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  • Capt. Sergio Atanes

Not all baits are created equal and most of us think live greenbacks are the answer starting in December cut fresh mullet on the bottom can produce some pretty nice catches of redfish on the flats. In fact this works great all year long but I prefer using mullet in the winter and cut fresh threadfins in the summer months. Just put several rods out with cut bait on the bottom and wait they will come.

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  • Capt. Sergio Atanes

A good angler is like a magician who can pull tricks out of the bag to help him catch more fish. It could be just a simple item to save time, a technique that gets the fish to bite. We have all some tricks to help us catch more fish and I am going to share some of them with you.

These 6 basic tricks can help you catch more fish and save time and money.

1A. Noodles used for kids in the swimming pool cut into different lengths make excellent leader holders, especially during the mackerel and king fish season allowing you to have 12 pre-rigged leaders ready to go. Use one color for mackerel and another color for kingfish. You make the leaders at home while watching TV instead of commercials.

2A. During the fall when the trout bite goes crazy, my favorite way of catching them is using a Cajun Thunder float only because it has 2 weighted beads that increase my cast during windy days and the beads create the sound of a wounded bait. The clarity of the water dictates the size of my leader anywhere from 15 to 30-pound fluorocarbon. I work the float with a popping action to draw attention to my bait and the float. Over the years I noticed that my float had chunks missing from the trout attacking the float like a top water bait so I put a small split ring where the swivel meets the float wire and added a 2/0 hook, and I started catching 2 trout at a time. This method can be used with live bait or as the picture shows, artificial bait.

3A. One basic problem over the years was keeping the soft baits on the jig head after a few hits so here is a simple problem solver. After the head of the bait starts to break just cut it back a little and stick the tip of a toothpick through the bait and the eye of the hook. This keeps your artificial baits from sliding off.

4A. When fishing winter tides in shallow grassy areas you need to work just above the grass line. So, take one of your top water plugs, remove the rear hook and put a short leader, the length depending on the depth of water. I have mine set at about 8 inches and tie a mid running fly. The action of the plug draws attention and the tailing fly becomes the easy prey for the fish to hit. In some cases, I have caught 2 fish at the same time.

5A. Fall and winter fishing for sheepshead, mangrove snapper and flounder in deep water can be fun and very productive. I found a trick to get them to bite when all else fails, and I fish this method all winter long. A simple soft glow bead is placed between the eye of the hook and the lead, and for some reason the glow of the bead seems to draw attention to the bait and my sheepshead, snapper and flounder bite has tripled over the last few years. The one question I ask myself is if it is the bead that gets them to bite or my luck has increased. Either way it works for me.

6A. Bottom fishing for grouper in the bay over the artificial reefs produce some nice catches of grouper and other bottom fish. I was losing a lot of rigs just like everyone else who gambles fishing over structure. I found a way to reduce my losses and increase my catch. I use egg sinkers with swivels. Tie a loop knot at the bottom of the leader and use a small electrical tie from the loop knot to the eye of the sinker swivel. If my sinker gets stuck to the structure you can pull hard and break the electrical tie leaving your leader intact and only losing the sinker.

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  • Capt. Sergio Atanes

Fall is one of the times to fish with artificial baits and choosing the right one is not easy what color, type, soft or hard body lures. My go to bait that always works for me is FISHBITES 3.5" Butt Kicker Paddle Tail or 5" Brawler Jerkbait. Which is the best color? The color that works best for you in my case FISHBITES makes all colors the ones I have found best during the fall are the Busted Lip and Roach. This week we tore up the trout and redfish while filming one of our FWCFR shows with over 8 trout and 27 redfish. Try fishing the edges of drip offs along the flats or mangrove islands with winter tides just around the corner (negative tides) its the best time to fish from shore or a boat.

Good fishing and tight lines.

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