Category Archives: Saltwater Fishing

Everything saltwater fishing

Texas Weekly Saltwater Fishing Report

Also See:

Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Country Fishing – fishing reports on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee, and more. (subscription required)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Freshwater Fishing Reports

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Saltwater Reports

Saltwater Weekly Fishing Report Week of September 20, 2023

Sabine Lake

GOOD. 90 degrees. Sharks and limits of speckled trout near the rigs. Ling are showing up. Jetties to the channel are good for redfish, trout and flounder along the rocks with shrimp on a popping cork. South Levy and the first and second pike at the North Levy are good for trout with topwaters in the morning, then crankbaits. Beautiful catches of trout at Pleasure Island using 5 inch glo chartreuse plastics with a 1/16th ounce jighead. Neches River to the I-10 Bridge holding slot redfish and some undersized speckled trout on points, drops, and shell or oyster in 4-20 feet of water using a popping cork with shrimp or live mullet. Report by Captain Randy Foreman, Captain Randy’s Guide Service Sabine Lake.


GOOD. 87 degrees. The surf is holding lots of black drum, shark, and some big redfish on cut bait or live bait on the bottom. The gulf side of the North Jetty is holding limits of trout, redfish, sheepshead, jack crevalle against the rocks with live bait and artificials. Jack crevalle are running in the surf biting big spoons or big deer hair jigs. The cuts leading in the bay from ICW holding fish against the shorelines. Lots of black drum around Goat Island. Report provided by Captain Raymond Wheatley, Tail Spotter Guide Service LLC.

Trinity Bay

GOOD. 84 degrees. Gas wells are holding a good number of speckled trout, but you have to cull through them in order to land a few keepers. Increasing number of birds working open schools of speckled trout. Rocks along the upper Houston ship channel holding black drum and redfish. Best bite on live shrimp under corks. Report by Captain David Dillman, Galveston Bay Charter Fishing.

East Galveston Bay

FAIR. 86 degrees. Birds are beginning to work over schools of speckled trout. Anglers are finding better numbers of speckled trout, redfish, and flounder fishing near marsh drains. Still some fish over shell reefs in open water. Report by Captain David Dillman, Galveston Bay Charter. Surface water temperature 84 degrees, water clarity very good. Fishing continues to improve in East Galveston Bay with shorter days, cooler weather, and some good tide movement. Off the shore reefs have worked well again resulting in good catches of trout and redfish, with a few black drum, when you are able to find active bait in the area. We have found a few birds working as well and the trout have been actively eating shrimp underneath them. The redfish bite continued to improve this week when we were targeting them, resulting in solid slots, as well as some large bulls stretching our line on most outings. Shrimp imitation lures under popping corks with 12-18 inch leaders have still been producing the most bites for our anglers, and the Deadly Dudley, Slammin Sammy Chartreuse Tail Bay Chovey has worked well with �¼ oz jig heads fished with & without a popping cork at various depths. Until next time. Report by Captain Jeff Brandon, Get the Net Guide Services, LLC. The cuts that come through the Intracoastal waterway, Siever’s and Stingarees, are holding fish against the shorelines coming into the bay, using live shrimp with a popping cork on a 12-16 inch leader. Hanna’s Reef, Potluck Reef, Fat Pat’s all holding fish early. Keep a watch on the birds and the restless bait. The big Poppa Pure Pearl DSL working earlyReport provided by Captain Raymond Wheatley, Tail Spotter Guide Service LLC.

Galveston Bay

FAIR. 85 degrees. Lots of undersized speckled trout in the gas wells. Rock piles along the ship channel holding good numbers of black drum and a few keeper reds. Shorelines holding a few trout, and the occasional redfish and some flounder. Best action on live shrimp, followed by soft plastics. Report by Captain David Dillman, Galveston Bay Charter Fishing. Redfish Island holding some nice trout drifting the inside with croaker or strawberry with white artificials. The A-1 gas wells off the ship channel near Brothel Island are holding some nice trout with a chatterweight and croaker. Redfish at rocks by Brothel Island on popping cork with shrimp or gulp shrimp. The speckled trout are on croaker and artificial. The end of the South Jetty is holding big redfish with a few nice slots, and nice sharks. The gulf side of the jetty is on fire for catches of speckled trout, sheepshead, pompano and redfish close to rocks using live shrimp under a popping cork or freelined, Carolina rigged float with shrimp, or chatterweight and croaker. The surf is also on fire again for speckled trout, and redfish. Report provided by Captain Raymond Wheatley, Tail Spotter Guide Service LLC.

West Galveston Bay

GOOD. 87 degrees. Redfish catches are improving in the open bay. best bite on live shrimp and soft plastics. Still some good trout being caught by those wading with live croaker. Anglers are beginning to see more flounder. Report by Captain David Dillman, Galveston Bay Charter Fishing. The south shore is holding a lot of speckled trout and redfish for wade anglers, or drift fishing around the coves and grass lines from Waterman’s to Bay Harbor using a chatterweight with a 12 inch fluorocarbon leader 3/0 k hook. Both sides of Bird Island are holding fish, and the flats continue to hold good numbers of speckled trout and redfish for wade anglers. North shorelines between Carancahua Reef and Confederate Reef holding good trout and redfish with an occasional flounder drifting. Drift the four poles between Carancahua and Confederate Reef’s start at the poles, and drift toward the island or from the island and drift towards the poles with chatterweight and croaker or popping cork with shrimp. Report provided by Captain Raymond Wheatley, Tail Spotter Guide Service LLC.

Texas City

FAIR. 85 degrees. Bull redfish action is heating up at night off the Texas City Dike. Galveston jetty anglers are finding their fair share of big redfish along with a few big black drum. Galveston fishing piers seeing a few speckled trout, good numbers of Spanish Mackerel, and bull redfish. Still some sharks to be caught nearshore. Report by Captain David Dillman, Galveston Bay Charter Fishing. The rock shoals in front of Swan Lake are producing some catches of black drum and speckled trout with shrimp under a popping cork. Trout are in the guts between the shoals drifting croaker across Campbell’s Reef. The shoreline on the right side as you get on the dike is holding nice trout for wade anglers using artificial or live bait. Mosquito Inland holding trout with an occasional redfish on artificials, bone color working the best. Report provided by Captain Raymond Wheatley, Tail Spotter Guide Service LLC.


GOOD. 86 degrees. Fishing patterns continue to hold steady. The bays in Bastrop, Christmas and the west end of Galveston Bay are good for trout, redfish and some flounder drifting in the morning using live shrimp with popping corks. The surf is good for trout, redfish, bull redfish, and sharks. The Brazos and San Bernard are producing catches of trout, redfish and flounder early in the mornings and late in the evening. Report by Captain Jake Brown, Flattie Daddy Fishing Adventures.

East Matagorda Bay

SLOW. 89 degrees. Fishing is fair but should improve when the equinox tide raises water level. Few catches of trout on artificials. Redfish are best on cut mullet in shallow water. Report by Captain Charlie Paradoski, Captain Charlie Paradoski’s Guide Service.

West Matagorda Bay

SLOW. 89 degrees. Fishing is fair but should improve when the equinox tide raises water level. Few catches of trout on artificials. Redfish are best on cut mullet in shallow water. The Colorado River is clear but the bite is slow. The fish typically move into The Colorado River in October. Report by Captain Charlie Paradoski, Captain Charlie Paradoski’s Guide Service.

Port O’Connor

GOOD. 87 degrees. Black drum are the end of the north jetty on dead shrimp. Slot redfish are the ends of the jetties on Spanish sardines. Spade fish are numerous biting all baits on the outside of both jetties. Very few catches of trout on live croaker outside the jetty. Report by Captain Marty Medford, Captain Marty’s Fish of a Lifetime Guide Service.


