Pull Them Out

 By Joe Sheaffer

As summer approaches SWFL, the weather and water will warm. Our inshore species will definitely adjust their behavior. They will tend to feed in the shallows early and either move deeper or head to cover as the day warms. Our strategies will need to be adjusted in order to have consistent success catching these fish. Once the sun gets up, finding and catching fish in the shallows will become more challenging. Many fishermen head back to the ramp and call it a day, buy there are ways and presentations that can help us find and catch fish even when the sun is high and the temps are warming. Look for areas along the mangroves that have deeper water or deep cuts, as there will be fish holding up under the cover looking to ambush a meal. Artificial lures like plastic shad, minnow baits, jigs and many others can be skipped under the mangroves to produce action. Definitely beef up your equipment, including your leader, this can be a big fish pattern. Having the right equipment will help to pull these fish out. I hate breaking fish off leaving tackle in their mouths, throats, and stomachs. Live bait and cut bait will work as well. Live pinfish, live or cut mullet, cut ladyfish are some great choices to attract big snook and reds. Again, make sure your equipment can handle larger fish. Cast your live or cut bait next to or under the mangroves. I like a free line and a circle hook. Once the fish picks the bait up, reel and pull them out, it can be quite the battle pulling big fish out of the mangroves. I usually give each area about 15-20 minutes, then I head to another area. Points can be great places to start looking because of the current factor. Windblown areas work great and the current can help push the bait under the cover along with scent. When your fishing day slows, go towards the cover and pull them out, stay safe and keep casting.