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Shallow inshore saltwater fishing tips
Shallow inshore saltwater fishing is a fun an interactive sport that you can participate in from boat, pier or surf. Although it is easy to get into inshore saltwater fishing there are some fishing tips that can help you catch more fish.
As someone who has fished the southern Atlantic Coast for decades and taken trips with some of the best fishing guides in the business I can give you some basic tips to set you on your way.
Use Fresh Bait
When bait fishing you want to go with really fresh stuff. Frozen bait bought at the pier or tackle shop won't cut it. If you are using shrimp they should be bought in a seafood market and fresh enough to eat. Clams should be gathered by hand and opened yourself. Cut bait should come from fish that you have recently caught or that have been pluck fresh from the sea. The difference between old and frozen bait is the difference between success and failure.
Present Live Bait Naturally
Whether you are using frisky finger mullet for flounder or bluefish or trying to induce speckled trout with live shrimp, you must present live bait naturally. That means rigs tied with little or no extra hardware like beads, snaps, swivels, and frilly skirts. A lot of pre-tied rigs in stores feature these and should be avoided. Instead, buy or make simple rigs that present the live bait naturally to the fish. You can find out more about rigs that present live bait naturally here.
Take Advantage of Scented Lures
Today's inshore anglers have the option of not even worrying about dealing with smelly and messy live and natural bait. Synthetic and scent baits have come to dominate the market for inshore fish such as redfish, speckled trout, flounder, and striped bass. Brands like Berkley Gulp and Fishbites are popular because they work. Check out these links for specific information on scent baits that can the fish you target:
The key to using scented baits in to rig them like live or natural baits and fish them slowly. Don't be afraid to let the tide do your work for you. Gulp and other scented brand lures can be rigged on jig heads or fished under popping corks just like live shrimp.
Run the Tide
Shallow inshore saltwater fishing depends heavily on the tide. Fish will be feeding actively only when the current is really running one way or another. Creek mouths are good spots to focus on during low tide as the tide rises. Often the bait in these creeks is flushed out and can be caught as they leave the safety of the marsh crass and oyster beds.
Around hard structure like piers, bridges, and docks the current is very important in the activity of the food chain. When the tide really gets rolling predator fish like flounder, redfish, stripers and trout look for straggling fish and shrimp near the pilings. Fish your rig or lure right up against the pilings, or allow it to be swept into them by the motion of the current.
Use Big Plugs for Big Gamefish
Large gamefish like female speckled trout, chopper bluefish, or prowling redfish are on the search for fish as prey. Often they will strike at a baitfish and make it their only meal for the day. Rely on baits like MirrOlures and other large plugs to entice these big fish to bite. Work them slowly as twitchbaits, using a pull and pause method, as if the baitfish was struggling against the tide.
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