GREAT. 88 degrees. Speckled trout are good in 2-4 feet of water over grass and sand on live bait, topwaters, and soft plastics. Redfish are great as shallow as one foot around the islands and marsh inlets on gulp and cut bait. Sheepshead are good near structure on live shrimp. Black drum are good in 3-6 feet of water on dead shrimp and Fishbites. Report provided by Captain Damian Hubbs, Top Gun Outfitters.

Port Aransas

GOOD. 89 degrees. Redfish are biting at the jetties on finger mullet, shrimp, and cut ladyfinger. Tarpon are at the jetties. Redfish are biting in Aransas Bay on cut mullet. Flounder are starting to become more abundant. Report by Captain Doug Stanford, Pirates of the Bay Fishing Charters.

Corpus Christi

GOOD. 89 degrees. Nice catches of redfish at Shamrock Island on cut mullet or croaker. Trout continue to bite at the wells on freelined croaker or shrimp. Flounder are starting to become more abundant. Report by Captain Doug Stanford, Pirates of the Bay Fishing Charters.

Baffin Bay

GREAT. 86-95 degrees. The slight change in the weather sparked more activity in Baffin Bay. Schools of baitfish are migrating early in the morning along shorelines, drop-offs and parallel guts. Baitfish, birds flying above and activity on the surface will guide you to where the big fish are and what to throw. Read it all carefully as it changes throughout the morning, it will guide you through your journey on tricking a personal best fish or a nice stringer to take home. Match the hatch and mimic the same patterns of the baitfish around you. Smaller profile plastics with lots of hinge action as well as dark colored topwaters have been a hit all summer long. Switching between the two depending on the baitfish activity. If you notice a lot of action on top of the surface such as “big eats” “blow ups” “tail slaps,” you’re gonna want to throw a top water and walk it across the water, pause every once in a while, this makes it appear as a wounded baitfish. If the topwater activity ceases, switch over to a soft plastic and work the bottom to mid depth. Stay confident in your technique and surely you will persuade a fish of a lifestyle!

Port Mansfield

GREAT. 88-91 degrees. Fishing is improving some with good catches of redfish. Mansfield Knockers have been working great until noon, and if there is cloud cover then topwaters are good most of the day. Still fishing in shallow water and potholes and bait have been key. Offshore is also on fire for Kingfish and snapper. Report by Captain Wayne Davis, Hook Down Charters.

South Padre

GOOD. 88 degrees. It has been windy, so check the wind forecast before heading out. The water is clear in the early mornings. Trout holding in the Intracoastal and in pot holes behind Three Islands and the gas well flats. Black drum are in small schools along the east side grass lines. Flounder are becoming more abundant along the edges of the intracoastal and mouth of Arroyo Colorado. Sheepshead are good near structure and best at the old causeway and jetties. Redfish are very good in deeper water at both jetties. Stay safe out there! Report by Captain Lou Austin, Austin Fishing South Padre.

Port Isabel

GOOD. 88 degrees. It has been windy, so check the wind forecast before heading out. The water is clear in the early mornings. Trout holding in the Intracoastal and in pot holes behind Three Islands and the gas well flats. Black drum are in small schools along the east side grass lines. Flounder are becoming more abundant along the edges of the intracoastal and mouth of Arroyo Colorado. Sheepshead are good near structure and best at the old causeway and jetties. Redfish are very good in deeper water at both jetties. Stay safe out there! Report by Captain Lou Austin, Austin Fishing South Padre.

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What Is Deep Drop Fishing and How Do I Do Deep Drop Fishing

Deep Drop Fishing Explained

from The Fishing Wire

Deep Drop Fishing Involves Targeting Fish That Live In The Deeper Parts Of The Ocean, Often At Depths Ranging From 400 To 1,500 Feet.

Deep Drop Fishing is the key to an exciting world!

Deep beneath the ocean’s surface is a world teeming with mysterious and elusive creatures that few people ever experience. Deep drop fishing is your key to this world. It’s far from your typical day on the water. Deep dropping requires advanced equipment, keen intuition, and a willingness to take on the unknown. This guide will cover what deep drop fishing is, what you can catch, and how to fish with metered color braid, an essential for getting the best results. 

What Is Deep Drop Fishing? 

Deep drop fishing involves targeting fish that live in the deeper parts of the ocean, often at depths ranging from 400 to 1,500 feet. This technique requires specialized equipment, including heavy-duty rods, reels, and  metered color braid to handle the extreme depths and pressures. 

Deep drop fishing lets you catch species that few anglers ever see because these fish live in the ocean’s depths. They often inhabit specific underwater structures, seamounts, or trenches.

What fish do you catch with deep drop fishing?

  • Tilefish: Including golden tilefish and blueline tilefish, both sought after for their flavor 
  • Groupers: Including warsaw grouper, which can weigh over 500 pounds, and snowy grouper, with light spots and wonderful taste
  • Snappers: Including yellow eye snapper, named for their distinctive yellow eyes, and queen snapper, a bright red species of tender fish with a mild flavor
  • Swordfish: Highly prized sport fish known for their long, sword-like bills and intense fights 
  • Wreckfish: Often found around deep underwater wrecks and structures, they’re known for their firm texture
  • Oilfish: Known for its oily texture, this species is often found in very deep waters
  • Sablefish: Also known as black cod, sablefish inhabit deep waters and are prized for their rich flavor
  • Orange Roughy: A deep-sea species that can live for over 100 years, known for its delicate taste

Finding the Right Spot for Deep Drop Fishing

Finding the ideal deep drop fishing spot requires combining technology, experience, and understanding of the marine environment. Modern GPS and fish finders equipped with sonar are essential tools for locating promising spots. GPS allows you to save coordinates of productive areas, while fish finders provide real-time data about the underwater terrain and potential fish presence. 

Fish often gather around features that provide cover, a break in current, or abundant food sources. This includes rock formations, deep-sea trenches, and underwater mountains. As you gain experience, you can identify these spots on your fish finder. 

Preparing Your Bait for Deep Drop Fishing

Different deep-sea fish are attracted to different types of bait, and the correct bait can greatly influence your success. Knowing the species you’re targeting helps in selecting the right bait. For example, snowy groupers prefer cut fish, while tilefish are more drawn to squid.

Fresh bait emits a stronger scent that can attract fish, so it’s often the best choice. However, quality frozen bait is also widely used and can be highly effective if properly thawed and prepared. Common bait options include squid, mackerel, bonito, and other fish that reflect the natural prey of deep-sea dwellers.

Deep drop fishing requires bait to withstand extreme pressure and be able to descend to significant depths. Cutting the bait into the right size and shape to fit the hook properly will help. Whether you use live or cut bait, it must be attached securely to the hook to resist the pull of the currents and the nibbling of smaller fish on its way down.

Equipment for Deep Drop Fishing

Because your equipment will need to hold up to extreme conditions — and hopefully heavy fish — all of your gear needs to be durable, strong, built to withstand the most aggressive fish, and specialized for deep water. 

Rods and reels

Deep drop rods are designed to withstand the intense pressures and demands of this specialized form of angling. Deep drop rods are usually constructed from a combination of fiberglass and graphite. This blend of materials ensures that the rods are both strong enough to handle the heavy weights required for deep-sea fishing and flexible enough to fight large, powerful fish. 

Despite their robust build, deep drop rods must have sensitive tips so you can detect subtle bites, often through hundreds of yards of line. Deep drop rods are designed with a heavy to extra-heavy action, meaning they bend less and have more backbone. This stiffness enables them to handle the demands of heavy weights and substantial fish without breaking or losing control.

Deep Drop Rod

The Blackfin Rods Fin 154L is ideal for deep drop fishing due to its high-quality construction, strength, and sensitivity. 

