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McClane's Secrets of Successful Fishing

Accuracy Casting, Pg.102


The spinning rod with its fixed-spool reel is much easier to than a standard bait-casting outfit. For this very reason fewer anglers work at fundamentals or achieve pinpoint accuracy. Bear in mind that the usual range of lure weights for spinning considerably lighter than those used in bait casting or with push button reels. Depending on the recoil speed of the rod, it may necessary to drop a 1/16- or 1/18-ounce bait 12-14 inches below the tip-top. The casting style to develop with the spinning rod is smooth, chopping motion of the forearm. True, you can toss the lure out with a mere wrist snap, but using the forearm has the same advantage it does in bait casting. For one thing, you can get more elevation with the forearm; by starting with the hand low and using a short arc you can make very short, accurate casts. As the are is lengthened and the hand raised higher, you can apply more power and reach greater distances. A pure wrist motion, on the other hand, has a definite limit; it is not a consistent movement among inexperienced casters, and it is tiring, particularly when using lures in the over-1/4-ounce class. By using the forearm as well as some wrist action, you can achieve absolute precision and the maximum distance. This is the style used by the best tournament casters.

Accuracy begins with gripping the rod properly. You should grasp the corks of a spinning rod with your fingers split around reel leg--with two fingers in front and two in back. Some men with exceptionally large hands might find this uncomfortable and prefer one finger in front and three in back of the reel leg, but this rarely necessary. Your thumb should be on top of the handle, positioned over your forefinger, which is directly over the reel spool. It is important to keep your hand as relaxed as possible. Starting with a relaxed hold, you shouldn't squeeze down on the rod until the very instant power is applied to the back cast. To begin the cast, wind the reel so that the bail, pickup finger, or roller (depending on the type of reel) is on top and the lure is hanging about 6 inches from the rod tip, and then pick up the line so that it rests over the first joint of your forefinger. Your finger should bend just enough to lift the line free from the roller. Next, reverse the crank handle approximately one quarter turn. At this point, the pickup mechanism should be at the bottom of the reel, the line held in check by your forefinger. Do not squeeze the line against the rod grip, but hold it on the ball of your forefinger; the weight of the lure will create enough tension to keep the line tight. Now, with your left hand, snap the pickup open.

In your first practice session, hold the rod so that the very tip is slightly above eye level, with the shaft splitting the center of the target. Your arm should be relaxed. Try to estimate how much speed the rod will need to shoot the lure the proper distance. Bending at the elbow, with an upward and backward forearm motion, start the rod toward vertical, accelerating its speed until the rod is twelve-o'clock high, and stop the movement by squeezing the rod grip. The momentum of the lure will pull the rod tip hack into a casting bend. As the lure pulls hard against the rod, start the forward chop with some wrist emphasis, and release the line from your forefinger as you pass the eleven-o'clock position (viewing the clock face with the angler facing left). When the line has been released, move your finger away, and to the right of the spool. If you are trying for a very long shot over open water. don't allow the line to come in contact with your finger at all. In accuracy work, however, you will want to slow the cast down by feathering the line with your forefinger. as the common tendency is to overshoot a target.

Carlos Hidalgo's South Florida's Peacock Bass

Chapter 5, Fishing Gear, Page 44

Many types of conventional fishing gear can be used to catch peacock bass, but some are obviously better than others Peacocks are sometimes caught on canepoles by people fishing for bream, but I would not consider this a viable option. Spincast gear is also not a good choice. The simple push-button design of these reels is a plus for kids to use, but the reels are usually not rugged enough to handle the rigors of peacock fishing, Baitcasters are a good choice when fishing with live bait, but it is sometimes difficult to cast the small lures that peacocks prefer with them.

Spinning gear is the clear choice of conventional tackle used For butterfly peacock bass fishing in South Florida. This type of tackle offers many advantages. Spinning gear is easy and quick to use, dependable, tough, and versatile. Basically any lightweight spinning outfit will suffice, but I like a six-foot-long, medium action rod rated for six-to twelve-pound-test lines. Shorter rods will decrease the accuracy and distance of casts, which is a consideration when using small lures. Although a fast action rod will increase casting distance, I prefer the extra backbone of a medium action rod when handling a big fish. Make sure that the rod has an adequate number of guides. This ensures that the line follows the contour of a bent rod and flows evenly through the guides when a large fish pulls against the drag. Two-piece rods are desirable since they are easier to transport and many peacock holes can be reached by automobile. To ensure that you will be happy with the rod make sure to cast it before purchasing it.

