Kayak Report for February 2020

As a full time fishing guide I get asked a lot of questions on a daily basis.  Many are centered on our unique waterways and the species that inhabit them. Others want to know when the best time of year to fish is or even when certain gamefish are available to catch.  However one of the most common questions I tend to here is, “what is your favorite/go to lure on any given day”. It’s honestly a bit tough to answer as fishing can and does change so often. What works today might not work tomorrow due to a staggering number of variables such as temperature, water clarity, water levels, feeding activity, and so on. One of my favorite ways to catch fish on artificial lures is working topwater hard baits.  It is an exciting method that becomes very visual and the strikes can be something to witness.  Hart stopping explosions that get your attention real quick!  This form of fishing has its advantages and disadvantages that make it tough for some folks to get in the “grove”.  An improperly worked topwater plug can have a serious chilling effect on the bite and it takes time to learn the correct method.  Truthfully that same concern can be expressed about almost every type of artificial lure out there.  Artificial shrimp are a very common lure used buy anglers on the lagoons, because they are extremely effective.  If you reel that shrimp at break neck speed across the water it’s not going to work that well for you in most instances.  That’s not how a shrimp acts in its daily routine as they typically slip along nice and stealthy ever vigilant just waiting to flee at the first sign of danger.  Take that same plastic shrimp you were retrieving at mach1 and slow it way down adding a twitch or two and you’re in business.  Those two examples have a place and time for optimum use. The topwater plug excels in early mornings and late afternoon with lots of bait present, whereas the shrimp shines bright in the mid-day and around structure like docks and mangroves. There is one constant that has graced my tackle box since I can remember and stays to this day as one of if not the number one lure in my arsenal. The paddle tail swim bait!  So simple yet so unbelievably effective for just about any fishing scenario you could toss its way.  Coming in sizes that range from three inches all the way up to monster variations that can be used for large game like cobia and huge tarpon!  Some are pre-rigged with a hook and weight , and others you rig yourself on either a jig head or weedless “keeper” style hooks.  All boast a slender body with large rounded tail that wobbles and vibrates with every turn of your reel handle.  There is truly no wrong way to work this type of lure.  Just as effective ripping across the top as it is slow rolling close to the bottom.  The arrays of colors give you an opportunity to match your offering to the available pray or go crazy with bright shades and glitter flakes.  For many angles dealing with bait be it dead or alive just doesn’t jive.  To messy, too much hassle, not enough time in any particular session, or flat out just wanting to trick your advisory with some plastic.  Artificial lures are a different game and challenge to master for any particular species. Try a paddle tail as a great stepping stone to an entirely different world.

Captain Alex Gorichky