Anglers can have the right bait and be in the best spot, but if they don't employ the proper technique for the fish they're pursuing, they'll be stopping by the fish market on the way home for dinner.
On a recent charter, Dan Quarles, his father, Bob Quarles, and client, Brad Meyer, found out just how important the right techniques are for sheepshead and speckled trout.
"Wow, that was like watching a TV fishing show," Meyer said as I boated a sheepshead while demonstrating my favorite technique for these bait stealers.
"It's not that difficult," I replied. "Just remember to set the hook hard when you feel the resistance, not the bite. If you wait for the bite, they've already eaten your crab and it's all over."
Not long after, it was the younger Quarles boating his biggest sheepshead ever.
"Man, I never caught one this big before," Dan boasted. "Check out the teeth on that guy."
As we approached the edge of a Skyway Bridge area grass flat, I explained where the fish will be.
"With this real low tide we're experiencing, all of the trout are going to be suspended along the drop-off leading to deep water. Cast your jig to the shallows and slowly, I mean slowly, drag it across the bottom," I said. "Then, when you feel anything out of the ordinary, set the hook."
About an hour or so later after multiple double- and triple-hookups, the trio couldn't stop talking about how effective the technique was.
"I can't believe how many trout we caught," the elder Quarles said. "We must have caught 50!"
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376.