If you happen to get a new fishing rod for the holidays and cannot wait to try it out, try casting artificial baits on the flats late in the day. For the past few weeks we have had great luck throwing topwater plugs for redfish and speckled trout in less than 3 feet of water. The key to success is low light. In places where the water is clear, noisy plugs and flashy soft plastics do not work well at midday when the sun is high overhead. Concentrate your efforts early in the morning and/or late in the afternoon when itís slightly darker. On overcast or foggy days, however, the fish will hit floating lures nonstop. We like to pole the boat up onto the flats until we start seeing activity, which is usually mullet. They let you know you are in the proper depth. Then we drift while casting surface plugs with rattles inside them. There is nothing like watching a big redfish push a big wake up behind your lure as you twitch it side to side. The hookup ratio is rather poor, often less than 60 percent, but it is so much fun to watch the strikes that is well worth it. One factor that can really mess up a topwater lure fishing session is floating grass. It takes only one piece of grass caught on your hook to ruin the action of the bait and cause fish to turn away. If the grass is bad, switch to a soft-plastic jerk bait, rigged weedless. This will allow you to work the same area without fouling your lure every cast.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at [email protected]