Regarding reels, many anglers prefer conventional models with high line capacity and robust drag systems, while others prefer the convenience of electric reels. The drag must be smooth and adjustable to manage a fish’s powerful runs. Deep drop reels must accommodate a substantial amount of line, often several hundred yards, to reach the targeted depths. The reels must be constructed with materials resistant to saltwater corrosion and capable of handling the constant pressure exerted by heavy weights and large fish.

Metered color braid

Metered color braid, also known as multi-colored or segmented braid, is the best deep drop fishing line for catching tile and many other deep water fish. Metered color braid consists of different colors that are repeated at specific intervals along the length of the line. It’s typically constructed from synthetic materials such as polyethylene, which provide high strength and low stretch.

Metered Color Braid for Deep Drop Fishing

The primary purpose of color coding is to allow you to gauge depth or distance without relying on electronic equipment. By knowing the color sequence and the length of each colored segment, you can accurately determine how much line you’ve deployed by counting the color changes. You can precisely position the bait at the desired depth or distance from the boat.

In deep drop fishing, metered color braid provides a significant advantage in targeting specific depths where fish may lurk. Its low stretch ensures you can feel bites and set hooks more effectively, even at great depths. FINS metered color braid provides superior performance for deep drop fishing. 

Hooks and rigs

You’ll need robust and sharp hooks that can penetrate the tough mouths of deep-sea fish. Circle hooks & Circle Hook Rods are widely used due to their design, which promotes secure hooking without gut hooking the fish. J-hooks are also common but require a more aggressive hook set. The hook’s size, shape, and strength must align with the targeted species and bait used. 

Your rig should be tailored to the conditions and species. Glow beads, deep-sea fishing lights, or luminescent skirts can be added to the rigs to mimic bioluminescent prey and attract fish in the dark depths.

Single-hook rigs are straightforward and used when targeting a specific species that requires a particular bait presentation. The hook is often attached to a heavy monofilament or fluorocarbon leader.

Multi-hook rigs are more complex than single-hook setups, but they allow multiple baits to be presented at varying depths simultaneously. These are popular for targeting different species or when the exact depth of the fish is unknown.

Weights and sinkers

Deep drop fishing requires significant weight to get the bait down to the desired depths quickly. You can use bank or pyramid sinkers. The weight must be heavy enough to overcome underwater currents but not so heavy that it makes detecting bites difficult. 

How to Fish with Metered Color Line

When you fish with metered color line, you’ll use the color-coded segments to accurately measure and control the depth of your bait. This precision and control can significantly improve your success rate.

Here’s the step-by-step process: 

  1. Select your line: Choose a metered color line with appropriate color segment lengths and pound test for the specific type of fishing you are planning. 
  2. Spool the reel: Spool the metered color line onto your reel, ensuring it’s evenly distributed. The line should be wound tightly and without twists to prevent tangles during deployment.
  3. Attach the leader: Connect a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader to the metered braid using a suitable knot or connector. The leader provides a clear connection to the bait and adds some stretch as a shock absorber.
  4. Rig the bait: Attach your bait or lure to the leader. In deep drop fishing, you may use a multi-hook rig with heavy weights to reach significant depths.
  5. Deploy the line: Begin letting out the line, pay attention to the color changes. Each color change indicates a specific distance or depth based on the length of the color segments. Use the color segments to accurately gauge how much line you’ve let out and the depth of your bait. The count of color changes will tell you the exact distance from the reel to the bait.
  6. Find the right depth: Once you’ve reached the desired depth, engage the reel and wait for a bite, keeping a keen eye on the line and rod tip for any signs of activity.
  7. Strike and retrieve: Set the hook with a firm but controlled motion when you detect a bite. The metered line’s low stretch will help with effective hook setting. Reel in the fish, being mindful of the weight and the resistance. The color changes on the line can also help you gauge how far the fish is from the boat.

Safety Considerations 

Deep drop fishing involves venturing into deep ocean waters — often miles offshore — and presents unique safety challenges. Always check weather forecasts and sea conditions before heading out. Deep-sea conditions can change rapidly, so knowing what to expect and having contingency plans is essential.

Before you head out, make sure your boat is in proper working order and equipped with the necessary safety equipment, such as life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares, and a first aid kit. Wear suitable clothing, including non-slip footwear, sun protection, and potentially foul weather gear if conditions warrant. 

Finally, use gloves and protective eyewear when handling hooks, rigs, and other sharp equipment. As long as you’re well prepared and use the right equipment, deep dropping will be the adventure of a lifetime.




Brunswick Woman Lands New State Record Vermilion Snapper

Brunswick, Ga. – The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that a new state record has been set for the heaviest vermilion snapper (Rhomboplites aururubens) caught by a woman angler. The record-setting fish was caught by Stacey T. Pope of Brunswick on April 7, and weighed 5 pounds, 5.56 ounces, breaking the previous record of 3 pounds, 14.4 ounces set in 2018 by Alli DeYoung of Savannah.

Pope caught the vermilion snapper while fishing offshore near Artificial Reef DW approximately 70 miles east of Sapelo Island. She was bottom fishing with a 7-foot Eureka Charter Special rod and Avet SX G2 reel terminating with a knocker rig baited with menhaden. She was accompanied by licensed charter guide Capt. Quentin Van Heerden of Eureka Charters. Her catch was weighed on a certified scale at City Market on Gloucester Street in Brunswick.

According to Pope, she was surprised to catch such a large fish and was thrilled when she learned that she had set a new state record.

“It was amazing to catch the fish,” said Pope. “It was a little scary, but it was exciting. We just bought a boat in December, and this was only our third time offshore fishing. It’s a lot of fun, I love it.”

DNR’s Coastal Resources Division (CRD), which oversees the Georgia Saltwater Game Fish Records Program, congratulated Pope on her achievement and provided her with a state record certificate signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, DNR Commissioner Mark Williams, and CRD Director Doug Haymans. Pope’s name will be eligible to appear in the 2024 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations Guide and has been added to the state saltwater records list online at

DNR reminds all anglers to follow best practices for ethical and responsible fishing, including proper handling and release of fish that are not intended for consumption.

The new state record for vermilion snapper is a testament to the fishing in Georgia and the skills of the state’s anglers. DNR encourages all anglers to continue practicing safe and responsible fishing and to report any potential record-setting catches to the DNR for verification.

Anglers in Georgia are required to have a valid recreational fishing license, free Saltwater Information Program permit, and to follow size and possession limits for various species. State saltwater record rules and regulations can be found at

For more information about fishing regulations in Georgia, please visit

Red snapper are different



from The Fishing Wire

PARK FALLS, Wis. – It may still be dead of winter, but something significant started happening over a month ago. The Earth reached its tipping point. The Northern Hemisphere has been slowly tilting back towards the sun for over five weeks now, bringing increasing daylight and warming temperatures.

Located closer to the equator than any other part of the continental United States, the Florida Keys are the first part of the country to experience this warming trend.

“You may not have noticed the changes yet where you live, but our fish here in the Keys sure have,” says Captain Tom Rowland, fishing educator, communicator, and co-host of the popular Saltwater Experience television show based out of Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key. “Our waters begin warming in January, and by February we start to experience some of our best fishing days of the year in terms of both weather and fishing quality.”

Rowland’s co-host and constant fishing partner for the past 20 years, Captain Rich Tudor, agrees. “Both offshore and inshore species really come to life in February and March, “Tudor says. “Our big tarpon are returning, permit and bonefish are sneaking back up onto the flats, the shark fishing is off the hook, and things get really exciting and productive offshore, too.”

Offshore Adventures

Rowland says February and March can be great months to target sailfish, mahi, and other pelagic species. “It’s really a great time to be offshore,” he says. “We’ve generally got favorable winds, a lot of bait, and sailfish are available and active. You can go out and hunt them exclusively, or you can set up for them while also bottom fishing for grouper and snapper. Jigging for bigger yellowtail snapper, grouper, and rainbow runners provides a lot of action this time of year, so we’ll often get a chum slick going and fish them on anchor or on a drift. Then we’ll fish a couple live goggle eyes or pilchards off a kite for the sails.”