Stu Apt's Fishing in the Florida Keys and Flamingo


There are times during the fight when you can break their spirit. If you pressure the fish properly, without breaking him off- and you may be within ounces of breaking him off - you can subdue him rather quickly. To do this you must understand your tackle and know within the "nth" degree what your tackle will take. When a tarpon, or any large fish for that matter, is green and running away, there is no way to stop him with light tackle. But, the moment he slows down or stops, try to pressure him. Do not make your drag any tighter than it is, but very gently apply pressure. When using spinning tackle you may do this by gently placing your finger down on the spool as you lift the rod or you may do what is called "cupping" it. You cup your hand around the spool as you lift the rod, bringing the fish back toward you. Be careful as you must know exactly how much pressure it will take to break your line.

Salt Water Fishing II by Mark Sosin and Gorge Poveromo

Chapter 5: The Universal Lure, Pg. 21

If you were limited to a single lure guaranteed to catch fish in a variety of situations anywhere in the world, what would you choose? While you're wrestling with your decision consider that the government answered the question at the beginning of World War II. Survival kits aboard warplanes and life rafts back then contained leadheaded bucktails and a length of fishing line.

The leadhead still ranks as the prime choice, but today, soft plastics broaden its appeal and versatility. These modern offerings have been molded into so many shapes and designs, they challenge the imagination. Imitations include everything from shrimp and baitfish to grubs, worms, and creations that don't resemble any natural bait. Color combinations (with or without glitter) span the spectrum from light to dark and shiny to dull (plus fluorescent "glow-in-the-dark"). Impale one of these shapes on a leadhead (with or without bucktail dressing) and you have an extremely effective artificial.


In shallow water, the most common fishing technique centers on casting, letting the lure fall to the bottom, and then jigging it back with a series of short, sharp, upward motions of the rod. Almost any species that relishes artificials and feeds close to the bottom will inhale it.

If you find a school of fish on the surface, make the cast, let the offering sink for a moment or two,and then start the retrieve. Even on the offshore grounds, it pays to keep a rod rigged with a leadhead. You gain the versatility of being able to make a presentation to anything that swims around the boat. The leadhead lets you drop it down quickly if the fish you spot are not right on the surface.

In deeper water, vertical jigging (straight up and down) produces better results than casting and retrieving. Drop the leadhead to the bottom and use the rod to lift it. If you are focusing on denizens that hug the turf down there, come up several feet and then drop it back down. The alternative lies in working the entire water column right up to the surface.

Leadheads perform more effectively when attached to the leader with a loop knot. The rule of thumb dictates that you use the lightest leadhead capable of reaching bottom. You'll find that some offerings outfish others. It's a matter of preference, experience, and how you rig them. A flat-tailed shape such as a grub can be fished with the hook parallel to the tail or perpendicular to it.

Curly-tailed and sickle-tailed baits such as the Mr. Wiffle seem to work better when the hook comes out on the side opposite the curl. The holes in the tail of the Wiffle create more sound as the lure moves through the water.

Fishing the Flats by Mark Sosin and Lefty Kreh

Chapter 4: Spotting Fish, Pg. 43-45

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOOKING AND SEEING. Most of us walk around with our eyes wide open, yet we fail to really see everything unless we send a command to our brain to focus on it. If you had walked into a room for the first time, you would be hard-pressed to recall what you saw without having made a specific effort to note each individual item in the room. On the flats, we must do precisely that. We must train ourselves to spot fish as well as learn to recognize the signs.

In northern latitudes where even the shallow water lacks transparency, most of the fishing is done with long, search-type casts. An alert angler may detect a swirl on the surface as a bluefish or striped bass pounces on prey or glimpse some other telltale sign. Basically, however, casting and retrieving become somewhat mechanical. Those who take the sport seriously will watch their lures, hoping to catch sight of a fish following. Beyond that, the method is known as blind casting because you do not see a specific fish before making the presentation.

On the tropical flats, the technique takes a totally different form. Instead of casting, you stand alert with your rod at the ready, scanning the water until you see a specific fish. Fly, lure, or bait must then be cast ahead of and beyond your quarry. Hundreds of fish may be cruising the flat, but until you are able to spot them, nothing happens.


There is no alternative. Without polarized sunglasses, you will not be able to see fish underwater. Polarization cuts through the surface glare and reflections, making it possible to look into the water and focus on the bottom.

