Never Pass up a Pothole

By Joe Sheaffer

Spending most of my time fishing inshore areas in SWFL, I typically find myself around grass flats. Grass can be a very productive form of structure. The grass flats that I fish are usually in 2-4 foot depths. Most of the inshore species will usually be in or around grassy areas. Grass as a structure provides many small creatures areas to survive throughout their lives. Crabs, shrimp, small bait fish, worms and other creatures make these grass stretches their home. Naturally predator species will forage along this structure to feed on the endless buffet. In order to take advantage of the feeding opportunities, these predatory species will use other structures within the grass to ambush their prey. Some of these structures like mangroves, oyster bars, docks and potholes provide inshore species like snook, reds and trout places to set up for the feed.

Many anglers believe potholes (sandy areas within grass flats) are mostly productive during the winter months. Sure, when the water warms during the summer months and many potholes tend to be shallow, predators may not spend as much time along the shallow holes. However there are still quite a few potholes that are deeper. These can be very productive even when the water is very warm. As the sun gets higher in the sky, make an adjustment in your boat position. Move out to the deep edges of the flats and focus on these sandy holes in the grass. Try different lures and presentations above, in, and around these areas; this may help you zero in on a solid pattern. If the morning bite is tough, spend a little more time around potholes before you head in for the day. Keep casting and good luck!