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Rowland says you don’t need heavy tackle for sailfish. In fact, he and Tudor use the same St. Croix 7’ and 7’3” medium and medium-light power Rift Salt rods for sailfish as they do for snapper and grouper – spinning models (RIFSS70MF and RIFSS73MLM) for the sails and conventional models (RIFSC70MF and RIFSC73MMF) for bottom fishing. “They (sailfish) tend to stay up on the surface and we’re typically only running 12-20-pound mono with 20 or 25-pound fluoro leaders and small circle hooks,” Rowland says. “These new Rift M and ML rods have plenty of power for the job and are a joy to fish with.”

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Depending on conditions, Tudor says it isn’t uncommon to run into other pelagic species while fishing offshore in February and March as well. “You might just as easily run into some schools of mahi, blackfin tuna, or big jacks,” he says. “And these versatile, medium-power Rift salt rods are the ticket for all of them.”

Tudor drills down on his rigging for mutton and yellowtail snapper. “It’s a really great late-winter program and is super simple. You pull up over a live bottom in 120 to 250 feet of water and set out two bottom rods and a couple drift rods. We’re fishing the same medium-power 7’ and 7’3” Rift Salt conventional rods with Saltist 14 and 20 reels spooled with 40-pound braid and 30-50-pound fluoro leaders. We’re usually fishing jigs above the bottom or deboned ballyhoo or live pilchards on 3/0 circle hooks with enough weight to get down. We’ll catch a bunch and keep a couple for dinner and are always ready to pitch a bait to a passing mahi, blackfin tuna or jack crevalle. It’s a ton of fun.”

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Inshore Opportunities

As good as the offshore fishing is out of the Middle Keys in February through April, Tudor and Rowland say the inshore opportunities can be just as inviting. “There’s just so many games to play depending on the conditions of the day and week,” Rowland says. “Permit and bonefish are totally in play on the right days, and we also get our biggest tarpon of the year starting to show up inshore. These are 150-200-pound fish fresh in from the open ocean and they bite well if you can find them. We’re looking for those warming days that slick off and get really nice, which makes the fish a lot easier to spot.”

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Rowland says the new 7’10” medium-heavy power, moderate-fast action Rift Salt spinning rod is the ideal tool for presenting live mullet to big, happy silver kings. “It’ll load up and throw a one-pound mullet a long way, and the extra length helps keep baits separated when fishing multiple rods,” he says. “And they’re incredible fighting tools after you hook one of these big fish,” adds Rowland, who rigs simply with a 5000 to 6000-size spinning reel spooled with 20-pound braid, a 40-60-pound fluorocarbon leader terminated at a size-8/0 circle hook.”

“People see us using a lot of different St. Croix rods depending on where and how we’re fishing,” Rowland says. “These new Rift rods are the ultimate boat rods… rods that stay in the boat all the time and stand up to a tremendous amount of hard use. They’re designed for extreme durability, starting with the blanks which are SCIII carbon strengthened with St. Croix’s ART and FRS technologies. They have sturdier stainless steel and alconite guides and very durable but comfortable full-grip premium EVA handles. They also have soft, rubber gimbles that keep rigged rods from bouncing and rattling around in the rod holders. This extreme durability is why guides and so many hardcore saltwater anglers buy boat rods in the first place… they are going to get stepped on and be subjected to other unintentional abuse. But Rift rods are extraordinary in that they’re so surprisingly light and have great ergonomics so that any angler can pick them up and enjoy fishing with them. And with 28 different Rift Salt and Rift Jig spinning and conventional models to choose from, there’s a versatile Rift model to support better angling for almost any species in any situation.”

The demands on tackle don’t get any more extreme than those experienced while shark fishing, which is another favored late-winter sport enjoyed by Tudor and Rowland. “When you can’t find the big tarpon or during those times they won’t bite, shark fishing is a great option,” says Tudor, who admits he doesn’t need to use poor tarpon fishing as an opportunity to set up on a few sharks. “We’ll get big bull sharks up to 400 pounds and some really big lemon sharks, too, but blacktips up to 50 or 100 pounds are my favorite,” he says. “They’re incredible fish that jump like a tarpon and run like a bonefish.”

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Tudor says chum, moving water, and a bit of patience are the keys to a fun day of shark fishing. “Sharks are scent feeders, so you want to find good current and time your fishing to the peak flow of the tide,” he says. “If the wind is pushing the same direction as the tide that’s even better. We’ll typically set up on the edge of some shallow water and hang some carcasses tied up with rope off the back of the boat… usually mahi, mackerel, or bonito carcasses we’ve kept after filleting them. It’s very visual,” Tudor adds. “We’re stationary in 2 or 4 feet of clear water and just looking for sharks who come in from downstream. We’ll usually let them get close and get a bit fired up by the slick, then we’ll pitch them almost anything on a 6/0 or 8/0 circle hook.” Tudor says they’ll use moderate-fast action, medium or medium-heavy power Rift Salt rods depending on the size of the fish. He rigs with 50-pound braid, a 60-80-pound fluorocarbon leader and a 2-foot section of #6 wire for a bite guard. “Shark fishing is always a good time, and you may get some shots at permit or barracuda, too.”

Tudor says St. Croix’s new Rift rods are the best boat rods he’s ever used. “These are versatile, affordable, absolutely phenomenal rods that will compete with any custom-built boat rod out there,” he says. “We liked the old Mojo Salt series, but these are improved across the board. They’re thinner and lighter with even more strength and power and have a beautiful look and feel. They have super high-quality guides and high-end EVA handles that are as durable as they are comfortable. They’re going to appeal to a lot of guides and boat owners who want exceptional strength, durability, power, beautiful aesthetics, and versatility without sacrifice to sensitivity or added weight… and at a very reasonable price.”

It may still look and feel like winter where you’re at, but the weather and the fishing are already hot in the Florida Keys. So, gear up and get in on some of the best saltwater fishing of the year. Don’t want to travel with one-piece Rift Salt rods? We don’t blame you. Check out St. Croix’s Avid Trek collection of 3-piece, saltwater-ready travel spinning rods. Rated for 8-17-pound line and lures from 3/8 to ¾-ounce, the 7’ and 7’6” medium-power models (ATS70MF3 and ATS76MF3) are highly versatile choices for a wide variety of saltwater species.

Keep up to date with Captains Rich and Tom by visiting their Saltwater Experience website and linking to or subscribing to their extensive content.

About St. Croix Rod

Headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been proudly producing the “Best Rods on Earth” for nearly 75 years. Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled craftsmanship, St. Croix is the only major producer to still build rods entirely from design through manufacturing. The company remains family-owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls and Fresnillo, Mexico. With popular trademarked series such as Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Victory Avid®, Premier®, RIFT, Imperial®, Triumph® and Mojo, St. Croix is revered by all types of anglers from around the world.

How and Where To Catch November Saltwater Fish At Mobile Bay, with GPS Coordinates

with Captain Lynn Pridgen

     Think you need a huge boat and big motor to enjoy saltwater fishing?  Think again.  Drag your jon boat or bass boat on down to Mobile to catch a bunch of redfish, flounder and sea trout.  This is a great month for putting some of those tasty fish in the freezer.

     The network of rivers and bays around Mobile is huge and complex.  Big open water has small creeks and cuts off it and the rivers split, turn and twist, offering protected areas to fish even in the worst weather.  Multiple boat ramps allow you to put in near a good fishing spot so you don’t have to make long runs and a small open boat is fine if you pay attention to what you are doing.