The darkness or lightness of the lenses has little to do with the protection of your eyes in extremely bright light. Instead, you must determine the light absorption quality of the lens. Good glasses will absorb from 75 to 90 percent of the ambient light.

Polarized sunglasses are currently available in a number of colors and materials. Though plastic is the least expensive, whether it is made into fullframe glasses or clip-ons for those who already wear glasses, it scratches easily. The best glasses available today feature a polarizing filter sandwiched between two pieces of glass. It is also possible to buy these with your prescription ground in and some houses even offer bifocals.

If you must choose one color for the flats, it should be brown. A brownish tint enhances contrast and makes it easier to see fish under typical flats conditions. Sometimes, the brown is really a combination of brown and gray or brown and green. The latest entries in the field tend to blend the basic colors with gray, blue, or green, creating more sophisticated lenses.

Serious fishermen recognize that a single pair of polarized sunglasses will not give optimum performance in every situation, so they carry at least two or three pairs of different colors and densities. An excellent solution to this problem lies in photochromatic polarized glasses. They lighten or darken depending on outside conditions, yet they filter out most of the ambient light. Currently, photochromatics are available in several colors including yellow.

Yellow, by the way is the perfect choice for very early or late in the day and under overcast conditions. It tends to build contrast. Once you use them, you will be amazed. One alternative is to use yellow Kalichrome lenses with a polarized clip-on over them during full daylight. When the light levels fall, use yellow alone.

Salt Water Sportfishing Techniques by Mark Sosin and George Poveromo

Chapter 13: TRAILERING KNOW-HOW, Pg. 75-76

A continuing trend toward larger boats has incited trailer manufacturers to experiment with various equipment packages to improve the durability, safety and longevity of their products. Whereas a 25-foot boat was considered extremely large for a trailer several years ago, fishing rigs in the 26- to 28-foot range, complete with beams approaching nine feet, are fast becoming a common sight at boat ramps today. Aside from their sheer size, the weight of additional fiberglass, increased fuel capacities and larger or twin power plants require precise trailer adjustments.

Following the advancements of the boating industry, trailers have also become state of the art. Sporting various styles and options, today's trailer market can overwhelm the consumer. Deciding between the two basic designs, float-on or winch-on, poses a problem to most new boat owners.

Before the final choice, a trailer-boater must take into account the range of his outings and the quality of available ramps. If the ramps slope gradually, he might opt for the swift launching/retrieving convenience of a float-on trailer. Conversely, if the ramps are in poor shape, with abrupt drop-offs, or if the boater frequently explores distant fishing haunts, a winch-on design would better serve him.

While quick launching/retrieving is the main advantage of a float-on trailer, its use is limited to quality ramps. Furthermore, the submerging of the frame in salt water usually wreaks havoc on brakes and related equipment. If regular fresh water flushings and general maintenance aren't performed, bearing damage is also possible.

Since most float-ons are constructed with aluminum (some companies produce galvanized steel models), it's usually more cost efficient to replace the entire frame should a section become damaged in an accident. Simply cutting the twisted piece and welding in a new one (typical of steel repairs), isn't feasible.

Other problems associated with float-ons concern the minimum amount of crossmember points supporting a vessel's weight. Combined with the flex of the aluminum over a long range trip, damage to a boat's hull can arise. The better designs feature cross member/poly supports that are strategically positioned every few feet (depending upon the size of the trailer) and fully adjustable side and rear bunks. By evenly distributing and securing a boat's weight over increased support points, the probability of an innate problem should be lessened.

The advantage of the float-on trailer is the demise of the competition. Winch-ons simply take longer at the ramp. However, they can launch most everywhere and, if an owner is careful not to submerge the wheels, brake and bearing life is comparatively increased. Anglers who trailer extensively know that there are many desolate ramps that are best serviced by a winch-on trailer.


The most common mistake made after purchasing a trailer is loading it with a boat exceeding the trailer's maximum weight capacity. Overloading results in increased tire wear, bearing failure and, in severe cases, serious accidents. A trailer, regardless of style, must be built according to the vessel's length and weight. When a trailer is custom ordered, manufacturers determine whether its cross members will be straight or angled by the degree of vee on the vessel's transom (not bow). Inboard models have notched crossmembers to permit prop shaft and rudder clearance.

