It's no secret catching and presenting live bait usually increases your chances for a productive day fishing, but sometimes using artificials can be just as productive. I've seen anglers spend hours trying to catch bait when they could have been poling or drifting a grass flat, using topwaters at daybreak or dusk, tossing a jerkbait under mangroves or throwing spoons around oyster bars as the tide rushes in or out. I have been guilty of spending three hours trying to fill the livewell with bait.
Just as the offshore hardware-trolling fisherman can catch anything that swims with artificials, the same is true inshore. Presentation with artificials is the key to success. Throw a white bait into the water so you can see it swim and watch as it heads into the current as you put pressure on the line; ease up and it will head straight to the bottom for shelter. Put that same bait in a fast current and it will swim with the current. Present your artificials to simulate what a live bait would do and you'll catch more fish, build confidence and use them more.
_ Keith Williams charters out of Seminole. Call (813) 398-1126.