     If you are a freshwater fisherman you will have to get used to rising and falling water, but you probably have some experience fishing current on rivers or reservoirs. Coastal fish respond the same way, but the current runs two ways every day and falling water can get you into trouble if you don’t watch what you are doing. Many areas are very shallow so don’t run through an area unless you check it out first.

     Sea trout, also called specks, weakfish and speckled trout are some of the best eating fish you can catch. They don’t fight real hard but they are plentiful.   Redfish, also called reds and channel bass, are hard fighters and were made famous with the “blackened redfish” recipe.  Flounder will give you a fight but are better on the plate than at the end of your line.

     Those three species are the targets of most coastal fishermen. In November they are in the rivers and creeks feeding on shrimp that are getting ready to head to the ocean.  They set up on ambush points to feed and you can catch all three species on consecutive casts with the same bait on most spots.  You can also catch sheepshead, white trout, whiting that are called ground mullet locally, freshwater cats and bass on these same places. That is one of the fun things about fishing around Mobile; you never know what you are going to catch.

     Captain Lynn Pridgen grew up in Saraland and his father was with the police department.  They had a house on Mobile Bay where he spent the summer fishing with his father and cousins. He now has a house on the water and he fishes about 100 days a year. Around 40 of those days are taking fishermen out on guided trips.  He also fishes saltwater tournaments in the area.

     In late October through the month of November Captain Lynn keys on shrimp that the fish are eating when he goes after trout, reds and flounder.  He concentrates on trout but enjoys catching all species. Lynn uses a variety of lures and jigs to catch them, and will use live shrimp.

     “Fishing just gets better and better from late October through November and into early December,” Lynn told me.  Right now is the time to head to the cost to take advantage of this fall feeding spree.

     Captain Lynn’s artificials include Mirror Lure topwater baits, DOA shrimp, H&H Coastal jigs and Rat-L-Traps.  Jigs are fished on a tight line or under a popping cork like the Cajun Thunder, or in a tandem rig.  He will fish live shrimp under slip corks or under the popping cork. 

     If the water is clear Lynn likes clear with gold flake jigs and lighter colored baits. If it is stained he goes to baits with chartreuse in them.  He fishes his baits on spinning and casting tackle and likes 10 to 14 pound Big Game line, sticking with 10 pound test most of the time unless fishing heavy cover. 

     Captain Lynn showed me the following places to catch fish and all are good from now until the water gets cold and the shrimp are gone.  Fish these spots and learn what to look for, then you can find many other similar places.

     1. N 30 39.788 – W 88 01.735 – Put in nearby and head to the small island in the mouth of the Mobile River just downstream of the docks on the west side of the river.  Start on the east side point of the island and work to the upstream side, to the ships tied up that the Coast Guard uses for training.

     Ease along looking for jumping shrimp and fish chasing them or fish “tailing” or feeding in the shallows right on the bank. Lynn says this is a good place to sight fish for reds. If you see them working shallow cast a live bait, DOA shrimp or topwater in front of them and work it across the line they are moving along. Cast a topwater bait to any surface activity you see.

     This is a good spot to look for “slicks,” too.  When the fish feed, oil from the shrimp or baitfish will come to the top and form small oil slicks about the size of a dinner plate. If you spot slicks cast to them.

     2.  N 30 39.025 – W 88 01.994 – Starting at the coal docks on the west side of the river you can catch fish all along the river front, fishing docks and cuts on both sides of the river. This is a big area and Lynn says he fishes a lot of tournaments here since it is near the open water and bigger fish tend to be here.  You can work spots all the way up past Magazine Point where the high bridge crosses the river.

     Start just downstream of the coal dock. You will see a line of old pilings running parallel to the shore and they mark the edge of a drop that holds fish.  The water is about two feet deep at the pilings but 18 feet deep just off them.  Keey your boat out in deeper water and cast topwater and jigs under corks to the pilings and work them out. Then cast shrimp up near the pilings under a slip cork and ease them down the dropoff.

     N 30 40.023 – W 88 01.902 – A little ways upstream on the west side you will see a long concrete dock running parallel to the bank.  Lynn likes to work along it, drifting life shrimp or a DOA shrimp under a cork into the shade under the pier.  All three species of fish hold near the pilings in the shade here.

     N 30 40.566 – W 88 02.063 – Further upstream on the east side you will see a big “Atlantic Marine” crane and there is a small point just downstream of it.  Fish around this point and the dock on it with topwater and popping corks, working from the bank out. The water is deep near the dock where it was dredged. Fish with the current to give your bait a natural movement. 

     N 30 40.978 – W 88 02.048 – Go on upstream and you will see an old brick building with broken windows. There is a dock on the point and a cove just downstream of it.  Start at the point and work the dock and bank, the one on the side of the building, going in.  There is lots of rubble on the bottom so fish over it with topwater or a popping cork. If you fish to the bottom you will get hung. Concentrate some casts around the drain pipe outflow.

     N 30 41.251 – W 88 02.096 – Up past the brick building are some vertical tanks right on the bank and there were stacks of pallets on the bank the day we fished. It is across from the cruise ship terminal and a point in front of the tanks is a good spot to fish.  You can work all the way back to the bridge then fish back out. There were some schooling fish here the day we fished.

     All the docks along both sides of the river here can be good. These are some of Captain Lynn’s best ones but you can locate spots of your own here.

     3.  N 30 44.294 – W 88 02.613 – Above the high bridge Chickasaw Creek splits off to the west and there is a railroad bridge across the mouth of it. A good drop off is at the bridge and this is another good place to drift baits under the bridge to catch fish holding there. 

     N 30 44.775 – W 88 02.419 – Upstream of the mouth of the creek on the west side of river outflow pipes create boils where paper mill discharge water is released. Lynn says this is a good place to throw a cast net to get bait and you can often find schooling fish here, too.

     4. N 30 46.260 – W 88 01.395 – Spanish River cuts off to Grand Bay north of the outflow pipe and a power line crosses here. There is a red channel marker off the point and the base of the power line tower is in the water. There is a row of old pilings under water on this point from near the channel marker to the bank so be careful, but get out and work the drop along them.  Topwater and slip corks with live bait work good here.

     This water is more brackish and you are more likely to catch some freshwater species, but reds, specks and flounder feed here.  Lynn says the outgoing tide is best since it pulls bait out of the grass and the game fish can get to it easier.  Drift your bait with the current to make it look more natural.  On an outgoing tide you can anchor near the channel marker and drift your bait down the row of pilings.

     5.  N 30 47.089 – W 88 00.444 – A little ways upstream the river splits around Twelve Mile Island. Take the right fork, not the one with the channel.  Not far from the split you will see some old sunk barges on your right.  There are several that you can’t see, too.  Fish the edges of them with a slip cork or popping cork.  Also try a Rat-L-Trap fished parallel to the edge of the barge.  The water is 12 to 13 feet deep along their deeper sides and fish hold here and feed.

     6. N 30 47.617 – W 87 59.469 – Further upstream on this side you will see the mouth of a small creek joining the river where is makes a bend.  Any creek mouth is good this time of year and this one is no exception.   In fact, this is one of Lynn’s favorite spots.

     There is a flat where the creek dumps into the river and Lynn will anchor on the upstream side of it and drift bait across the flat.  He also keeps a topwater bait ready since he often sees shrimp jumping and fish busting them here.  When you see that action, cast to it as fast as you can.

     7.  N 30 48.433 – W 87 59.537 – The upstream point of Twelve Mile Island where the river splits is a great place to catch fish. Lynn calls it “Budweiser Point” and he catches a lot of fish here.  There is a red channel marker on the point on the river side.

     This is a good place to anchor upstream of the point and drift baits back along both sides of the point with an outgoing tide.  The point forms a drop on either side and fish hold along it feeding on bait moving with the current.  You can fish here for hours as the tide starts to go out. The stronger it gets the better the fishing gets. Lynn says the outgoing tide is best and an incoming tide is OK but it is very hard to catch fish on either slack tide.

