Practice your casting skills
My client had booked the trip several months ago and the date finally arrived. We had spoken several times over the phone concerning gear, tides and weather, even what to wear. I explained we would be casting open areas as well as sheltered creeks so knowing how to pitch, skip cast, flip and other bass techniques would be very important to the success of his trip.
Arriving at the dock, my man was covered head to foot in the latest, brand new hi-tech fishing garb that not only promised to repel the harmful effects of the sun, defeat mosquitoes and laugh at no-see-ums plus, promised to keep you Arctic cool in tropical heat.
Orvis, NIKE, Bass Pro, Columbia, Costa, every possible manufacturer was represented by label plus added patches touting Rapala, D.O.A., Bomber and MirrOlure.
I wasn’t sure what to say about all this as we greeted so I chose to not bring it up other than asking “Didn’t you say that you’ve never fished in salt water?”
We got under way and after a refreshing ride stopped to fish a series of docks that had been producing snook and an occasional redfish the past few days. He had wanted a Pine Island Slam and I thought we would get the snook and possibly the redfish out of the way early with plenty of time to bag willing trout later in the trip.
Maneuvering the boat into casting position I could tell he was quite excited. Handing him a rod pre-rigged with my favorite soft plastic shrimp imitation, I asked him to come to the front casting deck to make it easier to flip and skip his lures around and under the structure.
Pointing to a shadowy back corner of the closest dock which had produced two snook over 30 inches in the last week, I suggested softly flipping the shrimp to the target as we were purposefully too close to overhand cast.
The skiff rocked mightily as he half underhand casted, half threw the shrimp to the target which landed with a loud plop 36 inches from the closest snook hiding dock piling.
It was plain to see after the first cast that today’s trip would include casting instruction in the art of flipping, pitching and skipping artificial lures with a spinning reel outfit and why I always bring a little shrimp with me.
He ended the day with lots of trout on jigs and topwater plugs and two reds caught on real shrimp. The snook, still under the docks, went unmolested as the skills just weren’t there to be able to make the proper presentation.
A wonderful gentleman, he promised to practice, practice his casting skills and rebooked me for a return trip.
If you are new to the inshore game in Southwest Florida, hone up on your largemouth bass techniques (pitching, flipping and skip casting) to connect with more fish in a day’s outing.
More often than not your prize is tucked way up and under the bushes or docks. If you’re just fishing the outside edges, these fish aren’t even seeing your lure let alone trying to bite it.
A talented caster can fish right behind an edge caster and score time and again leaving the edger bewildered.
If you are spending the coin to hire a guide, pay for a roundtrip plane ride, hire a car and rent a room with the goal being to catch inshore saltwater gamefish on lures or fly, first practice at home and be able to pitch or flip cast a lure into a teacup from a minimum of 20 feet away and be able to skip cast a soft plastic at least 6-10 feet under bushes or structure.
Learning these casting techniques along with understanding quiet boat control will greatly increase your chances of consistently putting fish in the boat and up your chances of catching your fish of a lifetime in Southwest Florida.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-440-1621 or captgeoget3 @aol.com.