The vessel's loaded weight will also determine the proper trailering equipment. Reputable companies adhere to specific packages based on this information. For example, if the total weight of a boat is 2,000 pounds, a suitable trailer should come with an axle rated for at least 3,000 pounds, 13-inch C-ply tires(1,315 pounds load range per tire) and two five-leaf springs. If a rig weighs in at 2,500 pounds, the same axle should be used, but in conjunction with 14-inch tires (1,710 pounds load range per tire) and two six-leaf springs. Packages are upgraded to the top of the line trailerable boats, with dual axles rated for 7,000 pounds each, four 15-inch D-ply tires (2,370 pounds load range per tire), four six leaf springs and four-wheel braking systems. By underrating the weight capacities of a trailer, one can guard against overloading and extend product life.

The 12 Volt Bible for Boats by Miner Brotherton



Troubleshooting, as the name implies, refers to locating problems or faults, analyzing what is wrong, and then remedying the situation. Let's look at each of these procedures briefly to see what is involved in learning how to troubleshoot a boat's electrical system. So far we have covered the fundamental principles and basic theory we need to do it. We know about the wires, the sources, the controls and the transducers. We know what each separate item is and what it does in a circuit. But troubleshooting is an integrating experience-this is where it all has to come together. I'm reminded of my own training in aircraft engine mechanics at the Naval Air Technical Training Command at Memphis, Tennessee, nearly 30 years ago. Six months of schooling, classes and shop work, all came together during the final week on the flight line. The troubleshooting instructors were geniuses at screwing up an engine--some wouldn't start, some would start but not run, and others would run for a while and then quit. A crew's reward for fixing one problem would he to get a more challenging one next. But that was the best experience in the world. (We Marine Corps graduates of the school got to go back to Korea for a second trip. The funk-outs got orders to Hawaii and Miami. Somehow I never quite saw the justice in that, but nobody said life was fair.)

To start with, how do you know when you have a fault or problem that needs fixing? There isn't a single answer to that question. Some are obvious, such as when you turn on a switch and nothing happens. Others are more subtle-a device comes on but quits after a while, or works only half-heartedly. And then there are the ones that really drive you crazy--intermittents--sometimes they work and other times they don't. They always work fine when you get the tools out to fix them, like the tooth that stops hurting on the way to the dentist. Something doesn't work properly. That's the first clue.

The next step, analysis, just means figuring out what is wrong. Weston Farmer, one of my favorite boating writers and designers, used to call this "noodling"; using your head plus experience plus some seat-of-the-pants instinct to determine what is causing the problem. If the battery is dead, where did the charge go? What drained it? If a circuit blows fuses, don't put any more in until you find out why they blow. Otherwise the next one will blow, too, and the only thing you'll learn is how expensive fuses are.

The key to becoming a good troubleshooter is developing a systematic approach. You can't just jump from one part of a system to another helter-skelter and expect your efforts to be successful.

Remedying a fault or problem is the easy part. Once you know what's wrong, it usually is fairly clear what you must do to repair it. Most often fixing will mean replacing a non-functioning item-screwing in a new bulb, replacing a fuse, or wiring a new device into the circuit.

The Fisherman's Ocean by David A. Ross

Chapter 9 Fishing Estuarine Waters

Hydraulic Currents

The topic of hydraulic currents is a little complex, but an understanding of these currents can be valuable when you're fishing inlets or any area where one body of water merges with another.

Often the tides, as well as the tidal pattern, between two bodies of water such as an estuary and the open ocean are not in phase and do not have equal ranges in their tide. This is due to a hydraulic current, which is caused by the differences in water height at either end of the inlet that separates the two bodies of water. A hydraulic current can result when the ocean tide offshore is rising but the water level of the estuary is falling, causing an cean-flowing current in the inlet, which is also called an outflow.

Explained another way, the outgoing or incoming flow of water through the narrow inlet cannot keep pace with the rising or falling tide outside in the ocean. The tidal levels between the two bodies of water, therefore, will be out of phase-for how long depends on the dimensions of the inlet, the size and shape of the bay or estuary, the strength of the tide, and the weather conditions. As a result, the water level inside the inlet, in the estuary, lags behind the water level of the ocean. This will cause the current flow inside the estuary to differ considerably from the flow outside the estuary in the ocean.

Here's an example of hydraulic current. When the ocean has reached its maximum low during an ebbing tide, the water in the estuary has not yet arrived at its maximum low. Thus, as the ocean tide starts to rise, the water in the estuary is still higher than the water of the now-rising ocean. In this situation, which may exist just for a short time or maybe even for an hour or more, the water will be ebbing or flowing out of the estuary through the inlet into the ocean, whereas the tide in the ocean is rising.