     8.  N 30 49.200 – W 87 56.954 – Up the river the Ship Channel cuts off to the left going upstream.  This canal was dug when the ‘Ghost Fleet” was mothballed over in the Tensaw River above Gravine Island.  There is a good drop on the upstream point between the river and the canal and Lynn fishes along the drop and grassline in both directions depending on the tide movement.  This is a spot where trout and reds concentrate when they really move in feeding on shrimp.

     9.  N 30 48.417 – W 87 55.666 – Run through the Ship Channel and stop on the upstream point where it joins the Tensaw River. Across from you is a big beach area on Gravine Island and the water opens up in front of you.  Anchor on the upstream side of the point and drift your bait across it with the current. The point had a good drop off into the channel.

     This big open area is also a great place to find schooling fish. Lynn always watches for birds feeding or shrimp jumping and heads to any activity since that usually means a school of fish feeding.  Ease up to them and you can catch a lot of fish. If you get into the school it will put them down. Topwater baits, popping corks and Rat-L-Traps are all good for schooling fish.

     10.  N 30 48.207 – W 87 55.303 – The river side of Gravine Island is a good area to fish.  Lynn stays out from the bank and works up current with his trolling motor for better boat control. He casts topwater plugs, vibrating plugs, slip corks and popping corks here, depending on what the fish want. Try them all until you hit the right combination.

     11.  N 30 46.164 – W 87 58.530 – On the downstream end of Gravine Island the Raft River cuts off and runs over to Grand Bay.  Lynn says the fish use this river as a highway and it is a good place to drift fish, letting the current carry your boat along while bumping bottom with jigs and live bait.  His favorite area to drift is where the “S” bend straightens out just upstream of the moth of Oak Bayou. 

     Position your boat off the shoreline on top of the drop and let the current take you and your bait along. Raise and lower your rod tip to keep jigs and live bait right on the bottom.   When you start catching fish mark the spot and when they stop hitting crank up, go back upstream to where they started and make another drift through the same area.

     12. N 30 46.205 – W 87 58.502 – The point between Oak Bayou and the Raft River is another good point to fish. There is some wood under water here and a stump just off the point on the river side.  Fish it with all your baits, working from the edge of the grass out.

     13.  N 30 44.678 – W 88 00.063 – Run down the Raft River to where it starts opening up at Grand Bay. There is a string of islands on  the right between the river and bay here and the cuts and points all along here are good places to fish. Set up on them and let your bait drift with the current. Keep hitting different places until you find the fish. When you hit where they are feeding you can fill your limit.

     Find a ramp near one of these spots you want to fish.  Get some live bait or stock up on artificials.  Follow Captain Lynn’s advice and you will catch fish.

     To get a first-hand view of how Captain Lynn fishes, call him at 251-214-5196 or visit his web site at to set up a guided trip. He will take you to some good fishing as well as teaching you how to catch all the different saltwater species.


from The Fishing Wire

Find Redfish Fun On Shallow Grass Flats With LIVETAREGET and Mustad

Redfish are not a complicated lot; they love to eat, and with seasonal spawning aggregations intensifying their schooling nature, fall presents one of the best times to find these hardy fish in great numbers. Habitat options are many, but from the pristine flats of Florida’s Gulf Coast to the vast expanses of Texas’ Laguna Madre waters, shallow fields of swaying seagrass offer tremendous opportunities. These shallow pastures offer prime grazing opportunities for a fish that’s perfectly designed for nosing through bottom cover to root out meals. During low tide, the fish slip into adjacent depths of channels and cuts, while higher stages find them moving progressively higher onto the flat.

Find the Fish

Singles and small groups of redfish can be surprisingly stealthy, but when you pack several dozen or more reds into a feeding school, it’s hard to miss their rumbling, water-rippling movement. On clear days, over a mottled bottom of sand and grass, the herd will cast an auburn hue in the water, so keep watch for such masses and the waking convoys.

Also, take note of shrimp or baitfish flipping from the water. These forage species are much happier below the surface, so take their acrobatics as a clear sign of predation. Likewise, spotting a glossy sheen on the water’s surface typically indicates a recent feed in which predators left a slick of baitfish oils in their passing. This could be any number of predators, from jacks to mackerel – but on fall grass flats, it’s often redfish.

Mullet Moments

While the sardines, crabs, shrimp and pinfish packing the grass flats won’t go unnoticed by redfish, the vegetarian mullet couldn’t care less? So what’s the connection? It’s pure opportunistic feeding. The less energy a predator expends to intake calories, the more they retain. For redfish, that means mingling with mullet often rewards them with a finfish or crustacean meal that they didn’t have to work for. Mullet schools displace these meals while churning across the shallow grass flats and savvy reds are quick to pick off the freebies. For anglers on the lookout, locating a mullet school, either by spotting their wake or seeing their characteristic leaps, is a great way to connect with opportunistic reds.

Best Baits

Lead head jigs, like the Mustad Inshore Darter in the 1/8- to 3/16-ounce range with paddletails or shrimp bodies are one of the most common redfish baits for targeted casts. For a bottom-hopping look, try the LIVETARGET Fleeing Shrimp. Another highly effective option is a popping or clacking cork with a LIVETARGET Rigged Shrimp below. Chugging the cork creates a commotion that resembles feeding fish, and the vulnerable bait is an easy sell.

For searching, weedless spoons are considered one of the top redfish baits, as they cast like a bullet – even on windy days – and easily traverse a range of shallow habitats from grass to oyster shells. Tip: Spoons are given to spinning on the retrieve, but adding a Mustad Nickel Round Split Ring and a Mustad Barrel Swivel minimizes line twist.

And don’t overlook topwater baits. With their subterminal mouths, reds are definitely built for bottom feeding; however, their inherent feeding aggression won’t allow a surface bait to pass without interception. A little awkward, not always pretty and far less efficient than, say, a speckled trout’s topwater attack, a redfish is a persistent creature and theirs is one of the most aggressive surface assaults you’ll ever see. It’s kind of a surging, crashing bite, but once a red locks onto a topwater target, it’s nearly a guaranteed hook up.

A little tip for greater topwater efficiency over shallow grass: Replace stock treble hooks with Mustad Kaiju Inline Single Hooks. Face the front hook forward and the rear hook backward. You’ll give up the number of hook points, but once a big red gets the bait, that’s a caught fish.

About Mustad

Mustad has led the global hook market since 1877. Mustad’s mission is to create a comprehensive multi-brand company that leads the fishing tackle industry, while focusing on innovation, employee and customer satisfaction, and sustainability. With the addition of TUF-LINE and LIVETARGET, Mustad continues to solidify its position as a complete sports fishing brand family.


Can You Catch More Fish When the Water Is Spinning?

New study sheds light on how fish use spinning water masses as habitat.

Picture the open ocean in the North Pacific: nothing but blue water as far as you can see, both out to the horizon and below you. The underwater environment may seem as uniform as it looks from above. Yet a new study shows that there are actually hotspots of biological activity which are shaped by small-scale ocean circulations.

Eddies are slow-moving swirls of water, or circular ocean currents, that can be tens to hundreds of miles across. They can rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise. Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center scientists Dr. Phoebe Woodworth-Jefcoats and Dr. Donald Kobayashi contributed to a new study showing that catch rates in Hawaiʻi’s longline fishery are higher in these clockwise eddies than elsewhere in the ocean. The study suggests that these eddies have a higher abundance of prey across the food web—from phytoplankton to fish.

