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Bay Fishing For Dummies

Aug 22, 2008
Inshore fishing, especially in quiet bays, does not require the expensive high-end equipment that true ocean fishing does. Before I start, let me say that my recommendations are what has worked for me over the years. It may not be the best or only choice available.

For inshore fishing, you really need two set-ups. One for light duty fish like snook, redfish, flounder, pompano, speckled trout, Spanish Mackerel, and smaller fish.

The second set-up is for larger, more aggressive fish like sea bass, striper, tarpon, tripletail, cobia, bluefish, dorado, small to med. sharks, and other bruisers you might come up against.

For the light rig, you want a reel that can handle the abuse that salt-water fishing can dish out. Your favorite bass-fishing Ambassaduer reel is not going to work in the salt.

You need one constructed of stainless steel, graphite, or anodized aluminum, with 3 to 6 stainless steel bearings. The more bearings, the smoother the reel operates.

You will need a gear ratio of at least 5 to 1 up to 6.2 to 1, and beyond. Look for a spool that is longer than the short, stubby freshwater types. This will allow you to cast light baits farther.

The reel needs to be able to hold at least 150 yards, or preferably 250 yards of 12 pound monofilament.

Rod length is your choice, but if you are fishing from shore, or a pier, a long rod is not necessary. A 7-8 foot, Med action graphite rod will do nicely. Just make sure it has Fuji guides and a strong reel seat.

For the heavy set-up, the same reel specifications apply, only now you need a larger reel that can hold 350 yards of 20 Lb. test monofilament. If you use a level-wind reel, make sure you get one with a bait clicker. The rod construction still applies, only now you need a Med-Heavy action. A 7-1/2' to 9' rod is plenty.

If you are going to troll, you need a good selection of jigs and saltwater lures for the species you want. In a nutshell, most of what you want will be imitations of squid, shrimp, mullet, eel, and cigar minnows.

You might want to purchase a 'spider' rig for your boat, to allow you to troll with several evenly spaced rods.

For bait fishing from a boat, pier or shore, you will need wire leaders, saltwater barrel swivels, hooks apropriate for the species you are fishing for, and a good selection of pyramid, egg and bell sinkers.

Most bait fishing in bays will be bottom fishing with a double hook rig, For speckled trout, oftentimes, you can get your limit with a double jig set-up rigged under a popping cork.

You can wade fish in some areas, especially along the Florida coat and the Keys, but you need to be aware of the hazards this type of fishing involves.

First off, be aware of the times of incoming tides. This brings larger predatory fish like sharks and barracuda closer to shore. If you are fishing near breakers, watch out for undertows. They can be deadly.
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best saltwater fishing information possible. Get more information on shark fishing here: http://www.asksaltwaterfishing.com/
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