The opinions here are as diverse as anyone can imagine. We’re here to guide you in rigging up your own gear for this adventure or we can supply the set ups ready to roll.
Fundamentally, and I think without a lot of banter, you can plan on a 7 to 8 wt. rod for most inshore species all the way up to the big 9 to 12 wt. rigs for the bruising runs of migratory species like Jack Crevalle, Tarpon, Triple Tail, Ling, Kings, and Bull Redfish. We typically use a weight forward floating line matched to the rod weight or possibly oversizing line depending on conditions and rod action. Use of an un-weighted floating line is another approach that has its advantages.
We typically rig with a tapered flourocarbon leader in the 12- and 16-pound test range for inshore species. When it comes to the larger offshore species we’ll switch over to shock leaders.
Spoon flies are great for the average angler when there’s a lot of blind casting involved. There’s nothing quite as tempting as a Clouser dropped in tight to foraging Redfish, however, and these are lethal insofar as they’re slow suspending flies that can be easily controlled for great presentation without grassing up. A white Seaducer dropped into mud pockets in the early months of Spring can produce some monster Speckled Trout according to Capt. Jeff Garner and these are his favorite. Topwater poppers and plugs are a lot of fun in the cooler months as temperatures are nearing 70 degrees and fish are working inbound bait migrations.
Cruising Black Drum schools can be seriously worked over with imitation sand worms in black and white depending on cloud cover.
School management comes into play when dealing with tightly packed fish burning up the bottom looking to feed. We prefer to look for the loaners on the outside rather than shooting into the schools. That’s easier said than done when your heart’s racing and the blood is pumping! Lining these fish (dropping a line over the backs) will bust them often leaving you with nothing more than hauling water. Patience and scanning, playing the wind, moving when necessary, freezing and scanning the water are all methods that feed the hunter and help you pick the right target. Monster Trout along with Redfish can be forgiving at times and less so at others. At times a high angle rod approach won’t phase them and others you’ll feel like if you barely lift the rod they’re heading for deeper water torpedoing off into a nearby mud pocket.
There’s no substitute for time on task in a wide variety of wind, weather, sun and overcast conditions. Sharpening up and honing the cast prior to arrival with help ensure all systems are working. Then, we expect there to be times when you can make the cast and others where it seems like you can’t hit the water if you fell out of the boat. That happens to the best of us and we’re here to keep you encouraged, learning, engaged, and with more than a few targets to work out the bugs.
Our fish have tells including cotton tops on tails and dorsal fins; backing, and other things that can give them away. Quality sunglasses are an understatement and we prefer an amber lens.
Spot N Stalk trips offer incredibly close quarter casting as our fish are easily approached on foot. Casts inside of 20’ are not uncommon. Reading the water and looking for the fish is best in clear skies and usually in the time frame from 9am to 1pm or 10am to 2pm. Glare is diminished, and we’ll be making approaches trying to use the sun and glare to our advantage.