Hey there and welcome back to another edition of Coastal Angler Magazine’s Pro Tip with Capt. Jonathan Moss. I love to fish and I love fishing gear! In fact, my wife might say that I have an addiction to fishing tackle. There are so many unique fishing situations, from offshore to nearshore, to inshore and freshwater and let us not forget fly fishing! There are a plethora of ways to catch fish and so many different fish to catch and I am a sucker for them all! I spend the majority of my fishing time inshore. In those shallow waters there are several types of fish to catch and I like to be prepared for any situation. Unfortunately, I can’t bring everything as that would mean a lot of fishing rods and a lot of used up storage and space on my skiff. With that said, I want to share with you my top 2 fishing lures that I always have rigged while inshore fishing.
1. Topwater Plugs. It is hard to beat the early morning top water bite! I love watching fish explode on a topwater plug and the mayhem that ensues. In fact, it gives me goosebumps even now as I am sitting here writing this article. My favorite, top water plug is without a doubt the Rapala Skitterwalk in white. The walk the dog, side to side action is deadly on the flats and around structure for Sea Trout, Redfish, Snook and Tarpon. For inshore fishing, I’ll rig a top water plug on a 7 ft Medium or Medium Heavy, Fast Action Temple Fork Outfitters Tactical Inshore rod and a Florida Fishing Products Osprey SS 4000 reel with 15 pound braid and at least a 20 pound leader. If there are big snook around or if I am fishing around heavy structure, I will increase the leader size to 30 or 40 pound Fluorocarbon to avoid breaking off. Additionally, I typically only use a top water plug for the first hour or so of light. I find that once the sun gets above the trees on the shoreline, that the topwater bite slows down. If it is a cloudy morning or day, we may throw top water the entire fishing trip. The fish will definitely tell you what they want.
2. Soft Plastic Swim Baits. This is my confidence bait! Paddle Tails, specifically the 3 inch DOA CAL Shad Tail is my favorite lure for inshore fishing. It literally catches everything as it can be fished to mimic so many different baits in the water. The action of the tail provides both noise and vibration and that makes this bait a perfect search bait when looking for fish. I will typically rig this bait weedless with a Owner 3/0 1/8th oz weighted Twist Lock hook which makes it perfect for pitching under docks and in and around mangroves. Being rigged weedless also aids in avoiding snags in the grass compared to using a jighead. This lure pairs well with a 7 foot 6 inch Medium, Fast ActionTemple Fork Outfitters Tactical Inshore rod with a Florida Fishing Products Osprey CE 3000 series reel spooled with 15 pound braid and a 20 pound fluorocarbon leader. Lure color depends on the color of the water and cloud coverage. I have a hard time beating a white bait but if it is a cloudy day, I’ll put on a darker color.
Pictured are Aidan Beech with an over slot Indian River redfish caught on a D.O.A. C.A.L. shad tail and Luke Rayburn with a nice Mosquito Lagoon speckled sea trout caught on a Rapala Skitterwalk in white. Both anglers had a stellar day with me while fishing with these lures.
Give these lures a try, and send me pictures of your catch!
Capt. Jonathan Moss
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