Once the tidal levels inside and outside the inlet become equal, there will be a short slack-tide period, but the hydraulic-current process continues and will now start again, only this time in the opposite direction. In this situation, the water in the ocean will rise quicker than the water in the estuary the inlet often has fairly strong currents, due to the tidal flow as well as to the differences in water level inside and outside the inlet.

When you're fishing the outgoing water near an inlet, you should be aware of the direction of the tidal currents in the adjacent ocean. The direction of the ocean current will indicate how the water, once it clears the inlet, will be deflected. The ocean current will move the outflowing current to one side of the inlet, and in doing so set up some countercurrents and quiet areas; often, the water moves downcurrent of the inlet. This is the best place to fish because it is where the water coming out of the estuary-and the bait in the water-will be carried.

A knowledge of how hydraulic currents work can be very useful to those who fish in and around estuaries.

Fishermans Coast: An Angler's Guide to Marine Warm-Water Gamefish and Their Habitats -- by Aaron J., Ph.D. Adams

Chapter 4: Oyster Bars , pg. 91


Exploring Oyster Bars

When you put the ecological requirements of oysters together, you get a good idea of where you will find the healthiest oyster bars and what types of fishing situations you are likely to encounter. The first locations to eliminate when searching for large, healthy oyster bars are areas that are either completely fresh water or full ocean salinity throughout the year. In contrast, locations that have medium salinity, or experience fluctuations in salinity that reduce the occurrence of predators and disease while not killing oysters with low salinity, should have the best oyster bar habitats. Backwater areas that receive little flushing are also poor locations for oyster bars, whereas locations that receive frequent tidal flushing or are regularly exposed to currents-from either tides or rivers-are your best bets for finding healthy oyster bars. So if you come across healthy oyster bars while exploring new waters, you can be sure the location receives current and/or significant tidal flushing.

Exploration of a new area at low tide will show you where the intertidal oyster bars are located. Looking for eddies and changes in current direction during incoming or outgoing tides will help you pinpoint the locations of shallow, subtidal oyster bars or intertidal bars covered at high tide. Large point oyster bars will probably give you the most varied fishing conditions in a single location-from slack water near shore to strong currents near the end of the bar-and the location of the best currents for fishing will change with the tide.

Fringing oyster bars provide the best conditions for casting along the shoreline for gamefish feeding along the confluence of marsh, oyster bar, and open bottom. Depending on the depth, fringing bars can provide good fishing at different tidal stages-shallow areas will be best at high water, and deeper areas may hold gamefish at low water. Fringing bars offer great opportunities to cast flies right to the edge of the shoreline and fish the fly from the marsh edge down the slope of the oyster bar. In many ways, it is similar to casting streamers along rocky shorelines for smallmouth or striped bass.

Sometimes fringing bars grow out from the shoreline, or perhaps the shoreline erodes, leaving a shallow lagoon between the bar and shore. These lagoons are often used as shelter by small fish and even large mullet. Gamefish sometimes venture into these areas to feed, making quick charges into the lagoon before heading back to deeper water. Even if you can't catch up to a fish you see feeding in the shallows, you'll likely find gamefish resting along the outer edge of the bar.

Isolated oyster bars, my favorites, often present opportunities to fish upcurrent or downcurrent eddies during moving tides and holes between bars during low tides. It may take a little investigation to figure out whether an isolated bar is best on an incoming or outgoing tide, and on which side the deepest holes are located. But once you find an isolated bar that is productive on a particular tide, it should be productive under similar conditions much of the time.

It's worth exploring networks of isolated bars to chart where the best holes between bars are located. Sometimes you will find that bars are separated only by shallow mud that would never hold a gamefish at low tide. But you will sometimes find at least a few spots where isolated bars are separated by open bottom deep enough to hold gamefish at all but the lowest tides. I explore these areas in two ways, depending on how much time I want to invest. The strategy that takes the most time but can also yield fish is to methodically work my way from spot to spot, casting to areas between oyster bars that might have deep holes. A sudden swirl and a tight line are the rewards for taking this patient approach. If I am in more of an exploratory mood, I move from spot to spot and examine each to determine whether it is deep enough to hold gamefish. Although you have the potential for spooking gamefish holding in the deeper holes, this is an efficient method for scouting areas that you can later add to your list of fishing locations.



End of expert fishing tips

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