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The Secrets Of Saltwater Flats Fishing

Sep 15, 2008
Saltwater flats fishing is a highly specialized form of the sport itself. In many respects it is more like hunting than fishing.

Often you are hunting specific fish rather than targeting a species in general. You are looking for the fish and then presenting your offering to them in manner similar to a hunter that stalks prey in the forest or jungle.

It is very important that you have the proper equipment to fish in the saltwater flats. You will be fishing water that is anywhere from six inches to three feet deep. A shallow riding boat, like a skiff, is critical for success in these situations.

Remember that stealth and the ability to observe your surroundings are vitally important. A raised platform and a push pole are just two reasons a skiff is excellent for this type of fishing.

Since you will be fishing water that is shallow and generally crystal clear you will need the proper rod and reel as well. It is very important that you use fluorocarbon line when fishing the flats. I recommend using line in the eight to twelve pound weight class when fishing for all but the biggest fish.

When using line this light you will also need a reel that has a high quality drag that can withstand a large fish ripping off as much as one hundred yards of line in a matter of seconds.

Sure you can use heavier line but this will limit you amount of hookups. It is best when fishing the flats to keep it light and learn how to fight a fish that pushes your equipment to its limits.

When fishing the flats you are looking for visual signs of fish and then casting your line in a manner that targets the specific fish or school of fish you have located. Redfish for instance can often be easily seen. As a redfish puts its head into the thick sea grass to root out a crustacean you will often see its spotted tail break the surface of the water.

Tarpon also can be seen rolling on the top of the water. You will soon learn that each fish has its own pattern that you will learn to recognize.

Once you have located a fish you need to present your offering correctly. This leads to our decision on which bait to use. For my money live bait beats everything in the saltwater flats, as it does almost anywhere else as well.

A large lively shrimp is certainly the best bait for maximizing the quantity of fish you will catch. You can catch anything from a small Snapper to a Tarpon weighing over one hundred pounds on a live shrimp. It can however sometimes be frustrating casting a shrimp to a large fish you have targeted and find eaten by a small Snapper before the targeted fish arrives. I prefer to hook a shrimp through the tail one time with the smallest hook I can get away with. If you use a hook that is too big you will compromise the ability of the shrimp to appear lively. Any time a shrimp is picked up and I do not hook the fish I change bait.
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 saltwater fishing flats fishing here: http://www.asksaltwaterfishing.com/
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