Bait presentation: Bait presentation is key to being a consistently successful angler no matter which fish is targeted. The more natural the offering appears, the more strikes the bait will get, regardless if it is a tail-hooked live shrimp or a slow-moving artificial crawling across the bottom. If the bait appears unnatural or intrusive, forget it. One way to present your offering in the most natural way is by paying attention to moving water. Use water movement or nonmovement to your advantage. The first step is being able to read a tide chart. Knowing and recognizing the nuances of everyday tidal patterns help greatly in predicting the best time for a specific type of fishing.
For example: Bottom fishing for snapper and grouper along the edge of the shipping channel in Tampa Bay is very popular. When is the best time to go? In tidal bodies of water, the key to feeding activity is moving water. But in this case, the only way to get a natural presentation without using a pound of lead is to fish when the tide slackens. Better yet, targeting both sides of the tide change, when the water flow is slowest, allows for more fishing time. It's the opposite if you're fishing grass flats. Peak water movement is wanted in this situation. Game fish follow prey up on the flat when the tide is rising and follow it off when it's falling. Usually, when the tide peaks or bottoms out on the flats, so does the fishing.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376.