1. Tube baits have a natural pocket for scent attractants. Take a small piece of cotton with a dab of super glue and put it in the tube first. This piece of cotton will hold the scent attractant longer. Use these for catching Flounder, Trout, and Redfish.
2. Use a trailer on your spoon. Usually the tail piece of a curly tailed grub works fine. Some days this little change in the profile and action can make the difference.
3. Rig your artificial shrimp backwards for added casting distance. Glass rattles placed in an artificial shrimp can be deadly.
4. Remove the treble hooks from your top-water plug and go to a single j hook on the back when working grass. You will be amazed how easy it works thru standing grass and still hooks the fish. This is also a good locator bait. If the fish are not connecting, usually a follow up with a gold spoon, spinnerbait or weedless plastic jerk bait will do the trick.
5. Bass worms work great on Flounder, Redfish and Trout. So do senko type baits. It doesn’t matter if you use them on stand up jigs, shaky heads, Carolina rigged, Texas rigged or just plain weightless or weedless. They aren’t as sexy as some of the saltwater plastics….but they work just as good.
For those of you who prefer live bait here are a few things that work, that I am sure many of you are already doing, but worth mentioning.
1. Blue Crabs. In my opinion, probably the best Redfish and Black Drum bait there is. We’ve caught Sheepshead, Whiting, Pompano, Tarpon, Cobia, Trout and Sharks on them as well. Starting with live crabs, immediately break and discard the claws. I then remove the back and remaining legs and split the crab down the middle (I now have two baits, or I’ll quarter it if is really big). The holes created by removing the legs are where I thread my hook. Send it to your spot with a fish finder rig with just enough weight to keep it from moving. If a Redfish is anywhere in the area he will find and eat this bait.
2. There are a few thoughts on rigging live shrimp, and I use a couple of methods. One of my favorite ways is to simply pinch the tail off and thread a light jig head into the shrimp. I put the point of the hook right into the last joint where I removed the tail and thread it up as far as it will go. I can cast this around structure or just sit it in the rod holder. Pinching off the tail disperses a little more scent.
3. I like mullet heads. Not the haircut, but the actual head of a mullet. Now if I am catching that perfect 3-4 inch mullet, I usually fish him live and whole. But I have had more success on cut mullet. Especially the head. This is a good option during the year when the small mullet are hard to find. All of the cut mullet pieces work, but usually the head performs best.
4. It’s worth mentioning that cut lady fish works quite well. It’s not a fish you can rely on catching, but if you do it’s worth throwing in the cooler if the fishing gets tough. That is the go to bait for a buddy of mine, who targets Tarpon.
5. Finally, for an all around lively bait that just about every fish will readily eat and a rig that is user friendly: a mud minnow on a jig head. When times are tough, this is a great locator bait. You can throw it fairly easy, he stays on the hook, and you just about have to shoot him to kill him (depending on your area, these minnows may be called bull minnows, pollywogs, wogs, killifish, tiger minnows and a host of other names.)
6. Some of the old timers that use only live or cut bait have made the switch to circle hooks. These guys are swearing that their hook up ratio is much better. One thing to remember is that when the fish pulls your line; do NOT set the hook, just reel.