the Fluke to sink fast in a nosedive motion, which is great for twitching or jigging and using in deeper holes and faster moving water.

There are a number of artificial bait companies that sell Flukes and jerk baits in all types of shapes and sizes.

Exhibit C

Some designed specifically for inshore saltwater and some designed for both fresh and salt.

In Exhibit C, you will see an example of three popular styles of baits by three different companies rigged weedless, weighted.

From the top is a Z-Man jerk bait. The second is a jerk bait by D.O.A., and the third is a Fluke by Zoom.

I have tested these brands in various colors and find them to be some of the most effective I have used.

So, if you are trying to target some of these fish hiding in these difficult locations, try using baits like these set up weedless and find out for yourself if they help you successfully pull a monster out of that mess.

After all, catching that fish might not have been a Fluke, you were just using one for bait!

Like I always say, good luck out there and have fun fishing! To view some fishing adventures, go to my YouTube Channel “Fishing with Jiggin Jerry” or

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