“They were out of SHRIMP AND MINNOWS!?” I hear this occasionally while standing on the docks prepping for the next fishing trip. If live bait isn’t available, take a walk through your local tackle shop and look at all the artificials. There are a TON of artificials to choose from and most will work for one occasion or another.
“Matching the hatch” is a technique that works well when choosing the artificial you will be fishing with that day. This simply means that you should pick an artificial that looks like what the live bait that is active in the water looks like. If there are a lot of mullet, grab a large paddle tail. For small bait like glass minnows, try a small paddle tail like ZMan’s Slim SwimZ. During an inshore fishing charter we find that the Slim SwimZ will catch a wide range of fish such as Redfish, Trout, and Flounder, and having one rigged up is always a great choice. Also a great “go to” is the EZ Shrimp under a popping cork. This setup is great for covering a lot of territory using the “3 pops and a stop” method over oyster rakes. Meaning you whip the rod tip three times and let the bait fall, then repeat. If you’re worried about the artificial not having any scent to it, ProCure is a great option for you. It’s a bait gel that comes in a wide variety of flavors such as mullet, menhaden, crab, and shrimp.
Unsure about how to approach using artificials? Look into booking an inshore fishing charter and request to only use artificial baits. Our guides love to pass on their knowledge and will take the time to help you hone your skills. We’ll point you in the right direction and hopefully find some fish in the process. Check out ZManFishing.com to take a peek at a wide variety of baits made locally in the Charleston Area.
Check back with your Redfin Captains next week for more Wheelhouse Wisdom from the Water.