To investigate this relationship, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Washington worked with Woodworth-Jefcoats and Kobayashi. They paired 23 years of Hawaiʻi-based longline catch records with satellite data showing the eddies’ locations. Of the 14 species examined, 11 had higher catch rates in clockwise eddies than in counter-clockwise eddies. These species included bigeye tuna, the fishery’s target species, and striped marlin. Striped marlin are both overfished and experiencing overfishing in the western and central Pacific Ocean. Billfish and other tunas were among the species more likely to be caught in anticyclonic eddies than outside them.

This conceptual figure shows how prey abundance inside and outside of eddies may affect predator abundance. Net primary productivity (NPP), or phytoplankton growth at the base of the food web, is greater in anticyclonic eddies than elsewhere. This productivity may attract abundant prey in anticyclonic eddies, in turn attracting predatory fishes to these features. Prey availability differs during daytime and nighttime. During the day, prey escape to deep, dark depths where only deep-diving predators (like bigeye tuna) can catch them. During the night, prey migrate up to the dark surface waters to feast on phytoplankton and other organisms at the base of the food web, making them accessible to a greater number of predators, too. Fish illustrations: Les Gallagher Fishpics® & IMAR-DOP, University of the Azores.

This information benefits fishers and scientists alike. Knowing where different species are likely to congregate helps fishers target their fishing effort, possibly saving them time and fuel. More efficient fishing operations could also improve fisher safety while reducing incidental bycatch, interactions, and fishing gear loss. Understanding how ocean conditions shape fish abundance helps scientists understand dynamic habitats. That’s a term we use to characterize the places where organisms live in the ocean with ever-changing conditions in both space and time. This paper also sheds new light on what influences predator abundance and ecosystem structure in the seemingly featureless open ocean.

Dr. Kobayashi summarizes this research, “The more we study the ocean, the more we find physical features large and small that can have profound impacts on marine life, including the species important to humans and key players in the ecosystem. Eddies are a medium-scale feature that can be easily overlooked because they are challenging to identify on the water or in the data fields, and so very ephemeral in time and space. But, as this study demonstrates, eddies are incredibly important to marine life!”


Rush Maltz, Co-Host of Local Knowledge
from The Fishing Wire

Over the past several years, no technique in the saltwater scene has been talked about as much as slow-pitch jigging. What started as a super-technical way to catch fish in Japan nearly two decades ago has become a phenomenon in America in recent years. It all started in the states, with the epicenter being South Florida, with a handful of anglers using it with great success before word spread. It’s now being used across the country, proving itself as a valuable tool for countless species.

Among the fans of the emerging technique are California’s Ali Hussainy and Florida’s Rush Maltz of the Local Knowledge Fishing Show. They each find success with the method on home waters and when traveling to film their show.

Vertical Jigging versus Slow-Pitch Jigging

Metal lures jigged beneath the surface have been used as long as anglers have been fishing, but the differences between the vertical jigging method, also called “speed jigging,” and the newer arriving slow pitch mainly comes down to how they are fished. Fishing vertically, many anglers drop their jigs to the bottom and quickly retrieve them while ripping their rods up to imitate a fleeing baitfish when speed jigging.

On the other hand, slow-pitch jigging is a way to get the jig to flutter and fall like an injured or dying baitfish. Both methods work, but slow-pitch jigging has gained a foothold in the fishing world because of its uniqueness and effectiveness in catching various predatory fish. Even species on the bottom that are accustomed to their food falling to them are fair game with this technique.

“We do a ton of jigging in Florida,” said Maltz. “The main difference between slow pitch and what I typically do more of, speed jigging, is the tackle used and how you jig. Standard vertical jigging is violent and much faster to get the fish to chase, while slow pitch is much more rhythmic and the jig flutters and falls to the fish.”

Slow-pitch rods are specialized, much lighter and designed to work the jigs and allow them to flutter downward. Vertical jigging requires beefier tackle, according to Maltz. “It’s mainly due to the species, where vertical jigging appeals to hard-fighting fish like jacks, tuna, kings, and bonita,” he said. “You can still catch them slow pitch jigging, but the style of fishing closer to the bottom opens it up to more fish species, including grouper and snapper species.”

While everything about the two jigging methods has opposing styles and gear, Maltz uses the same line for both.

“No matter how you are jigging, having a good quality braided line is very important as it will cut through the water better and give you better control of your jig,” he said. “I use 50 lb Threadlock Hollow Core because of how thin and strong it is. If I’m slow pitch jigging for bottom fish, I like 60 lb Gold Label fluorocarbon. It has the strength to prevent chaffing from the teeth of the bottom fish and because you are fishing the jig slowly, the thinner diameter helps keep your line less visible to the fish.”

Maltz’s co-host, Ali Hussainy agrees on the gear differences between the different jigging methods. “Standard vertical jigging rods are shorter, thicker, and very parabolic,” he said. “Most are between 5 and 6-feet long, a longer rod would break your back fighting big fish. Slow pitch jigging rods are specialized, very thin and a little longer.”

Slow Pitch California Rockfish

Ali Huisanny, Co-Host of Local Knowledge

With the Local Knowledge TV show, Hussainy travels to fishing hotspots chasing the best species in the prime times. Still, fishing for rockfish out of San Diego, California, is one of his favorite pastimes.

“A lot of guys overlook the great rockfish bite and focus on the glory fish like tuna,” he began. “From about Halloween until May, the rockfish bite in California and Baja California is hard to beat and slow pitch jigging is a great way to catch them. With the many different rockfish species we have, it’s so much fun to fish for them and their meat makes the best fish tacos.”

Generally, Hussainy and crew search for water between 125 and 425 feet where rock and sand meet. Hard bottoms and rock patches are critical for the variety of rockfish species in his region. The gear used is part of why he likes to use slow pitch jigging for vermillion and copper snapper, lingcod, and other species.

“You are using light rods, reels, and lines and it’s very effective and they put up a great fight on that gear,” said Hussainy. “We use Penn Fathom reels in the 8 and 10 sizes and the Fathom 400 low profile reel on a Penn Battalion II Slow Pitch rod.”

Hussainy spools the reels up with 50 lb Seaguar Threadlock Hollow Core braided line with a leader of 40 lb Gold Label fluorocarbon, citing the thin diameter of both lines as crucial for the technique.

“You’re most often fishing 225 to 300 feet deep and the thin diameter of those lines cuts through the water much better,” he said. “You get more action on a small jig in relatively deep water. Threadlock is incredibly strong, and so is Gold Label; it’s my go-to combination for the light stuff.”

Speaking of jigs, the Sea Falcon is a popular option for slow pitch fans, along with the Williamson Kensaki and Koika that Hussainy likes, mainly in the 6-to 10-ounce range, varying it depending on the depth and current. Color, according to Hussainy is not as important as getting it in front of fish in many situations.

“We gently lift the rod and let the jig sweep back down with your rod doing the work,” he said. “That makes this technique so deadly; it’s a way to imitate a dying baitfish. You can also wind up four or five cranks and let them fall back down to get them to bite. It’s so much fun and we’re all still learning about the technique, but there are some real gurus with the technique like Benny Ortiz down in Florida who helped pioneer the fishing style in America.”

Slow pitch jigging has taken the fishing world by storm and as more anglers learn how effective it is, anglers who give it a shot will catch more fish with the technique. It’s something that’s still evolving and we’re sure to hear more about it as more anglers use it in our fisheries.




Speed Restrictions Threaten Marine Industry

from The Fishing Wire

New Gretna, New Jersey- A rushed proposed rule to implement 10-knot speed restrictions for boats 35 feet and larger from Massachusetts to Florida could devastate the entire marine industry and cripple America’s outdoor economy.

The National Marine Fisheries Service, an agency within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is proposing amendments to the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule to reduce the likelihood of vessel strikes. The federal rule would broaden the current 10-knot speed limit to include boats 35 feet and larger (down from 65 feet); expand the zones from discrete calving areas to virtually the entire East Coast as far out as 100 nautical miles; and extend the go-slow mandate for up to seven months a year.

