This week's topic is not about the fish, but the tackle anglers use to catch them. Most anglers often have more tackle and lures than needed. As the saying goes: "pretty lures catch the fishermen, not the fish." Creating a simple arsenal of tackle and lures might just help you catch more fish.
Choosing the right tackle is crucial. Make sure to go with a quality rig that will last. Matching the right combo to the fish will also make for a better fishing experience. I always have 2-3 light combos rigged with 10-15 pound braid for species like trout, reds, and mackerel. I bring at least 3 so I can have a top water, jig, or a live bait rig all ready to go and all I need to do is just grab the rig I need.
Two MED/HVY rigs lined with 30-40 pound braid for species like cobia, shark, and tarpon are another must. I set one up with a 1/4 ounce jig and a 5 inch jerk bait ready to throw to a passing tarpon or cobia. The other is set up for live bait. One more heavy set up is not a bad idea. A 60 series reel with 50-60 pound braid might be needed for big sharks or those monster tarpon.
Now lets look to the tackle box. I prefer a hard box with removable compartments to organize my assortment of hooks, lures, leaders, weights and more. When setting up your box, go with the less is more theory. Bring your go-to lures and plenty of reserves. If there are lures that have been sitting in the box since last year, it may be time to remove them. I stow a secondary tackle box with many of those lures I don't use a lot, but when I need them they are there.
I use Gulp 3 inch shrimp in white and new penny on most trips. The juice that the Gulp soak in really bring the bite. This juice will stink up a tackle box also. To prevent this I mix all the colors (and juice) in a Tupperware with a sealed lid to save space and keep them from spilling. Store the container in your live well or in the fridge between trips.
Keeping things simple and organized will often put more fish in the boat. Five to six quality combos will not only let you target all the flats have to offer, but they will hold up over time.
Good luck out there and tight lines!
Capt. Keith Tomlinson runs Bulldog Fishin Chartes out of Hernando Beach. Reach him at www.bulldogfishin.com or (352) 238-3581.