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Tomlinson: Try top water plugs during calm spells

Hernando Beach Fishing Report

Published:   |   Updated: February 4, 2014 at 11:19 AM

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The Calm foggy weather we have had in recent weeks are perfect conditions to make some noise on the surface with a plug and watch the explosion. Working top water plugs can be challenging and will wear you down at times, but they usually produce with a little patience and persistence. Anglers might not get the quantity, but the quality of the fish they catch are truly rewarding.

Many species of fish will hit surface plugs. Tarpon, red fish, big trout, jack crevalle, blue fish, mackerel, snook and more will all inhale a variety of top water lures. When fishing the skinny waters of the Nature Coast, my "go to" lures are a Rapala Skitter walk (sw8), Heddon Super Spook Jr., or a Storm Chug bug. All of these top water plugs offer something different. They all move slightly differently and they all have their own sound. I feel that a lure creating a different sound (or click) and worked at different speeds or rhythms is more important than the color. I do feel that color is important though. White or bone, chartreuse, and a mullet color seem to produce the best for me and my clients.

Be ready to mix up the pace of your offering. A slow rhythm might work, but be ready to speed up your retrieve if the bite stops. Or mix it up. When casting to an area, be sure to cover all of the water. These fish will detect your lure as far as 50 feet away, but won't eat it until it gets close. I try to make the next cast about 10-15 feet from the last. If you get a strike or land a fish from a certain spot don't be afraid to go right back to that spot on your next cast because there might be more where that fish came from.

The best advice I can give anglers on top water is to not set the hook when you see the strike. Wait until you feel the heaviness of the fish and then set it. It is a hard habit to break at first because when you see the explosion on the surface, the excitement gets the better of you and the lure is pulled right out of the fish's mouth before he gets a hold on it.

Good luck out there and tight lines!

Capt. Keith Tomlinson operates Bulldog Fishin Charters out of Hernando Beach. Reach him at

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