By: Eric Henson
Anyone who knows me will tell you that when it comes to inshore fishing, I am an artificial only type of guy, whether it comes to soft-plastics, hard-baits, or flies. I have full confidence that if you use the right one of these artificial baits at the right time you can trigger almost any species of fish to eat. Fish are opportunist and will eat just about anything that crosses their path in the right circumstances. I’ve even seen redfish caught on jalapeno peppers and snook eat lures hanging in the water on the side of a client’s kayak! The main thing you are trying to achieve with any artificial bait is the silhouette of a particular bait the fish that they are feeding on at that time to get a reaction. Now, I will say that the realistic look of lures these days’ definitely helps trigger the feeding response of predator fish, but most of the lures out there are designed to catch the fisherman first.
When fishing with artificial bait “lures or flies” you must make sure that you are covering the entire water column. I almost always start out with a Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil top water in the early morning. They are great for bombing long casts and covering lots of water in the twilight hours when it is a little tougher for you to see everything. If I’m not getting any blow ups on top, I will switch up to suspension baits like the Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Twitchbait. These will suspend a foot or so below the top and again you can cover lots of area. I almost always use these baits as my fish finders! If it’s a real grassy area I will switch up to the Monster 3X X-TAIL rigged with a 1/16 oz. weedless belly hook. This bait will suspend at different depths depending on the speed that it is retrieved. Finally, a Monster 3X 4 ¾ X-MOVE rigged with a 1/16 oz. open face jig-head. I will use this bait mostly for jigging areas where I have found fish or to pitch at fish that I have actually laid eyes on. The same goes with flies. Gurglers in the early morning, then streamers and weighted flies the rest of the day covering all of the water column.
Whatever you decide to throw on any given day you must have complete confidence in what you are using. Do your best to match what is swimming around you. Then change up speeds on your retrieval and colors until you find out what they are chewing on that day. No matter what, just have fun because if you are out on the water fishing, there could be a lot worse situations!