Travel Blog: Lure Lessons in the Shallows of Tampa Bay

News & Tips: Travel Blog: Lure Lessons in the Shallows of Tampa Bay...

LureLessonsShallowsTampaBay blogThe trips I've taken with Captain C.A. Richardson have always been productive and the bulk of them have been in vast Tampa Bay. C.A.'s approach has rested on direct application of principles which are easily taught. His methods have culminated in his Flats Class TV show and actual classes around the state of Florida. These are tenets and tactics that a traveling lure angler can apply in most marine shallows.

One of C.A.'s strongest tenets that he teaches is that super long casts equal greater stealth and "happy" fish. This tactic is based on the idea that when an angler is casting to a sighted fish or merely casting a "search" bait, the further the distance between the angler and the fish, the less spooky the game fish will be. And, of course, the more comfortable the game fish, the more likely they are to strike an offering. One major way to achieve this is by extremely long casts.

Greater distance from the game fish makes them more comfortable in two ways. A very long cast makes it more likely that the fish will see the presentation before they see the angler or their skiff. This also applies to a fish utilizing their lateral lines to sense the pressure waves of a wading angler or a poled or electric motored-skiff. The longest casts often can precede the pressure wave.

C.A. uses very carefully chosen fishing tackle and lures to achieve the longest casts. This includes lures optimally sharpened to achieve long distance hookups. He also advocates the use of braid because the narrow diameter of the line will create longer casts than the same respective casts of the larger diameter (same-pound-test) monofilament. C.A. uses spinning reels with a large arbor that are filled to capacity with the highest quality braided line. This is based on the maxim that a fully-filled reel gives longer casts than an "underfilled" reel. He also uses spinning and plug rods that are a bit longer than the average rod, which again — all things being equal — will increase the distance of the casts. Of course, his leader material is stealthy fluorocarbon of the lightest pound test possible.

C.A. likes to involve the most senses of the game fish in the presentation. A well-tuned and natural looking lure works best for sight feeders. The second step is appealing to their sense of smell. He uses Pro-Cure attractant on almost of all his lures. Pro-Cure comes in an effective, hand-friendly dispensing bottle and C.A. keeps it close and re-applies the product when he deems that necessary. Since Pro-Cure has good substance compared to the watery consistency of other attractants, the frequency of re-application is minimized. Pro-Cure comes in a wide variety of scents that will appeal to the inshore marine game fish that C.A. pursues in the southeastern U.S.A., as well as the Gulf states.