“The proposed rule, as written, would be the most consequential maritime regulation that we have ever seen imposed on the recreational boating and fishing sector,” says John DePersenaire, Director of Government Affairs and Sustainability for Viking Yachts. “It will affect not only boat owners but marinas, tackle shops, charter boat operators – basically all maritime-related businesses on the Atlantic Coast.”

Adds Viking President and CEO Pat Healey: “This would be a devastating regulatory mandate. Right whale vessel strikes have just not been an issue for our industry. This is a classic example of government overreach.”

The proposed rule was published without any engagement with the recreational boating and fishing community. “We had heard talk of a proposal but were never directly contacted in any way,” says DePersenaire. “This is important because the proposed rule imposes excessive and unnecessary negative impacts on our community as a direct response of NOAA single-handedly putting forward regulations without public input. Moreover, the proposed mandate would force thousands of recreational boats to operate at a speed that compromises their maneuverability and overall safety at sea.”

NOAA Fisheries is proposing to modify the boundaries and timing of current vessel speed restrictions (Seasonal Management Areas) along the U.S. East Coast and create proposed Seasonal Speed Zones to reduce the risk of lethal collisions with endangered North Atlantic right whales. Most vessels 35 feet or longer would be required to transit at 10 knots or less within active proposed Seasonal Speed Zones.

The proposal was published on Aug. 1, 2022. Viking immediately requested a 30-day extension to the public comment period. “Viking Yachts is completely sensitive to the status and outlook of the North Atlantic right whale population,” Healey wrote to NOAA. “The health of the ocean and all its life is of paramount importance to our company and boat owners. However, we believe the magnitude of the proposed rule warrants careful consideration to ensure that a practical, enforceable and realistic plan is put forward to address the right whale population.”

A letter from a broad coalition of recreational fishing and boating organizations was also presented to NOAA, who has since extended the public comment period to October 31. “Now that we have the extension, we really need to turn up the volume and make sure our voices are heard,” said Healey. “Everyone needs to rally – yacht clubs, marinas, fishing clubs, charter boat associations. This is a huge deal that not many people know about.”

How to Help

To see a map showing the existing and proposed speed zones, click here.

The primary way to voice your concerns about the amendments to the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule is via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Click here to comment. You can also provide comments through various boating and fishing groups, such as the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s Boating United group: click here, and through the International Game Fish Association: click here.

All comments will be read and considered, according to NOAA’s Office of Protected Species, which advises participants to supply specific information about how the rule would impact their boating and fishing activities or business. You can also make suggestions for changes to the rule. The purpose in crafting these amendments is to ensure that the North Atlantic right whales are protected and do not go into extinction while placing as little burden on the mariner as possible, according to NOAA.

Given the limited amount of time for the public to weigh in on these rule changes, “it’s critical that you immediately contact your member of Congress and ask that they demand NOAA to put the proposed rule on pause,” says DePersenaire. “The additional time can be used to develop measures that seek balance between the needs of the right whale and our industry. Congress also needs to know that the rule has far-reaching implications beyond our sport. It will disrupt shipping and ports and exacerbate supply-chain issues and inflation.”

The Facts

The facts do not support the sweeping changes being proposed by NOAA. Since 1998 – 24 years – there have been 24 known right whale vessel strikes across 10 states. Of those, eight were attributed to boats from 35 to 65 feet.

“In our 58-year history, with more than 5,000 boats delivered, we have never had a report of our boats having an encounter with a right whale,” says Healey “And we would know because it would cause significant damage that would be repairable only by us.”

“The bottom line is this is far too consequential of an issue for it to be developed and implemented unilaterally with no meaningful input from our industry or the public,” adds DePersenaire. “Many of these impacts could have been eliminated or significantly reduced – while still reducing risks of vessel strikes – by working with fishermen and boaters.”

For an in-depth analysis and more information about the issue, please click here for an American Sportfishing Association (ASA) podcast featuring an interview on the subject with DePersenaire.

About the Viking Yacht Company

Founded by brothers Bill and Bob Healey in 1964 on the banks of the Bass River in New Gretna, New Jersey, Viking has become the leading semi-custom production builder of sportfishing yachts and center consoles in the world, with more than 5,000 boats delivered. The Viking fleet consists of yachts from 38 to 90 feet, and the company in 2019 launched a lineup of premium high-performance center consoles – the Valhalla Boatworks V Series. Princess Yachts America, the U.S. distributor of the British-built yachts, is also part of the Viking portfolio. A vertically integrated company where 90 percent of every boat is built in-house, Viking operates several subsidiaries, including Atlantic Marine Electronics, Palm Beach Towers and the Viking Yacht Service Center. Viking, driven by the mantra “to build a better boat every day,” looks forward to continuing to serve the Viking and Valhalla family with industry-leading products, dealers and customer service.


from The Fishing Wire

Four Ways To Tangle With Double Tough Amberjack

They may not win any beauty contests and, truth be told, they often live in the shadow of offshore darlings such as black grouper and mangrove snapper; but pound-for-pound, the greater amberjack is one of the toughest fish in saltwater. An often overlooked food fish, AJs offer a high yield of firm, mild filets that turn out well on the grill, the smoker or in the skillet. Common to wrecks, springs and reefs of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, amberjack are not picky fish, but a handful of established techniques will bring these brutes to the boat.

Live Bait Drop: AJs have no teeth, but they have large, powerful jaws with pronounced rubbery lips — basically, they’re designed for grabbing meals with devastating force and gobbling them whole. Suffice it to say, any forage species that suddenly appears on their radar won’t be long for this world.

Common offerings include pinfish, grunts, sand perch and scaled sardines (“pilchards”). Gear up with stout 7- to 7 1/2-foot rods with 4/0 reels, 200-pound braided main line and 4-6 feet of monofilament leader and drop your live bait on a 10/0-12/0 Mustad Offset Circle Hook with a slip sinker sized to the target depth.

Trolling: The good thing about live bait is that many species love it. The bad thing about live bait — same.

Often, anglers find it difficult, if not impossible to thread a livie through the layer of barracuda often holding above the AJs. In such instances, deploy your live baits on downriggers about 50- to 100-yards from the target site and troll them into the strike zone.

This obviously limits the number of baits you can fish at one time, as opposed to straight dropping. However, your success rate will be much higher.

Jigging: There’s truly nothing like the real thing for AJs, but these gluttons will often fall for a heavy bucktail jig, diamond jig, blade jig or a slow pitch jig. While the first three rely on active, often erratic motion, the slow pitch jig is made for mimicking the gliding, fluttering movements of a wounded or dying baitfish. Designed specifically for this technique, Mustad’s G-Series Slow Fall Jigging Rod comes in 6-foot, 6-3 and 6-4 models.

With any jig option, keep it moving until you feel a bite. If the fish misses or shakes your jig loose, immediately resume the action. Amberjack are rarely alone and what one fish drops, another is likely to grab.

Topwaters: Despite their preferred proximity to bottom structure, amberjack won’t hesitate to rise topside to blast a big walking or popping bait. Strikes are simply astounding, but make sure you’re properly equipped to handle a big fish by fitting your bait with the new Mustad JAW LOK treble hooks.

Battle Royale

However you hook your amberjack, expect nothing less than brutality. Trust your tackle to keep you connected and use the gunwale for extra leverage. This is truly a test of wills, so the longer you can hold out, the better your chances of defeating this reef bully.


Mustad has led the global hook market since 1877. Mustad’s mission is to create a comprehensive multi-brand company that leads the fishing tackle industry while focusing on innovation, employee and customer satisfaction, and sustainability. With the addition of TUF-Line and LIVETARGET, Mustad continues to solidify its position as a complete sports fishing brand family.